Nothing is currently stopping me or anyone else in any workplace from getting to know our co-workers. After all, we already spend 40 hours a week together. We spend more daylight hours with these people than we do our own family. If we want to be friends, we already have every opportunity to forge close bonds. Truly: what more do employers want? Tightening the noose, and closing the already confined walls on an entire office and creating enforced socialisation will likely achieve nothing.
You work with your work colleagues because you need to. They work with you because they need to. Regardless of whether you work in the public or private sector, sometimes your colleagues can be absolutely lovely. Sometimes they can be toxic and you can’t stand them. But most of the time they’re something in between: you get along. You tolerate them, but you wouldn’t go out for drinks on a weekend with them. Which is why enforced workplace socialisation is such a horrible experience.
I’ve said before that things will go wrong in early retirement. The goal is an improved life, not delusions of a perfect life. So this situation wasn’t a case of “learning” anything new. But having now experienced a bad holiday, it reinforced my suspicions. You need to expect that bad, annoying or tiresome things will happen in retirement. But even if you planned meticulously, sometimes it just won’t work out. Events like these don’t care if you’ve retired early or not. They’ll happen regardless
Our bad recent holiday experience provides validation for the benefits of early retirement. The funny thing is that when we retire our holidays will have somewhat ‘less meaning’. Having a holiday date set in your calendar is one of the few things a worker has to cheer themselves up with. And having that experience be a let-down is doubly disappointing when you build it up so much in anticipation.
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After writing down this bucket list, something really powerful struck me. Now I don’t know if we’ll actually achieve all 202 things on our combined bucket lists – I certainly hope so. But what really struck me was that this is realistically possible. A few more years of work will enable a huge amount of these opportunities and experiences to occur. Now I’ve got our bucket lists to fall back on and remind me about what our work is enabling.
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I wrote my own bucket list of 101 things I wanted to see and experience over what will hopefully be a long life. This isn’t everything I’d want to see, do, or accomplish. But I hope it’s a nice cross-section of what I want life to be over the coming decades. However, I also found it a valuable exercise in thinking about what’s most dear to me, what I value, and what I’d want if my life was cut short and I only had a limited time to do the things that would make the most of it.
I don’t want my house get damaged or destroyed, to be in a car crash, or get badly sick. But I’ll be bloody glad I have insurance if or when one of those things do happen. So why do some people LeanFIRE as soon as they hit a minimum number, when it’s the early retirement equivalent of not having insurance? However, unlike an insurance policy that only pays you if a bad thing happens, having a larger FIRE number allows you to enjoy the benefits all the time – as well as providing a vital buffer.