What It’s Like 6 Months After Quitting My Job

In the days leading up to my last day at work, I felt a sense of excitement that I hadn’t experienced since middle school. I started working when I was 14, and since then have rarely had more than a week off from one job or another. But I do have memories of being in middle school and anticipating the summer. The weather would start to warm, and in the last few days of school, our excitement grew and the teachers became more relaxed. Summer break seemed like an infinite amount of time off as a kid. This past May, I felt like that kid again. It was getting nice outside, I was getting more excited, and work was getting more relaxed.

I spent my last day making the rounds wishing my friends well and sharing contact information. To send me off in style, a bunch of them took me out to my favorite sushi spot. I didn’t think the day could get any better, but these good friends proved me wrong. As is the custom, one of my best friends cracked some jokes, and to my surprise, they sent me off with some gifts. To help me ease into retirement, they got me a gift card to buy meat at my favorite local farm, fishing gear, and a case of some awesome beer – Two Roads Lil’ Heaven. So far, what I miss most about work is wasting time at the office shooting the shit with those friends.

First moments of freedom 🙂

Since that day, the sense of freedom I’ve felt has been unreal. I go to sleep when I want. I get out of bed when I want. I jog to the gym once everyone has gone to work and the sun is shining. Afterward, I make a nice monster breakfast. Whenever I feel like it, I go wander around in the woods, sometimes walking up streams fishing for trout. I even have time to read books now – something I hadn’t done for fun since before high school. One day my neighbor spotted me laying on a blanket in the grass reading a book and hanging out with my chickens. “Dude, it’s Tuesday, what the hell are you doing?” he shouted over the fence. I smiled and shouted back, “whatever the hell I want.”

My breakfast the other day.

I used to get butterflies in my stomach from the stress hormones flooding my system as my mind turned to work on Sunday nights. That’s gone away, now much of the time I don’t even remember what day it is. And if anything, I avoid going out on weekends. I’m not big on crowds, and everything is so peaceful during business hours. The gym is nearly empty, and the old folks wandering the grocery store are way more chill than the drones racing their carts to compete for groceries after work.

I also lost the ability to make excuses because of work. I used to pass up so many opportunities to see friends and family because my free time was limited. Now, when opportunities come up, I go. When friends had a tree go down, I picked up my saw and helped them clean it up on a weekday. When another friend I had not seen in a decade sent an invitation for a cookout at his new house 3 hours away, Mrs. CK and I drove our asses out there. And when we ran into high school friends at the cookout who wanted to have a party with their new wood fired pizza oven, we stuck around for another week and made some bad ass pizzas. All opportunities we would have thrown away if we were working.

Impromptu pizza party!

When I first left my job, I thought I might get bored. I even had a backup plan to do some contract work if things didn’t work out 6 months later. But my days have been packed with tinkering on things like my ultra efficient fridge and the jackhammer I pulled from the trash. We’ve been surfing in Costa Rica, explored Colorado and New Mexico, and took a road trip to Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy. I’ve also been spending a lot of time working with my handscutting firewood, working in the garden, making beer, and finishing home renovations. I honestly have no idea how I got anything done while working, because I’ve been crazy busy just living.

I’m also getting into better shape. Now that I don’t sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, my metabolism has shot through the roof. Mrs. CK has scolded me several times because I get too excited by my projects and forget to eat a proper lunch. I lost 10 lbs over the summer that I didn’t mean to, and have had to resort to making fried chicken to put it back on.

I’ve kept up with writing a blog post once a week. It’s helped me slow down and concentrate my thoughts. Only now Mrs. CK says she can hear me reciting my blog posts to friends when we’re at parties. Good thing most of them don’t read it. I’ve also met some really cool new friends through this blog, both online and locally here in CT. It’s been awesome meeting people who feel the same way about money and life.

Leaving the corporate life has also made me a bit more human. My godmother was diagnosed with cancer this summer. Some family members held a beef and beer to raise money for her treatment. I bought a bunch of tickets and drove to Philly. We stayed with my good friend Lorenzo, and he joined us for the event with his wife. Being the patron that he is, he more than matched what I paid for our admission in raffle tickets. Our karma was off the hook that night, and we won more prizes than we could stuff into our Prius. We all had a ton of fun and raised a lot of money. But I also realized, more important than the money, was being there to give my godmother a hug and show her that I care.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but if I was still working, I probably wouldn’t have gone. With so little time to spare, I probably would have just cut a check. My drive for success, and the lack of time, not only made my life less enjoyable, but it was also making me an asshole. When working, time was money, and a hug could be replaced with a check. One of the best things about having more of my time is the ability to share it with others.

Even the park is more chill during weekdays.

Looking back, I can honestly say the last 6 months have been the best of my life. I still have my ups and downs, and sometimes I think about the money I’m giving up by not working. But I really have everything I could want now. If I have trouble sleeping at night, it’s not from stress, but from excitement for what I’ll be doing the next day. I’m still learning a lot about myself, meeting new people, and reconnecting with others I haven’t seen in years. I haven’t made any money, but I’m doing stuff I love everyday. And while I do miss the paychecks and my friends from work, this new way of life is fucking awesome.

65 thoughts on “What It’s Like 6 Months After Quitting My Job

  1. I am truly jealous right now! I think the biggest hurdle is, you know, actually achieving FI. But it’s a separate set of challenges once you’re actually retired. I’m working a flex schedule for the next two weeks where I basically work maybe 10 hours a week from home.

    I’m getting a taste of freedom, and boy howdy I want it to last forever. 🙂 Congrats on six months of being retired!

  2. “One of the best things about having more of my time is the ability to share it with others.”

    Fantastic line and I completely agree Mr. CK. For me, giving my time is more meaningful than just writing a check! I bet those “good karma” feelings you were having were 10 times better than the ones you’d get from just writing a check.

