Life After FIRE – Two Months In

Pardon? Two months…I have been off work for two months already?!? Where does the time go?  Seriously, the last 60 days have just flew by.  It feels like I got to financial independence/ early retirement (FIRE) just last week.

So you can likely tell that the idea of being bored isn’t an issue for me.  As I was telling a friend recently I still have the same problem I did at work: more stuff I want to do than time to do it all.  I took the first six weeks or so as a relaxing break where I didn’t expect myself to do a whole lot and I still got a lot done.  Most of accomplishments were a backlog of little items that needed to be taken care of like some home repairs, renew the passports and do some planning for my novel.

Now in November I’m focusing on writing the first draft of a novel which has seemed to solve one of my earlier issues of not feeling productive.  Writing every day has provided a nice outlet for getting something done but I have noticed that some other things have been sliding a bit longer than they should.  Mainly I think that is because I’ve averaging 2000 words a day which is a good pace to get a draft of the novel done quickly but it seems to be cutting into getting some other items done around the house like I’m behind on my wine making (my wife gives me a year end deadline to clean out the freezer of fruit we collect during the summer and I should be further along on my batches of wine at this point).  Longer term I think I will scale back that daily writing goal a bit but for now I’m giving myself permission to focus on the novel for the month.

I think something else that has helped me feel more productive is learning more on my newer hobby of beer brewing.  I started a beer appreciation class  this month focusing on craft breweries in town which has been both educational and fun.  I’ve also gotten involved in a local brewing club which has given additional insight on brewing from grains (rather than the pre-made wart kits I’ve been buying).  I’m now starting to think about making the jump to that process but I need to price out some equipment first.  All of this is of course leading to meeting new people and getting out of the house which is also healthy.

One particular lesson that has really hit home for me since I early retired is this: FIRE doesn’t change your core personality.  You see I had this lovely fantasy in my head that I would be more active and perhaps start exercising regularly when I left work. I would like do running or yoga like every other day.  Of course, I’ve never made working out a priority earlier in life so this really hasn’t changed that much once I retired.  Yes I get out for more walks but I still don’t step inside of a gym and I won’t start either.  Yet on the other hand I plan to start doing more yoga at home this winter since it is hard to get a walk in on those really cold days (ie: lower than -30C).  So overall I have improved, but just not that much as I fantasized about.

On the money side of the life things are going well.  The investments shot up in the last month which helped put my mind at ease.  Also my old job paid out a small amount today which I had thought should have been on my last cheque so it was a bit of a surprise to get it.  Of course it still feels weird to not be increasing my net worth by huge contributions each month.  I occasionally get this brief bursts of worry about having enough money but then I remind myself I’m in this for the long haul.  So I shouldn’t worry too much about the month to month shifts in our investments.  I’m also happy that I’m not frighten to spend money so far.  While I’m aware I shouldn’t be making large unnecessary purchases, I don’t worry about buying something little for myself like a coffee or a snack.  I just keep to my usual habit of not doing it all the time.

Then finally, the last insight I’ve noticed is I don’t miss work at all.  Like none, zero or nothing.  I don’t miss the meetings, the people that don’t pull their weight, the internal political stuff  or even my work tasks.  All that low level stress is just gone.  It’s odd that I really didn’t notice that stress until it vanished.  If anything, the only thing I sort of miss if some of my co-workers who I used to chat with on a regular basis.

Any questions?

12 thoughts on “Life After FIRE – Two Months In”

  1. I recently came across your blog, and look forward to following your journey in early retirement. One thing I generally dread is becoming bored and missing the way time flies when you have to wake up and go to work every morning. I definitely have to stir up my creative juices and come up with something to keep me alive and busy at will.

  2. Tim, love this post! Important for us who are getting ready for FIRE to see what it’s like on the other side, your strait forward and honest writing is refreshing. Also didn’t see a typo, right there shows you have more time to proof read and do the things you love :). Looking forward to more post.

    Take good care, Rob from MTL

  3. I retired at 40 ten years ago – I’m fitter healthier and busier then ever. But all of these things take time to develop. I started with grandiose plans of doing loads of things but soon realised that you need to get through a pain barrier in any new activity. The first year can be tough learning a new skill. Running I suffered from shin splints, at woodworking I was frankly not very good and slow etc.. I have learnt now to dedicate an amount of time to each activity and take it slowly at first. For example last year I decided to take up triathlon and joined a club. I purposefully took it easy initially so I did not burn out, and this year I have ramped up.

    Anyway good luck with your new life!

  4. Tim, what your wrote about receiving a unexpected extra payout from your old job reminded me of something similar after I ERed 9 years ago. Even though I had been working only 2 days a week when I left, I somehow had some unused vacation time which they paid out. I was so stunned, I asked my old HR contact to verify it because I didn’t want to deposit the check and have them coming after me later. She told me I was entitled to it (about $1,400) so it was all good.

  5. I love your “I don’t miss work at all” paragraph because I felt exactly the same. The absence of the low level stress is so freeing and yet you don’t realize its impact until it is gone.

    I’m 17 months in and missing most of the people and general chit chat has subsided. I’ve filled my social needs with other activities–primarily pickleball.

    But you’re right, if you didn’t make working out a priority when you were working, you’re not likely to make it a priority when you’re not. I’ve gotten a ton of exercise since I retired but wouldn’t call any of it “working out” because it’s just been too much fun.

    Enjoy your well deserved retirement!

  6. Sounds like you’re having a great time! I left my job a little over a year ago, and I’ve found myself busier than ever. Maybe it’s because of that urge to make each day productive 🙂

    I like to brew too. I have a cheap all grain brewing setup – I do brew in a bag. It’s a lot cheaper making up recipes with bulk ingredients. I haven’t done much with wine yet, but did just help my neighbor make some a a couple weeks ago.

    Good luck with the novel, that’s one heck of a project!

  7. Sounds like you’re living the good life! Freedom to chase interests, better yourself and become more actualized… isn’t this why we are all pursuing early retirement?

    Glad to hear you’re having a blast and keeping busy.

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