I'm told that I come across as being positive about my FIRE life. I do try to be honest in what I write, so I guess the positivity reflects how I've found early retirement so far. As a quick test, I can truthfully say that:
I have no wish to go back to a life with a corporate job.
I genuinely enjoy the new things I've come across since retiring early.
Being early retired has encouraged me to do some things that I wouldn't otherwise have done.
And stress…what's that?
They sound like good reasons to be positive. But occasionally, early retirement life can be confusing (the picture's supposed to be me looking confused?) and there's the odd less good moment too. For example:
Discovering that Sally and I aren't quite always on the same page. She's now taking a couple of years off work, but still has some different ideas to me, so I can't just do everything I want. I guess that's normal life, so I'm not really complaining.
A few brief early retirement funks, like the one back in January 2018.
Confusion and an inkling of a funk is back in mind this week, not in a big way, but there's something niggling at me.
It might just be because it's gone very quiet where we live, in the holiday resort of Morzine. The ski season has finished and the summer biking season doesn't start until mid June. Now in early May, the place is dead, the streets empty of people and almost all the shops, cafes and restaurants are closed. Plus it's raining, although after 13 years of Dubai's city desert living, the rain is a nice change.
Chris De Burgh has a song that includes the lyrics:
"The cafes are all deserted, the streets are wet again
There's nothing quite like an out of season holiday town in the rain"
That's a pretty good description of Morzine right now.
So this inkling of a funk has got me wondering, is it just the out of season holiday town effect or is there something else to it?
Perhaps it's that I have nothing planned. No big adventures ahead of me. In my early retirement so far, I've always had something planned, or something that I'm busy planning.
- It was my first year of early retirement, so lots of things were new and exciting.
- February, we had a family ski holiday.
- May, I went with friends to Prague to run a marathon and Eisenach, Germany for a trail ultra marathon.
- July/August was a one month vacation to the UK, Switzerland and France.
- September was taking my son to university in the UK.
- The final months of the year were planning for the first stage of our round the world trip, and booking the flights.
- February, we had a family ski holiday.
- April was Boston to run a marathon. I also visited my kids in the UK and Switzerland on the same trip.
- May and June were busy downsizing ready to move out of our apartment and leave Dubai.
- July to November was travelling in Asia and Australia. Definitely a big thing!
- December we got the keys for our apartment in Morzine, France and moved in.
- The first 4 months have been my first ever ski season, finding new friends, plus an effort to learn French (still hopeless at languages).
- But these things have hit a hiatus, and I don't seem to have any big things planned for the remaining eight months, with the exception of 4 weeks in Colombia in October/November.
This leads me to question whether my inkling of a funk is:
Simply because I'm currently living in an out of season holiday town in the rain? or
Because I don't have lots of exciting things planned to look forward to? or
Because I don't know how to live a normal early retired life?
For a start, is always having lots of exciting things planned a realistic and sustainable early retirement life, or is this unrealistic as a long term normal life?
And what is normal anyway?
Perhaps I'm not helped by my starting point. Although I'm originally from the UK we don't have a home there, and of the last 24 years, 18 have been spent living overseas. Now I'm not sure where home is or should be. Perhaps UK, but I'm not convinced. Morzine, France where we've been living since December - it's a possibility, but it's not certain and we need more time before we can tell.
Not having a feeling of a settled home could be a barrier to normal life. Is it the thing that makes me feel restless? We've moved quite a lot, so am I subconsciously already thinking about the next move? I don't know, maybe that's what makes travel seem like the thing to do - but Sally wouldn't be keen.
For now, I'm still thinking I should plan big and exciting things. My current ideas are bikepacking, travel, some van travelling/living (and maybe doing a van conversion) - YouTube has a lot to answer for! But really, how interested am I in these things - am I simply inventing fake interests to give me something to do? Plus I can't see Sally being interested in many or any of these things.
Gee, things seem complicated sometimes. But behind the confusion, early retirement is still really good. I definitely haven't changed my views in that I have no wish to go back to my old corporate job life, I genuinely enjoy the new things I've come across since retiring early, and being early retired has encouraged me to do some things that I wouldn't otherwise have done. I still think it's awesome that I have the choices and the life that I do.
I don't have everything figured out, but I'm not really feeling down about things. What I have learned about early retirement is that:
most of it is really good
we can't plan everything about it, and some things we're going to have to make up as we go along
and just the same as in pre-retirement life, the odd doubt and question can creep up on us now and again
But my experience is that the doubts are rare and by next week they'll most likely be forgotten. The sun will start shining, I'll be out on my bike, the flights for Colombia will be booked, the van conversion idea will be forgotten...or maybe not(?), and other hairbrained ideas will have entered my mind.
I think this has been a slightly weird post...thanks for listening😀