Surely I’ve been a bit lazy lately about my postings – life happens. As an independent consultant, the highs are high and the lows are low. The last time I was on a break is when I decided to start this site. I also wrote about the time off here. I called it a glimpse of financial freedom, but the fact is – until you’re financially free, you’ll never feel truly free. Now, I find myself in what some would call a mini retirement.
What Is Mini-Retirement?
Not sure who coined the term “mini-retirement”, but this is the loose definition:
At some point you’ll need to worry about your finances again and how you’re going to make it to the next month, week, or even day. Once again, I find myself in this break. I’ve realized that it takes time to settle into these breaks. It’s not the comfortable new routine you should get used to either. You don’t want your skills to continue to rust.
It sort of feels like a Summer break, except all of your friends aren’t able to come out and play because they live in the real world.
The first few days are a welcomed relief, getting to sleep in as much as you want. After that is when you need to start deciding on a routine though. Without some sort of routine, things start to get a little hazy. The days start to blend together and you find yourself waking up later and later and the nights get later and later. I’m already a month or so into this “mini-retirement” and I still haven’t found a consistent routine. I am trying to maintain some normal hours and I don’t stay up all too late.
The excitement of my mini-retirement thus far:
- Getting to play video games again – A welcomed change because I never play when I’m back at work.
- Went on a week vacation – Nice to get away from here for a bit and see some new places.
- Bought Netflix stock pre-earnings release – Made $1,000 and got out – Too bad I can’t do this every week.
- Studying for certifications – Just started this back up – I feel it’s a necessary evil to keep myself relevant in the job market.
- V-ball, indoor rock climbing, and trying to spend time with friends.
Stay The Course
The biggest thing that I can note is that it’s easy to lose focus. Personally, not a fan of the feeling and usually I find myself back on some sort of routine. Sometimes it becomes a bit of a roller coaster if I don’t find a longer term goal. This is the reason why I’m starting up my certifications path. It gets me focused back on work related items. Once I get one certification, I can go for another. I have my eye on three specific certifications. I may get through all three of them or I may not even get through one, but at least they’re clear, concise goals.
I may also try my hand in interviewing again. I found myself stumbling recently in an interview and realized that I had gotten too comfortable with consistent work in the last few years. I may not be the hot commodity I once thought I was and that’s alright. I’m not in any rush as I have plenty of nuts saved to get me through Winter if I need it.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
This, I’m starting to notice is probably the best benefit of striving for FIRE. The further along your path, the more reserves you have. You find yourself not sweating the bumps in the road nearly as much. Granted, I don’t have any kids yet, so that does add a level of ease. There are plenty of other FIRE-goers that have kids though and the same principles still apply.
While I love this break, it also shows me that I’m not quite ready to truly call it quits. I don’t have a definitive plan yet, but I’m still a few years away – so I don’t need one.
I wrote a related article on this about planning first before retiring. I’ll definitely be following my own advice before taking any plunges in the future.
As I was out the other day with a friend, he reminded me that life is still really precious. Anything can happen, so while we need to plan for the future we should also live for today. Mini-retirement can mean a lot of things, but it’s definitely a break from the regular routine or daily grind that you’re used to. It’s something to enjoy, but it’s not permanent. For that reason, I don’t think it’s something any one person should do for too long since you can end up squandering savings – especially if your goal is financial freedom.