Holiday-ay, it Will Be Alright….

Wish You Were FIRE

Wish You Were FIRE

I’m on a short break holiday abroad writing this, the first holiday I have taken in my “early retirement”. I used to wonder if I’d feel differently on holiday now that I’m not working, and the answer is “maybe”. Of course, not having any work to go back to, well, it’s hard to see a downside on that aspect. But I haven’t escaped any work either and I have missed that frisson of excitement on leaving the “Out of Office” message on Outlook.

On the other hand, no return to five hundred emails either, of which I would read the two from the boss and the two from clients. The rest sat with the other nine thousand “unread” in my inbox. (I jest not on the number, although that was about five years’ worth. Corporate life combined with shoddy email management.)

When on holiday from work, I always used to suffer “imaginary holiday envy” because of the sheer lack of exciting things my family did compared to the ideal families in the adverts. No paragliding for us. No long camel rides into an Arabian sunset. No awe-inspiring canoe trips up the Amazon. No sitting with my wife at a beachside Caribbean restaurant table as she stared devotedly into my eyes in sheer wonder that she’d married such a hunk, while waves crashed on a nearby shore. When I thought about it, all we did on holiday was the same as what we did with our leisure time at home, except we did more of it. A bit of shopping, a bit of walking into town for a coffee, a bit of reading books, reading the papers, eating out and so on. Maybe I’d play some golf. Relaxing from work, that’s what we did, and we enjoyed it.

Now I’m not working, I tell you, I do shitloads of walking into town, reading, going for coffees, shopping (groceries only though), playing golf, eating out and, I hate to admit, it is all in danger of becoming Really Effing Boring. All that sweet relaxing stuff is now my New Normal.

Once retired, if you tell people that you have reached that stage of life, they often make a remark such as “Permanent holiday, eh?” They could be right, but I’m not so sure. If I go back to work then I am certain that I will feel this stage of my life was a long, enjoyable holiday. A break from work. The first three months of my enforced retirement absolutely felt like that and I was on Cloud Nine. If I’m honest though, I also felt during that time that I would – probably – return to the workplace. I told people I was retired, but didn’t truly believe it (and still don’t). I now feel that if I really never return to paid employment, then this won’t feel like a holiday at all. It will just feel like my latest version of living, not that much different from your working life, providing that on the whole that you quite enjoy working and what it has to offer. And, on the whole, I did enjoy working. Okay, I now don’t have the boss paying my wages, but he’s been replaced by my investment funds paying my wages, and it’s them that now dictate my future retirement career.

So, as I sit here burning cash that maybe I will regret spending in twenty year’s time, I reflect that holidays are still a great break, still almost necessary and will still remain a part of my life going forward. But maybe next year I will try some paragliding.

10 thoughts on “Holiday-ay, it Will Be Alright….

  1. Into my 4th year as a “early out” (I’m 54), and much of this resonates with me, especially your new daily routine. The trouble can be that, even as modestly ambitious as the n.d.r. is, you may get *less* ambitious as time goes on. It can start with the walking going to every other day, etc. Watch for that trap…

    The other bit I wanted to mention has to do with your last sentence, specifically the “maybe” and the “next year”. I’m now very aware of the limits of my body and let’s just say it’s not getting any easier. So, gather ye rosebuds…

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      • > Yup, one of my biggest fears is losing that drive to achieve objectives that work often serves up for you. Achieving stuff you quite fancy doing isn’t quite the same challenge!

        Gnothi seauton 🙂
        Individuation is the point of the second half of life. Listen for the distant drummer described by Thoreau, and yearn not for the external agenda of The Man… IMO and all that, of course!

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  2. Ahh, you made me think! I have in fact taken 3 mini-vacations since retirement…all to our place at the beach. And I still view them as get-aways and time to recharge. Sand in the toes gives a different feel to the day. Maybe if everyday was there (as I call the cottage my “future retirement home”, there is that possibility), I would feel differently. But I still find vacations a different pace than my regular retired life. And I hope some future vacations will be even more so…as I plan out some of the once-in-a-lifetimes trips on our bucket list. But today I take the sand between the toes and some time to think how the newly formulated Life Plan is going and recharge to start something new when I get back. These days, there are lots of things I am starting new!

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  3. My Dad retired at 65 but has been busier than ever, so his holidays are actual holidays, just like they were before he stopped working… I wonder how many side projects and hobbies and the like you would need to build up to feel like this holiday is a ‘normal holiday’ again?

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  4. Keep the honest feelings about early retirement coming! It’s refresshing after being bombarded by people who are not there yet and tihnk it will be 100% awesome, or overly positive popular blogs that pretend to ignore that life, working or not, can easily become a routine.

    Being realistic about it is one of the important ways I’ll be able to enjoy it, IMO

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  5. We’re six months away and haven’t made any vacation plans yet. I wanted to go big and celebrate by going to the Rio Olympics, but the economic/politica; unrest in Brazil is a bit concerning. Thanks for the great post!

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  6. Really good to read your frank thoughts as usual Jim!

    It still sounds like you are very much undecided on whether to go back to work or not. At least you have the luxury of time to decide on what to do, holidays are quite good for thoughtful time aren’t they?

    I’ll be interested to see how it all pans out… 🙂

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  7. Pingback: An Ermine finds himself working but not worth training « Simple Living in Suffolk

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