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January 03, 2009

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Ram

Hi Syd:

I too am realizing that the extra 8 to 10 hours I thought I'd gain is never there. Even now, when I don't work, I am still very conscious of time and try to safeguard it.

I hadn't thought of your peace of mind angle. Since most of us are rational thinkers, we must be gaining something or else we'd quickly un-retire.

Analise

I am also finding that in retirement I seem to have less time than I thought I would when retirement was just a plan, a dream. But you echo my sentiments about the worth of peace of mind... priceless. And it is this very peace of mind that nurtures my soul and brings simple contentment.

Imani

Happy New Year Syd,

Oh yes! That ugly Sunday night syndrome! I remember it well and shudder to even think back to it. Also, the work "to do" list that never took it's rightful place during non-work hours.

I retired on the very day I became eligible (55 yrs) and thank my blessings every day. And, no, I didn't have the savings, etc. recommended for retirement but am doing well and, for the first time ever, can put a sizable amount into savings (ING).

What I accomplish or don't in any given day isn't an issue for me. It is the gift of reclaiming my life that matters. Like you and Analise, it is the peace of mind and freedom from all the stress that is the real blessing.

Hell, had I known, I'd have done it sooner ;-)

Retired Syd

Ram, Analise and Imani: Thanks for all your great comments. I do laugh when people say what do you "DO" with all your time now--WHAT TIME? But the peace of mind--and, as Imani points out--freedom are the intangibles you get in exchange.

Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme said it well in his post Extrinsic worth vs. Intrinsic worth: "A salary is essentially like selling your freedom for money." It's not so much the time, but the freedom.

PeaceonEarth

Hi Syd

I've been following your blog for about 2 months and I'm really enjoying it. I've been wanting badly to retire early for over 10 years now but have only started to plan for it in the last 2 years or so.

I was always very good at wasting time. I can probably write a book about procrastination, if I ever get around to it. So, I know that upon retiring, I will not have as much time as I think I would to get on with all the projects I have had in my head all these years, because I will probably spend at least the first month (year)? drifting about aimlessly, but definitely enjoying every moment of it.

But being a practical person, I will have to wait at least another 6 years (til age 55), or when I get downsized, whichever comes first, before my dream of Early Retirement comes true. For now, I will have to be satisfied living vicariously through you. Sigh.

Happy New Year!

Mr. GoTo

Syd: Your analysis is an eye opener and is something I have been thinking about myself as I enter the home stretch toward retirement. My objective is to eliminate a lot of those time fillers that I end up paying others to do. Yard work is high on the list. But I also agree with you that it is the idea that you can choose to nothing or anything on Monday morning that is the real reward.

J

Have you envisioned what your non-retired life would have been like if you had a less-stressful but lower-paying job? I think that the nature of my job leads to my obsession with early retirement and my need for long recovery periods when not at the office. I know people who have low-key government or academic jobs and they seem to have the time and energy for weekend trips, hobbies, etc. Once you become accustomed to a challenging, fast-paced work environment with a higher salary, I wonder if it's easier to think in terms of continuing to work there or planning your escape into early retirement.

Dennis

Syd,

FYI, think you would enjoy some of the articles from this web site, this guy is based in Iceland, and the various articles are all very thought-provoking ... many very relevant to attitudes into time and early retirement!

Best regards,

Dennis

http://everydaywonderland.com/


Retired Syd

@Peaceonearth: Thanks for reading and living vicariously through me. You are way ahead of the game if you have already come to this type of realization about yourself before you actually get to the business of retirement.

@Mr. Go To, yes, Monday morning is even BETTER than Sunday night!

@J: I agree, I do think if I had had a better balance (or were just better at leaving work at work), I might not have been so attracted to retirement.

@Dennis: Great recommendation--lots of food for thought! Especially the post "What do you want". Very relevant to the retirement lifestyle.

ElizabethG

Syd, I am curious as to how retirement has impacted your health. So many of my friends, from their late 30's into their 50's have suffered from health issues that I suspect are tied to stress.

Retired Syd

@Elizabeth: I love that question. I was just thinking how I haven't had a zit in 10 months (which is a big deal for me--I usually get one big ugly one right before something really important.) Also, my nails are not breaking, my nails always look terrible when I'm under stress, which would have been now--tax season.

Having said that, I got sick three times (colds, one right after another) immediately after I retired. I think it was a pent-up stress thing, to be honest.

Since then, I've only felt awful when I deserved it (that means a hangover.)

Eden

Very interesting. I love reading about life on 'the other side'. I'm currently still stuck in my regular day job routine, though I know I won't be there forever and that helps a lot.

The more I think about it, I think what I'm really looking for is just freedom from the obligation to be where someone else wants me to be and do the work that someone else wants me to do. I was amazingly productive over my 2-week winter break and that's because I was free to do the work I'm most passionate about.

Retired Syd

@Eden: That freedom from obligation is really the payoff. But that freedom doesn't always result in the kind of productivity you experienced. I have to think because you had a limited time (2 weeks) to get done the things you really love, you were motivated to do those things within the 2-week time frame.

If you were free from obligation (retired), I'm guessing it would have taken you at least a month to accomplish the same things!

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