So here I am, actually and officially unemployed and technically retired. Wow. The second day of the rest of my life (read about my first here)
It may just be the fact we're in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic and we've been locked down in the house for 6 weeks, but I somehow thought it might feel a bit different than this. I guess I feel a bit....well....meh!
So how does it feel to have given up a successful career to live of your savings at 44 with hopefully another 44 to go? Mixed and a little bit emotional. Yes, if I didn't know what mixed emotions were, I do now.
So let me have a go at describing it:
Worried - I do still keep wondering if this is all just a massive mid-life crisis or some kind of subliminal reaction to my brush with death 11 months ago (read more about that here ). I can't get the thought out of my mind right now that in a couple of months I'll come to the realisation that it was all a massive mistake and then find it impossible to turn back. I also worry about my math. I spent a couple of years figuring out how much money I needed to do this and I did go a little (a lot) leaner than planned so if I got anything desperately wrong in the calculations, I may find myself in the dwang (technical term).
Guilty - I have nothing to feel guilty about I know but I have a bit of a sick feeling in my stomach and a constant thought that I should be doing something useful ALL the time. I guess I'm just so used to being busy and having big accountability, millions of dollars of business and the livelihoods of thousands of people to worry about, now it's just me, Mrs H and Winston the wonder dog . Of course there is family and friends but they're not dependent on us. Despite all of that, I still feel guilty if I'm not doing something constructive. I'm hoping it will pass as I ease into this new way of life. It is only day 1!
Excited - Completely conversely to feeling guilty I can slowly feel an excitement growing. I don't think it's completely sunk in that I can do WHATEVER I WANT FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. Within reason and budget of course. Whilst my guilt won't let me right now, and whilst I probably wouldn't, I could lay in bed for a week watching YouTube and eating pizza with Winston. I won't , but I could and that's pretty exciting.
Free - I guess this is where the excitement is starting to come from. I decided to do this in August 2019. It is now May 2020, it has taken 9 months to turn the decision into reality for a whole bunch of reasons (mostly financial) and it has been the longest 9 months of my life, the last three were actually torture between the COVID calamities and experiencing what it is like to be a respected leader in your organisation to the realisation that you're fairly meaningless to it and it moves on without you quickly. Being free of that is big, very big. I'm hoping to emerge from corporate life as a better human being. I have no doubt that it was slowly killing me and if I even made it to "Normal" retirement age, I would have looked back on my life with regret. I feel free and that's great.
Anxious - Despite being pretty introverted, almost nobody who knows me would describe me as that, I'm pretty calm in high pressure situations and I rarely lose my temper (although I'm quite a sarcastic and judgmental tool at times). However, I don't like personal conflict and I'm kinda awkward around strangers at first. Because of that I'm used to feeling anxious in certain situations and tend to avoid them or have coping mechanisms in place. I'm at my most confident in a corporate environment. I know that game, I know the players and I hold my own. I just left that behind. If I don't want to become a hermit in my retirement and I actually want to go and create memories and experiences (which is what this was all about at the heart of it) I'm going to be outside my comfort zone most of the time, and the more I get out of it, the better it will be. I know that, I do, but it makes me feel anxious and this desk and laptop is a safe and comfortable place. I'm anxious about leaving this place and right now the COVID-19 lockdown is going to give me a nice excuse to stay here. But when it's all over, I have to get out and experience the world!
So there it is. Not quite the trumpet blaring, hop skip and jumping, "fuck you coprorate, where's my cocktail? I'll be in the pool!" kind of emotion I was expecting, but I guess it's like new underwear, you have to give them a test drive before you know if you like them.
One thing I'm looking forward to is having more time to blog, and to blog, I need to have something to write about, which means I have to do something. So emotions aside, it's time to start living this Post-FIRE life and see what all the fuss is about.
My next post will be my first monthly financial report and a breakdown of the current savings pile which has taken a bit of a beating during the global pandemic we're currently living through.
Keep living, and stay safe.