One of the many brilliant things about early retirement is that it allows you to spend your time as you wish. With financial independence comes some significant choice over exactly how you fill your days. There are an endless list of things do to, but not an endless amount of time in which to do them, which means we have to prioritize. Even though a financially independent person has seemingly a lot of time to spend compared to someone locked in an office all day, there is still no time to waste.
“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” – Theophrastus
In my view, we should do things which tend to produce lasting happiness, which in my view are those things which provide intellectual stimulation, community benefit, strengthened relationships and are sustainable – there are many other sources but for me those are some of the most important.
So after you’ve spent so much time working so hard to get out of the work-till-you’re-dead trap, how will you fill your day? A traditional retirement doesn’t have this problem, because typically we are so old and tired when we retire at 65 or 70 that our options are severely limited. When we retire at 35, the best years of our lives are ahead of us and we can live a fulfilled life as we choose. Here are some of the things I’m dreaming of doing when I reach my early retirement in 2022:
- Work at a volunteer organisation that can’t afford to pay staff
- Raise my children myself
- Become completely self-sufficient
- Complete a marathon
- Write a book
- Read 100 classic novels
- Study using one of the many free educational resources available online
- Teach myself new skills (carpentry, diving, golf)
- Learn a language and then travel to the country
- Lobby local government about an issue I’m passionate about
- Advocate for a disadvantaged group
- Sleep in
- Check up on lonely and elderly relatives
- Swim in the ocean
- Sit on the board of a community group
- Rear injured animals or a guide dog
- Mentor a disadvantaged child
- Organise a sporting team
- Establish a community garden
- Whatever I want!