December 10, 2021 was my last day of full-time employment, and if I were to sum up my first year of semi-retirement in one statement, it’s this: I am prioritizing myself like I’ve never done before. And while this could be a side effect of the fact that no employer owns my workday, this is also me making a conscious choice… I’ve chosen this. I’ve re-prioritized. I’ve identified what matters to me, decided how I’m going to live my life, and I’m doing it. And ever since then, this choice has shown up in my life in several ways.
My third month in Europe has rolled to an end, and I'm here to share another spending recap. But first, in the last month, I’ve been in five countries, I’ve taken buses or ferries in between 10 cities, I’ve spent 20 nights in hotels or Airbnbs, and I’ve dined out about once per day… What do you think I spent? Please, close your eyes and guess. (All will be revealed momentarily!)
I was 15 years old when I got my first job working at Panera Bread for $5.25 an hour. Like most people, I’ve been working ever since, without so much as a few weeks off or a few months between jobs — until my “great resignation” at age 36. I’ve worked at coffee shops, restaurants, big box retailers, golf courses… and then post-college, in two TV newsrooms and a few big corporate organizations. Sometimes, I worked side gigs and temp jobs simultaneously with my salaried job, to the tune of 60-70 hours a week, just to pay the bills or get ahead. (Damn, those days were rough.) Then, I quit. I took a chance on myself and my future: to grow and monetize this blog, publish a memoir about my journey, and THOROUGHLY ENJOY MY LIFE. I call this Julie’s Financial Independence Recreational Employment (my take on FI/RE)! Hereby, these are 7 confessions of a corporate job escapee... who's never been happier (spoiler alert).
I have another 30-day, full-time-traveler, nomad-in-Europe spending update for you! I spent most of my second month of my stint in Europe in the Balkans and Mediterranean, so you'd think my mini-retirement spending would be lower than western Europe, buuuuuuut... I had a couple bills come due and a few "splurges," like my 7-day sailing trip in Turkey. So, in days 31-60 in Europe, I spent (and please excuse me while I mentally cringe)...
After I quit my job, transitioning from an earner to a spender was not emotionally easy for me… but this is how I adjusted, and now, I'm at peace with it.
The average person works super hard for ~45 years and hopes all his efforts have paid off; that he will still have physical health and presence of mind (and financial security) to enjoy the time he has left. It doesn’t always work out that way. Case in point: my father. I’m young (36). I’m healthy. I’m single, un-obligated and uninhibited, with only a pup to care for. So to my employer: it's over. It’s not you, it’s me. Call it a sabbatical or a mini retirement or a temporary early retirement, I need to put my priorities, passions, and purpose first. I’m going where the creativity takes me, while I have the blessing of mental prowess, physical health, and minimal obligations.