Most FIRE bloggers and journalists (me included—the former) spent the past few months sharing the opportunity we had to improve our lives and the environment with major opportunities to use the quarantine/lockdown to make ourselves so much better.
Then I noticed a lot of writings about how the people working from home have newly-found flexible schedules which can simulate a “retirement” lifestyle. That being a great structure that allows for a different waking routine, and a different time structure throughout the day. Many said people working from home have a new found level of freedom to adjust their work-life balance.
In thinking about this new work/life balance, I have to say if you didn’t know if you were an introvert or an extrovert, you surely do now! The identification of this personality style would be magnified if you lived in an apartment or small space.
Indeed, the work/life balance gives someone the ability to review their daily/weekly grind schedule. People may have the opportunity to tackle some tasks off-peak. Not to mention those who were severely hit by a change, or loss, of income. This has been a brutal wake-up call forcing the extreme situation to be upfront and inescapable for us, for a very long time. It seems possible a two to three-week impact may wash away fairly quickly, but a year-long screw-with-you impact…we’re not sweeping that away anytime soon.
Think about the freedom impact on a retiree over the past 8 months.
The retirees have little to no commitments for employment. These retirees may have commitments to volunteering and sharing their time. These retirees may have had plans for travel in 2020. These retirees may have even been on a trip, maybe even outside the home country, when the pandemic struck. These retirees may live abroad full-time, maybe in low-cost regions—of which may have a lower level of medical care, possibly.
Considering health concerns even deeper, most retirees are older. Understanding of the COVID virus shows older immune systems have a much harder time fighting off the virus. At this time, I feel we don’t even know exactly how much higher risk an older person has for severe impact from the virus.
I’m saying for those who are already past end-of-employment (already retired) that the COVD quarantine/lockdown/isolation is an opportunity for an entirely different reflection-of-life activity level. I realized after talking with a few of my cohorts that the COVID lockdown may actually be closer to a simulated SloGo retirement phase.
So if a retiree is at a phase where they want to do stuff, but cannot, isn’t that closely tied to the SloGo phase of retirement?
Thinking back to the beginning of this post on how our days/schedule/lives have changed, how have you felt over these 8 months?
- If you are an introvert, you might have done OK with the changes.
- If you are a relaxed-zen type person, maybe you were able to shift your mindset quite successfully to the new structure forced on you.
- If you are an extrovert, it must have been a horrible time being locked away for your social interactions. It’s probably that the sadness has a compounding effect and it’s feeling worse and worse each day.
- If you’re retired and have been so for a while, how did you feel about the new lifestyle structure?
- If you’re newly retired (by choice), how does that feel? Do you feel like you’re losing a year of your retirement?
- If you’re newly retired by force (“reduction in force”), you have an entirely different level—most likely multiple levels—of “what is going on here, what do I do now?”
For me, this window of time being stuck at home is an interesting look at a similar to SloGo retirement phase. A phase of retirement that I realized now would have been almost impossible to plan for, or understand how it would feel. Now, I have a sliver of vision to that up-coming phase.
For all those affected/infected by these nasty little virus robots, I wish you the best. As for SloGo, for those retirees infected, you experienced a SloGo phase with illness, not just lockdown, expounding on a more serious version of SloGo, possibly even NoGo.
(no consideration in the post was given to those with children living at home in a time of COVID as that is not an area I have familiarity)
I’ll end with, we never know the-or our– future. We won’t know our End-of-Plan date. Live your GoGo years as if every single day matters. Find the joy in your days and daily life.
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.