When people learn that I retired early, they will almost always enthusiastically ask “what it is like to not go to work?” In response, I often say “Truthfully, it’s the best job I never had.” That answer is always worth a quick laugh, conveys the truth of the situation, and provides me just enough ‘cover’ to then change the subject to weather, sports, politics, travel, or anything else.
Unless you know the person well, it doesn’t serve any purpose to get into the details of early retirement. It’s not hard to notice that my visible age doesn’t add up to a typical retirement age and saying you don’t work makes me feel like a bit of a cheat or a scoundrel when I am out goofing off on a sunny day.
I wrote a post about the awkwardness of chatting with hard-working people you meet in everyday activities when they ask “what do you do for work?” It’s a surprisingly common question and since work is about money, as much as anything else, it’s awkward to answer in any detail. As a result, I notice more and more since I stopped working – more than a year now – I try to say less and less about my circumstances and shift sidewalk talk to something less unusual than my situation.
What will/do you say when people ask “what do you do?” when you don’t any longer?
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