Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My recipe for early retirement (at age 46): part two

Hellebore in our garden


Welcome back!  As I wrote last week, one of my regular and lovely readers, D, asked for my ‘recipe for early retirement’.  I’m always happy to oblige, so I had a think about it and am sharing below the second part of what I’ve come up with.

You can find the first post in this series {My recipe for early retirement (at age 46): part one} here.

This week we are moving onto steps 3, 4 and 5 of my ‘early retirement’ plan.  You will note that I am not *actually* retired, merely (or not so merely) retiring from an external workplace to do what I love (writing) in a place that I love to be (at home) in my own time and on my own terms.

Which brings us nicely to step three:

Three. Ask yourself how you’d ideally like to earn a living

For me, it’s being a writer.  I’ve always loved reading and have wanted to write books for many years – decades in fact – before I actually did it.  I love words.  I love to read, I love to write, I love bookshops, I love libraries, I love browsing my Kindle seeing what I want to read next… everything about words.  For my husband, he wants to be involved in the wine industry and he’s pursuing that at the moment.

What is it that one thing for you?

Make a list of all the things you love doing and see if there is any way you can work in that field.  You could work part-time, in a different more enjoyable job or do what I’m doing and start something on the side doing what you love.

Before I started publishing my books on Amazon, I thought once we achieved our goal of becoming mortgage free and moving to the area where we are now, I could perhaps get a part-time job instead of a full-time one.

But thanks to my writing I have created my own part-time job and I am so grateful for that.  It means I can work here, at home with my cats and my own comforts instead of going to a job somewhere.  It truly is my dream come true.

I didn’t know if it could actually happen, but that thought didn’t stop me trying.  Don’t be scared to try something new, no matter your age or (self-perceived) limitations.  Instead of thinking ‘I couldn’t do that’, think ‘How could I do that?”

Four. Go against the grain and be proud of it

Everyone has their own opinion.  If you listen to others opinions too much you won’t hear your own.  Don’t listen to them.  It’s important to make your own plans, plans that you love.  If your dream life is not what others would choose, so what?  It’s your life not theirs.

I love that I am doing something different to most people.  It feels good to me.  Instead of watching the news and complaining about what I see on there (watching the news makes me too grumpy so I try not to do it), I’d rather create my own inspiration.

I don’t have my head in the sand; I keep up with what’s going on, but I don’t have to torture myself multiple times a day with stuff that feels bad when I can’t do anything about it.  I put my blinkers on like a horse and only take notice of stuff that makes me feel good.

Five. Don’t listen to negative people

Others might be scared on your behalf.  You’re leaving your job?  Why?  It’s a good job isn’t it?  Wouldn’t you be better to carry on with it?  Why do you want to move there?  Are there jobs available?  Isn’t it cold in the winter?

Actually we didn’t really get any negative feedback when people found out our plans to leave the big city and move to a provincial area.  In fact, quite a few people wished they could do the same thing but said they couldn’t move towns for family, job or schooling reasons.

And a few might even be scared of making a big change like this or exhausted just thinking of the magnitude of such a task.  I get that.  Inertia is a powerful force and has kept me stagnant in various situations in the past, and moving house is a big thing!

Once I got to a certain age though, I realised I was in the second half of my life.  Mortal living is not an open-ended thing so I thought I’d better start taking the time I had left seriously.  Why not move somewhere that I’d rather live and do what I’d love to do?

To counteract ‘helpful’ advice, don’t tell negative people your ideas and dreams in the first place.  There’s a great saying that pertains to both being a writer, as well as achieving what you want to in life: ‘show don’t tell’ – rather than tell them you’re going to do something, show them you’re doing it instead.

Rather than asking people what they think about your plans, work out what you really want first, then let them know what’s happening.

--

And that’s it really.  It’s not so revolutionary but it takes courage to step out of the crowd and follow your heart.

I hope you enjoyed my five-step ‘plan to early retirement from the workplace’ aka living your life the way you want to.  I hope it’s been inspirational to you and that reading these two posts has sparked off a seed of a plan inside you.

Please comment below and let me know what you’d love to do if you could do anything you want.  Forget about practicalities and just tell me what you’d do!

--Fiona--

Create your dream life as a successful author

I had such a fantastic response to my announcement last week that I have started a new email list on creating your dream life as a successful author.  The first newsletter has already been sent out, but it’s not too late if you want to catch it.

Leave your details here and you’ll receive the first newsletter straight away (you’ll have to confirm your email address first, but after that it will arrive instantly).

I’m excited to share with you my plans for this new project and how you can learn everything I have educated myself around writing and self-publishing.  Your successful author action step no. 1 is included in the first email so don’t hang around if you long to be an author: put your name and email address down here and get going!

