I always say my “mission” these days is to do meaningful work in retirement. I don’t necessarily mean paid work – in fact I haven’t chosen to work for pay since my Encore Fellowship ended about 10 months ago.
I figure writing this down and making it public will help to keep me accountable, and also appreciate when I have actually accomplished more than it might feel like I have.
Do Meaningful Work
To me this simply means, spending time and energy on things that contribute to my personal priorities.
helping family members who are getting less independent
working out regularly, and hiking with friends
managing our financial decisions
engaging in local climate & sustainability projects
blogging and tweeting about books/finance/sustainability
Lately, it has become clear to me that there are some common themes running through my life ~ a common thread related to ‘sustainability’. Maybe it’s true for you too.
I like to keep up with the news and progress related to renewable energy and other ways we could be taking better care of things environmentally.
I also realize that my interest in financial independence and planning is essentially another angle on the same topic, focused on personal sustainability. It’s about identifying priorities, and then making life choices that align with that plan. I think of this as building a ‘resilient’ financial life that offers a form of freedom and balance.
And I value the benefits of a healthy life of physical activity, as well as a community of friends and family that form the foundation of a happy and healthy life.
As a part of nearly every day, I’m seeking and gathering information on these topics.
So, I’ve started this site to share some of what I’m learning, and hopefully inspire more people toward what I call “common sense sustainability”. I hope it offers some ‘food for thought’ for others on a similar path.
I didn’t really plan to “retire” before 55. Here’s how I came to realize it was possible!
In my early 40’s, as many people do, I got restless about my career. I felt the need for more “meaningful work”. I was excited to find a graduate program that spoke to me, and I made the decision to work full-time and work on my Sustainable Management degree part-time…good start to my transition!
In the midst of this crazy time, on a vacation in the mountains, I found myself drawn to a book called Work Less, Live More: The Way to Semi-Retirement. I read it cover-to-cover a couple times on that trip, and my mental wheels started turning (aided greatly by the clarity of mind that hits me when I’m surrounded by the natural beauty of an alpine lake and snow-capped mountains).
Five years later, I had an education in a new field that was meaningful to me, and 2 years after that I took what felt like a big leap of faith and left my high-tech corporate career.