Last year, when I was just early retired a few weeks, I wrote this article describing the ‘honeymoon’ period of leaving work behind. I even shared a ‘5 Stages of Retirement’ academic framework that many already-retired readers immediately called B.S. on – complaining that the sudden feeling of freedom does NOT grow old and that the honeymoon of early retirement NEVER ends!
These comments came from folks that were retired as little as 1 year, to folks who have been retired more than 20 years, so I decided to revisit the topic now – when I’ve been more experienced in early retirement – now almost 18 months.
I’m happy to say my answer now is the same as theirs – the feeling of euphoria seems to be truly long-lasting. I certainly get as excited looking forward to the week each Sunday night now, as I once did having the Sunday Blues that the weekend was over when I was working.
While there are days I still think – ‘I have a LOT to do today’ – it takes just a second to remind myself that as I go from playing tennis, meeting a friend for lunch, picking up some books at the library, and maybe seeing a movie or going to a concert in the evening – that all of these things are casual, optional, and a great deal of FUN. How lucky am I?
As I wrote around the Fourth of July, having this independence of lifestyle really makes me appreciate the very concept of freedom much more. We live most of our life with authorities guiding our existence: our parents, teachers, and bosses. Even the self-employed have customers and contracts to which they are accountable. Perhaps only those who are fully retired, wild & free can completely appreciate the autonomy that real freedom represents.
Even as I rack my brain to think of some aspect of life that is worse now than a year ago, I am hard-pressed to come up with any. The only drawback I can see is that so many of my friends (and colleagues) are still working themselves. It will be fun when more friends start retiring over the next 5-10 years. They too, will be able to join the party and experience the honeymoon!
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