I have noticed somewhat of a trend of early retirement blogs in that some months after retirement, they (we?) tend to veer off their (our?) regular posting schedule and post less and less often. Of course in keeping the title in mind, the slacking of the past 2-3 weeks may just have been a lull as my interest cycled, but it could also be part of a larger trend—notice how close the decryption of this behavior is to stock market predictions?
I think the main reason is that it requires quite a bit of thinking and philosophizing to start a [successful] blog, that is, one that does not die at the three-month mark [corresponding to about 100 ideas], and since retirement is marked by a date in time, the subject makes itself irrelevant over a single day, unlike for instance, blogs that are able to discuss productivity, interview dress codes, and career development over and over again for the next 30 or so years.
Given this predilection, from this point on, things are progressing on a week to week basis. I am learning as I go and lately I have done a lot of things which although I theoretically could have done them while I was working a career probably never would have gotten to the point because I would have been too busy with career thinking and career networking to engage in other adventures.
Since the post from early June 2009, I have become slightly competent(*) in watch repair, I can sail a keelboat, I can repair most problems on a bicycle, and this weekend A_ took me on a camping trip to High Rock Canyon, where I learned how to ride an off-road motorcycle and how to handle guns and rifles beyond the air rifle(*) that I had when I was a kid.
(*) RWS/Diana 34 with a 4×20 scope in case anyone cares.
In terms of personal development, I’m noticing two things.
First, I find myself de-intellectualizing(!) I’m selling off books (because I can get them from the library anyway) and replacing them with tools. This does not mean that I’m not reading books anymore—the library turnover is as large as ever—however, I just don’t see the point in maintaining a large personal library anymore; this being because I do more practical things that do not require fast access to 20 books on the same topic.
Second, I’m realizing that most things are not rocket science. I think this is an important development, because it reinforces that point that 95% of everything can be a DIY job with only a modicum of competence. However, many of our generation and our parent’s generation as well have been brainwashed into not trusting their own abilities and relying on experts to do everything from child rearing and even cooking because we have been so busy pursuing a one-dimensional career job that all other understanding of the world has severely atrophied. Yes, the theoretical knowledge is/was there, but the practical ability was lost to consumer behavior—why bother knowing how to make dough when you can buy ready made dough from the supermarket and still get the “feeling” that you are baking your own bread? Yes, it saves time and it is economically efficient but it also has a subtle cost of increasing dependency which again drives further specialization to remain competitive as the best cog in the career machine. And I don’t see this technocrat’s dream as a wonderful thing.