I follow a lot of personal finance and early retirement blogs, and recently discovered Our Next Life, which is written by a couple that is quite a bit younger than me but has been travelling a somewhat similar path to early retirement…although their’s will be much “earlier” than mine!
For the past few months I have followed Tanja and Mark’s journey as they have checked and rechecked their finances, plotted how they will spend their days, and thoughtfully planned how they will exit their careers. I’ve empathized with their fears and uncertainty, and learned from them how I might approach my own transition in a few months time.
At the end of this week Tanja and Mark will be retiring, and today they posted about what the “last Monday” feels like:
“Intellectually, we know this: the last Monday means no more Sunday blues, no more worrying that we didn’t catch up on enough sleep over the weekend and are starting another week tired, no more of that feeling of enjoying our work and appreciating our colleagues and clients but still wondering how we’ll survive another week with all its demands.
The last few months have brought a number of things into stark relief: how much we’ll miss a lot about our work, how grateful we are to have spent our careers surrounded with people we admire and are inspired by, how lucky we’ve been to do work that makes us proud. But also what a toll doing that work has taken on our health, and the knowledge that we’ll have many of these health challenges well after we leave the work behind.”
Their comments really resonated with me, as when I retire in June I too will be leaving a job that has been more than just a job and that has allowed me “to experience something real and special with great people” and to feel that I have made a difference. There is much that I will miss… and yet my body and my soul are crying out for a life with no more squeezing my “real life” into the rare evenings and weekends without work commitments, a life with no more Sunday blues, no more starting the week tired and wondering how I will survive whatever the week will throw at me.
I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that my impending retirement doesn’t create anxiety – about whether my financial plans are adequate to support a long life without work, whether my vision of how I will spend my days is sufficient, whether the people who think I am crazy for leaving the workforce so early are right.
I hope, and I believe, that when June 2018 rolls around I will feel what Tanja and Mark are feeling today as they walk the last few steps of their journey to a new life –
“We feel sure this is the right choice for us, we feel confident in our preparation and backup plans, and we have a vision for what’s next. And that feels kind of amazing. It makes the thousands of words here, the hours and hours of planning and replanning, and all the emotions along the way feel worthwhile.”
Congratulations Tanja and Mark…you’ve been great role models for me, and I look forward to continuing to learn from your experiences.