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Today marks my one year anniversary of quitting my corporate job and retiring from my W-2 Income!!!!!!! I could put a ton of crazy emojis here for my celebration, but thought that might be overkill. 🍾🎉
Retirement is such a loaded word, but I put this on my Vision Board and it does hold a lot of weight and meaning for me, so I wanted to take a look at my last year with a little review of:
Good old Google again, I looked it up on the interwebs and here are a few definitions, so they must be true.
I don’t feel like any of these definitions really fit. I am not interested in putting myself into seclusion and wasting away for the next three decades. I did not stop working because of my age. I retired at 50, maybe a little later than the traditional FIRE group, but 15 years earlier than a “traditional” retirement age at 65. I guess the first two definitions are the closest. I did quit my job and cease working at what I did before, but I can’t imagine that I will stop “working” at something for the rest of my life.
Working is another word that really has been a topic of conversation over the last year. Yes, I stopped working for W-2 Income and no longer have to commute to a job, exchange my time for money and be on someone else’s schedule. But I have been “working”. I have been active, just not active at a job. I am a “doer” by nature and enjoy working and producing things in the world. I have a few Etsy shops that I have fun playing around with when I want to do something creative. I wanted to experiment setting up a blog, so I have begun writing here to express my thoughts. I love cooking because I really love eating. I do love working, but working on things that I choose and want to work on.
Being open to alternative definitions of retirement and working has been an important shift in my thinking in my post FI life. Using these words in more of a non-traditional way is how I would like to look at my retirement and post working life. So when I use the words “retirement” and “working” they will not be going to a job every day, but more doing things that I enjoy. If I make money at projects I am working on, then it’s a bonus!
I wanted to just sit around and eat Bon Bons all day, that is what people say when you retire, right? Well, I sorta did that. My first project after I retired was to learn how to make and temper chocolate. If you want to read all the messy details, check out my guest post at Budgets are Sexy where I talk about this more in detail. This was a fun project, but my future was not as the next famous chocolatier. Stick to eating chocolate Jen, not making chocolate!
After my chocolate making adventure, I got serious about sleeping. I have always been a pretty good sleeper and could get in my 7-8 hours a night, but I took this to heart and really did a deep dive. I have been logging closer to 10 hours a night over the past year or so. That shifts a little and hot flashes don’t exactly help with all of that, but now I am back to more of an 8 hour night, but I really needed the time to decompress and let my body rest.
I dragged my husband around a bit over the last year. He was still working through August, but we still visited a lot of friends and family. We did a bit of a whirlwind traveling in 2021. I made 10 trips in the first 10 months of quitting, which seems crazy to me looking back now.
I love experiencing new things and travel is one of those ways for me that fills my adventure bucket. It is disruptive I have to admit and is a great way to procrastinate at doing things at home that you don’t want to do! We have boxes in the garage that we still need to go through, toss, sell, recycle, whatever old stuff that needs to leave my life now. I also really hate cleaning, so this has been partially dealt with, but needs some more attending over the next month to just purge!
I had never been a part of a mastermind group when I was working in my corporate job. I volunteered in organizations that were focused on my career, but did not really work on the personal development part.
I love learning and being part of a community, so I decided to start my own mini-mastermind group with the women that were on our Oaxaca, Mexico adventure. More details in my guest post at Budgets are Sexy where I talk about this trip in more in detail. We had 8 women and got together on Zoom call 2x per month. Each week someone was in the “hot seat” and they could bring whatever problem, struggle, or topic they wanted to discuss or have help with. It was such a great way to support each other and get to know each other. We are all at different stages in our lives and we could all gain something from the exchange. It was beautiful!
A mastermind group does not have to be anything super fancy. A book club can be a mastermind group if you are diving into something and really want to have a community to help digest the information. I might start a discussion group this year on Derek Sivers’ book, Hell Yeah or No, What’s Worth Doing. Game changer book and you can listen to it for free on audio at the link.
Being part of a community, especially in my post FI life, has been really good for my mental and emotional health.
