Things I Haven’t Done Since I Retired Early (and a few I have)

We all have ideas for what our life will be like post FIRE. I even wrote a couple of posts on things I planned to do and bad habits I wanted to break. Some of those things have come true and the rest I will say I just haven’t got to yet 😊. Hopefully I have many many years of retirement – would be a shame to peak too early!

Things I Haven’t Done….

I Haven’t Drunk Alcohol at Home

Ok, so full disclosure, this post has been sitting in my drafts for a couple of months and at the time of first writing it was true!

It’s increasingly difficult to conjure up what my life felt like before I retired – the bad bits, I mean. A bit like childbirth I guess – you remember how painful it was but you can’t ever really remember what it truly felt like. I know I was unhappy in a stressful job though and I worried I was on my way to having a drinking problem. On getting home from work, I would pour myself a drink before I even took my shoes off and I never had an alcohol free day.

But since retiring, dry January turned into dry February and dry March, April and May – at least at home. It wasn’t difficult at all – the factors and habits that would lead to the vodka bottle were gone and with that, any inclination to drain it also left.

Of course, since then Summer has arrived and with it long evenings spent outside in the garden where having a drink can be savoured. The intention was not to quit but to be healthier and more in control of a bad habit and both of those are now true 😊.

 

I Haven’t Been Bored

Honestly – not even for a millisecond have I been bored. There are so many things to do if I choose to do them – and sometimes I do nothing at all – but it’s never boring. Outside of the boys’ school routine, everything I do is my choice. I can hardly describe the pure luxury of this. Better than any flashy cars or fancy handbags – the decadence of being answerable to no boss or customer, no client or colleague – simply to myself. This is what dreams are made of.

Walking, reading, listening to music and podcasts, meeting friends, cooking, gardening, quietly contemplating – my retirement may sound sedate and boring to some, but for me it is heavenly.

In fact…

 

I Haven’t Had Enough Time to do All the Things I’d Like to do

I want to begin to learn another language and take up piano playing again. I want to see the latest movies with friends and take some study courses just because I’m interested in the subjects. I want to explore my country, visit The New Forest, Snowdonia, The Lake District, Devon and Cornwall. I want to write more fiction and volunteer in some capacity.

I seem to have had time for very little of it so far. Let’s hope it’s a long life.

 

I Haven’t Wasted Time

Perhaps that isn’t true. There is good time wasting and bad time wasting and I haven’t done the bad kind. For me, that means I haven’t turned on the tv before 8pm if at all (except for the occasional rainy Saturday box set day). I haven’t lost days to endless phone scrolling or got lost down any internet rabbit holes. But I have stared at the sea for a whole morning and I have completed jigsaw puzzles while listening to podcasts about everything and nothing.

I’ve learned to value my time as much as if I were being paid for it and I occupy myself in ways that keep me relaxed and grounded and loving life.

 

I Haven’t Eliminated All Stress

Working is far from the only stressor in life and being able to not work any more doesn’t magically fix everything. My youngest continues to struggle and has missed an entire term of school. How we would have managed that whilst holding down a job is unfathomable. Being without one doesn’t make it easy but it makes it easier. I am free to take him to his appointments and when he wakes me in the middle of the night to talk because that’s when he finds it easiest to open up, I can listen, knowing I can catch up on sleep tomorrow.

This won’t be the only thing life throws at us. I’m so thankful for being in this position to help cope with the ups and downs.

 

I Haven’t Drawn Down Any Investments

One of the biggest challenges I anticipated when I quit the day job was the shift in mindset from accumulation to draw down. Fortunately I haven’t had to deal with that yet.

Ok, I’m no longer accumulating, but enough money is coming in that I’m not withdrawing either. Rent from three properties provides the bulk of the income but this is topped up with proceeds from Matched Betting (or its extension of EW) which until I decided to take a Summer break was bringing in over £1k a month. Add to that a tiny but welcome amount of child benefit and some interest and it’s more than enough for the three of us to live on.

I’ve also been offered a few hours a week paid work (more below) and that provides our holiday money. We keep the same standard of living as when I was working in everything but the somewhat excessive holiday habit I’d acquired. And to be fair – it’s not like I need holidays in the same way that I used to.

 

I Haven’t Kept up the Blog Posting

I won’t make excuses or be conceited enough to think that it matters but I had every intention of continuing to blog as a way of paying forward the benefit I received from other people blogging. All I will say is that when you arrive at your holiday destination, you don’t give much thought to the journey that got you there. That’s not the important bit.

The lead-up to reaching FIRE can be all-consuming and as in all things, sometimes a detox does the world of good. I still intend to keep this up as a hobby – albeit sporadically – telling the tale of life post FIRE.

 

I Haven’t Had Any Regrets

Not a single one. Not about the timing or the way I left or the point of my career when I left. Not about not saving more or not staying for one more bonus. No looking backwards, there’s nothing there for me – everything good is in the other direction.

 

A Few Things I Have Done

  • Read 72 books between January and July
  • Discovered a whole range of new podcasts outside of personal finance & FIRE – realising that not every listen has to be educational
  • Decorated both boys’ bedrooms
  • Spent way more time with friends
  • Transformed my garden from a jungle state to something resembling pretty – a newly discovered hobby I had no idea would prove so fulfilling
  • Been offered opportunities to make money without looking for them – one of which I have accepted. An ex-colleague needed some book-keeping at his start-up company and asked if I would do a few hours a week. It’s part favour to him and part bonus for us – working from home and something I can do in my sleep. I didn’t expect to be getting any income, but I’m enjoying it – who knew that could happen 😊

Retirement police – knock yourselves out.

