FIRE.198 Are you, who you are?

Do people leaving a career and venturing into the amazing world of FIRE, retirement, freedom, fun, and the unknown accurately believe they will become a great new person?  Does one’s purpose lie just beyond that final pay period?

The Monday after a long multi-decade career doesn’t energize someone into a magical new being.  There is no victory lap and no celebration parade on Monday.  There is no amassing of grandeur.  It’s just a Monday without work.  It’s not much different—yet better— than a Monday holiday.

On this very first Monday life will and should feel great.  The first week will be great.  For many people, paying attention to their feelings on Sunday afternoon will show a relaxed—no work tomorrow—perspective. 

Over the weeks—or months—this feeling may lessen for many.

I have a theory from the many people I’ve talked with who’ve retired/left their careers.


Who you are before retirement is probably who you will be when you start retirement.

The good

If you are a happy, curious, active, or energized person during your career life, then as you enter retirement you will maintain many of the same traits.

The bad: 

if you were anxious, bored, looking for something more, pushing yourself to meet the next goal, then after your career life you may possess (be possessed) in much of the same trails.

Retirement is not a magic day of personal change.  It is a HUGE day of working/employment change, but you are not a new person because you turned in your badge.

Consider the person who was laid off.  It’s pretty clear that most of those people may not be happy.  They will be inserted into a possible retirement mode against their will, and possibly far from their target timeline.  This consternation is understandable. 

I want to talk about retirement by choice.

Planning for life without work is more than just daydreaming.  While daydreaming before retirement is good—and daydreaming in retirement is great—it’s a good idea to have a plan of action.  Actions that you want to take during your hundreds/thousands of weeks.

You can make your life what you want:

The idea of retiring to something, not from something is mostly valid.  In the same sense, you make a plan/route to drive somewhere for a reason.  Retirement should not be similar to the act of stepping out of a car at a location/destination and wondering why you are there.  It’s very, very helpful to know why you want to be somewhere/somewhen.  Your timing is an important aspect of “when.”

You are who you are…you’ve been this way for a LONG time.  That’s OK.

You do have the opportunity at any point in your life to attempt to change, improve, and even experiment with almost anything.  These changes can be internal or external

Imagine the opportunity to change your stressed-out-get-off-my-lawn-because-I-had a bad work-day personality for a relaxed, no worries type perspective.  Imagine how your ticker and blood vessels may thank you for this pressure shift.

I don’t believe these shifts have on day one of retirement.  I believe you are, who you are/were, but you can shift, with intentionality in an attempt to be/feel better.  THIS IS NOT AN AUTOMATIC, MAGICAL CHANGE.

One other random thought I have; you don’t have to grow everything.  You can shrink some things.  You can look at what aspects of your weeks/life you don’t love and probably let some of those go.  You can lessen your commitments.  You may be able to assign away tasks you dislike.  You may shift physical, mental, or emotional tasks to others who have time, are specialists, or, at least are not you.

You are in (mostly) full control of your ship.

*** 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.

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