February 01, 2006
On Early Retirement
I have only had one short taste of what early retirement might be like: a short three-month stint of self-imposed unemployment from Crossgain while under threat of a non-competition lawsuit by Microsoft. Some of my colleagues in the same situation had no savings and had to find work. But I had a financial cushion and decided to hang out and enjoy myself for three months.
The problem was, with all of my family and local friends and neighbors gone to work or school all day, a "life of leisure" was dreadfully lonely and boring.
So I had to find various ways to fill my time by myself. I made up projects for myself, found events to go to, things to make, things to learn. Basically I tried to invent a purpose in life. But it wasn't particularly fulfilling. Being pseudo-retired felt like being at work, except that nobody paid me and nobody cared what I did or thought; and nobody noticed if I gave up on something.
My conclusion: being retired is no fun. It is much more fun to be employed in a good place, surrounded by ambitious peers. It is fun to be needed; it is fun to try to make the world a better place; it is fun to try to accomplish something hard; and it is fun to help others try too. It is employed people, not retirees, who get to have most of this fun.
Though while I am enjoying being employed, it is still fun to read Philip Greenspun write about early retirement:
Retirement forces you to stop thinking that it is your job that holds you back. For most people the depressing truth is that they aren't that organized, disciplined, or motivated.Posted by David at February 1, 2006 04:10 PM
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