33 comments:

  1. I just adore your books and your blog! (I purchased your winter book last year when it popped up in my suggestions on Amazon. That led me to your blog and I've been hooked ever since!) One thing I love to do is watch your videos while I iron. My husband likes for me to keep up with his ironing but I've been terrible at it through the years! But I've found that if I prop up my phone on the dryer and watch something inspiring, I can knock out 3-4 garments quickly and enjoyably! Your videos are perfect for that! Anyway- just thought I'd pop into your comments to say "hi" and "well done" !!! Keep the posts comin'! 😊

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    1. Hi Courtney, I'm so glad my videos are providing you with ironing motivation! I also need bribing to iron, so I often listen to an audiobook. Thanks so much for your lovely comment :)

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    2. I hope you won't mind, Fiona, if I put a word in to Courtney: if your husband doesn't like your standard of ironing, show him where the iron and ironing board lives! Only joking, but there's a modicum of truth in the joke. Your husband should be grateful that someone irons for him, not find fault(well, not unless you are scorching his garments!)
      Margaret P

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  2. I think your action plan on this is really fantastic. Reading over it has made me realise that I have been a bit frozen recently on planning ahead and you've inspired me to break out of my inertia-rut! Thank you for all of your thoughts on this, the fact that you are living your dream with self-employment, house, etc, makes me more determined to keep going forward, knowing that it can be done. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Lisa, it really can be done! Dream big and take little action steps. If I can inspire you to do this I'd be super-happy about paying it forward, because I have others to thank (from all over the place) for inspiring me in lots of different ways to get to where I am now (and still more to come!)

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  3. So much excellent advice here, Fiona. Being true to oneself seems to be the secret sauce. It sounds like you've applied this to your life and it has served you well.

    I'm so glad you've been proactive with your interest in writing, it has brought us this blog of yours. Thank you for that :)
    It has even planted a seed in me about starting a blog of my own.

    D.

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    1. 'Being true to oneself seems to be the secret sauce'. I love it !

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    2. Yay, D, I'd love to read your blog!

      And yes, it is a great quote, Lara :) 'Secret sauce' always makes me laugh (in a good way)

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  4. Fiona, I appreciate your advice regarding not listening to others opinions. I was recently in a social situation with several others who were all speaking about their overseas travels, experiences, etc. I had been to some of these same countries and cities (though on a far more modest budget) but rather than join the parade of one-upmanship which I felt the episode to be, I kept quiet and just occasionally nodded. It seemed they were all talking and no one was listening. There were so many opinions being flung about. I spent much of the time wishing I had stayed home with my cat and my book ;)

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    1. Isn't it nice when you can just relax and listen, Lara? It certainly takes the pressure off. And you're right, often the others aren't even listening, just talking :)

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  5. You are so inspiring! I signed up for your newsletter and I second the praise of your videos.
    Re not listening to others, I recently heard a podcast (on "How I Built This," interviews with people who started successful businesses), and interviewee Cathy Hughes said the worst thing you can do is to listen to people you love because they will give you bad advice, mostly along the lines of don't take risks.

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    1. So true, and it's fair enough too; they only want the best for you BUT in a safe and controlled way that reflects their needs/wishes.

      I'm not saying to be reckless, but it's easier to come up with your own plans and ideas without 'helpful' input :)

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  6. When I was a teen, and didn't have a clue what I wanted to do for a living, my family all pressured me into taking business/secretarial courses. "You'll always be able to find a job," they said. Perhaps this was true, but it turned out to be a job that I HATED. I just couldn't stand being cooped up sitting all day in a windowless office from just after dawn to just around sunset. I felt like a vampire with a cubicle instead of a coffin. We didn't even get enough time for lunch to actually leave the premises to eat. I eventually wound up waiting tables, which may seem to others to be not a "real" job, but I made good money, worked fewer hours, exercised while I worked (my biceps were amazing from lifting trays!), and enjoyed being what seemed like being a hostess at a dinner party every weekday. I regret that I wasted high school taking secretarial courses instead of taking random courses in whatever interested me. It would possibly have made high school a tad less onerous.

    My husband is a bartender, and works with a lot of young people who are waiting tables while going to college. A large number of them, once they graduate and go on into the field they were studying so hard for, end up back at the restaurant waiting tables because it turns out they didn't like their career choice after all. I wonder how many of them asked advice from others -- and took it -- and that is why they didn't like their chosen career.

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    1. I got the same advice you did about taking the traditional route for a woman: secretarial work. It was "safe." The typing class at my high school was filled to the brim with girls only. I'm glad the gender stereotypes are being broken now.

      My daughter starts college in a couple weeks and all I can think is how in the world are they supposed to know what to major in or what they want to do as far as career - right now, at age 18? It's crazy! I had no idea what I wanted to do until I was about 30 :)

      D.

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    2. Mimi and D, isn't is crazy that we ask kids to decide what they want to lock in doing for the rest of their lives at such a young age? I agree it would be far better to explore opportunities that interest them and go from there.

      I never went to University because I wasn't interested in any particular degree and thought I'd only be going to be going. So I started working and pursued my interests in my own time. It worked out well for me.

