About a month ago, I ran into a friend from my old working days. He asked about my retirement and whether I might be interested in picking up a little consulting work.
“You don’t even want to hear what it is?”
“Not even if it’s something really part-time?”
“Really? Even if you would be perfect for it?”
“Nope. Ok, tell me what it is, is it working for you?”
“No, it’s for Mike.”
So I let him tell me about it, I worked with Mike a few years ago and really, really like him.
“For Mike, I’ll listen to what it is. I really, really like Mike.”
So he told me all about it and I told him I would actually consider it.
As I drove back home, I realized I really did not want to work at all and decided to let the whole thing die. By the time I got home though, it was too late, he had already set the wheels in motion. Mike called me, we caught up a little, and I decided this might actually be fun. So I agreed to go meet with him and his partner.
A couple weeks later as I drove over to meet them, I decided I definitely did not want to do this, and wondered why I was even wasting their time. This was surely a bad idea.
Ten minutes into our meeting, I knew I wanted in.
So if I work a day or two a week, am I still retired?
Well that is exactly the discussion happening over at Get Rich Slowly. JD posed the question, “What is Retirement?” According to study after study, the vast majority of people nearing retirement expect to continue some sort of work during retirement, either cycling between periods of leisure and work, working part time, or starting businesses of their own. The comments over at GRS are very consistent with these findings.
The reason I retired was to have more control over my time. Once I had accumulated enough money that I didn’t have to work, I came to resent the time constraints a full-time career imposed. I wanted freedom. I wanted to spend more time doing what I wanted to do, and have less things that I had to do. I wanted to spread my enjoyment of life out to all the days of the week, not just the weekends.
So what do I spend my newfound freedom doing? A lot of what I did before retirement, only more of it: gardening, reading, exercising, socializing, cleaning, painting, and traveling. But now I also write. Retirement is a great time to find out where your passions are. I found mine in writing. Writing for my blog, for the U.S. News blog, and just for myself, I spend 20 or 30 hours per week writing. That could almost be a job, but since I don’t really make money at it, people still consider me “retired.”
But now I’m going to do some consulting work a day or two a week, and actually get paid for it. Does this mean I’m not retired anymore? What is retirement anyway?
Retirement to me is having enough money to live without being required to have a job, in which case you can pick up a part-time gig purely because you are really, really, really excited to do it.
So is it really retirement if you decide to do a little work for money? Who knows, but whatever it’s called, it beats working for a living.
This is a post from Retirement: a Full-Time Job