I was blessed to be able to retire early from my W2 job in May 2021 and to begin filling my days with family and things I’m passionate about as an entrepreneur: writing and life coaching. The job I retired from was sucking the life out of me while my self-employment status breathes life into me. BIG difference! I still get up early not because I have to go to work but because I get to live my purpose. And I still go to bed early not because I need to, but because I want to live my purpose each day well rested and refreshed.
I have discovered a difficult part of this, however–navigating others’ perception of what “retired” means. Many have a tendency to forget–or dismiss–that I’m self-employed and act as though I have all the time in the world–time to shop, play, go to lunch, lounge around, volunteer at every opportunity … you get the idea. And when I say “no” to such offers, I have often hurt people’s feelings. But wherever or however one is employed, we each have to prioritize our activities, putting those most important to us at the top of that list. For every “no” we give, we’re saying “yes” to what brings us value. We all have 24 hours in a day, and spending them on what brings us joy is a gift.
One of my pet peeves, if you will, is when people ask me what I do with all my free time as if I’m eating BonBons and watching soap operas. And when I answer, “My days are super busy,” I get this funny, scrunched nose look as if they’re trying to figure out a riddle or secret code.
No riddle. No secret code.
One doesn’t simply decide to be a life coach and “become” one. There is a lot involved in getting certified. And once certified, there is ongoing learning, practicing, clients, events, etc. As well, one doesn’t just “become” an author by sitting down and writing a book. One could, I suppose, but as a novelist and indie-author coach, I spend a lot of time researching, writing, revising, studying the craft, revising, and duties as President of Sisters in Crime-CO Chapter writing group. And revising. Again, by now you get it. 🙂
All of that said, my availability for family and nurturing my faith are, and always will be, my first priority of all–God, wife, mom, grammy.
It used to drive me crazy when people said, “I wish I had time like you to write a book. Someday I’m going to do that.” I used to take the time to explain (through my irritation) that we all have 24 hours in our day, that I wrote most of my books thus far while working a full-time W2 job, and that we make the time for what is important to us. But now I just look at them and smile before letting them know I have to go because the BonBons are waiting.
What do you choose to fill your 24 hours with?