In 2018, I Will…..

Being a long term fan, and implementer, of personal goals, I tend to look on New Year’s Eve in the same way as heavy drinkers do: it’s “amateur night”. Resultantly, I like the reminder, but I tend not to sit down and right out objectives for the year ahead, so I’ve pretty much none to review from January 2017.

This year, however, knowing the power of the discipline, and turning 55 in November, there’s a dangerous goal that I could write at the start of this year, namely, “This year, in November, 2018, I will retire from work for good”. That’s because I can access my pensions in that month and that income can replace the current wage I receive from employment.

Eek! Should I do it? Should I commit? As some of you may know, I went this route before and ended up kicking off this blog by writing a post about the Top Ten Downsides of Early Retirement as I realised retirement wasn’t quite working out what I expected it to be. Since then I’ve reflected that maybe it was because I didn’t mentally commit to the idea and couldn’t quite believe it myself. Never work again? That wasn’t me, was it? I’d worked for almost thirty years and enjoyed most of them. What would I do now?

Despite philosophical kickings from Ermine about getting my head into the right place, I couldn’t do it – I felt I wanted to work, even if I didn’t need to (something I was always questioning anyway when it came to the financial side of the equation) and, eventually, back to work I went.

I haven’t regretted the decision, although I have regretted that I realised a goal only to discover that I hadn’t really prepared for it. Not that this seems realisation seems to have changed my behaviour to date – no new “hobbies” started, no new social structures created, the garden lies untouched, I will never stand in on lead guitar for Kirk Hammett in Metallica, no book written, no classic motorbike repaired and rebuilt, no marathons run, no flying lessons taken. I’m almost proud of all the things I haven’t achieved.

One of the truest things I think I read about retirement stated that if you weren’t doing something before retirement, then you won’t be doing it afterward either. Clearly that applied to me, so the idea was, and is, to start doing some new things today, while still at work, and then I can find out what I might like to do with my time when I have plenty more of it.

New Year Resolutions provide the ideal time to start this stuff, but I can’t answer the major question I ask myself over making them: Why? I’m happy right now with my life as it is. What’s missing that I can’t actually take steps to resolve if I really want to? I mean, I could go and build a train set like Rod Stewart to occupy my quiet hours, but I don’t have many quiet hours. Perhaps this is because I’m still working, but then I could reframe that to state that one of my major hobbies is my work – after all, I’m choosing to do it. What’s a hobby if it’s not something that interests you, entertains you, keeps you occupied, keeps you socially connected, teaches you new skills and pleasantly fills boring Tuesday afternoons when otherwise you really would be bored?

And I get paid for it. (Let’s hear it for working, maybe that’s my New Year Resolution!)

I probably will make some pledges to myself that I will follow through on, but I suspect they will pertain to things that I already am doing. I’ll tweak some of the things I’m already working on. Some of them might be connected to my work too, because I know how useful it can be to set yourself goals in this area. I know I’ll continue to ask myself that retirement question too, however, and I hope that the irritation I feel in asking it will help me to decide what to do.

 

10 thoughts on “In 2018, I Will…..

  1. While I generally agree about the taking up of new interests at retirement, as mostly what I do now is more of what I did when working (or 20 years before), I did take up conservation volunteering from scratch, and am now out in the woods 2 days a week. Those days give structure to the week, and I can bore my friends about charcoal making or coppicing.

    No way could I find the time to go back to work now.

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    • I think finding something for two or three days a week would be ideal. Going back to work five days a week wasn’t really what I wanted in terms of time, but the four day week – or three day week – hasn’t yet come into play in my line of work. Nor yet has job share.

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  2. Re: “What’s missing that I can’t actually take steps to resolve if I really want to…”

    I’d say if you don’t start to build those interests into your life now, while you are in work, then you’re going to face the same problem as before when you stop work, whether that be at 55, 65 or 75. The only way to avoid this is to die while still employed, but then you face the “nobody on their deathbed ever said they wish they’d spent more time at work” scenario.

    I can’t recall from previous posts, but I presume your wife works. Maybe you’re thinking that if you retire around the same time as each other, then you’ll fill your days by spending time together, holidaying, eating out, etc. without trying to take up hobbies that don’t really interest you. Nothing wrong with that, if it suits you both.

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    • Sounds like a good idea Scott, just chill out. That is one of my aspirations, to stop giving myself a hard time when I don’t fill my days with to do lists, objectives, tasks. I should reframe “boredom” as “relaxation”. And repositioning your relationship with your spouse is vital too, but that’s a whole other blog post, if not website….

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  3. I’m happy right now with my life as it is.

    There’s somethign to be said for if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it 😉 But

    if you weren’t doing something before retirement, then you won’t be doing it afterward either.

    This is bull in my experience. Doing things that my Working Self didn’t have the headsapce or time to do is what retirement is about. First it was freedom from, which doesn’t apply in your case, but then it changed into freedom to.

    But hey, you’re happy, don’t mess with what works, though Scott does have a point that you may meet the question again later in life…

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  4. Haha – yes, what to do with your life? I’ve been reflecting on it recently and concluded you can’t solve it as its a fast moving target and your guns sights have been nobbled by darwin like the fella with the air-rifles at the fayre. And as for solving the question for anyone else, well I think it follows that its a fools errand? But maybe thats for the best? You think you were bored when you retired, imagine how you’d feel if you’d figured out life, the universe and everything – you would literally have nothing left to do?

    Boethius had it about right? – “It’s my belief that history is a wheel. ‘Inconstancy is my very essence,’ says the wheel. Rise up on my spokes if you like but don’t complain when you’re cast back down into the depths. Good time pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it’s also our hope. The worst of time, like the best, are always passing away.”

    *Mutability is our tragedy, but it’s also our hope.* – yes, I like that..

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    • Having kept a diary for almost thirty years, what amazes me as I sometimes browse through it, is the recurrence of similar themes and thoughts over the years. I sometimes think that despite the ups and downs I’ve experienced, I’m still essentially still the same person now as I was then. I just haven’t decided if that’s comforting or not!

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  5. I think you should keep working, because you clearly like it, but try to move to 3-4 days a week over the next couple of years. There’s no rush.

    Strongly of the camp that Financial Independence is the cards up your sleeve as well as cards in your hand. 🙂

    You have the freedom to do what you want. If you want to keep on working because you enjoy it, keep on working!

    Not everyone has a million other things they’d far prefer to be doing than doing their bit in work. Probably a good thing, from Humanity PLC’s point of view

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    • I like your reminder that “there’s no rush” to figure out what to do. Sometimes the clock ticks so loudly on the approach to cashing the tax free pension pot that I can’t hear anything else. Instead of fretting too much over it, and being goal and deadline fixated, I should just chill out a bit.

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