FIRE Milestone – Final Day: Blasting Into Retirement

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Friday was my last day at WORK.  My last day EVER.  Just short of 10,000 days since I first started my professional career (about 6,300 work days).  The day had a range of emotions and activities that spanned excitement & ordinary.  The highlight was BLASTING out of the MegaCorp parking garage toward freedom!

People have been quite interested on what specifically I am going to do on my LAST day of work or FIRST day of early retirement.  In a sense, Friday was both of these as I only went into the office for a short time.  I jotted down the day’s events – April Fool’s Day – from start to finish:

  • WAKE-UPS (6:35am & 8:45am) – I went to the NHL hockey game the night before, but got up at ‘regular’ time anyway.  My son leaves for school at 7am, so even when we don’t have to be up – we wife and I both get up to see him off each morning. Right after he left, I was back in bed and slept until 8:45am.  My wife had just left for the gym at that point.
  • GREAT SILENCE – The house was pretty quiet with my son at school, and my wife out at the gym.  I had a bowl of Mini-Wheats and made the bed.  I logged on my work computer for the last time and made sure that I had all my colleagues email addresses copied over to my home contacts list. Less than 12 hours later, I thought, I will not have access again.
  • THANKS & FAREWELL – I had a send-off note prepared the day before that included my new contact information.  I didn’t stick anything smarta**ed in the note, but opted for the gracious & positive exit.  I sent it out to about 100+ people and began receiving nice notes back from people almost immediately.  Those were fun to read.
  • MORNING MEETINGS – I didn’t have any morning meetings on my calendar that I had to attend in person, but I called in for a couple and texted my assistant to let her know I’d be in about noon.  It was a bright & sunny morning, but I was stuck at home.
  • HIT THE BAR EARLY – My wife and I are finishing the installation of a bar in our lower level.  She was at home on Monday for granite installation (and missed my retirement party).  I was at home on Friday waiting for the  plumber to come – who was quite late, of course.  In the meanwhile I installed all of the cabinet hardware and generally made myself productive around the house.
  • QUICK STOPS – Before I went into the office, I made a couple of quick stops at a few stores. It’s true what people say about how much better it is to shop during the workweek.  I went to Sam’s Club and got a parking spot just a few spots away from the main door.  I breezed in & out, even though I wasn’t in a hurry.
  • CORPORATE PERKS – I bought a GIANT ($50) box of Caribou Coffee K-Cups to leave by our coffee machine at MegaCorp.  In our office, people BYO K-Cups so I thought it would be nice to leave a big box of 100 for people as a little note of appreciation.  I bet they won’t last more than a week, given how many people there are in our group.
  • COMPANY STORE – MegaCorp has two company stores on its campus, so I swung by “the big one” that is a couple blocks over from the main buildings that I work in.  The prices in the store are about equal to sale prices at retail on most products, but there are usually some great close-out items in the back of the store.  I stocked up on a few things I probably don’t need and ran into a few familiar people on the way in & out.
  • CAMPUS TOUR – Even though I only live less than 10 miles from MegaCorp’s campus, I took a quick spin by the buildings and snapped a few photos with my phone.  It’s not like I am moving away, but I thought it would be fun to capture the campus as it looks today.  There are always changes happening and someday I may be nostalgic to look back.
  • CHILL THE CHAMPAGNE – While I was out and about, I remembered that I hadn’t put the champagne in the refrigerator before I left.  I called home and asked my wife to put the 2000 vintage Dom Perignon (that I had written about in this POST) in the chiller for this evening.  We had the bottle for more than 10 years – waiting for this final day.
  • TURN IN, TUNE OUT – Then I entered the garage at my building and headed up to turn in my laptop & badge.  It was about 1pm at this point and I swung by a couple offices for a final handshake and met up with my marvelous assistant, who I will really miss.  She had bought donuts for me, hoping I would be in the office early (I love donuts even more than Homer Simpson does).  After dropping off my things, I realized I had forgotten to bring my corporate card with me to also turn in.  I promised to cut it up and send them a picture of the pieces.
  • LAST MEETINGS – I took a spin of the floor to meet with a number of people on some loose ends that needed to be discussed.    I only live a few miles from the corporate HQ, but still these meetings had the tenor of someone who won’t be available for a long time.
  • LAST LOOK – I took one more swing by my old office to see that it had already been victim to scavengers who had absconded with my chair, my tape dispenser (a classic Scotch® C-15 Desktop model), and a dusty old ficus tree.  I left 50 cents in the drawer as one of our managers said he hoped he would find some money in my drawer when I left.  It can help fund his retirement  🙂
  • EXIT THE BAT CAVE – I always have a little fun leaving the long tunnel from the MegaCorp garage.  I ensured that this final exit was at full blast with the engine screaming & echoing off the long garage tunnel walls.  I am well practiced at maximizing my exit from the garage for dramatic with the exhaust howling loudly off the concrete and producing a ridiculous reverberation.  It’s like exiting the Bat Cave and jumping directly into hyperspace.  Anyone near the exit at that time would be supremely startled at the celebratory cacophony that resulted from my final blast off.
  • FREE YOUR MIND – My iPod was pre-queued to The Beatles Revolution as I accelerated onto MegaCorp’s main campus boulevard. The opening machine-gun electric guitar distortion fused with the engine’s roar as the vehicle bolted to full speed all the way off MegaCorp’s campus and into the afternoon sun.  It was about 2pm – and my “infinite weekend” had begun..
  • LIFE’S BEEN GOOD – I pulled up at home to the end of Joe Walsh’s Life’s Been Good. His phrase “Some say I’m lazy, but it takes all my time” might apply to me now.  I grabbed a peanut butter sandwich and took an afternoon nap.  What’s better way to start early retirement than acting like a kindergartener?  While it was a short nap, it was very welcome after being up after midnight the night before.
  • BACK TO WORK – At 3pm, I had a 90 minute conference call to ring into.  Back to work already?  Sort of.  It was a management meeting with a company that is looking for angel investors.  It’s not work, but rather an investment opportunity that will also leverage my business skills.  It is a very interesting, early stage medical device company that seems like it has real potential.  It fits the profile we are looking for with our Angel Fund.
  • SOCIAL CELEBRATION – I spent a little time during the day, watching the WordPress stats of this website.  I don’t do a big post on Fridays, but acknowledged that this was my last day.  It was so fun to see all of the traffic and comments from people.  I had cross-linked it with my Facebook & LinkedIn – which I had kept separate in the past.  No reason to be anonymous now, I thought.  It was the second-highest day for readership since I posted my formal resignation notice POST (which has now had almost 1K reads).
  • POP THE BUBBLY – Back at home, we popped the $275 a bottle Dom Perignon and had our first taste of really expensive champagne.  You know what?  It wasn’t that great.  It had been perfectly stored in the dark, at a constant cool temperature for more than a decade, but had a bit of a bitter afternote.  I only had one glass – my family finished the bottle.
  • DINNER OUT – After the phone call, my parents arrived and we all went out for an early dinner at 6pm.  We went to one of my favorite local restaurants and got seated (randomly) at the primo table, overlooking the golf course.  We had a great dinner (with popovers) and headed back home.
  • RETIREMENT ROCKS – Along with the Dom Perignon, my wife had put together a giant box of Pop Rocks that she morphed into ‘Retirement Rocks”.  If you are thinking the double-combination of champagne bubbles and pop rock bubbles could be dangerous, you might be right.  She did such a great job on the modified package, we didn’t open it.  On the back she had words of advice from Ralph Waldo Emerson.  I will post those soon, as they captured the spirit of the day perfectly.
  • VIDEO GAMES – As a family, we often race each other at Mario Kart 8.  Since we were all a bit buzzed from the bubbly (and I had an additional beer), my son suggested we play ‘drunk Mario Kart’.  None of us were really drunk, but it did seem to help my driving (although my son won again, as usual).

