When I was on my cross-country train ride last August I met a couple in their early 60′s from Australia who had been retired since their late 30′s. They joined us for some wine in our sleeper car for a few hours after dinner one night. Their retirement was a result of growing a business for about ten years that ended up being immensely profitable. Which I think is different in key ways to what I’m doing. My goal since my early 20′s has been to retire early and any money-making venture since then has been decided upon based on how it will further that goal. Whereas their goal was to start a successful business and when the opportunity to retire early happened to present itself they took it. We definitely have a lot in common and have compatible personalities. But I do think their are key differences between someone who has a long-term goal of early retirement and someone who sort of stumbles into early retirement after some great business success.
When I offered them some wine around 2 in the afternoon the next day they declined and told me they don’t drink before 5. Because about a year after they sold their business and decided they were “retired” they found themselves one day around eleven in the morning, in their pajamas, opening a bottle of wine while watching a children’s cartoon and realized they needed to make a change. One of which was a rule, no drinking before 5 pm, to keep them from laying around all day. It’s interesting that it took them a whole year to get to that point.
It’s been about 3 weeks since I finished work on my last rental house. And now here I am with no work or projects in front of me. The days have been flying by, visiting with friends and family mostly, over the holidays since people have been taking lots of time off work. My friends schedules all compliment each other too so I tend to do a lot of socializing. I have the friends who work M-F who like to hang out on holidays and weekends. Then there’s the couple who have Thursdays and Fridays off who often want to come over for a game night. Tuesdays and Wednesdays seem to be the only days of the week when I know I’ll be alone.
This period reminds me of the beginning of summer when I would come home from college. I would be so exhausted from finals and paper-writing and translating Greek that I would be perfectly happy sitting around the house for almost two weeks, sleeping 12 hours a night and hardly doing anything during the day. It was a recovery period.
Now here I am, I’ve spent the past 5 years or so simultaneously working, earning degrees, and building a real estate investment business with hardly a break. So I have no problem allowing myself some laziness for at least the first few months of no longer working. While I haven’t been popping open wine bottles at 10 am, I have been getting plenty of sleep, cooking complicated dinners and breakfasts, and giving my neglected gaming PC some attention.
I’m looking forward to starting a large garden once the spring comes. And getting in lots of hiking and cycling in 2013. In the meantime the winter is reserved for gaming, movies, friends and delicious meals.