Sunday, November 26, 2017

I'm officially retired!

I'm officially retired...for the year. Due to the nature of my job, I have about 2 to 3 months of relatively free work. It's my eat-grass season and my winter month. This obviously affects my income, because I'm probably earning like 20% of my 'normal' months. Every year, I'll face this forced retirement and I've come a long way to deal with the uncertainty and the emotions that comes with it. This article will share my thoughts about the emotions of retirement. I must say I've not retired for good, but I've plenty of experience on retirement. All 15 years of it. Strange eh?

The emotions comes in 4 stages:

1. Relief
2. Happiness
3. Guilt
4. Resolution

I'll discuss a bit more in detail for each stages now:

1. Relief

I've worked very hard for about 10 months of the year, working through the weekend. This year is a bit lesser because I'm a newly minted father, but usually I'm so packed with work that I'm actually looking forward to my winter months. I think most employees will share the same feeling that I had. It's like you have worked hard for 20-30 years and finally you can see the deadline to end your working life. But it's only a relief if you've prepared for it by settling your debts and saving up a nice stash and all. I've saved about 70k+ for the year and am prepared to 'draw down' on the savings during my wintry months. If I haven't saved enough or at all, I guess I'll be very very stressed. So the first few days, I felt a immense weight off my shoulder. Very light and...relieved.

2. Happiness

After the feeling of relief, next came the feeling of joy. I felt happy that I'm finally having a good time catching up with long neglected friends or spending quality time with family. Quality time means you have no agenda or have no other appointments other than the current one, not trying to rationalise to yourself that although you have only 1 hour you will squeeze it by doing as many activities as possible. This period is where I catch up on my social life, my gaming and my books. This stage rejuvenates me and prepares me for the next period of work. It refreshes you and prepares you for the longer journey ahead.

3. Guilt

Unfortunately, the feeling of happiness is usually short lived. After what could be weeks to months, I might feel guilty that I'm wasting my life away. While others are busy working their asses off in offices and scurrying away to important meetings, I'm sitting, alone, in a cafe, sipping coffee and staring at nothing. There's only so much nothing to stare at. I'll say that most people who are taking leave for a week or so wouldn't feel this stage yet. They will certainly reach stage 1 of feeling relief, or stage 2 (if the leave is long enough) of feeling joy and happiness. But to reach stage 3 of guilt, you need a few months of doing no work at all. I could be playing so much games that I start to feel that I'm wasting my day away bashing digital monsters and collecting digital gold coins, where I could be earning real money fighting real life monsters. The real lesson here is that even if you are fully retired, you cannot stop working. Just stop working for money. Work keeps you in contact with other humans, or makes you feel important, or gives you joy. Find other reasons to do some sort of work again, something to set your routine and make you feel like a useful citizen to society once more.

4. Resolution

The period of guilt will build up until you start doing something. Usually this will end up where you start looking for work again (or in my case where my work starts finding me again), or you find some sort of semi retirement arrangement where you decide to spend the bulk of your time on. It could be project based, working on some hobby or some thing that keeps you occupied for the bulk of your free time. It could be volunteer work or some part time work or mentoring work. This might run a few iterations of the stages again, especially if the work you chosen overwhelms you. Eventually you'll reach an equilibrium where there is optimum work life balance that you can continue...until the next emotional crisis hits you again.




Those are the 4 stages. When you take a short leave of a 1-2 days, you'll reach stage 1: relief. When you have a longer leave of a week, you'll reach stage 2: happiness. When you have a much longer sabbatical leave of more than a few months, you'll go through all the stages from 1 to 4, passing through stage 3 of guilt and stage 4 of resolution. 

While reaching financial independence is important, don't focus solely on the monetary aspects of it. Most of the time, the emotions will be the part that you derail your best laid plans. Financial independence is not just about passive income > expenses. Work might be an important part of your identity, regardless of whether you liked working or not, hence to take it all away in one shot might be too sudden too soon. Practice the emotional aspects of retirement!

20 comments :

Createwealth8888 said...

"The real lesson here is that even if you are fully retired, you cannot stop working. Just stop working for money. Work keeps you in contact with other humans, or makes you feel important, or gives you joy. Find other reasons to do some sort of work again, something to set your routine and make you feel like a useful citizen to society once more."