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  7. Enjoying the series. I so agree that living the life you want to live is foremost. I have some detractors in my life that do the "mean girl" thing when it comes to my hair, my clothes, and other aspects of my life. They couch it in "I care about you and want the best for you." But in the end, they are putting on me their values and hopes and dreams! My clothes are not the most up to date but they are in good condition and feel like me, my house needs a bit of updating but I pay cash for all remodeling so choose to wait, and I don't spend a lot of time "going out" to things which I don't really enjoy. I am quite happy with my life. These negative opinions were finally getting to me but I stopped to reflect on my life. I happened to be sitting in Germany with a life-long friend speaking German and enjoying the culture fully. Creating experiences that I had dreamed about when I was in high school. I can honestly say none of these "mean girl" friends get to travel like I do, can pack for a month in a carry on and look great every day, or get to live a life without the daily extreme drama so many seems to survive on. Good for you for taking your own path! And here is to all of us to enjoy our moments which ultimately make up our days. (can't remember the person who said that but it is so true.)

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    1. I often think it's quite funny that there are people around who want you to be just like them and have no trouble telling you all the ways you should change, would not appreciate it if the tables were turned. Imagine if you said to the mean girls 'you should stop wasting money and save more.' You just wouldn't do it though, would you, it would come out rude and controlling!

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  8. You have given a lot of good advice here, Fiona, as always, but the best I think (from my great age and experience) is to steer clear of negativity, those whose immediate response is a No we can't rather than a Yes we can! Of course, one must temper this with a modicum of reality, you need to have employment (unless you are seriously wealthy) that will keep a roof over your head and food on the table, but negativity is soul destroying, steer right away from it.
    Margaret P

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    1. Too right, Margaret, thank you for saying that.

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  9. Another great post chock full of excellent information!! My husband and I both learned better than to tell anyone what we're planning to do. Scoffing, negativity, bad advice, or best of all, "Oh my brother-uncle-mom-dad-sister-friend tried that and lost everything-failed-croaked" - fingers in ears or keep your mouth shut! We will accomplish our goals - another point of advice: ONLY speak what you want, in the direction you want to go, "for" you. Your words have much power.

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    1. Exactly, our words are a self-fulfilling prophecy :)

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  10. Fiona,

    I have especially loved the past two posts--your early retirement series. When I read the following lines, I thought YES--bingo. "...If you listen to others opinions too much you won’t hear your own. Don’t listen to them. It’s important to make your own plans, plans that you love. If your dream life is not what others would choose, so what? It’s your life not theirs."

    Your words are a breath of fresh air. Thank you for sharing them with the world. I'm so glad you have charted your own path and shared your revolutionary thoughts with us.

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    1. Thanks Maureen! So glad you enjoyed the posts, that means a lot to me :)

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  11. Hi Fiona! I think it's really cool that you are doing something you love like writing for a living and that your husband gets to do his thing in the wine industry! I don't exactly get excited to go to work (I'm an insurance agent and hubby is a financial planner). One thing I'm working on is instead of wishing our life away waiting for the weekend, get excited about that evening! Everyday I have my "me" time in the mornings with coffee/reading/watching the news etc. before work and evenings a yummy dinner, hike or walk, good television program. so what I'm saying is even though we can't really change what we do for a living right now, we can be grateful for good jobs and love our home life afterwards!

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    1. Hi Carla, I'm glad you mentioned that, because leaving your job isn't the only way to enjoy life. I spent many happy years working, AND creating a wonderful life outside of working hours using the money I earned plus my own creativity and imagination. It's all in your mindset. Some people will moan and grump their way through life not appreciating all that they have, and others will make their own fun every single day. I choose fun :)

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  12. Hi Carla...I appreciate your post..I actually do love a lot about my work as a hospital physical therapist, including the great work family I have... but it can be very emotionally draining. I also realized that many hours per day are mine and look forward to walking my dogs, playing violin - sometimes with hubby playing guitar with me, taking my morning runs, reading...and sometimes just a hot tub with a glass of wine! My husband and I are new empty nesters and the finances will not be conducive to retirement for many years yet....so I choose to find the good in each day at work and craft a home life we love too.

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    1. Here's to crafting a home life we love :) Thanks for the wonderful term, Laura.

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  13. Hi Laura! I love your comment also. "Crafting" a home life you love! It really is an art form. Before finding Fiona's blog (the first lifestyle blog I ever read, first "blog" period) I kind of just got up everyday going thru the boring motions of life not considering that it could be special.

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    1. It's easy to do, Carla, and I still have times where I have to remind myself not to take days for granted.

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  14. I enjoyed the Jennifer Scott series of books too...but this blog is much more my fit...more down to earth and country living based...I first came across Fiona through her Kindle version of staying chic in the winter.. right around mid February...it changed the rest of my new England winter in the best way as I enjoyed making my home a cozy retreat. So very helpful!

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    1. Oh, that's wonderful, Laura, so happy that my book was helpful to you!

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  15. I love how you created your own part time job. That is very brave and required a leap of faith and I'm so thrilled it worked out. Plus, what a bonus that you are doing what you love to do!

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Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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