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We’re in late Summer, heading into an early Fall.

The seasons are changing.

We’ve been working hard on bailing the hay while the sun’s shining. We need it for feed through the winter and we’re filling the barn. It’s been a season of intense work.  The barn’s almost full.

My sister’s farm in Michigan. Love the rainbow!

It’s Been A Sacrifice.

Baling, bailing, bailing hay.

We’re tired.

But…..a season of rest is coming, soon.

Autumn is coming, along with the comfort of having hay in the barn. Prepare to rest. Click To Tweet

Thinking of life as “Seasons” has been an introspective way to think about the transition into retirement, and it filled my mind during my swim tonight in my City Apartment pool.

I realized I’ve been baling hay.

I’m Rethinking Retirement

Thinking in terms of “seasons” has caused me to rethink retirement. Retirement is a time to pause and reap the harvest, but what does that mean?  It’s a different season than I’m in right now (bailing, bailing, bailing).  I’m still filling the barn.  Once that barn’s full,  the weather’s going to change.  It’s time to start thinking about the transition into August, the adjustment into……

  • A season to reap.
  • A season to rest.
  • A season to reflect.
  • A season to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

At least for a time.  At least for a Season.

This poem from R.G. Kingsley is a good reminder of the benefits of Autumn:

Yes, Autumn IS a time to “enjoy the fruition”. It isn’t without stress, but it’s different than the season of Harvest.  The “care and toil” begin to fade, it’s time to relax and reflect.

Adjusting To Autumn

As we work to move from Good To Great, there’s a place for reflection as we approach Autumn.  How will things change after the hay is in the barn?  What areas of my life will I focus on retirement?  Which areas will I devote less energy too?

Since you’re a reader of this blog, I’ll use that as an example for this “seasonal” way of thinking.  What will my blogging activity look like after I retire?   Will I write less, write more, or maintain the current pace of one article per week?  I don’t know at this point, but I’m reminding myself that it’s “in play”.  I write for fun, and it’s an area that I can adjust at any time.  For any reason.  Don’t turn “optional” activity into “obligations”.  Realize the freedom you have, and decide what “enjoying the fruition” looks like in your life.  Decide what you’ll spend LESS time on and where you’ll spend MORE.

I hope to spend LESS time on managing our money.  We’ve intentionally designed a Retirement Investment Drawdown Strategy which should allow us to manage our retirement portfolio in a few hours per year.  Yep.  Have a look at our decumulation strategy. (btw, thanks to all who have joined “The Chain”, the articles on your individual strategies to manage decumulation have been fascinating.  See all of the articles here).  Find a way to simplify.  Find a way to enjoy your Harvest.

I hope to spend MORE time doing Community Service? My wife and I enjoy doing Dog Rescue together (read her article So…I Fostered, to get some insight) and are enjoying our current 3-week stint as Foster Parents to some very cute puppies (ah, a taste of early Fall).  Here’s one of our favorite pups in our “foster litter”, which my wife and I personally rescued from a bad situation last week, and will be fostering until they’re ready to adopt in 2 more weeks:

Who doesn’t love saving puppies?

Maybe I’ll pursue a dream, and spend some time building a treehouse.  It’s a crazy idea, but something that’s always fascinated me.  We certainly have the property for it, now that we’ve moved into our “Great” cabin!  My wife thinks I’m nuts, but who knows how we’ll ultimately spend out “August”.  We’re free to enjoy our harvest, wherever that may lead.

Maybe I’ll build a treehouse…..

Great stuff, this.

The seed for this post was planted during today’s 5:00 am Monday morning commute. My least favorite time of the week, pre-dawn Monday is when I make my once-weekly commute into The City.  Today, Joshua Sheets @ RadicalPersonalFinance filled my foggy early-morning mind with his incredible two-part #podcast series “Seasons Of Life.”  I was at the office before I even realized I’d been driving (thanks for keeping me awake, Joshua). Please listen to both of the episodes here (Part I and Part II).

The talk of “Seasons” is inspiring.

Josh speaks to the Seasons Of LIfe, and how we have to dedicate certain periods in our lives to working hard at growing the crop, while also being intentional in taking some slow time to enjoy the harvest.  I love his thoughts on early career / early marriage / early childhood in particular, but the concept is also applicable to retirement.

The podcast from Joshua came at a critical time in my life, and I’ve been thinking about this topic since I listened to him this morning. I’ve been thinking about what our dream retirement looks like.

I’ve been wondering about Life Balance, and what it will look like post-retirement.

Along comes Johua’s podcast, and with it a personal realization.

We’re Changing Seasons.

Embrace it.  Prepare for it.

We’ve Been Working Hard.  And Sacrificing.  It’s late summer, gotta get the hay in.

But A Season of Rest Is Coming.

Choose How To Enjoy Your Harvest.


