The Supreme Freedom of Retirement

Retirement hasn’t been at all like I pictured it. In fact, I never even pictured it until I met Mike thirteen years ago. The fact is, I couldn’t afford it back then, instead I was quite busy looking for a new job at age 49.

midlife-crisis-queen-original-header

At that time, good fortune visited me big time! I decided I needed to change careers, and Mike decided he wanted to support me in this new endeavor. Thus emerged my “Midlife Crisis Queen” blog (now defunct) and my three books about the challenges and rewards of changing everything in midlife.

Then Mike and I moved to rural Colorado in 2014, which required some major mental adjustments (at least for me) and we worked full-time to produce a passive solar home in a little over one year. It was only after that major life achievement that we began to officially “retire.”

retirement living for yourself

Now, a couple years later, I recently realized that retirement may be my first chance to observe my true nature. For the first time in my life nobody is telling me what to do, no parents, no boss, no need to be nice to make money, no need to prove myself to anyone. Basically no pressure and very little stress of any kind.

For the first time I get to decide how much self-discipline I want to have. At first we both had very little. We were both so exhausted from over a year of home building. Mike and I both felt numb. We loved to sit and look at our view and just feel glad to be alive.

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The meaning of life is having a spectacular view…

But after a while, you begin to wonder who you are beyond all the rules and self-discipline that has filled your life up until now. Do you like who you really are? Do you enjoy hanging out with yourself and your significant other?

How will you fill your life now? These are the kinds of questions that keep some from ever retiring. They may be afraid of what they might become with no rules or structure. I enjoy this phase of life so much more than I ever imagined! I love the lack of rules or structure to my days.

Mike at home

I don’t need very much to give my life meaning, because my meaning is in the enjoyment of each day.

I appreciate the fact that I have a better life than just about anyone else on planet earth right now, and I’m going to enjoy the hell out of that until I draw my last breathe…

forget the past and failures

To learn more about how midlife questioning helped to create a new lifestyle for us in an amazing passive solar home in the Colorado outback, go check out: A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado

 

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8 thoughts on “The Supreme Freedom of Retirement

  1. Congratulations on your new found freedom and awareness Laura Lee. I have been incredibly fortunate to have that same freedom for most of my life as a self employed person. Both my husband and I recognized early on that we didn’t want to fit into what was “normal” for most people and we just risked it all to follow our own path. It hasn’t always been easy but I wouldn’t have changed a thing for all the reasons you’ve found. Of course, what we are doing now means we never need to “officially” retire because we have the benefits of retirement AND we get to be creative and enjoy the work we get to do–by choice. That’s why I call it “rightsizing” because I think a lot of people can do it even if they are still working. ~Kathy

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    • Yes Kathy, you are so right! I’m glad I started writing eleven years ago. Now I work in my own way and enjoy it everyday! And so glad to meet cool people like you in the process…

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  2. My spouse and I are now living without the regimen of the commute and the office. But we find it suits us to distinguish between weekdays and weekends and to impose a loose discipline on our weekday lives. We both think of ourselves as semi-retired (he’s taken to writing books; I still have a part-time contract with the magazine I used to work for). I can see where the freedom from regimentation is a deep and wonderful breath but we seem to like the shallower breathing. To each his own, Isn’t that what it’s about.

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  3. I’m writing a little bit about retirement when I get to “R” in the AtoZ challenge this month Laura Lee – I’m only working part-time these days and will be heading into retirement in the next decade – I think it will be an amazing time of life – especially since we don’t have any hugely expensive needs and we live quite frugally. I think that you hit on the secret – appreciate what you have and be grateful every day!

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