Early Retirement ~ a Week or So On

It’s one thing to make a personal decision and it’s quite another to tell the world about it.  I’ve come to the conclusion, though,  that there are some decisions that maybe need to ‘go public’ before they hit home, like the jolt you get when you last  close the door of a house that has been home and know that you will never have the key to get back in.

It’s just over a week since I wrote about my decision to take ‘early retirement’  Early Retirement or Giving Up?   This isn’t your usual ‘early retirement,’ if such a thing exists, but basically a decision taken after years not being able to find a way back into ’employment’ ~ or earning even a modest income ~ to put a STOP to the search which had become soul-destroyingly demoralising. 

I have been absolutely amazed by the level of support which I have received through comments here, personal emails and face-to-face interaction.

I’m also pretty stunned by the extent to which the change of mindset has been so liberating. It feels like I’ve stopped banging my face against stone walls  barbed wire and electric fences and begun to walk barefoot on warm sand with a balmy sea breeze gently soothing me. Frustration, anger, bitterness and a whole host of negative emotions that I hadn’t fully realised were even there, have dissolved.

Oh, I know that the decision to walk away from the search for money, income, funds is a HUGE one that slaps massive full stops on lots of hopes and dreams, even very minor ones, and adds an extra precariousness to a world that is already full of  massive uncertainties.

It hasn’t been a week of sitting back with my slippers on and one in which the future has been waving at me with magic wands. Rather, it’s been a week in which ‘space’ has been on my mind ~ clearing it, walking in it; and most importantly, re-defining it.

So, thanks for your support, dear friends. Goodness only knows where the new spaces and definitions will lead but I hope I will see you in them.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there. (Rumi)

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

23 thoughts on “Early Retirement ~ a Week or So On”

  1. Deciding to retire is huge indeed, but in years to come, it could be one of the best decisions you ever made. Like you say, you feel liberated from “having to” and “needing to”.

    When I retired at the age of 36 because of my illness, it had taken 18 months to come to that decision that “now I have to retire.” Gut-wrenching indeed, but now, 4 years later, wow, I should have done it much sooner 🙂

    As far as the financial side of it… yes, you will feel a loss of security in that regard, but the adage that “money doesn’t necessarily mean absolute happiness” is true. I lost a lot in monthly income, but you learn to get by somehow. And if you’re ever in Dublin, give me a shout and I’ll treat you to a nice cup of coffee or tea! 😀

  2. Thanks Billie! It must have been very difficult to come to the decision, especially because of illness. In my case, it was simply a change of mindset ~ to quit what was a fruitless and frustrating search for employment. So nothing has changed in ‘objective’ or monetary terms but the psychological change is much more positive than I could have imagined. (However, I’m only a week or so into this new phase!)
    Knowing you, I suspect it would be coffee we’d be sharing!!!!

  3. Contrary to the materialistic age in which we live, Jean, I won’t lament a loss of income if fundamental needs continue to be met. What I suspect may have been in play with your prolonged search for employment may have been unconsciously having defined part of your self in terms of your education and profession. It can be so easy to tie our sense of self-worth to such external things, and feel adrift when these supports for our sense of self collapse or fail.

    Perhaps the early retirement has liberated you from this imprisoning sense of self. Now you are free to simply be Jean, and to discover or re-discover her without the shackles of external constraints. I rather like what I’ve seen of her, so far.

    I suspect that you will, too.

    1. Hi Navigator, you may well be right about about defining self in terms of education and work. I’m thinking about that theory!
      Yes, fundamental needs ARE important; there’s just no getting away from that but no doubt a lot of re-defining is needed there too.

      Many thanks for your kind words and support!

      1. My pleasure, as always.

        I went through such a process of having my sense of self come slightly undone during a traumatic period in my life, so I am quite sympathetic towards others should they undergo a similar process. The plus side is that one can come out the other end as a more coherent, whole, and genuinely spiritual person.


  4. As you’re hearing and finding Jean, letting go brings so many positives and the dissipation of negative thoughts. And if there are bridges to be crossed then let’s cross them at that time. Don’t concern ourselves about them today.

  5. Hi Jean, the reason you see Lucky and me strolling along Garrarus Strand so often is that early retirement was forced upon me through ill health and hospital misadventure!! I was enjoying my dream job when disaster struck. Nowadays I look on the bright side and there always is a bright side, there are many others who are much worse than I am and I get to spend some more quality time on the most beautiful strand in the world.

    1. Morning Liam, who’d ever have thought there was such a story behind that sincere smile of yours. It’s like the bright side ‘twinkles’ in your eyes and in your happy laugh. (Yes, go on, blush away!!!!)

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