If you've read some of my previous posts, you'll know that I'm enjoying early retirement. I do work at it though, but that's OK, most things worth having deserve a little effort.
A year and a half into full time early retirement, and I'm still learning. That's going to continue with the changes that we have coming up - our travel plans and also a relocation. Life's not boring!
Although these travel and relocation plans are big events, there are also many smaller things that I'm discovering. Positives that I hadn't expected when thinking ahead and pondering my early retirement options.
Here are five such positives. They probably don't seem much, but they're all contributing to my enhanced quality of life in ways I hadn't expected.
1. Thought time
I suspect I'm not going to explain this well. In the busy lives that we lead, we may not take the time to think about different things. We're too consumed with rushing from this place to that, juggling a job, family, chores and responsibilities, simply trying to cram it all in.
My early retired life isn't like that. I have the time to let my mind wander, to think about other things. I'm sure it sounds like nothing, but it's something that I'm really appreciating.
2. A willingness to try something new
In fact, I'll go further and say that I think I've developed a determination to try new things. Some of them are big, at least for me the travel is one such example, but some of them are small and simple things.
Did you know that I've been following a vegetarian diet for the past four months? Pre early retirement, it wouldn't have crossed my mind. Now, not only does it cross my mind, I have the willingness to go ahead and give it a try.
3. Positive Outlook
Although I've always got things done, I've also always been a worrier, with my thoughts centred around what could go wrong. Now I've flipped that 180 degrees and I think about the positives rather than the negatives.
It's not that I ignore risks or downsides, but instead view these in a more balanced way. What's the real likelihood of something bad happening, and how bad is it really likely to be? I now realise that most often the answers are "unlikely" and "not catastrophic". A much happier perspective.
I had some good friends pre early retirement, but I worried that I could be lonely during the day while they were at work and I wasn't. I still have these good friends and, yes, mostly they are at work during the day.
But new friends have come along. My blog has helped, I'm surprised how many people I've met through it, and I've found other friendships too that I wouldn't if I hadn't retired early.
I've found a comfortable relationship with value for money. I have no drive to be frugal, but I am enjoying being thoughtful with my spending. I value what I buy and I'm less wasteful with what I use. It just feels right. Not frugal, not mean, not extravagant, not wasteful, just right.
You could say that none of these things are connected to early retirement, and that I could have thought or done them pre early retirement just as easily as now. Maybe true but, the fact is, I didn't. And I don't think it's a coincidence that I've started enjoying them now.
I'm a fan of financial independence and how it gives us the freedom to make our own choices. I'm enjoying the choice that I made to retire early, and these five things are extra little bonuses that I hadn't expected.