If I were about to start my early retirement, I'd be excited. I'd look forward to the sense of freedom, the chance to do things I'd dreamed of, plus having more time to do smaller activities or even chores that previously had to be squeezed into my limited non-working time. That's how it was during my initial early retirement years. I travelled extensively, started my blog, and doing chores didn't feel so bad. So far, so good.
But what if I tried to think, say, six years into the future? What would early retirement be like once the obvious things, the low hanging fruit, had been done? At that time, would early retirement start to be more boring? Would it be harder to think of things to do?
Now in year 6 of my early retirement, I've knocked plenty of items off my to do list. So, am I now bored? No, absolutely not. I'm writing this on Friday, and I can't begin to describe how fast the week has flown by. If I were bored, time wouldn't be passing so quickly. But, as to that second question, is it harder to think of things to do? Hmm, perhaps that's a little more tricky.
Since retiring, I've got into the habit of making a plan at the start of each year, my list of targets/things that I want to accomplish during the year ahead. I like this process, it gives me a focus, perhaps even a bit of that "purpose" thing that people talk about, and serves well as a go to list of things to do during a quiet moment. Within my targets, I try to include some big ticket items, some lifestyle elements, and perhaps some chores or tasks that I want to get done.
Already four weeks into January, I'm a little late in setting out my 2022 targets. Partly because I've been busy with other things (see, I said I wasn't bored). But perhaps it's also because, in year 6 of early retirement, it is more difficult to think of what to put on my targets/things to do list. Is that important/does it matter? It's nice when you know exactly what you want to do, but maybe it's not a bad thing to have to put a bit more thought into it either.
Over the past month or two, I've jotted down ideas that have popped into my head. I also made a note of the words "scary, exciting, memorable". Obviously not everything can fall into these categories, but the aim is that at least one or two things might, at least in terms of my version of scary, exciting and memorable.
So cutting to the chase, this is where I've landed for my targets/things to do for 2022:
There were a few things that didn't make the final cut: campervan improvements; visit Antarctica; volunteer, write about my life (I guess similar to what I want to find out about my Dad's life). It doesn't mean that these ideas are cast aside, they can still get done, but most likely I'll not focus on them so much this year.
And in case you're thinking that my targets aren't SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound), I'm OK with that. They're not set by an employer as a way to measure my performance, they're not done as a mechanism to adjudicate whether I'll get a bonus payment, instead they're done to help me have the best early retirement life that I can. In my view, I think that makes them very "smart".
As to Sally, she wants to visit the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, and also take a journey on the Orient Express train. Jersey and Guernsey would be good in the campervan, but we still have to figure out the cat logistics of that. The Orient Express is expensive, although not unaffordable, but it doesn't feel like good value for money. I looked into it previously as a gift idea and just couldn't bring myself to hit the "buy" button. When I told Sally the price a few days ago, she had the same view. There are alternative train journies where you can travel overnight in style, and maybe these could be included in a future trip. There's one in South Africa, a couple in India, and another in South America that look interesting.
So, my targets for 2022 are set. Now to get on with them. Of course, there are lots of other things that I will do in day to day life too. Compared to year 1 of early retirement, it has been more difficult to come up with a list of things that I want to do in year 6, but it's far from an impossible task - after all, I've just done it.
What do you think of my targets, are they good, or do you think they could be improved upon? Have I included items that fit into my version of scary, exciting, memorable? Should my targets be more precisely defined in order to be effective, or do you agree with my contention that, in this instance, the SMART rules don't matter so much?
The last word, is boredom setting in? Most certainly not!