Pipe dream, at least for now. I’m too young to collect Social Security and not quite far enough along in my personal retirement savings to stop contributing.
It’s not that I don’t like what I do. Writing is as natural as respiration. Even if I quit writing full-time I’d likely freelance here and there. Lately, though, I’m viewing time as more important than money, and resenting the hours spent on non-life-enriching stuff.
We now interrupt our regular broadcast to check our privilege: Plenty of people in the world don’t have the freedom even to consider such a choice. They work until they die, and with their last breaths apologize for not contributing more to the family and for costing so much money to bury.
I know that I am in a pretty benevolent place: I can work from home, the job is interesting and lets me help people, and I get to see DF for lunch every day.
Which brings me to the main reason I want to retire.
My partner and I got a late start and I’m increasingly aware of how finite time really is. I want to spend more time with DF without having to take it from somewhere else: work, visiting my daughter, hanging out with my nephews, catching up on “iZombie” with my pal Linda B., exercise, sleep.
All those things mesh, but something always gets shorted.
Retirement: More time?
Again: Privilege! I know that I’m lucky to have the setup in which I currently live. But like one-half of the blogging duo Nicoleandmaggie, I believe I could fill my days pretty handily without paid employment.
In a post called “What would you do if retired?,” she wrote about how she spent her time while between jobs:
“I have plenty of hobbies including riding horses, reading, napping, and fostering orphaned kittens. I have friends to see and cool places to go. I could do some traveling. … I will probably never live long enough to read all the books I want to read, so I’d be happy to do that for a long, long time…being temporarily retired is awesome!
“Though making money is awesome, too.”
And there’s the rub: the need to support oneself. Sure, I could quit looking for most work and live really carefully – which we do anyway – until collecting reduced Social Security at age 62. Part of me wants to do this: to fill the rest of my days with DF, friends and family, books, walks, theater reviews, travel and other things that make me happy.
But that’s not the smart move. Making money is, at least for a while longer.
He and I are lucky to have found each other. We know that. Sometimes, though, we wish we didn’t have to spend so much of our lives together being apart.
Readers: Did you ever think about retiring early? If you plan to do this, how will you spend your time once it’s your own?