In my case, it’s a rhetorical question, because I retired six years ago and I’ve not been bored. However, I didn’t know that would be the case ahead of time, and I remember struggling to answer the "what will I do/will I be bored?” question. Back then, it seemed very difficult to get a handle on.
If you're thinking of retiring early, you're probably going through your own "what will I do" thought process. Based on my experience, my message to you is that planning is a good thing, so definitely do it, but don't get hung up on it if you can't figure everything out. In fact, I can guarantee that you won't be able to figure everything out. However, the good news is that I've found that
keeping happily occupied in early retirement has not been the problem I worried it might be.
There are some things that have helped. One is routine, it helps keep my days on track and stops me being idle and lazy. Another is ESI Money's Five Crucial Retirement Activities which can provide a useful framework for retirement.
To show how quickly the time passes and how easy it's been to keep busy, let me take you through the past few weeks.
I'd entered a running event in Berlin with some friends. If I'd done this during my old working life, it would have meant flying to Berlin on Friday night, running on Saturday, and flying back on Sunday to be ready for work on Monday morning.
The timetable is different in early retired life. I go, not on Friday evening on a plane, but on the preceding Monday morning in the campervan. I make a detour to visit my daughter. Then I set the navigation to avoid motorways and meander along the secondary roads. I take my time, stop when I want, and enjoy the scenery while the next four days pass by.
While enjoying my campervan journey, my mind wanders, and I soon have a bunch of future activities. I pass through a ton of farmland, which makes me wonder why I have the impression that the world struggles to feed itself. I also question whether the environmental impact of travelling to Berlin is greater if I fly or drive. And that leads me to thinking that I should calculate my total carbon footprint - I take a number of steps to be a good citizen, but am I doing enough? All of a sudden, I have three new items to add to my to do list, things that interest me and will stop me being idle or bored.
After hanging out with my friend the day after the race in Berlin, it was time to rush back home - you know, this early retirement thing isn't all relaxation. We have friends coming to visit, so I have to make it in time for their arrival. We had great fun with them and their young children - wow, I'd forgotten how exhausting kiddies can be! Anyway, another four days flew past with their visit, followed by another day or two catching up with the chores we'd ignored while they were here.
And that's how easy it is for two weeks to disappear. If I wanted to go on, I guess I could mention the trail run that I went on this morning with a friend, writing this blog post this afternoon, and Sally's sisters who arrive in a few days for a short visit.
I also have to get serious about my marathon training (actually, it's already too late for that😬), perhaps our daughter will visit next week as she can work from our place, before maybe we'll have a quieter week in mid September, before our son visits, and then I head to Berlin again, this time for the marathon, towards the end of September. Perhaps I'll try to fit in some extra days away in the campervan after Berlin, but before we head off in mid October for 6 weeks in the Philippines. We'll be back home, at the start of December, I guess there will be a few chores, Christmas shopping, Christmas itself and then the year will be finished. Oh, and I've got a bunch of other things to do in the meantime, plan the Philippines trip and book some stuff for it, sort some insurance issues, deal with our Airbnb, keep doing my blog, keep up with my running, ski when the snow comes, drink coffee with friends...there hardly seems to be enough time! I've had to make a list so that I don't forget all the things I have to do! So, back to that question:
Will I be bored if I retire early?
No chance, I'm way to busy for that, and mostly doing a bunch of things that I didn't even contemplate when I was trying to make my early retirement decision and answer my "what will I do/will I be bored" question.