I Don’t Want to Think About It

It may come off as bit self serving but I’ve been somewhat avoiding  my own blog lately.  Why?  Because honestly I’m trying not to think too much about how close I am getting to the end of my early retirement goal.

You see my current tactic is to keep busy so that the time flies by and before I realize it another month has past and I’m even closer to the end.  Oddly, this tactic  seems to be working for me.  I’m keeping myself occupied at work, my chores list at home is longer than I would like and don’t even get me started on how long my Netflix queue is right now.

The other reason I’m being cautious here is frankly I can be a wee bit obsessive about early retirement (as if you can’t tell by over 10 years of blog posts).  So when I do start thinking about early retirement in depth I can can so consumed that I almost cease to think about much of anything else for hours.  This of course then get me dreaming of my post work life and then I get a surge of disgust of having to go back to work then next day which then leads me to being distracted at work.  After all, it is hard to do good work when your motivation died and is buried out back.

On the pure math target I’m about 99% of the way there so it really isn’t particularly healthy to start counting down by 0.1% segments.  I suppose I could but it seem sort of silly.  Also I’ve also figured out that I’m not that good at countdowns.  I actually find them more demotivating than motivating for myself.

What I am working on is trying to guess on some of the emotional impacts I may feel going through this process of leaving work later this year and prepare for them.  Yet with that I’ve come to the conclusion isn’t that useful since I don’t know what I don’t know.  I think that this level of change is really beyond the average person’s ability to predict your reaction to, so the only way to really know how it feels like to early retire is to in fact do it.  Hence I’ve been spinning my wheels on some draft posts.

So that is lead me overall to avoiding this blog and of course that means less posts recently.  Yes, it does suck for you dear reader, but on the upside I am building up a nice list of items to talk about in future posts.  You you have a bit of drought now but you likely will have a bit of a flood later on this year.

So how do you deal with being close to the end of a big goal?  Any other tactics that work for you?

8 thoughts on “I Don’t Want to Think About It”

  1. This post really struck a cord, there are periods where in a sense, I prefer to not look, not be reminded, and simply pay attention to other parts of my life to try to make time pass more quickly as I move towards my financial goal (74%). For what it’s worth, I’ve found exercise, focus on a day job, Youtube rabbit holes of history lectures and audiobooks good distractions!

    Hope to be free around 45, so your journey resonates – best of luck for the last 1%!

  2. Hey, I wish I had this problem too… I am just starting on the journey however and would like to learn from your experience. You may have heard this question before: how did you choose your investments? Did you go with the mutual fund that your bank recommended? Or what would you recommend? Please let me know.

  3. Hi Tim,

    After you retire, keep us up to date with the feeling, what happens, etc…

    I am still quite far from my goal (I’d say maybe half the way there?), but I’m curious to know how it is on the other side of this journey. I can tell you that I, personally, didn’t deal too well with a couple of voluntary unemployment periods (moved cities, didn’t have a job in the new city in the beginning), but maybe that’s partly because I didn’t have ‘enough’ money to pay the bills (had an emergency fund, but no cash flowing in), and no money to go out and do stuff.

    I love your blog, keep going, and good luck with your RE 🙂

  4. Hi Tim
    Thanks for your blogs and the issues you’ve raised.
    Here are some reflections from my own early retirement and post retirement path…
    It’s not as amazing as I thought it would be. “What?” I hear some say.
    Admittedly it was incredible not to have to set the morning alarm, and be able to get out of bed whenever and do whatever.
    I didn’t appreciate how tired I’d become after years of work. A deep recharge was welcome.

    Most of my friends and colleagues were still at the coal face. This changed some interactions…. ? don’t be surprised if jealousies emerge.

    I took over the role of house husband but my wife fired me as I was putting too many chillies in the cooking. It changes the home dynamics.

    I spent 15 months doing nothing if one could say that travelling, skiing, jazz, a home reno and well, doing nothing is “nothing”.
    The driving ambition was gone. Fabulous. I’d escaped….. but to what? A time of detaching from many roles and the realisation that all those worthwhile activities did not make me significant in and of themselves.

    From the pre retirement perspective the concept of freedom is over rated. It’s not all that it can be cracked up to be. Certainly there is more time and choices. But Being present in the now seems more special. And this doesn’t depend on work or retirement. The only way I can be happy is if I choose to be right now. A shift from the retirement planning mode (tinged with anxiety) back into the now moment.

    After the novelty had worn off it occurred to me that I felt professionally isolated. But never bored. Work did not define me, but I decided that limited part time work was a way of giving back to the community and to provide a little structure to my week. Optional rather than of necessity.

    Good health, relationship satisfaction and other values seem to carry more significant meaning than a concept of work or not working. Retirement is certainly not nirvana. It is only what one makes of it.

    Investing and restricted spending from an early age is a worthwhile strategy if one wants to quit work earlier than later. But I certainly probably took it way too seriously, there’s a balance along the way.

    So for now it’s part time work, more balance and increasing mindful awareness. Recommend!

  5. In the months leading up to my eventual ER back in late 2008, the final pieces of my ER plan fell into place. I was working only 2 days a week at the time, so I was working mainly on one big project I wanted to finish before I left. I did, barely. I was also preparing to transition my few other tasks to other coworkers.

    But in those final months, I was spending some downtime at work actually putting together some of those final pieces of my ER plan. The big one was finding a good mutual fund to invest the proceeds of the company stock (ESOP) I would be cashing out at lower tax rates.

    In my final months, I was putting together estate documents such as a will and POA, something I had never done before. I was writing my brief resignation letter, too (that was more fun!).

    In my final days, I was filling out the lengthy forms telling my 401k administrator how to distribute the various parts of my large 401k/ESOP holding. I needed special signatures from my bank and a notary. This was the most important thing in my final days at work and thankfully it all went the way I requested.

    It was a chore, for sure, but one well worth my time an energy.

  6. In the same boat as you Tim. At 44, I will likely ER -or at least move on to pursue my passions (if they earn money, great)

    I find participating in ER forums, like MrMoneyMustache helps. These forums have allowed me to communicate and get support from like minded people, so different than the regular consumeristic work till you die mindset.

    This has been key for me.

  7. @Cristina – In short, I use the couch potato portfolio for the RSPs and we pick stocks that pay dividends that mirror our monthly bills in the TFSAs. I picked both after reading a lot about investing and if you keep your fees low you will end up way further ahead.

    @Andrew Lawson – Thanks for sharing your story…that was very interesting to read. Hopefully I can adjust well after I leave work and I appreciate your insight.

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