Last week was my first week of early retirement. It was great fun, but at the same time quite strange to be home all week, while all of my (former) colleagues continued to work. As I wrote last week, it really felt like I was ‘skipping school’ – in full view of my classmates and the teachers. While my wife was out of town and son was in school, it was a first taste of autonomy, like I’ve never really known it. It’s a bit like walking into the great unknown – the trail looks good, but what will you really find?
Here are some other observations on week one of my lifestyle change:
To-Do List Progress – I had a huge list of things I wanted to get started on from the last 6 months of saying “I’ll get to that after I retire.” At the start of the week, it looked like the errand-list from hell, but I was amazed that I could easily click off 4-5-6 things in a day. Even when I slept in and went out for lunch.
Procrastination Twisted – At the same time I made a lot of progress on my to-do list, I also was able to do things at my own pace. The nature of putting things off is a bit different though. Instead of saying “I’ll do it later, when I have more time” you say “I’ll do it later – it will give me something to do “
Busy Week – I did not get bored at all this week. If I’m doing something I don’t like, I just go do something else. If I wanted to, I could certainly waste a lot of time online – but I didn’t spend much time on my computer at all. I think I spent more time on my phone & the internet when I was at work than I did last week retired. One thing I did use more was …
The Newspaper – I love reading the daily paper, but seemed to rarely find the time. Several times this week, I stopped at a coffee shop and had a beverage and read the newspaper for 30 minutes. Nice and relaxing.
Scheduling Quite Easy – I had a few people connect with me about golfing, lunch, a ballgame, or a happy hour. They asked ‘are you free on …” – and I was free on every available date. I had to move one eye appointment for golf, but that was easy. What are the odds of me being free for all of these things? (almost 100% now, I guess!)
No Books – Reading more is one of my early retirement goals, but I didn’t crack a single book all week. I mentioned this to a friend (who is also a writer) and he observed that “Books are hard to get started, but once you get going, they are certainly hard to put down.” The first book i was planning to read is in my SUV – but that is at the shop right now.
Healthy Living – I was a lot more active last week. My goal of getting to 12,000 steps per day seemed like a lot at the time I planned it, but I’ve done it every day this week without too much trouble. Here are my daily step totals: 12K+12K+13K+14K+18K+14K+16K. Compare that to my average of 6.4K steps over the past 6 months.
At the same time, I seem to be eating less. Even though I am home, with a well-stocked refrigerator for most of the day – my calorie count has gone down.
Less Caffeinated – I drink a lot less soda pop. At work, I would have at least a 20 ounce bottle of diet Coke or Coke zero every day, with many days having more than 32 oz. This week, I had a soft drink with lunch twice, and maybe drink two 12oz cans of Coke zero out the rest of the week. I probably cut my intake in half. I don’t have a big hang-up with caffeine in general, I just thought it was interesting that I didn’t feel like I needed it to keep going.
Shopping Better Several Ways – Not only our stores a lot less busy, but the staff you work with during the week are a lot more capable. These are the full-time, regular employees that don’t work in the evening or on weekends, for the most part. They are much more knowledgeable, friendlier to chat with, and overall provide better service.
I’m sure a few of these things seem significant, given it’s my first week off. Others will soon be taken for granted as I adjust to this new lifestyle. I’ve always said that about 80% of what you come to believe about a situation you realize within the first 60 days. I’ll update and explore these in more depth over the next two months.
Image Credit: Pixabay