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Sunday, July 24, 2016

What I’m Going to Do With All That Time

Posted by Tim Stobbs on July 22, 2016

Oddly, I’ve noticed that number one question I get from someone when I mention my early retirement plan is: what are you going to do with all that time? Which I find odd, since I would likely ask: how do you make that work?  But anyway, I thought perhaps I should address the first question on what are my plans around my bucket loads of extra time when I no longer have a day job.

To address the issue I’ve considered that a person needs a bit of balance to your life.  You can’t just do one thing and do it all the time.  As I’ve already noticed in my life I go through periods of heavy interest in one thing for a month and then that drops off as I pick up something else for a while.  I tend to cycle through my interests on a regular basis.  So I need a few interests to allow me to cycle through them and so far here is a list of ideas broken out by some rough sections.

House projects – painting, new flooring, refinish kitchen cupboards, minor repair jobs, new front patio, expand the garden plot, replace patio doors with garden doors, new front door…really this doesn’t end.  I also want to look into perhaps designing and building a tiny writing studio in the backyard.

Writing & Reading – My want to read list for books is well endless, I’ve never managed to clear it off.  Then writing wise I, of course, have this blog and about five different novel ideas which I have developed into some general plot planning. Then I would like to do a follow up to Free at 45 book on the actual transition from work to retirement.

Friends and Family -Hanging out more with my own immediate family, since right now it feels like we are just barely managing to squeeze in some time on a weekend to do something together.  I would also like to get better at visiting my friends and extended family or just having more time to help them out with their projects.  But some of them require some long trips to see which I will suddenly have lots of time to do so.  Some of this will overlap with my next point.

Travel – My kids love to camp and I think it would be fun to start of list of places in Western Canada we want to try out and work our way through that list. Not to mention getting back to places we have seen, but want to go back and of course everyone has a list of international locations they want to see.

Gaming – I’ve always loved games (tabletop, or video games), but I don’t have much time to play them currently.  So I have developed a nice stash of ~30 video games I would like play for longer than an hour or two a week. And I won’t mind getting in some more board game time in with friends.

Movies and TV: I have always loved to watch movies, but do you think I have ever gotten close to finishing My List on Netflix..nope.  Then add in my library account holds and well I might catch up…someday (well at least for a day until something else gets my attention).

Learning: I have a serious thing about learning new skills or expanding my own knowledge base.  So given lots of free time I could do more online learning, workshops and other learning options. For example, I have never taken a class on economics, but I would like to learn more.  I would even have time to get a certificate or another degree if I really wanted.

Physical – You know how it is hard to make time for your workout every day.  Well imagine if that isn’t the case? Hello running, yoga, roller blading, swimming and perhaps learn a bit about something fun and out there like sword fighting.

Work – As I have stated more than a few times, I don’t mind work.  I just don’t particularly enjoy full time work.  Some places I plan to look into are: libraries, bookstores, micro breweries, micro distilleries, publishers, an election worker and well just about anything else that catches my interest.  Part time hours and short contracts would actually be ideal.

Then of course I have my current pile of interests: brewing beer and wine at home, cooking, and managing the investments.  Then add in the usual stuff you need to continue to do like cleaning, yard maintenance and guess what I’m more than filled up my 40 hour work week.  If anything, I expect the same problem I have now: too much to do and not enough time.

So what would you do if you didn’t have to do your day job?

Books, Reviews and Reading Lists

Posted by Tim Stobbs on March 15, 2016

I love books, like A LOT.  Like to the point the librarians at our local library branch know me by first and last name, which isn’t surprising when we go there almost every week of the year.  As some of you may recall I even used to post the odd book review here on relevant titles, but I’ve more or less stopped that as I read too much and couldn’t keep up with what I finished reading. (For reference my reading goal for the year is 100 books, which isn’t really that much of stretch for me. I did say I read A LOT.)

Yet now I found the crack for book lovers website: aka Goodreads.  While I’m rather new to the site I’m slowly building up a listing of books I’ve read and like and will even put in the odd review for those that might be interested in following my reading tastes this is my profile.  Please be patient with me as building up what I’ve read over the years is a work in progress.   I do hope to offer you all an idea of what retirement books I found useful over the years plus a heavy dose of other business books, fantasy and science fiction and even some young adult books (yes I like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson).

So if somehow you are curious about what I’m reading in a given week I now am giving you all collective permission to stalk my reading habits.  Hopefully this will be more effect means for keeping you up to date on books that may help you out on your own journey to early retirement.

Overly Happy

Posted by Tim Stobbs on February 11, 2016

Given the amount I talk about happiness on this blog, you might assume I live a charmed life with a constant smile on my face but that isn’t true.  In fact, when you consider happiness from a evolutionary point of view being constantly stung out in a good mood would likely ensure your species didn’t survive.  After all without fear or worry, your offspring might be lunch for something else which is hardly productive to a species long term survival.

In reality, my life is fairly good most of the time, but it also has its ups and downs just like yours. For example, last year I had a bit of a down period of a few months where I was just utter disengaged from my work.  I didn’t care about my work at all and really didn’t want to be there.  Being in that frame of mind for too long started to eat into the rest of my life and the end result was obvious: I wasn’t that happy for a few months.  Not full on depressed, but definitely down.

Yet shouldn’t I be happy with my life?  Well people might consider my answer should be yes, but you also have to consider that  the constant pressure from everywhere to be happier and improve yourself.  This isn’t to say I don’t like some degree of self improvement, but with happiness our culture seem bloody well obsessed with it.  Don’t believe, do a Google search for ‘happy’…I got 2.4 billion results.  Or if you want to refine things a bit search “how to be happy” and you will get 639 million results.  Given the amount of research, books and other media on the topic we should all be walking around with a permanent smile on our faces. Yet we still aren’t happy all the time.

So what’s the problem? Well basically we can’t stop feeling the negative emotions in life.  We still feel fear, greed, envy, and yes even the dreaded sad emotion.  But that is actually a good thing. The fact of the matter is your negative emotions are there and they do serve a purpose.  You actually need them to help define the other positive emotions like happiness.  It’s like trying to define zero without the one in binary or vice versa.

We aren’t meant to be happy all the time, so it is okay to stop trying to feeling happy constantly.  It’s like we all got addicted to being happy and we all collectively on the constant search for a our next high from it.  Yet that kind of thinking can be dangerous to your long term well being.  For example, as you can start to overeat to feel better, watch too much TV to feel better and then over time feel bad that you got fat and don’t do anything in you life but work and watch TV.  Your quest for happiness ended up with you being unhappy because you didn’t consider the long term cost of being too happy.

In the end, you should adjust what you are doing in your life when you do get down for a period of time.  That is a healthy thing to try, but we shouldn’t be a constantly evolving trying to get just a few more minutes of each day of being happy.  Oh, I got 49 minutes of happiness at work today, that was better than 45 last week. That isn’t healthy, so my advice is find that point where you have enough happiness in your life.  That you generally feel fairly good about the world, but still have your bad days too and then stop trying to be happier. Life is meant to be lived, so don’t spend it overly trying to improve something that is already just fine the way it is.

So do you feel pressured to be happier in your life? If so, how do you deal with it?