Altogether, it was a great day with lots of jokes, laughs, and fun.  The day ended watching a movie on TV and then The Tonight Show.  On work nights, I don’t usually stay up for late-night TV, but I guess that’s all different now.

While I can now fully sleep in, I woke up right at 6:35am on Saturday morning.  And went back to sleep immediately.  I wonder how long that will last?

Image Credit: Batman Arkham Asylum Video Game

26 thoughts on “FIRE Milestone – Final Day: Blasting Into Retirement

  1. Documenting your every move seems like more work than just working 😉 I kid, of course. Sounds like a you had a great day, and a lot of fun planning and executing it, right down to the soundtrack.

    Once again, congratulations to you! From all that I’ve read, I believe you’ve made a great decision.


    1. I figured it was a day worth remembering! If you think about it there are only a few days like this in your life: graduation, marriage, having kids, (your funeral). It was a FUN day.


    1. Thanks so much – always good to hear from a fellow Minnesotan! The journey to FIRE can be long, but seems short in retrospect!


  2. Sounds like you had a fun day which is a great way to go out! I’ve been following your journey and really enjoy your posts. Congrats and looking forward to many more. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the well wishes and glad you’ve enjoyed the posts. This week is the first week post-retirement – very unique experience so far! 🙂


  3. Awesome, simply awesome… my own countdown meter is about to click down to double-digit days and your exit has been an inspiration in how to be a class act from start to finish. Enjoy the ride!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I started my meter at 400 days, informally told both my bosses, and laid out my succession plan. At the 120 day mark I felt comfortable enough with their development to formally sign “I don’t” to another extension and am taking this last quarter to monitor and coach… I am having similar emotions to what you wrote about in this “elder statesman” phase! MM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Over a 7 week period, I moved from the guy running the meeting -> to the guy helping run the meeting -> to the guy sitting at the table -> to the guy sitting off to the side -> to the guy in the back of the room -> to the guy only there for part of the time -> to the guy who brought everyone bagels on the last day.


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