Fully agreed!

Just doesn't has to work for money and under any sort of KPIs thrown at us and has the freedom to walk away and idle awhile for the next one to come along.

la papillion said...

Hi bro8888,

Glad you agree. Having you verifying my claims makes me more confident of what I wrote here haha

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

LP,

Tried it for 18 months...

When every is Sunday, Sunday soon loses its meaning ;)


Now I look forward to working weekends :)

To enjoy the interactions with customers, especially the street-smart and funny ones.

To play Game of Thrones with my competitor promoters is a lot of fun! Weak ones bend the knees...

And most important of all, the rest my mind ;)

la papillion said...

Hi SMOL,

Haha, you will agree with my article :) When relaxing becomes work, and work becomes a form of relaxation, that's when you know your true equilibrium :)

thoughtinstrument said...

In our interactions with other humans alike, we tend to seek to identify ourselves with the intentions of others rather than our own. This at times leads us to go against our own principles, or taking on responsibilities that are beyond ourselves. Sometimes, we may even reach a point where we need to be reliant upon other's expectations as a form of self-accomplishment.

Only when we finally have a little more courage to be disliked by others, we can then make use of each and every unpleasant experience as an inspiration and gather momentum to make ourselves a little better than before.

Sillyinvestor said...

Hi LP,

Think I am a workaholics.

Never reach stage 2. Just 1 and then 4

Also not much guilt

Lol

Jes said...

Hi LP,

I believe your stage 1 and 2 period will be much longer than the stage 3 and 4 phase so it's still great. Just enjoy more than 90% of your time! For me, too much business I complain, no business I worry... haha, it's a fun roller coaster journey and I feel more alive as a self-employed :)

FFE said...

Hi LP,

I've stopped work for the past 12 months.

No guilt for me cause I'm busy with the kids and chores.

What's important is to be meaningfully occupied.

Cheers!

la papillion said...

Hi thoughtinstrument,

Oh wow, where did that come from? lol!

la papillion said...

Hi SI,

Haha, it means you like the work that you are doing now :) That's a very rare thing haha

la papillion said...

Hi Jes,

Same! Business too much I also complain, business too little I start to worry :) Heard that you're gng to the bloggers meet, will see you there. Need to thank you personally for the list of stuff to bring when my wife went hospital for the delivery of our baby haha!

la papillion said...

Hi FFE,

I'm very happy for you!

Agree on the meaningfully occupied! I guess you have other more important self identity besides work :)

yeh said...

I will be on half year no pay leave in first half 2018.
Though no income but then feel stress free and happy.

simplefolk said...

i went thru those 4 phases. but instead of guilt, i'm actually feeling lost at that stage. fortunately i have found a purpose, though still felt a little uncertain myself

la papillion said...

Hi yeh,

Oh, I hope your health is much better now? After a certain point of financial assets, we just want to be happy. That's very impt.

la papillion said...

Hi simplefolk,

I guess we are all waddling through mud, not sure of where we are. But it's okay, we will find our way eventually. Hope you are in a much better state now.

Raniya Riyana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
yeh said...

Hi LP
Kidney already can’t function anymore,
Going for kidney transplant.
So have to rest.

la papillion said...

Hi yeh,

:(

Got to be positive and enjoy life yes? Take care and have a merry christmas :)

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Hello Everybody,
My name is Ahmad Asnul Brunei, I contacted Mr Osman Loan Firm for a business loan amount of $250,000, Then i was told about the step of approving my requested loan amount, after taking the risk again because i was so much desperate of setting up a business to my greatest surprise, the loan amount was credited to my bank account within 24 banking hours without any stress of getting my loan. I was surprise because i was first fall a victim of scam! If you are interested of securing any loan amount & you are located in any country, I'll advise you can contact Mr Osman Loan Firm via email osmanloanserves@gmail.com

LOAN APPLICATION INFORMATION FORM
First name......
Middle name.....
2) Gender:.........
3) Loan Amount Needed:.........
4) Loan Duration:.........
5) Country:.........
6) Home Address:.........
7) Mobile Number:.........
8) Email address..........
9) Monthly Income:.....................
10) Occupation:...........................
11)Which site did you here about us.....................
Thanks and Best Regards.
Derek Email osmanloanserves@gmail.com