Reflecting on the reasons why
The past week was chock-full and therefore the days have really flown by. It’s nice to slow down for a few minutes and reflect, something I find myself doing more often lately. One topic I keep returning to is the list of reasons why I wanted to leave the workplace. Some of those are more substantial, and I’ve covered a few of those points already in earlier posts. Some others are rather simple by comparison, though in the end they are no less important! In the end, it all comes down to having the freedom to spend your time as you want.
One of the main reasons I left the corporate world was to make time to pursue my many passions in life. Whether you work 40 or 80+ hours a week, there just never seems to be enough time remaining to fully enjoy your hobbies and interests, right? I’ve definitely been taking the time to change that. Some of my interests are very constructive and beneficial – things like cooking, app coding, getting outside more often for exercise – to name a few. Others are largely, if not wholly leisure-oriented: reading, talking with friends more often, visiting wineries, and one of my favorite guilty pleasures – video games.
The video game generation
As a Gen X-er, gaming has had a place throughout my life, starting in early childhood. Like many, it started with a Pong system and later an Atari 2600. After these and other early-gen systems, a cavalcade of 8- and 16-bit consoles followed, along with PC gaming. Eventually things got pretty impressive in the console market, bringing us to the present-gen systems made by the likes of Sony, Microsoft, Oculus, and others. For what it’s worth, I absolutely love my Oculus Quest VR headset! It’s crazy how much innovation has come in not much more than 40 years!
In recent years I’d all but put gaming down, barring some iPhone apps that came in awful handy during the dull moments of work travel – waiting in long immigration lines, anyone? With rare exception (Dragon Age 3 for one!) I never seemed to have the time nor the patience for gaming, given my busy schedule. This definitely bothered me, as video games had always been great for a variety of purposes: stress relief, exercising my brain via puzzles, socialization, and just plain escapism fun. From conversations with colleagues I knew this wasn’t unusual, but that didn’t make it less frustrating.
For the Horde!
How have things changed since leaving the corporate world? Well, it’s not non-stop gaming 🙂 As I mentioned, I’ve got a lot of other interests. But it’s so rewarding knowing that if I want to make time for it, it’s readily done. Most recently, I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s what’s known as a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). The title of this section refers to the game faction I’m a part of, in a virtual world that is divided into two major groups. I have such fond memories of this game, one I played for over seven years with many good friends.
Does “retirement” mean that I have now mastered time prioritization? Of course not. That said, there aren’t as many ramifications to staying online a little longer to complete “just one more quest”. Of course, my family would rightfully complain if I was choosing Warcraft over cooking dinner! But it’s a huge difference from the past where the only time I could log on was if I happened to have some extra time in the morning because I wasn’t sleeping well. Now my time is mine to divide up as I want, once any important tasks are done. It’s also pretty easy to shift things around since any deadlines that have been set are likely ones I created.
I recognize that this isn’t the weightiest post I’ve written to date. I’m also aware that many people have little interest in video games. But the lesson within applies irrespective of whatever your guilty pleasure happens to be! In my opinion, it is these little things that are the biggest and most rewarding changes that have resulted from my leaving the workplace. This is exactly what we all plan for in retirement but it’s a different thing entirely to have that be your reality. It also reminds me how fortunate I am to be in this position, one I certainly don’t take for granted.
What do you enjoy most about retirement? If you’re still working, what are you looking forward to once you leave the workplace? I’d love to hear from you.