 

 

 

31 thoughts on “Things I Haven’t Done Since I Retired Early (and a few I have)”

  1. Hi FT9T5

    Good to see you posting again and do hope you will find the time (and inclination) to continue – been waiting to find out how early retirement was treating you!

    And great to hear that matched betting profits have helped ensure that you’ve yet to draw on your ‘retirement pot’ – for me, that would be ideal, if MB was still around and profitable by the time I pull the plug on FT work.

    Am so jealous that you’ve been able to read 72 books – can’t wait until I have the time to be able to do that!

    All sounds really great, just shows that you leaving work has been the right decision for both you and the kids.

    Look forward to hearing more, for inspiration!

    Like

  2. Sooo happy to see an update on your blog! Although I never left a comment before, I’ve been reading all the previous posts.
    I follow many FIRE blogs, but you are probably the blogger I feel most in tune with, in terms of philosophy, priorities and outlook on life. I’m really happy you are enjoying your early retirement and finding time for many of the things you find fulfilling.
    As for me, still four long years to a leanish FIRE. It will be tight until I can unlock my pension funds, but I don’t want to wait any longer. Reading, writing, hiking, learning, so many things I want to do and I have too little time and energy for.
    I hope to read more from you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely thing to say – thank you. I agree with you – rather go earlier and things be a little lean than wait for a fat FIRE. Time and freedom all the way. I know it feels like a long time, but it will be here before you know it and then there will be no looking back. Good luck and thanks for following 😊

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  3. So nice to hear that FIRE is delivering what you were expecting and some more! Personally I am enjoying to hear about your journey and it give me some visualization of what’s to come, hopefully, in a few years.
    I’d love to hear more about matched betting from your point of view, in case you are taking suggestions for future posts.

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    1. Thanks Spaniard! I have thought about writing about MB but to be honest, others do it far more justice than me. Take a look at pursuefire.com and thefirestarter.co.uk although I’m not sure if you can do it outside of the U.K.

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  4. How lovely to read another post from you! Glad it’s all turning out well for you – and I agree, the greatest luxury of all is to have time and space for yourself and no head space taken up by work. This is particularly important when your family needs you.

    I often wonder how on earth I ever found the time to work! Like you, I am never bored and there is always something to do. Being available to provide support to family and friends as needed is an added bonus, I find. I was able to spend long, lazy summer days with my daughter when she was pregnant in 2017 and then was available at short notice for unlimited help and support once my grandson arrived. That would certainly not have been possible while I was working, even when just part-time.

    Being work-free really rocks!

    Jane

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  5. So great to hear from you! Your retirement sounds amazing 🙂 . That piece about alcohol is really interesting. I’m about half way through a self-imposed 100 day alcohol free challenge. I kept telling myself that my inclination towards (several) glasses of wine was just a coping mechanism because of my stressful job, but decided I might be kidding myself (hence the challenge). It’s awesome to hear that was true for you and removing that stressor really changed your behavior. You’re giving me hope for the future 😉 . And congratulations on the part time gig! That sounds awesome. It really does seem like money making opportunities came out of the woodwork when you’re not looking for them in retirement 🙂 . Thanks so much for writing this and keeping us in the loop! Your journey is really inspiring.

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    1. Hi APL! Absolutely true that money making opportunities arrive out of the woodwork. I’d read other people saying the same but doubted it for myself – no need to doubt in the end.
      Massive well done on the alcohol challenge – takes some doing while you are working I think.

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  6. simple little piece – it’s nice to hear that you’ve not been drinking at home.
    Many conventional retirees I know end up drinking a lot – there’s nothing else for them to do (so they think).
    And often people drink at home to destress from work – you’ve removed that source of stress and alcohol from your life!
    Good job man!

    Like

  7. Its lovely to read that things are going well for you. Your journey is an inspiration to others – so please do post updates when you are inclined. Im teetering on the edge of following your example but am currently plagued by one more year syndrome. Enjoy the lovely summer weather.

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    1. It can be hard to break out of one more year syndrome – all I can say is, I’ve never looked back. You’ll know when the time is right.
      Thanks for the kind words 😊

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  8. Thanks for popping back and updating us poor saps still toiling away on the chain gang 🙂

    FI is all very well, but it’s always nice to hear from someone who wrote about it extensively beforehand, and how is the reality compared to the expectation.

    Like

  9. Very interesting post.
    I’m also an accountant. My previous jobs don’t sound too dissimilar to yours. You get to a certain point when you have to stop.
    I think I’m probably about 10 years older than you. I walked away 10 years ago. I initially rested and took stock of things. Then by accident I started doing freelance accountancy lecturing for BPP. I’ve enjoyed this and given I only work 60-70 days a year, it has worked out pretty well.
    If you ever want to return to work of some sort, there are always opportunities for accountants.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pablo, it does seem that there are opportunities if you choose to take them and it is wonderful to have the choice. I’m glad you found something that works for you.

      Like

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