The first six weeks after “retiring”

task list

I’ve since written a piece about my first three months after leaving the workplace. You can find it and other retirement milestones posts at this link or in the menu above.

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s been about six weeks since I exited the workplace. Much of that time has been spent preparing for, carrying out, and following up on the big move south. That said, I haven’t exactly been sitting idle otherwise, now finding myself with this newfound freedom. I definitely have had plenty of slack time in there too – though I finally stopped playing Animal Crossing! But from a more productive standpoint, in no particular order I’ve:

  • gotten a new library card
  • installed a home security system – I will likely do a post on this but if you’re interested I went with a Ring alarm system and think it’s a great option!
  • learned and started using the wonderful Notion all-in-one workspace tool
  • kept up my daily AM one hour walks – and settled on a nice route!
  • helped Lorri refinish a bookcase (one down, one to go)
  • fixed a bunch of fiddly things around the house – SO many Lowe’s runs…
  • checked out a few more local wineries & re-organized our wine stash
  • binge-watched “You’re the Worst” (and they are; it’s on Hulu and is wonderful)
  • got my new REAL ID-compliant driver’s license
  • re-read Wells’ “The Invisible Man” and now am engrossed in “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Dumas. I’m enjoying audiobooks of classics during my daily walks – check them out on Spotify or via Overdrive.
  • built a study plan and resources for the next level BJCP beer judging exam
  • brought a ton of cardboard boxes to the recycling center
  • taught myself FITS imaging processing for astronomical imaging
  • cooked a lot! I’ve been negligent in the “actual cooking” department for years…
  • made a number of nice trips to the shore with the fam to escape the heat
  • learned to make corn tortillas (so easy and so tasty! add a little salt…)
  • started preparations to make the legendary Rick Bayless Oaxacan mole negro! I have wanted to make this dish for 20 years! If you haven’t read his Mexican Kitchen cookbook, I highly recommend it!
  • kicked off this blog

This may not be the most exciting list and I’ve assuredly left off some important things (I’ve promised myself I won’t agonize over such things nor will I over-edit). But the time has positively flown by and I’ve never (ever) felt bored. On the contrary, the list of things I want to do is much longer. Thanks to Notion, I’ve got a great list of planned tasks (i.e. due dates assigned) as well as an “idea funnel” (things I want to do but have not yet committed to do). And most of this isn’t even pertaining to “whatever I do next” – or is it? Who can tell at this point. I do have plans to get back to tasks more aimed at personal skills development, and I’m sure I’ll write about those before too long.

Suffice it to say, I have confirmed what I believed for many years: I do not need a corporate job to feel challenged, fulfilled, and productive. The best part is what so many others have written about far better than I have here – for the most part I don’t have deadlines. I choose what to do on a given day (barring things that Lorri may rightfully suggest!). There are natural priorities and those help provide order. But otherwise it’s up to me how I spend my time. That’s incredibly freeing to say the very least. Some days I don’t “accomplish” much at all. We all need those days and for much of our adult lives, we don’t get them. I feel very privileged that I am able to have this experience, to be sure.

Excelsior (the best state motto, but I am biased)! Carpe diem! Mahalo. ?

Early Retirement? Start here!

sunrise photo

NOW what the heck am I doing? To be honest, I’m not really sure. Part of me thinks that writing could be a healthy outlet now that I’ve made this huge change, and early retirement is a topic of interest to many people! We will have to see if I keep this up! In the moment this is an experiment and one for which I am thankful and also humbled to have you on this journey with me.

Let’s play catch up: about six weeks ago I left a successful, exciting, and fulfilling 23-year career in biotech to “do something on my own”, outside the corporate world. To date, I have rarely called this transition early retirement, and even then only to those closest to me. Why? I suppose primarily because it’s an odd word to me, and even more so for a 47 year-old in 2020 to use. Most of the world does not really know about the concept of FIRE (financial independence / retire early), even among my friends and family. If you need a quick intro to FIRE, this book (and accompanying documentary!) is a solid introduction! [I’ve since written a post on how to determine when you can retire!] Second, I know I will “do something else” following said career – retirement doesn’t mean air-whittling or sitting idly on a park bench for me. And third, historically it has made me uncomfortable to use “the R word” with most people – either because I don’t want to face the questions that necessarily follow, or made to feel guilty, etc. I don’t really like to talk about the last bit and perhaps I will address this important topic later. For now let’s just say I have left the only career I’ve known with no plans to return to it.

Four weeks ago my family moved from the San Francisco Bay Area, south to the Central Coast region of California. We’ve known for around four years that mid-2020 would likely be the opportunity for me to bow out of the corporate world, and that meant we had to exit the insanely expensive housing market of the Bay Area. The search for our next town of residence is perhaps a subject to cover in a future post. For now, suffice it to say that we found a wonderful house to purchase. The past month has therefore been largely spent unpacking, making small repairs and improvements, and settling in to a new town. Did I mention COVID-19 is still a thing? Of course it is, which has necessarily added some speed bumps and odd turns at times in our home purchase and subsequent activities. This is again perhaps a topic for another time, since at present we are all living this and need no further reminder.

Before closing let me get a few things out: I feel very, very fortunate to be in the position I find myself. Success in the workplace is never assured and it requires many things to fall in to place – a topic which I’ve given much thought and will assuredly write about soon (Done! Find the series here). And success at work does not in itself lead to early retirement necessarily. That said, my chosen path, some careful planning, hard work, and a healthy dose of good luck has led me to this point. I am grateful to all of those who helped me get here, from whom I learned much along the way, and who supported me over the 47 years I have been alive. It is a privilege to be able to make the decision I’ve made, and I don’t take that for granted. I am thankful most of all to my family who has always been there for me and rarely complained – even when I was traveling often, working long hours, and not being sufficiently present. I am so appreciative of the support I have had, which has clearly enabled this next phase of my life. Here’s to what comes next!

PS – Yes, I noticed how many topics about which I potentially committed to writing posts in the future! I have so many post ideas though, and even thought I might not launch this until I’d written gotten a few in the bag. But then I figured let’s pull off the bandage now, without further ado!

photo credit: “sunrise @ komodo island” by j3ffm4n is licensed under CC BY 2.0