The Sprint to FI

I Need A Hobby

In a previous post I mentioned a focus on what happens post FI because it is important. This is a part of designing your life. There have been studies that show we deteriorate faster if we don’t have something that keeps us interested. This is a serious consideration when retiring early and why many FIRE bloggers out there recommend a side hustle that you can continue with once you retire. We also use the term retire loosely. The internet retirement police say that retirement means no more work for you. However the FIRE community fight back with; retirement is meaningful activity on your terms and your terms only.

So if you want to run a shared work space or an art shop, or work a part time job, or what ever it is you want to do, that is your retirement. Retirement can be what ever you design it to be but the important point here is that YOU design it, and no one else. You are no longer beholden to an employer for your rent money and grocery bill, leaving you free to do what ever makes your little hearts happy.

Of late, I have been giving serious consideration to what post FI is going to look like for Cat and I. Generally speaking, we don’t like to make dramatic change at FI. Fi itself is enough of a change, especially for the younger FIRE folks, which is why the side hustle is often quite a bog deal on some FIRE blogs.  On the other hand, as old people on FIRE, Cat and I are not interested in a side hustle. Too much hassle. I decided to tackle this problem from a point of what do I do now?

I have been an engineer of some sort since I was a kid. I built my first audio amplifier at the age of 12. Through my teenage years, I studied electronics, and even made my own printed circuit boards (Yes I am that much of a nerd). After graduation, I worked in defense, display technology, semiconductor sales, and other industries as an engineer. Eventually I ended up where I am now as a network engineer for a multi billion dollar, global company. It is safe to say that engineering has been my life.

But do I want to continue with engineering in retirement and I don’t think I do. I suspect I’ve done enough engineering for my lifetime … probably! But I still need hobbies and interests for my retirement, and the best time to figure this out is now so that once I do retire, there is little in the way of lifestyle shock, rather just a cessation of mandatory work. I have a few hobbies now and I suspect I will continue to do these:

  • Investing / FIRE – Documenting our journey from oh fuck! to FI is something that I am currently deriving a great deal of satisfaction from, and I hope to continue this. I also suspect that for a while immediately after retirement, the blog will turn into a travel blog.
  • Drinking – yeah, I do like a nice mixed drink, and beer, and mead. I am currently putting together some of my favorite recipes and planning a very non mustachian shopping trip.
  • Languages – I’ve been enjoying learning Spanish, Polish and German. I consider learning Spanish part of the retirement plan. I visit both Poland and Germany for work so keeping some basics there is enjoyable to me. I also know a few words and phrases of French and Dutch that I want to expand on.
  • Shooting – I occasionally like to target shoot. Usually indoor but if I can get some outdoor shooting I will take it. I shoot pistol, rifle and too a much lesser degree shotgun. I find arranging shooting trips to be difficult with my schedule however.

Cat and I also like to do the following together:

  • Hiking – We need to do this more. The problem is we always end up with a ton of things to do at the weekend, and we never seem to get out of the apartment. Prioritizing this is difficult for us.
  • Cycling – we have bikes, we should be able to do this but now that winter is upon us, the bikes are in the garage and will likely stay there now until spring.
  • Music – we love live music and no its not too loud yet!

But what is going to happen when I retire? What will I fill my time with?
I put a short list together of hobbies and interests that I would consider pursuing, but because of time constraints, limits on space and mandatory work, I am just not able to do.

  • Travel – Cat and I both want to travel and I see travel as potential geographic arbitrage. A way to continue to make money even in retirement. We both have a love of history and to be able to see the worlds wonders was not something we had believed we could do in retirement until we discovered FIRE.
  • Motorcycles – I used to ride every day. My preference was for sports bikes but I suspect I have mellowed a bit. Perhaps I will get and old bike and tinker. (And I’m back into engineering again!)
  • Astronomy – ever since I was a boy, I’ve had an interest in Astronomy. A quite place with a view of the stars is a place I would welcome. Perhaps I can include radio astronomy (and back I go to electronics!)
  • Yoga or Tai Chee – with no more mandatory work, my schedule will have opened up and this sort of activity will be open to me. I might end up in better shape in retirement than in my working years!
  • Reading – I love to read, listen to music, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries. I hope to continue this with more time available.
  • Genealogy – Cat and I are interested in tracing our family trees. Given that our families originated in Europe and the UK, we both see this as an excuse to travel a lot.

And then of course, on top of this we have bucket lists of specific things that we want to do or see. I think, even without side hustles, Cat and I will have plenty to keep us occupied in our retirement.

This is the retirement that Cat and I are designing for ourselves. Perhaps she will also add her own list of hobbies and interests; she certainly has plenty. We don’t plan on being old and senile as we retire, rather I see our retirement full of activity and interest … as opposed to my very sedentary, mandatory and often quite boring job.


Note: I wrote this post more for me than anything else. I wanted to think through what my hobbies and interests were as I was getting swamped with work and bullshit and needed a reminder that there was more than just work out there. I also needed to remind myself what I was aiming for. FIRE is not just a number but a change in lifestyle. I needed to remind myself what that change is to be, and perhaps to start implementing some of these changes now.

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