Inevitable market corrections mean that we may take pay cuts here and there over the next few years. But that’s OK. Why? Because when it comes to my remaining Free Time on Earth, I just got a 30% raise!
The one sweeping assumption I made for this free time promotion was that I’m going to live until I’m 94. When we used to work with a financial advisor, that’s the age he always chose for my demise. So I’m going with it!
Free Time in the Parallel Universe
In a parallel universe where I kept working until I was 65, here’s what my remaining free time looked like:
- Weekend days while working 17 more years: 1,768
- Vacation days: 510
- Free days from age 65 to age 94: 10,585
TOTAL FREE DAYS between now and age 94: 12,863
Free Time in the FIRE Universe
In this “real” universe where I’ve reached FI (Financial Independence) and I’m RE (Retiring Early), my remaining free time looks a little different:
TOTAL FREE DAYS between age 48 and age 94: 16,790
That’s sixteen thousand, seven hundred ninety days to do whatever I want to do!
Gadzooks! For the first time in memory, my time is going to be … mine! Unstructured. Free. All outside of the confines of a cubicle. And I have 30% more of it than in that parallel universe where I kept working until I was 65.
I feel very lucky. And happy!
Free Time In the Olden Days
As far back as I can remember (about age 5) most of my time has fallen into a structure:
- 7 years of Elementary School
- 2 years of Middle School
- 4 years of High School
- 4 years of college
- 32 years of work from age 16 to age 48
The largest continuous chunks of free time I remember were summer vacations before I started working, 10 weeks hitchhiking and backpacking with friends around South America during college, and about 4 months taken to train a puppy and work on my new (old!) house after I was laid off in 2001. Mr. Grumby and I also took a couple of epic 3-week trips. In 2008 we got married in Alaska, took a sea kayak trip and then rented a car from Rent-a-Wreck . And in 2013 we rented a minivan and took an awesome road trip with our 2 dogs.
The fondest memories I have from those times:
- Spending time in nature with my favorite people and dogs
- Visiting family and friends
- Riding my bike
- Challenging adventures
- Meeting interesting people
Free Time Grumby Style
When Mr. Grumby and I were on the road trip with our dogs, we met 2 people that planted the seeds for how we might use our free time once we retire. We were all staying at the KOA Kampground (with a K!) in Buena Vista, CO and Rich and Cissy had ridden their tandem bike from Yorktown, VA and were on their way to Astoria, OR. They were two of the happiest people we’d ever met and their trip on Adventure Cycling’s TransAmerica route sounded like a blast.
We had the great fortune of getting together with Rich and Cissy a couple times after that in Portland and love hearing from them every Christmas. If all goes according to plan, we’ll see them on their turf in South Carolina while we’re in between the Southern Tier and TransAm routes. Of course, we’ll swing up to North Carolina to visit the Groovys at Groovy Ranch, too!
Free time Grumby Style will be just like the olden days. I’ll get to spend my days with my best friend, Mr. Grumby, while riding our bikes around the beautiful (and large!) USA. Along the way, we’ll spend time with some of our favorite people and we’ll have fun with the interesting people we meet along the way!
As we enter this vast new pool of free time, one of the questions I’d like to ask myself periodically is:
Right now, this is the only day that you have … what do you want to do with it?
For Phase I, Undaunted Porridge, the likely first part of the answer will be, “Hey! Let’s go on a bike ride!”
It will be interesting to see how the answer evolves over time.
Using Time to Stay Awake and Alive
I’d love to hear about what other people have done with large chunks of unstructured time. How much time did you have and what did you do?
If you could give yourself the gift of extra free time, what would you do with it?
Mr. Grumby and I have both referenced this video before. It’s a great reminder of the importance of using the precious resource of time to stay awake and alive: