David @iRetiredYoung | November 29,2023
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Even when early retirement is great, it still makes sense to pause for a moment and see if some tweaks could be useful.
That’s the case for me now. I retired seven years ago, when I was forty-seven, and I love it. None of the concerns I had at the start, such as, would I be bored, would the finances work, would I be lonely, have come to pass. In fact, if the next seven years of my early retirement were to be the same as the first seven, I’d have little to complain about.
But just because something is good, doesn’t mean it should always stay the same, and doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from some new thinking. Maybe good can become even better. When things aren’t working, it’s obvious to think of making a change, but when things are going well, our instinct isn’t usually to consider doing things differently.
My wife, Sally, gets annoyed when I think like this. She prefers, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. If I run a marathon and get a new personal best time, it frustrates her when I say, “I’m pleased, but maybe if I’d done this or that thing, perhaps I could have been a little faster.” She rolls her eyes in exasperation. I, on the other hand, think that trying to make things better is a good attribute.
So, after seven good years of early retirement, are there any changes that might make it even better? Here are some of the areas I’m starting to think about:
Relaxing my fixation on routine and targets
I’ve often written about my routines and my target/goal setting, and still believe they are key tools that help make my early retirement a success. They give my life good structure and stop me being lazy, so I’m not about to ditch them. However, maybe I can be too fixated on them, doing something simply because it’s on my list rather than because it’s the best thing to do at that time. Could taking a more relaxed approach be better? This might sound simple, but it’s quite a shift – routines and targets have been a cornerstone of the first seven years of my retirement, as well as the almost thirty years of my working life before that.
Should I continue with my blog?
I’ve loved doing my blog. It’s something I’ve enjoyed, and an activity which takes more time than you might imagine. Through it, I’ve physically met up with people in the USA, Australia, Thailand, the UAE, and France, and corresponded with many more through the comments or by email. I never imagined the sense of community I’d find in it. Having a blog has encouraged me to think of new subjects, to think about things differently, and to delve more deeply into some topics. However, after seven years (this is post number 320), I’m not sure how much more I have to say about financial independence and retiring early. I want to continue to “think in ink”, something I’ve found to be fun and rewarding, but I’m questioning whether I should continue this via my blog or through some other method.
Growing my community
My previous post was about how I could use the Blue Zones Power 9: Lifestyle Habits of the World’s Healthiest, Longest-Lived People as a retirement model. One of the Blue Zones lifestyle habits that I want to think more about is community. I consider myself an introvert who puts a good amount of effort into trying to push through/disguise this. I’m not a loner, but I am comfortable in my own company, and I don’t need a lot of friends. I could stick with the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” ethos, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that life could be even better if I can grow my community. This is an easy thing to say, but probably harder to do.
This is a work in progress for me, and I’m thinking of evolution rather than revolution. As I said, my retirement life is pretty great, and the easiest thing would be to keep things the same. However, that might mean missing out on something even better. I haven’t yet figured out the answers, but I do believe that taking a pause to think about them is a good way to ensure I get the most out of my early retired life.