Several of our family and friends have asked us this question. Truly, the quick and accurate answer is “amazing”. But this doesn’t tell the whole story. We are only a few months into our retirement so our views of things will likely change as we settle in but, so far, we feel purposeful, challenged and content. We sculpt our days around projects, errands and playing. We have boat projects with varying priority, with new ones popping up all the time (a common saying in the sailing community is that “sailing is fixing your boat in exotic places”).
We decide where our attention goes. Every day. This is the amazing part.
What we don’t feel is chronic stress and anxiety, worry about work due yesterday or finding the sweet spot to resolving a problem – you know, that place that exists somewhere between a-good-way-to-get-things-done and money/time/politics constraints. This is the stuff that hangs in your head and gnaws at your gut, stealing your precious time even when you are supposed to be enjoying family moments or just relaxing. Remember relaxing?
Yes, we still feel stress – for example, when something on the boat breaks (like our seacock did at launch or the weather takes an interesting turn like it did on our recent sail to Stella Bay. But this stress is the good kind. The kind that says “um, act or die”. So, you act…and then weirdly enough, the stress is gone. It is motivating. And it doesn’t hang around pointlessly.
The other nice thing is no morning alarm waking us. We wake up when we wake up although, oddly enough, I still get up around 6:00 am most days 😊. We also don’t feel rushed or that the days are just not long enough to get everything done. On a boat, a schedule can get you into major trouble. A boat project will take the time it takes. Rushing it leads to shortcuts that leads to “ugh, I meant to replace that quick fix duct tape with electrical tape” moments. And trying to have a schedule for when you will be arriving or departing a harbour is what can get a sailor in some dicey fights with La Grande Dame, Mother Nature. Actually, she is our only boss these days and we gladly follow her lead.
So, yes, retirement from the rat race has been a wonderful change for us. We are still challenging ourselves (Wild Horses keeps us on our toes!) while also exploring new places and inspirations. And taking time to appreciate all of our moments – big and small.
Days are longer when you savour those moments and this has been a blessing that early retirement has given us.
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.