    Also, I love the look of that breakfast. When do I get my breakfast invite?

  3. That’s beautiful stuff, Mr. CK. I can relate on many levels, and it’s a wonderful, liberating feeling to be able to do the things that are possible when work’s not the centerpiece of existence.

    Hats off to ya for your caring and “good karma” efforts. I hope you and Mrs. CK have wonderful holidays…along with plenty of fried chicken and beer!

  4. I’m experiencing almost exactly the same things you are (I retired in August):

    1. Keeping very busy — more than enough to do.

    2. Exercising and moving more. Body feels better than ever since I’m not in a chair 8 hours a day.

    3. Attended both my college reunion and my Aunt’s funeral — both of which I probably would not have done if I had been working.

    4. I live in Colorado, so I have tons more time to hit the trails.

    Best wishes for continued retirement enjoyment!

    • That’s awesome, glad to hear you’re living it up! I really expected more down time for reading books, it’s crazy how quickly your time fills up.

      Thanks for the great comment, and I hope you continue to have an excellent retirement as well 🙂

  5. What a beautiful post. I turned green with envy at some parts and had to keep whispering to myself “Soon….sooooooon” in a semi-creepy sort of way to stave off the green eyed monster. I love the idea of never having to send a check to do the work of a hug. Well written, Mr. CK, and I can’t wait to join your ranks.

  6. From my readings, I’ve discovered that it’s the experience and the memories that have value. Outside of what is needed in life, mementos are just the reminders of the good experiences like hugs. Enjoy the next 20 years before your official retirement age!

  7. Fantastic! You’re living the dream man. I had a really good experience after leaving my engineering career too. It was such a huge difference to dictate your own time and do what you want. Working for the corporation is the pit. It’s not worth it to use up all your time that way to trade for nicer stuff. Human really don’t need a lot of stuff to have a happy life.
    Happy holidays!

    • Absolutely, I can’t think of anything I could buy that would make me want to go back. I’ve got more than I need to be happy and have tons of fun.

      Happy holidays to you and the family 🙂

  8. Cool… sounds like you are getting back to your ‘primal’ roots. 🙂

    When I first quite and left the corporate world a few years ago, I remember that same feeling! It does feel like being a kid again. Even if just a sabbatical or mini-retirement, we all need to feel this every once in awhile.

  9. Love the comment about your metabolism shooting through the roof after you got out from behind of a desk. Desks are toxic man. Sounds like you are having a ton of fun and living the life you want! Super stoked for you.

  10. Dude, sounds like you’ve found where “enough” is and are having an awesome time. I’m really jealous, but I’ll be there someday soon! By the way, that breakfast looks awesome! Great post. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Truly love how you concluded this – best 6 months of your life and can’t sleep because of the excitement of what to do tomorrow. I couldn’t see what is the end point of FI for awhile but now I do and I am motivated to spend less so I could have the same 6 months soon! Thank you!

  12. Such an awesome example of why FI is so important. You have had such rewarding experiences in the past 6 months than most have in six years!! Being able to be there for your friends and family is super but becoming a happier person besides that is the best part of all of this. I’m so looking forward to joining you in the Early Retired Club!! 5 years and counting! 🙂

    • It’s been eye opening catching up with friends and family I had not seen in over a decade. Who knows how many more years might have passed before I saw them if I kept working.

      Owning your time is life changing. Good luck on your journey, FI will come faster than you think 🙂

  13. Looks like you’ve done it right. When people say they’d probably be bored in retirement, they’re either

    a) probably right, and wouldn’t know what to do with a few weeks off, let alone an indefinite timeframe, or

    b) jealous.

    I’m jealous, but not too far from joining you.


  14. Sounds pretty awesome. I caught myself dreaming the other day what I would start doing if I won the lottery. A lot of it I should be doing now so I’m making that a part of my new year’s resolutions.

  15. Wow, very inspiring and motivating!
    That’s exactly how I imagine my retirement. Same energy level, same excitement, same fears… Thanks for sharing that and… congratulations! Please, keep inspiring us!

  16. CK,
    Congrats on the retired lifestyle. It’s interesting for you to even admit that you would have skipped the event for your Godmother if you were still working. Honest and revealing. It’s so easy to get caught up in the working life and not make time for the rest of life.
    Take care,
    – Ryan

  17. Hey CK,

    I just wanted to send a quick shout out of appreciation for your blog and your efforts to chronicle your journey. As others have said, it’s very inspiring and motivating. I work in Finance, live in Northern NJ and am about to pull the trigger on my own FIRE Journey this week. After far too much consternation and putting things off for just “one more year”, I am finally, really, realizing that what I want more of is Time and not Money. I have no blog, though I may start one soon, but for sure I cannot wait to write my own “6 months in” post. I also cannot wait for that “summer vacation” feeling to start creeping in once the weather starts to get warmer. I plan to use the next few months for all the back-logged projects and really devote the summer months to travel, new experiences and just total fun. I have 2 young children and want to share that feeling with them…of seeing the world as just one huge playground on which to explore new things!!

    • Dude! East Coast FIRE community is taking off!

      Thanks for the awesome comment. Nothing makes me feel better than to hear that the stuff I put on the internet was of value to someone 🙂

      Sounds like you have some excellent plans, and I’ll be looking forward to reading your “6 months in” post.

      Cheers, and good luck with the transition!

  18. Amazing! Our retirement goal is only 3 years away and honestly my biggest concern is about being bored and not about the money. It’s strange but true. I am glad to hear that your days are full and plentiful and I can’t wait to read more. Cheers!

  19. I am on the fence, I think I could retire today. Should I do this ASAP, or wait it out for good measure. I am so eager to be done with the corporate world, but it pays very well (golden handcuffs).

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