One of the biggest things I’ve discovered in the last year is how badly I still want to be challenged despite having left my career behind. In fact, I want it so badly that I’m having to redefine what “challenge” even means to me. A real challenge involves some risk, even if that’s only emotional risk. Let’s talk about why it’s so important — and beneficial — to do the thing that scares you.
It’s exactly two years since we waved goodbye to our careers and embarked on our early retirement, what we always thought of as our next life. Now we’re reflecting on what we’ve learned and accomplished in these first two years of this next chapter of life, along with what we want to change in year 3.
I’m gradually moving toward a less frequent blogging schedule, driven largely by the evolving way I’m viewing and experiencing life in early retirement. This second year of early retirement has been a lot different from the first, and as I learn and evolve more, I’m discovering new ways of approaching life and purpose that sometimes come with uncomfortable realizations. In other words: I’m finally having that reckoning of sorts of “What am I doing with my life?” that so many retirees experience much sooner.
Maybe it’s because I was confined to the couch all last week with a migraine, and maybe it was because there was recently a fresh wave of “Early retirement will kill you!” headlines, but I decided to really dig into this question of whether early retirement could actually be bad for us. Here’s what I found.
I definitely fell into magical thinking for years of our retirement planning, thinking I’d have time to do everything I’d ever dreamed of after we quit: travel the world, write novels, learn a gazillion languages, solve world hunger — you get the idea. But after talking to many early retirees, I’ve had to accept: Time will always be limited. And if I care about accomplishing goals or living a life of meaning, it’s crucial to go into retirement with an eye toward making time for what’s important, and ruthlessly cutting out what’s not.