Life has Seasons.  Look at your life from various perspectives, and continually adjust as you work to move from Good To Great. Try thinking about life as seasons, as outlined on the Radical Personal Finance Podcast, and see where it leads. Apply Lesson 5 from this post, and “Focus On The Forest Instead Of The Trees”. Think about what you want your life to become, and be intentional about doing what you can to move it in the right direction.

The seasons are changing.

Soon, we’ll be enjoying our Harvest.

It’s a new perspective for me, and I like it.  Try it, you might gain something from the thought exercise.

Perhaps,  you’ll even figure out what you need to do to prepare for your next season.


  1. “My wife thinks I’m nuts, but who knows how we’ll ultimately spend out “August”.”
    I also frequently come up with ideas/plans that are nuts. Sometimes serious. Sometimes joking. And sometimes serious, but pretend to be joking.
    Good luck with the tree house.

  2. Great reflections and that podcast today as I paint… (in the house, not for fun!) Even though I just retired, we are in total “bail” mode with two houses that are in various stages of remodel. Our rest period is months away – but it is in view and that’s what keeps us going. We are having a heck of a time finding any contractors who have time to do work – but hoping as the fall arrives, they will have more time too. I don’t want to rush the summer away at all (of course it is 56 degrees out here and it doesn’t feel like summer in late June!) – but I’ll be happy when things have settled a bit.

    1. Vicki, congrats on achieving FIRE last week!! Woot woot! Having just completed the work to put our “Good” cabin on the market, I can totally empathize with what you’re going through. At least you’re retired, and have the time to invest! Good luck with the prep work, look forward to seeing how things turn out!

  3. If you build a tree house will we be saying “Good to Great — to Greatest”?
    Is that Hershey in the photo? It was great spending time with you and Jackie, your dogs — and the puppies and their mommy. I hope they all get adopted soon.

    Don’t turn “optional” activity into “obligations” is a great reminder about choice. Many of us put a lot of extra pressure on ourselves for optional causes — that’s an area I’m working on. To get the most out of life it’s essential to recognize what’s mandatory and what isn’t.

    Thanks for sharing your poetic side today, Fritz!

    1. Hmmmm, good question about the treehouse title, going to have to think on that one!

      Too funny to have a comment with specifics about the pups, fun to have a blogging friend who’s spent time with them, during a visit with Jackie and me! I’m guessing you have remorse about deciding not to take one home with you!? (And yes, it actually IS Hershey, our favorite!). Great meeting you and Mr. G this weekend, thanks again for driving over to spend some quality time with us!

      It’s been interesting to think about “optional vs. mandatory” as we think about Autumn, it’s a big change in life as you and Mr. G know! Sometimes, moving from Good To Great requires thinking on the “softer” side of life, even if it leans toward the poetic! Ah, the joy of blogging!

      1. No, no remorse about the puppies, although Hershey clung to me like a kitten!

        You might have missed how nervous I was Sunday morning waiting for a text from our cat sitter. Groovy Cat is our last pet — at least for now. When we do extended trips it will be even harder to leave him and know he’s in good care. Maybe when we’re much older, as in we’re still walking but not traveling — maybe then we’ll adopt a dog.

        1. I did pick up on your anxiety about Groovy Cat. There’s no doubt that having pets is a major consideration in the “Go Go” years of early retirement. One of our primary reasons for our plan to travel via 5th wheel is to accommodate our dogs. It’s not perfect, but it works for us! You’ll definately have more “freedom” to travel without having pets. Life’s about compromise, isn’t it!?

  4. My first instinct was the same as Mrs. Groovy: I like the idea of not turning “optional” into “obligations.” But the more I think about it—and this depends on individual personality—the lack of any structure to the day can be detrimental to some.

    When my retirement comes, I’ll look forward to following my own schedule, but it will still be a schedule 🙂

    1. Dr C., I agree retirement needs to come with SOME structure, but the beauty of the structure is that it’s entirely optional as to how it’s structured! Big topic, you can see why I spent my swim thinking about it! There’s a lot to consider, and I’m at the point in my life where it’s time to start thinking about it! I’ll keep you posted as things unfold!

  5. Just tel your wife the tree house is a guest house…but an Uber chic one. Also Mr Money Mustache recently built a second building on his property, so you are in good company.

    Life has seasons and I think part of the FIRE mentality is to shorten (but make more intense) the spring and summer season so they can have a prolonged autumn and winter. Not a bad way to live but it takes hard work…:

    Hope the work week has been okay thus far! Fostering dogs is our next plan once our son is bigger and our current old dog is no longer with us.

