Regular readers know that I am not as happy with my job as I used to be and I really want to leave this state. DH’s job is flexible geographically, but it’s at a start-up and could either go big or go out of business in the next couple of years and there are only 3 cities in the US where it would be fairly easy to find a new job in his specializations.
Our married and adult life we’ve followed my job. If we changed to follow DH’s I might have to leave academia entirely and I’m not entirely sure if I would be able to or even want to make a transition to industry. (It would be very easy to transition to government but I SO do not want to be a government policy analyst.)
We could have me do the RE part of FIRE. DH’s job isn’t as stable as mine, but we could probably handle the time it takes to find a new position, and it would be faster to find a new position in more expensive cities.
Recently Revanche asked what I would do if I retired early. And had I given thought to what I would do if I retired at a normal age for retirement.
I don’t want to craft. I’m allergic to most green things, so gardening is out. I would probably end up taking a leadership position in activism and that would make me so unhappy all the time. I do so much more good so much less unpleasantly by getting rid of my students’ math phobia. (And I could teach K-12 but that also sounds pretty unpleasant. And yes, I have done volunteer tutoring before… there’s a lot of sitting around waiting for someone to show up. Teaching Montessori sounds up my alley, but it would pay so little and I would be so sick at first.) I don’t want to write novels. I do like reading them. But…
I mean, I could retire and read novels and catch up on all the movies I haven’t watched since my kids were born. I would make elaborate dinners. And organize things around the house. And gradually get lonely and depressed. I would probably set myself strict schedules to make my days go by more quickly. I might look into fixing up my health, but also I might not. Whether or not I got out and spent time with other not employed people would entirely depend on where we were living– I do not at all like the SAHM around here. I picked up books at the library the other weekday when story time was starting and it was a terrifying parade without a single mask.
I could also play video games which are really engrossing but make me incredibly depressed when I stop, unfed and unwashed with bleary and dry eyes, having spent the day and much of the night playing. (I cannot have access to video games or that is all I will do. I don’t even take restroom breaks until I really have to.)
I would probably try training service puppies. I have the kind of forceful personality that dogs tend to respect. And I LOVE puppies. Dogs, not so much. I mean, if it were my own dog, that would be different, but I’m really a cat person at heart. So I do think I could train puppies and then give them back. I mean, I trained my sister’s dog and then left. Fostering kittens sounds like a lot of heartbreak (longtime readers may remember when #2 fostered).
But yeah, I would probably end up finding a cause and try to fix it and be unhappy and stressed. That’s what I DO when I have too much time on my hands. Having a career is a way of keeping me safe from that. Also keeps me from being too controlling over my kids.
In terms of what about normal retirement? I have not actually thought about it because it depends on so much. Do my kids have kids? How is our health? How much money do we have? Are we both still alive? So many things can change and it’s decades from now so, no haven’t done planning.
So… I think even if things are terrible I’m unlikely to quit my *career* if I can help it, though I might quit my job. I’m hoping to have something lined up, preferably in one of those three aforementioned cities. I’ve been thinking that a SLAC might be nice, so long as the teaching load isn’t too onerous. (I don’t want to go above 2/2.) I don’t know.
What would you do if retired early or on time (but were not super wealthy, like if you’re partnered your partner still had to work)?