I started journaling in 2021, which is something I had never done before, therefore I just purchased one of those 99 cent composition books and tried to write something daily. I kept it pretty informal, but it was really helpful in processing what I was doing and feeling. The one thing I found really helpful was after 30 days, I would review and reflect on the past 30 days, then write one line that summed up each day. What I found was a “theme” or thread for that month. Then I tried to write one sentence on that theme for the month. Here is how it played out for me:
Month 1: Slowing Down
Month 2: Balance of inner work and others focus
Month 3: Outward focus on community and friends
I journaled for about 100 days and have now taken a little break from that. I feel like this blog is taking the place of my composition book, but have found it therapeutic in getting things out of my head and down on “paper”, which has been good for my emotional health.
You hear about people that say, oh, when I have time I will exercise and get in shape. Ha! That is me for sure. Exercising is not one of my most favorite things in the world to do and I am not super excited about going into a gym during all the COVID scares. So, I have resorted to an online Pilates class that I do 3X per week. I call her, Kinga the Killer, since she works your core like crazy and I am pretty much dead after an hour of abs.
My husband’s and my goal in 2021 was to walk at least 5,000 steps a day and we have upped our game to 7,000 steps a day in 2022. Doing okay so far, but some days I have like 87 steps and know I need some sunshine and get my bootie outside and walk our hood. We are also shooting for going on a hike 1x per week. We live in Southern California, so we really don’t have any excuses that there is a blizzard outside and can’t go for a hike today.
My last thing I have been working on is my 1 Pull Up Challenge. Yeah, this is not going that well, I am weak like a kitten. I started in September and gave myself a year to try and do 1 pull up. I need to get moving on this. I found this great site, Nerd Fitness, that provides a progression plan to getting to that first pull up. I am at Level 2 of 7 levels in the plan, so I need to get my bootie in gear to make this happen this year.
Wow, this is interesting. I have not sat down and actually thought about what I have learned, so much! It has been a little non-stop over the past 12 months and I probably need to sit down monthly and absorb what I have done and learned. I also realized after thinking about this, that I still take things very literally, like I did in my work career. The German side of me has to be able to measure it and check a box that it was learned and done, it should be a tangible thing.
Here is my current running list of things that I have gained a deeper understanding of or learned.
The past year has actually flown by, but also feels like my old working life was a lifetime ago. I never think about my corporate job. Well I am right now, because I am writing about it, but you get what I mean. No thoughts really what so ever. I think about some of the people I worked with fondly and miss them, but the work part itself, nope! That chapter in my life has closed. Okay, to be completely transparent, I have renewed my state appraisal license for the next 2 years as a hedge, but hope that is something I do not need to fall back on.
I have no idea how I had any time to work before! Really, my day flies by and am not sure how I ever clocked in 8-10+ hours a day working. I am enjoying this pace of life right now, where my schedule is more flexible. The one thing that is hard to get used to is not having to wait until the weekend to do everything. We forget that we can just go on a hike in the middle of the day on Wednesday or not have to go to Costco on Saturday. There is a sense of freedom just in these little mundane, day to day things.
I am truly fortunate, I realize and am grateful. I could have never guessed that this is how my year would have gone, but I think it is better that way, less planned and more spontaneous. It has not been all Unicorns & Rainbows in my post FI life, but I feel like I am growing into myself even more and hoping I will find my path along this journey. I don’t need to have it all figured out in the first year. If I am lucky, I have freed up decades of my life to figure that out.
I want to thank all my family and friends that have been there along my journey over the past year. My husband, Scott, who has been supportive of me leaving my W-2 Income to pursue a different life’s path and love him all the more for it. Long discussions with my FI friends has been very influential in shaping how I looked at my first year of financial freedom and am better for it. Thank you and love you all! 🙏🙏
P.S. I had to use a few emojis somewhere
I love my toiletry bag! Scott makes fun of my toiletry bag all the time and how it takes up half the suitcase when we used to travel.
I would agree.
I am not a big makeup person, but for some reason I really have loads of toiletries. I love them & need them! I love traveling light.
Did you know there is a beard “club” for dudes that have longer, mountain man style beards? Yep, it’s true.
Dudes with longer beards will give a little nod and slight wink to other dudes with longer beards. It is like motorcycle riders that will give little waves to other motorcycle riders, UPS drivers acknowledging other UPS drivers, or truck drivers nodding to another truck driver. The Year of the Beard begins.
Explore! I feel like I am on board the starship Enterprise. For you Star Trek geeks like me, Star Trek represents exploration, learning about new cultures, trying new things that I have not done before and experimenting along the way. Star Trek could be a metaphor for a FI lifestyle.