Retiring from my career has turned out somewhat differently than I expected. I figured my subconsciousness would be in denial, simply out of habit, and first treat the new experience as a long weekend and then roll over to an extended vacation as I slowly built up my reserves again. I had expected I would be watching old Red/Green shows for a week while turning my brain into mush and generally doing very little and then … eventually slowly get on with my new work.
Interestingly enough it turned out different. On the first day of “retirement” I turned out 4 blog posts. In the following days I have been busy, very busy, working on grant proposals, reading books on global warming, learning about community organization, thinking up ideas combining basic ecology and technology, and a outlining a new online magazine.
You may have noticed that blogging activity has also increased substantially.
It might be interesting to see what a day looks like now. I generally wake up around 7:45 after having slept like a stone. This may have something to do with ditching my coffee addiction (I don’t have any excuses anymore, nor any coffee machines). I had almost forgotten how good not drinking coffee feels. Then I check the stock market, prosper, and swaptree. So far so good.
From this point on I switch between responding to emails (there’s a lot more “management” interaction in my new job, reading books and taking notes, updating our database, walking the dog, going outside to practice shinkendo or lift weights, napping, working on a paper or a blog post, copyediting to earn a little dough, and so on.
I eat when I feel hungry and I go to bed when I feel tired without having to worry that I have to get up by a specific time. In other words, two sources of friction are gone: The 9-5 friction of subordinating the rest of the day to the punch clock and the “you can not work on anything else while you are on this job”-friction.
In general, I do whatever I feel like I would do most efficiently at the time. This is spurred for my personal drive for efficiency — getting work done as good as possible with the least amount of effort — but more importantly by the new reward structure that pays for output rather than for time. Essentially, it means I work for me rather than for my employer and that I can schedule things according to my convenience rather than the other way around.
Maybe it’s too early to say, but I should probably have done this years ago. Yeah, I know you purists will say I’m not really retired because I just got a new job. Well, maybe that is so, but this is so different from anything I have ever done before. To me it feels like a grown up summer break, except it’ll last longer.