I’m retired (for now) – Part 1: Mindset shifts

Hello friend,

I’m reporting back 7 weeks into this mini retirement and I just want to say that I finally begun to feel more rested.

I resigned mid May, interestingly one year since I published the “I can retire but I don’t” post. I survived the excruciating 2.5 months of extended notice period till the end of July to help properly close the quarter with minimal disruption to the business as usual. I spent a little bit of time travelling and then recovering from covid in August, so I only begun settling into this new life in September.

Today I will talk about the mindset shifts I feel so far. I’ll go into the why, what now, and other updates as I go on this journey in separate posts.

First let me say I am incredibly fortunate to have the life circumstances to be able to make this decision. If you are considering this move yourself, I wish you a soft landing and feel free to reach out, happy to chat about it.

If I can summarise the mini retirement, it’s and unhurried, uninterrupted, and rested life.

The rested part only started to take shape 1.5 month into the process and I’m still learning to slow down. But having a full day uninterrupted by external social punctuation is such a relief. I feel like I have space to put my whole being and do the things that really matter to me.

Even if I understood intellectually that I can’t rush recovery but I am still impatiently annoyed that I have not yet been able to get to that state as fast as I’d like to. I am still approaching this as if taking all my meds in one sitting can get me better faster. This sprinting mentality is actually the impulse that got me to this state. I need to learn to marathon. I’ll do my best today, one step a a time. There is no time to rush.

It’s nice to finally be able to snap out of the sleep paralysis of the fever dream of rabid urgency that most of the world is constantly in. If you’re disillusioned you better hope you can fall back asleep.

That is the biggest mindset shift for me: having to remind myself that it’s OK to slow down. I have time now.

Time used to feel scarce because I kept trying to find a way to have the cake and eat it too. I still think it’s possible but I can afford to just bake another one. The past 5 years is me accepting that the old cake is getting stale, I am hungry now, and my taste has evolved and I actually want another cake.

Even if I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do next, it’s okay because I’m not in a rush. I have time and space to explore and experiment.

Even if I still feel easily tired, it’s okay because I can now stop scraping for energy from the bottom of the barell to show up at the level I want to be judged for at work. I have time to start filling up the tank even by just 2% today and do my best again tomorrow. Slowly is OK, as long as I keep on making progress.

Even if I can’t remember what I just read, it’s okay. I have time to reread. Even if I don’t highlight or take any notes, it’s okay. I have time to reread. Even if the book is dense, it’s okay. I have time to read it now and read it slowly. Even if I don’t get immediate result or benefit from the book, it’s okay. I have time to read it now and let the ideas simmer.

I can take my time in living my life.

Immediately, less things look like a zero sum game and less things are at high stakes. I have time to do it things now and do things later.

My list of errands look less daunting, family dinners feel less like a tradeoff, and my guitar looks more patient, as if saying “welcome back, take your time, I’ll be here when you’re ready”. My needs are not competing with my shoulds anymore.

Actually, it feels like everything around me is saying “take your time”, these days. There is no cadence I have to march to and there is nothing to prove to anyone, not even to myself.

This tired sigh has turned into a deep guiltless exhale.

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