    1. I LOVE the studio that MMM built. I don’t expect I’ll come close to that, but if I do proceed with a treehouse I hope to outperform the 3′ x 3′ platform I built as a child!! 🙂

      Interesting point about the FIRE community working to shorten the summer, I hadn’t thought about it that way and it’s a nice addition to the thought of “seasons”. When your “season” is right, I encourage the fostering idea. It’s rewarding, and great for the many dogs who are in need of rescue! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Excellent post Fritz! As I was out for an early morning walk with a friend, the subject of retirement came up and we spoke of many of the things I’ve learned from your blog. This particular post zeroed in on some of the topics we discussed on the timing that is so individual for each of us. As soon as I read it I forwarded it on to her. At about 18 months into retirement ourselves–we are still adjusting our plan to be the GREAT retirement years we know God has in mind for us. Thank you for enjoying your fun hobby that helps so many!!

    1. “…the many things I’ve learned from your blog” (!!) Great to know folks are learning from my words, Mona! Thanks for your encouragement, and friendship! You and Kirk are also teaching us, and it’s greatly appreciated! Look forward to seeing you at the wedding in July!

  7. I really enjoyed reading this post. I love the seasons analogy. It is a great way to look at your next chapter. It reminded me of the Frank Sinatra song “it was a very good year”. You worked hard and I hope you enjoy what is coming next.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Dave. It’s interesting how some readers prefer the “hard”, while others prefer the “soft”. I enjoy the creative flexibility to move between the two, and appreciate the positive feedback I get from readers on both types. Thanks for taking the time to leave your encouraging comment!

  8. I love the idea of a tree house! We’ve often talked about one. Used to love watching that show when we had cable…can’t think of the name of it right now, but it was awesome. I’m thinking you need to make it a ‘guest house’ hint hint!

    Great post Fritz! But let’s not rush summer please! 🙂 Thanks for the podcast recommendations.

  9. I love the analogy – definitely feels like the season is changing in my family these days 🙂

    If you build a treehouse, can my family and I come out to visit and crash there? It sounds awesome 🙂

    1. Hey Chris, trust me, with my (lack of) carpentry skills, I don’t think you’d want to have your family “crash” there (tho, your choice of words my prove to be uncanny)….

      Enjoy your changing seasons. I still can’t believe you sleep on the floor! You’re amazing!

  10. My husband had the great idea of building a treehouse for our kids himself, let’s just say it didn’t end well! Bless him for trying though, haha. If you actually decide to build one, I hope it goes better for you, Fritz. Good luck and thanks for another great post!

  11. I love how you used the baling hay analogy. We have to load about 250 square bales up into the loft every year and it is da*n hard work. Seriously. Hard. Work. I think saving for FIRE is the same way. For most people I think it doesn’t come really easy, but instead with lots of work and sacrifice.

    Okay, LOVE that puppy!! Very cool that you guys do puppy foster care. Praying this little one gets a loving home soon!

    1. Laurie, my sister also “harvests hay” at her Michigan farm (where the pics were taken), but they go with the round bales (so much easier than loading all those square bales into a loft!).

      And, I think your farm needs a little puppy to add to your joy…..I know someone who can help with that. Smiles.

  12. Less of the early fall, thanks! We in Scotland haven’t yet had anything approaching a summer, so we are a long way from baling hay. We were commenting this morning that the wheat is just starting to turn a slightly lighter green.
    I agree about the seasons of life. Our ‘harvest’ still feels quite new and we are 6 years in. We try hard to avoid a schedule, and enjoy each day as it comes.
    Like you, I never enjoyed that pre-dawn Monday morning start, except in my case, it was a plane, not a car. Mind you it is dawn here at 3:30am just now. Getting up never seems so bad when it is light.
    Have a good July 4th

    1. Erith, thanks so much for stopping by! I suspect your Scottish summers don’t start until July, and end by August! You’re certainly VERY far north! Long summer days, long winter nights. At least you get to see The Northern Lights up there, I guess? I

      ‘m glad to hear “The Harvest” has lasted for a strong 6 years for you, and wish many more years of enjoying the fruits of your labor (or is that labour?). Thanks for your comment, I’m enjoying your blog!

      1. Fritz, Yes, as I write this at 11pm, it is just getting dark, so only 3-4 hours of darkness for us at the minute, but we pay for it in December & January , when we only get 6 or 7 hours of daylight! Our summers are usually June to August, but it feels far from midsummer at the minute! We certainly get the Northern lights up here, but so far I have missed them….

        Enjoy your Independence Day celebrations. I was in Philadelphia in 2001 and heard Morgan Freeman read the Declaration of Independence. A lovely evening. The next year was New York, but I haven’t been back for July 4th since…

  13. I really enjoyed your perspective on this and it got me thinking. Good way to look at things especially as you get older. We can spend so much time of our lives focused on working and not always on enjoying ourselves as much as we should. I think its important to make time to enjoy the fruits of your labor for all those years. Nothing wrong with working, but waiting until your 65 or 70 to retire might not leave you with that many quality years left.

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