Reflections After 3 Months Of Semi-Retirement: Part 1 – The Good

Yeah, how time flies. It has been 3 months since I retired from my first job.  🙂

So I have spent 13 weeks semi-retired. Well, you could argue that I am just unemployed and trying too hard to put a positive spin on things but since it’s the blog title and it’s my blog, why not? Moreover, I am theoretically not wrong since I worked 3-hour-weeks during the bulk of the period.  😉

Anyway, in case you’re new to this blog, I am not a start-up (who has sold the start-up) millionaire. Or at least, not yet. Therefore, even though I do feel that I am better than Mr Average, it’s still literally quite impossible for this 28 year old guy to embrace a permanently semi-retired lifestyle for the rest of my life.

But having socked away a good part of our income for the past decade, Mrs 15 HWW and I have accumulated a good stash that is able to churn out some passive income. Therefore, I have been able to embark on this experiment with less financial concerns. And if nothing goes wrong, I would be taking a 6 month break in total before starting my new  job.

So since I am at the half-way mark of this experiment, I though it would be good to take stock with this post. And to inspire those that have a similar aspiration as me, I shall start off with the good stuff in this Part 1 of my reflections.

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1. I have been more productive

What?! It’s not really logical, isn’t it? How can I be more productive with a 3 hour work week compared to a 40 hour work week?

I guess that really depends on how you define “productive”. In my view, spending time reading good books, doing housework and exercising is infinitely more productive than working on a project which you already know deep down will lead to nowhere, even though one is getting paid for the latter activity. 

Ultimately, remuneration isn’t a good indicator of productivity.

And it doesn’t help that I was pretty good at clearing tasks in my previous job. Work rarely overwhelmed me and since I vigorously applied Pareto’s principles in my work, there was quite a bit of free time in office. Too much, in fact.

And to show you that I am not trying to boast, this was not uncommon in the office. So what were the options open to people like us?

a) Ask for more work

b) Keep quiet and enjoy the free time

c) Get off work earlier to pursue other interests

Hah! If only c) was a real option. Between a) and b), most of my peers took a). But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, asking for more of the things that I had little innate interest in doing. So it was down to b). This meant that I could either have more watercooler talk (not really frowned upon since it can be attributed to “networking”) or I could just sit in my cubicle and “look busy”.

Not exactly productive, eh?

2. Less stress, better sleep

“Finally, TGIF! It’s 4pm on a Friday afternoon and you’re looking forward to the weekend which is a deserved break you thought you have earned. Refreshing your inbox for the last time this week, you hope to see nothing unusual. Unfortunately, you notice this mail with an unfamiliar and somewhat innocent title from your direct supervisor. You brace yourself for something negative but when you open it, you realised that your worst dreaded nightmares have come true! It’s a “bomb!” which has been passed all the way from the top of the hierarchy and down to you, the end of the food chain. “

Once a while, there is this shitty scenario/problem that you have been tasked with. You hope things get solved with your initial intervention but then there comes a follow-up email that shows that things have taken a turn for the worse. And your mood immediately plummets.

Thankfully, the scenario described above has not surfaced in my life for the past 3 months! My mood has generally been really positive and I love to be able to read, write, run or swim when I feel like it (or when the weather allows).

I am also no longer held hostage to the alarm clock. On days when I didn’t had a good night’s sleep, I would tuck in for an hour more so that I can be more productive for the day. Instances of insomnia has also miraculously disappeared.

3. More time and energy to meet new people

One of the aims of starting this blog was to open up and get to know more people. And amazingly, this aim is starting to bear some fruits. I have managed to meet up with some fellow bloggers and readers and amazingly, all these only started happening during the past 3 months.

Since reading, writing, running or swimming can now be done from 8 to 6 pm on weekdays, I am more generous with my time spent with others. The normal lackadaisical me has even started taking the initiative to get to know new people.

