July passed with a realisation that the year is going past and I've not much to show for it. For example, when I think of the past few years:
2016: I quit my job - gave notice in February and picked up my last paycheck at the end of June, although I did make the mistake of going back for some part time consultancy. So although 2016 was mostly a working year, it was when I made the life changing decision to retire early. By that measure, 2016 was huge!
2017: my first full year of early retirement so everything was new, with a lot of way-finding involved. Plus I ran my first ultra (Wadi Bih), followed by Prague marathon and then a second ultra in Germany. I also had fun dreaming about/planning our future travels.
2018: I got annoyingly close to a sub 3 hour marathon (missed by 40 seconds🤦♂️), we left Dubai, our home for 13 years, and had our first big travel adventure - four months in Asia and Australia. We ended the year in our new apartment in France.
2019: started the year with our first ever ski season and finished with three months traveling in Costa Rica, Colombia and California. Between that we cycled the Route des Grandes Alpes from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean, tried out a brief campervan trip and cycled from Berlin to the Baltic.
And in 2020: NOTHING! Or at least nothing big, for obvious reasons. I'm not complaining - I've not been sick and don't know anyone who's been really sick, I don't have a job so job security isn't a worry, and financially we're fine. Still, I'm missing getting my teeth into an adventure or a big plan this year.
Anyway, if there's one thing I know, it's that dwelling on what I can't or haven't done makes little sense compared to thinking about what I have done/can still do in 2020, which is kind of what my target tracker is about.
July 2020 Target Tracker
I'm only going to talk about two targets this month. The chart shows how I'm doing against the others in case you want to check them out, and you can always ask a question in the comments for more information.
The two targets that are front of mind today are running 2 marathons and healthy eating. I'll start with the marathons.
It's clear that I'm not going to hit my target to run two marathons this year, quite probably I won't even run one. Even clearer is that a time of close to three hours, let alone sub three, is off the table - although I'm in decent shape, I'm not in fast marathon shape. After yet another little injury, I'm back running this week which feels far tougher than it should. That I took a tumble on my run today, fortunately just grazes and bruises, seems to sum up my running this year. By this time next week, I'll hear whether London Marathon is still going ahead in October, fingers crossed, although I'm not holding my breath.
I'm more upbeat about healthy eating - I do pretty well, although certainly not perfect, for example, you don't want to get between me and a bag of peanuts or a bar of chocolate! What I'm wondering now, cue for Sally to put her head in her hands, is whether going vegan is a good idea. I've been vegetarian for two and a half years, which started out to see whether I felt better without meat, but now I think more about the ethical and environmental reasons. A vegan diet seems like a whole different level though - my compassionate side says it's worthwhile, my practical side isn't confident I'd manage it. Perhaps the way forward is to try it for a few days each week and see how I get on. I've just told Sally and she says I can do what I want so long as I don't try to persuade her to do the same, then she told me why she thinks my idea is stupid - I think she's being a hypocrite there, but I don't think I'll tell her!
Maybe you're wondering what this has to do with financial independence and retiring early. I'm convinced there's a connection. Not only did what I do each day change when I retired early, but I've also become more curious, more willing to try things and less likely to be constrained by what society tells me is "normal". It's changed my mindset which, as I've said before, is one of the best things that early retirement has given me. By the way, Sally still has her head in her hands!
July's early retirement costs
What's there to say...we spent quite a bit on groceries without knowing why, went to restaurants for not too much cost, bought some bike stuff, new running shoes with more cushioning which I hope will help my feet and legs, Sally bought materials for DIY projects and we booked a flight and rental car to visit the house we'll live in for half the year - lots of money is about to be spent of flooring and furniture! That's about it, other than the normal stuff - the full breakdown is below in case you're interested.
Oh, I'm going to say one more thing which I think is important but please don't take it as preaching. We don't give loads to charity but, like last year, we have set a target, and I'm keen to keep on track. That's important because there's probably a greater demand on charities right now but their income streams have reduced as fundraising events are cancelled and people are understandably worried about their jobs.