Didn't I already do this post, a year and a half ago back in November 2017? Well, yes, but since then:
my wife Sally has taken a career break which she's part way through;
we've travelled in Asia and Australia for four months; and
we've moved countries, we're currently living in France
That's a lot of change. Having been in France for a little over four months, what does my current normal life look like? Is it much different to my November 2017 normal life and is early retirement life starting to get boring or is it still working (pardon the pun) well for me?
To the despair of Sally, for the last two weeks I've kept a timesheet of what I've done during my old 9 to 5 work hours. This is what it looks like:
My two weeks of timesheet equate to 80 hours - 10 week days of 9am to 5pm. I still treat weekends differently, being the days when it's OK to be lazy. If I want to sit around and watch TV on a Saturday or Sunday, then that's fine, but I don't let myself do that during the Monday to Friday week.
This is what my first two weeks of April looked like:
The thing I spent most time doing was skiing and cycling, with a little over a quarter of my time spent on my skis or my bike - I can't be unhappy with that!
Next up was French, family, my blog, coffee (or breakfast) with friends and some travel planning. Combined, I spent half my time on these activities. For better or worse (judging by the embarrassing French, maybe that one's for worse), these are all things that I've chosen to do because I want to.
During these two weeks, I spent just one tenth of my time on chores such as life admin, grocery shopping, housework and visiting the doctor. That's not bad, and it's all done and dusted during my old working week time. There's no need to rush around at the weekend doing the chores anymore. Normally I'd spend a bit more time on housework (Sally must have picked up the slack that week), but I don't normally go to the doctors, so those probably even out.
Then I catch up with the news while I eat lunch and also take some time to read a few of my favourite blogs.
And that's it, those two weeks in April are probably a fair representation of how I spend my typical early retirement weeks. Injured knee permitting, summer will see skiing being replaced with running, some lunch times being taken outside on picnics, and perhaps a few adventures and some travelling thrown in.
A new idea, perhaps one of those adventures, is to cycle the Route des Grande Alpes. Starting at Lake Geneva, the route goes north to south through the Alps before arriving in Nice on the Mediterranean coast - that's a lot of going up and down mountains. Perhaps July or August for this, and a few of my new friends are interested. And guess what, in my early retirement life I don't need to ask the boss for time off...OK, I do need to ask Sally, but then, you already knew that.
So that's what I do, and I'm still happy with it. For sure, I have some chores, but they're only a small part of my day, most of my time is spent doing things I enjoy, the things I've chosen to do.
Although this post didn't start off with this in mind, there's another typical early retirement concern: am I lonely? Well, of those two weeks, two thirds of my time (skiing, cycling, French, family and coffee with friends), were done with other people. No, I'm not lonely. And remember, I only moved to France four months ago, used to be an accountant (so probably not typically an outgoing person), and still I've found new friends to ensure I'm not lonely.
I know a lot of people thinking of early retirement, or "normal" age retirement, are worried about what they will do, will they be bored, and will it be lonely. They're natural questions, I had the same concerns when I was wrestling with my own early retirement decision. There will always be quieter moments and the odd challenge but, as I hope this post shows, it's in our hands to ensure early retirement life is neither boring nor lonely.
That's it. It's Friday, 4:50pm, time to post this, and relax into the weekend. It's not a bad life. What do you think?