4. Realising what is needed to lead a good life

Three meals a day (you might not even need three) doesn’t really cost much and I already have a nice roof over my head and enough clothes to last me for decades. Therefore, it isn’t really that difficult to have enough to provide for our basic needs. And of course, staying healthy and somewhat fit.

What’s much harder is these two things that money can’t really buy. Companionship and finding some meaning/purpose with your life. I realise that alot of financially independent people continue to work because they can find some semblance of these two things in their workplace.

During this 3 month break, I realise that I am pretty much lacking in these two aspects but things are improving and this blog has definitely helped quite a bit.  😛

5. Knowing that both of us enjoy such a lifestyle

I was always pretty sure that I wouldn’t be too bored with such a lifestyle. Mrs 15HWW wasn’t so confident about herself though, even though I told her she would be surprised at how the day could easily be filled up.

But since she also took a one month break before starting a new job, this became a useful opportunity to test out my hypothesis. Admittedly, two weeks were spent in Australia, but even then, she was afraid that she would be “rotting at home” for the other two weeks.

In the end, even she was amazed at how quickly and productively the two weeks were used up, so much so that she dreaded starting work again.  😉

Many are afraid that there’s nothing to occupy their time when they retire. My take is that retirement sucks only if you’re all three: immobile, unhealthy, and uninteresting. 

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Of course, life is a bed of roses, isn’t it? Even semi-retirement will have its thorns, and I shall share more about it in a latter post.

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    15 thoughts on “Reflections After 3 Months Of Semi-Retirement: Part 1 – The Good

    1. B

      Wow man you are making me envy.

      I only got a week break when I switched my job around and it is really good. I am really looking to the time when I could semi retire, happily and healthily.

      Maybe its more productive too in making baby during this times? Just kidding, I know it depends on a lot of other factors 😉

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi B,

        More productive in that? Hmm… Since I am doing most of the housework these days, the Mrs is really enjoying the additional free time on weekday nights and sometimes we do ‘chat’ till slightly later in the night.

        I am sure a permanent semi retirement would come soon for you as you continue to earn good wages, good returns and maintain frugality in your life.

    2. LP

      Hi 15Hww,

      Good for you! A hiatus from work is always so that you can walk a longer journey. Enjoy the break and when you start work, I’m sure you’ll be eager to get into work 🙂

      I’m looking forward to my 2-3 month half pace break 😉

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi LP,

        Yeah, I am feeling fresh for some challenges. ;p

        Now should be the peak period for you so thanks for taking the time to drop by.

    3. TheFreeThinker

      Awesome! Good to hear that you are using your free time productively!

      I have also planned to take a one to two months break after I leave my first job.

      Such sabbaticals give you the time to re-align your thinking and future directions in life.

      Let’s find time to catch up again someday! 😉

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Winston,

        I do enjoy the break so far and I am looking forward to another three months. The break has generally been better on most fronts than what I had initially expected.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi SMOL,

        I think we should have some common grounds. Too much of a good thing can be bad most of the time.

        The key is in how we can improve upon the bad to lead an even better lifestyle?

        Since you are eagerly waiting, I hope I won’t take more than a week. =)

      1. Jared Seah

        B,

        I am guessing it’s about the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 😉

        Unless of course 15 HWW is originally from Malaysia – then its about Good, Better, Best from Malaysia boleh days!

        Singapore is all about leaner, faster, cheaper. It’s fun if you are the shepherd or landowner, not so much if you are the sheep dog….

        I had jolly great fun with my Malaysian colleagues and suppliers when we compare the rhetorics from our respective big daddies.

        LOL!

    4. Vanessa

      its incredible isn’t it, being more productive when we are actually working less! am in the midst of ‘unemployment’ like you, and can attest what you say to be true.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Vanessa,

        Thanks for dropping by. Hope you are enjoying and doing well in your “unemployment” period and good luck with your renovation. That’s one big condo and I agree that most contractors/IDs will charge more just because it’s a condo! =p