Relaxing

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.

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10 Comments

  1. Posted January 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Your writing style is great. I actually felt myself getting more and more relaxed as I read this post.

    The culture on long train rides is definitely unique. I did a shortish 12 hour train ride last year and it was really quite social, but I was definitely one of the youngest on the train.

    I’m in your camp as far as not stumbling into retirement, but actually pursuing it actively. There are positives and negatives though. One positive is that when you finally do reach retirement, you’ve been thinking about it for a while, so your entire ego isn’t tied up in the job you’re leaving. The shock of the transition won’t be so great and you won’t find yourself drinking at 11 AM. One downside is that I find myself living less in the moment. It’s difficult to find a good balance.

  2. Posted January 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations. You’ve accomplished a lot the last few years. I like that what you do is geared toward retirement.

    I have a little air conditioning, appliance business and I work 2-4 hour per week (usually). It’s still more than enough to live on.

    I’m not sure how much attorneys charge, but if it’s $200-$400/hr, it appears you would be positioned to have to handle only one to two clients per week.

  3. Posted January 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Wow, sounds like the good life. I’d definitely be laying around the house for a while, you can end up really busy socializing, hiking, housekeeping, cooking, managing rentals, etc.

  4. Posted January 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations! Personal space and the personal time in which to enjoy it truly are the last luxuries. Great job attaining both! What might be next for you? Another real estate investment? Game nights and lazy days?

  5. Dr. Z
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly with Progress Trap – your writing is excellent and very relaxing to read. Posts such as this are great motivation for others to achieve FI!!

  6. Posted January 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    nice to see some ambition lacking finally going on around here. ;)

  7. Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    @progress-trap

    I think I used to live in the future a LOT. Especially when working as a lineman. I remember gazing out into the cornfields behind the garage I reported to and day dreaming about the future.

    It’s something I’m still guilty of to a degree. There’s always something interesting coming down the road. But I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself about it, it’s that tendency that gives us our great rewards down the line.

    @mike That sounds like a great setup. I may indeed take on a client or two in the future if something comes my way.

    @m741 You’re right, it’s easy to make yourself busy. I’m finding myself looking at the clock and wondering where the day went.

    @Henry I’m hoping to get another house sometime this year. But I’ll definitely have a solid 6 months or so of taking it easy. Maybe with a little travel thrown in.

    @Dr-z Thanks!

    @jlcollinsnh I couldn’t betray my title forever!

  8. jawisco
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    I have been checking out your blog for a while and just wanted to say I think it is great.

    It isn’t too often that I get to remember cooking over cow pies in the desert…

  9. Posted January 26, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    You’ve described exactly what I aspire to achieve – short periods of relaxation and rest, interspersed with interesting & fulfilling projects and full-time *living* – thanks!

  10. steve
    Posted April 3, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    (Posting this here since I couldn’t find your contact info)

    In an earlier post you mentioned wanting to own a boat but not being able to afford it. I’m 8 years into FI on a budget similar to yours and spend 3 months every winter on a sailboat I own in Mexico. Contact me if you’d like to talk about it.

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