Retirement - 6 months in!


Retirement - 6 months in!

On 17 September 2021, I retired from full-time work and started a new phase in my life.

Although I have written numerous times about retirement, I previously had no real-life knowledge of what retirement would really be like. So, for my partner and I, retirement would be a whole new experience.

After 6 months, am I still happy with my decision?

I can honestly say, I have not regretted my decision for a single moment.

Although, I must admit there have been some changes in my life that have required an adjustment and are still causing a little bit of angst.

I am still learning to relax.

Which, I know sounds a little strange, but after working for over 40 years and being required to meet key performance indicators and targets as part of my job, I did find that when I did just sit to read a book or watch a movie, I felt guilty due to being “unproductive”. I can honestly say that this is still a work in progress, and I will take a little time to learn how to relax.

Volatility in the financial markets over the last few months, resulting in our superannuation balance falling by 7%, has also led to a questioning of the decision to retire.

However, we did take this situation into account and set up a cash buffer in a bank account to cover the first two years of our required income without compromising our superannuation by drawing an income at this stage.

I should mention to ease both these situations, I am still working twelve hours a week to make the transition to full retirement a little less dramatic.

What is the best part of my “semi” retirement?

Without a doubt, it is the “mornings.”  

You may be asking why?

I have remained active in my retirement, I am still running and taking my stand-up paddle board for a spin in the mornings, and now I no longer have the pressure of getting home, showering, having a very quick breakfast, and then racing off to the office for a day’s work.

In my retirement, I get out of bed 30 minutes later than previously, go for a run or a paddle, stop for a coffee and a chat when I finish. I get to appreciate the many sunrises I have experienced, come home have a leisurely breakfast, and avoid driving at peak hour to arrive at work on time. Yes, the Gold Coast does have a peak hour.

I have also enjoyed my two months travelling in our camper van around parts of NSW, South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland, even though travelling and living in the van is also still a learning experience. I have met other grey nomads who have been on the road for months who are very generous in offering advice to improve my knowledge and life skills.

My technical skills have improved, I have learnt how to work on the road from my small laptop and attend meetings via Zoom when required. Close to 100% of the parks where I stayed have free Wi-Fi and if they don’t you can guarantee that a nearby coffee shop will have free Wi-Fi. This makes working on the road so much easier.

Despite having some moments of feeling unproductive, I have read more books, both fiction and non-fiction, in the last six months than I have in the last six years, Unfortunately, I have not progressed any further with mastering my ability to play the ukulele.

So, what plans do I have for the next 6 months?

We will hit the road again, travelling to North Queensland – as far as Cooktown. Unfortunately, my van is not set up to travel any further north on more rugged roads. Leaving Cooktown, we will then travel west and into the Northern Territory and on to Darwin. This will be a much longer road trip, adding to our skills and knowledge of life on the road.

I will also hopefully learn how to relax without feeling guilty, improve my ukulele skills and continue my reading.

I am enjoying my retirement and the experiences that come with this new phase in my life and I am looking forward to meeting more of my fellow grey nomads.

I will report back again in the future and let you know how things are progressing. After all, like many things in life, retirement is a journey – not a destination.

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