Saturday, 26 January 2013

Early, But Still Late

I was never a career-driven person. In fact, I was never a driven person in any way. I kind of just floated along, getting where I got to by accident rather than design. I admire people who have a passion in life and really work to make their lives what they want them to be. But I never really had that passion – maybe I never really knew what I wanted my life to be.
One thing I do remember wanting when I was younger, was to be retired by the time I was 40. Mind you, I was probably 21 at the time, and thought 40 was really, really old. I also thought that 40 was a long way off, so I had plenty of time to make that happen. How wrong was I!!

gum blossoms at our accommodation on a recent short break

Before I knew it, I was 40 and I hadn’t done anything to try to make retirement happen early. Where did all those years go? Oh, yes, I was living them! And what had I thought retirement was? All I was thinking of was that I didn’t want to be heading off to a 9-to-5 job in the City, that was taking up valuable hours when I could be doing the things I wanted to do, at the pace I wanted to do them.
For the record, I was just 50 when I retired. So even though it is later than I had thought when I was 21, it is still quite early. I’m hoping that I have many years left to enjoy this life – this joyful retirement!

I am really enjoying retirement. In a way, I think it is a good thing that I wasn’t able to retire at 40, because I don’t think I was ready for it then. I hadn’t done the financial preparation, certainly. But I also hadn’t done the mental preparation. And retiring without having done that would have been a disaster.
When you retire, you have to be prepared for a lot of changes. Suddenly a large part of your life is not there anymore. For some people, their work defines them, and without it, they don’t know who they are.
me in retirement? a sculpture at Wollombi!
For example, when you meet someone new, one of the first questions that will be asked is “so, what do you do?” and if you aren’t prepared for that, the answer for a retiree could easily become “nothing – I’m retired”. In your mind, that “nothing” can easily be extended to become the answer to “what AM I?”, not just “what do I do?”.
I mentioned in a previous post that Les and I had prepared for retirement. One thing we did was address this issue of “what am I if I’m retired?”, and to help us with that, we searched out books at the library, and articles on-line. But the thing we noticed was that many of those were aimed at people retiring at what would be considered a normal age (60 and older).
Are there other people out there who have retired early? Talk to me!

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