I’ve often wondered what “Day 1” of retirement feels like.
It’s a day we strive toward for years (decades, really). Day 1. What does it feel like when it actually arrives? After years of planning, saving and dreaming about retirement, the day arrives.
It’s a big day. A really big day. A symbolic day.
Your Day Of Independence.
For those of us still working, it’s something we can only imagine. We haven’t experienced it. For those of you fortunate enough to have already retired, the day has come and gone. I hope you took time to savor it. I know I will. I’m sure every retiree has had some interesting thoughts on that very first day that their alarm clock didn’t have to go off. Everyone has a story of….
…Their Independence Day.
I had a tremendous opportunity last night to talk with some dear friends, The Groovy’s, on Day 1 of their retirement. Their Independence Day. And I was there, on their “Day 1”, in a small, virtual sort of way.
I’ve known The Groovy’s for a while now. They’ve got an awesome blog about Grooviness, called “Freedom Is Groovy”. Last week, they left the workforce and achieved their goal of becoming “Groovy Freakin’ Freedomists”.
How Groovy is that?
I consider them friends, and appreciate the unexpected benefit of the “virtual network” that my blogging has led me in to. It’s an interesting phenomenon that’s hard to explain, one you have to experience to really understand. We financial bloggers think alike, we’re a bit wierd (frugal, anyone?), and we share common interests (FIRE, or “Financial Independence, Retire Early”, is a common theme). In short, we connect in various ways, and the Groovy’s are part of my virtual family.
I love these guys, and am sincerely happy that they’re achieved FIRE! (Congratulations!!). It’s been a fun process to watch as they’ve “closed in” on their retirement date over the past 6 months. Their journey culminated in a post Mr. Groovy had thought about for a long time – his EPIC RETIREMENT POST! I was happy for them when it was recognized with “Rockstar” status, a badge of honor in the blogging community!
The Phone Call
The Groovy’s and I talk every few months, sharing ideas on blogging, helping each other prepare for podcast interviews, dreaming about creating a regional bloggers conference, and simply getting to know each other. A few months ago, we agreed to have a call in mid-October. I was pleased when I realized we would talk on “Day 1” of their retirement.
I opend the call with an elaborate and excited pitch on how I was going to write a post about their Day 1.
Then I realized they had hung up on me.
Really. They never heard a word I said.
Technical difficulties. It must have been because they murdered their phone. With a sledgehammer. Now THAT’S the way to start retirement!! Good for you, Groovies. Good for you!
After they sorted out their speaker phone technical issues, we started the call again. I hit rewind and gave the same enthusiastic intro about wanting to write a post about their Day 1. They laughed.
But I took notes.
How often do you get to talk to a husband/wife team on Day 1, and who both retired at the same time?
True fodder for a Blogger!
Day 1 – A Real Life Example
Mr. Groovy got up at his typical 5:00 am. Why?? He just did.
Mrs. Groovy “slept in” until 7:00. (I’m taking Mrs. Groovy’s lead on my Day 1, but I may try to push for 8:00!)
A fairly typical morning ensued. Since they’ve both worked from home, the routine wasn’t all that different than a “typical” work day.
Except, ah, yeah. THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO WORK!
Mrs. G spent time in the morning doing her normal routine of reading blogs (she’s a blog hound, and is always the first to comment on my posts. Here’s an example, from Day 2 of her retirement, when she left this comment only moments after I posted my article about Green Acres Syndrome):
Their big event of the day?
Returning Mr. Groovy’s work computer.
Funny part was, he tried to pay with his “company card” since it was a work related expense.
Bastards already froze his card.
Wow, thanks for your decades of service. We appreciate all that you’ve done. However, we don’t trust you, and are locking you down the minute you leave. Don’t let the door slam your backside on your way out.
I think I would have considered making them come pick up the computer themselves.
Mrs. Groovy didn’t fair much better. Her appreciative employer disconnected her cell phone 24 HOURS BEFORE SHE RETIRED! Gotta love employer appreciation these days.
Anyway, returning the computer was their “planned activity” for the day. They’re planning “1 planned activity per day, at least for a while”. Seems like a good approach as they make the transition into their new life.
The rest of the day unwound serendipitously (my favorite word!).
They had a phone call in the evening with a fellow blogger. I know, I was there.
They hung up on
Later, they went to bed.
In short, kind of a typical day. Sun rose. Sun set. Life goes on.
How Big A Deal Is Day 1?
Maybe I’m over thinking this Day 1 thing. Life does go on. Freedom is awesome, but there’s still stuff to do. Like going to the post office to return a computer. The Groovy’s plan on taking in some afternoon matinees and avoid the evening crowds. It’s nice to not have to go work for “The Man” every morning, no doubt. But a day is still a day.
Travel is certainly easier, but that’s not really a “Day 1” thing. The Groovy’s have some travel plans (sorry I’ll miss you when you pass through my area next week), and I suspect The Groovy’s will make their way out to Montana at some point, one of their favorite places.
Somehow, I imagine they will meet up with Ms. Montana from Montanta Money Adventures. (Check out her site, she’s awesome!). She’s also part of the “virtual family”, and I’m enjoying watching her success during her one year sabbatical from work. Ms. Montana and her family live a “Green Acres” lifestyle in the gorgeous Flathead Valley, near Glacier National Park. Ironically, that’s one of the areas my wife have always dreamed of potentially retiring to.
Conclusion: A Better Plan
Thinking about it, I don’t think we should focus too much on “Day 1”. A better plan is to be intentional as you live your life. Find a reason to celebrate each day. Every day is a blessing, and we have fewer of them left every time the sun sets.
Don’t sacrifice today, waiting for tomorrow.
Seize The Moment.
Don’t save it all up for retirement.
Live life each day.
P.S. Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Groovy, on accomplishing your FIRE goals. Given your role in the financial blogging community, I thought it appropriate to recognize you on your special day. Consider this post my retirement gift, and a heartfelt tribute for all that you do. I look forward to watching your journey as you make the transition into retirement.