Seven and a half years ago, I published my first blog post on this site. I wrote about whether or not to use the countdown ticker to optional retirement.
I had 11 ½ years, or 137 months until I could let go of full-time work—at least that’s what I thought I had. My plan was to retire in December of 2027. That’s just under 4 years from now.
During those 7 ½ years (or 90 months), I was able to purchase 2 ½ years of time (or pay what I would have paid in retirement funds if it had been taken out of my paychecks during some part-time jobs I had) Now I have a year and almost 4 months until I can leave full time work. That’s 16 months!
This feels like a ton of progress, and I believe my outlook is much happier than if I hadn’t taken all the steps I have to be able to leave work. I don’t know how I’d feel if I still had 4 years. I’m guessing that some days, I’d struggle thinking that I had to still put in 4 years, but other days may feel like today—whether I can retire in 4 years or 1.5 years, I still have to work today.
Around 7 ½ years ago is when I found Tanja Hester’s blog Our Next Life. I had googled “early retirement” and her blog is one that came up. Seeing that others had the same goal I did was exhilarating. I remember finding the blog post at work just a bit before going to teach one of my classes. I was hooked! I read every single blog post as it came out, then started reading from the beginning of her blog (January 2015) all the way to the present and then all over again.
Originally, I wasn’t going to use the count down ticker. I thought it’d take me too far into the future. I’m glad I changed my mind and used it. If I am feeling frustrated with work, I can take a quick glance. I try to wait a significant amount of time before checking it again so that each time I look, the months or weeks have decreased. I love seeing that progress.
Now that I am closer to optional retirement, I have been thinking about everything I value about my job and how hard it may be to leave teaching, my students and my colleagues. It’s funny how knowing I’ll be able to leave makes me think about staying. I’m guessing this is pretty normal and definitely something to really think through before giving my notice.
How do you all feel about marking down time to a specific event? Does it take you out of living in the present? Does it give you some energy to make it through the present?
Peace Out (and In),