Bored In Retirement?  I Don’t Think So!

Bored In Retirement? I Don’t Think So!

This morning I woke at 6:30, not by an alarm clock but by the quiet lurking of my 6-year old son as he crawled into bed with my wife and me.  I rolled over, told him good morning, and just rested quietly with him next to me.

This rest I experience in the morning now is a deep rest.  Not just a physical rest used to mentally prepare for another day.  This is also a mental and emotional rest.  It’s a deep relaxation.  It’s the outcome that hard working folks seek as they leave the office at lunchtime to go to yoga class, and what many yearn for when they join meditation groups (sanghas), exercise daily, and why they drink alcohol after a long day at the office.

And so this morning, like every morning since I’ve retired, I laid there and rested. I focused on my breathing, I listened to the birds chirping outside my window, and I slowly began to awake.  Unlike when I was working, I didn’t immediately kickstart my brain into planning my day, writing a mental list of what I needed to do that day, and worrying about how I would keep up.  These days I don’t worry about my day at all, because I know the day will come to me.  And boy does it come to me.

That’s right.  Although I’m in a different and far superior mental state of relaxation, I’ve never had so much time, energy, and desire to do so much.

Most mornings, after I eventually roll out of bed, I’ll head downstairs to play with my two kids as my wife (usually) cooks up a hearty breakfast.  I sip fresh coffee as I play games, read books, or play guitar with my two kids.  This morning, we did origami together using some instructional books my kids found at the library.  And so we folded and twisted paper in our front entry room, a room where I recently replaced the nasty 20 year old carpet with a dark, clean hardwood.  I did this myself, saving a few thousand bucks with just a few days of effort.  It’s unsettling to have the floor ripped up and furniture piled up in another room while the work is in progress, but a benefit of early retirement is that time is plentiful, and so I was able to finish the flooring myself in just a few days.

After we finished reading books and eating breakfast, I grabbed the fish food and journeyed outside to my backyard aquaponics setup that I recently built (again, after I retired and found myself with so much time).  The plants are really starting to grow now, as the nutrient rich water is finding a natural ecological balance between the ammonia fish waste, the bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrates and nitrites, and the vegetable plants that feed off the nitrates and filter the water for the fish.

As I feed the fish, I think about the eCommerce store I’m beginning to research and build.  I’m reminded of it because it’ll be a store that sells aquaponic supplies and equipment for other modern gardening techniques that I believe will be the future of a decentralized, healthier, and cheaper food supply.

I’m then reminded of the stress I used to feel when I would think about starting yet another nano-business.  I smile to myself, thinking about how I used to get so terribly stressed when I had an idea for a business but I lacked the time and energy to go make it happen.  My mind would be torn, wanting badly to work a side business to fulfill what seems to be a deeply engrained entrepreneurial spirit, yet lacking the time and energy to fulfill those needs.  But not today.  Today, I’ll have the time.  But I’m also able to relax, knowing that tomorrow I’l have the time as well.  So if I have the itch this afternoon to work on it, I will.  If I don’t, then I’ll wait and reconsider it tomorrow.  I have many other things to do…

After taking care of my aquaponics, I went downstairs to my new office.  A month ago, this was an over-crowded guestroom that we barely used, except to traverse on our way to the laundry room. But with all the free time retirement has granted my wife and I, we’ve now converted it to an office for our nanobusinesses.  Soon, I’ll be building a cheap DIY murphy bed, so that our guests can still have a nice place to stay.  But that’s for another day.

In my new office, I began my work.  Last night, I built a DIY photography lightbox for $1.50 plus some materials laying around the house.  I’m using it to take picture of products that my wife and I have for one of our other nano-businesses, buying liquidation products in bulk auction and selling them for a profit on eBay. That business makes about $1000/month these days, which works out to about $100/hour considering the limited time we spend on it.  We don’t need the money, but it’s a fun activity for us after the kids are in bed – and our thought is that it’ll pay for any over-the-top discretionary expenses that we haven’t budgeted for.  That business alone could have us taking a vacation every money or two (or three, if we took a really fancy and expensive trip).

After I finished taking pictures, I went back upstairs and helped get the kids ready for a play date (yesterday was the last day of school).  Now my wife and kids are gone off to the playdate, and I’m back in the office writing this article.  It’s not quite lunchtime, and I’m already as satisfied with my day’s output as I was from any long day in an office.  Actually, much more so.

At 4:00, my son has his first ever karate practice at the YMCA.  I’m grateful that I’ll be able to go and watch some of it, even though it’s held at a time that most people are still at work.  I know that many working parents are lucky to have just one adult that can get away from their job to pick their kid up from daycare and rush them to an activity like this.  It’s not lost on me how fortunate we are that both my wife and I can be there on his first day, and in the future we can split up this task so that the other can have some more free time.


Life is good right now.  My passive income continues to pay for our basic necessities (and growing at a rate that should be faster than inflation), and our nano-businesses are more than capable of paying for some any luxuries we might want.  Time is plentiful, and stress is at an all-time low – which says a lot considering we have a 4 and 6 year old!  I know how fortunate I am, but I also know that my circumstance didn’t come without making some serious life changes.  The good news is, for many people reading this, it’s a life that’s possible for you if you’re wanting and willing to make similar changes.

It’s lunchtime now, so I think I’ll go upstairs and make something to eat.  After that, my kids will come home.  Maybe we’ll all go swimming.  Or maybe I’ll go outside and work on refinishing my deck.  Or work on that aquaponics website.  Or maybe I’ll just relax and read a book. It doesn’t matter, whatever I don’t do will be waiting for me tomorrow.


Socrates once said “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”  I believe he was right.  I don’t lack things to do these days, but I’m not “busy.”  Most importantly, this life certainly isn’t barren.

47 Responses to Bored In Retirement? I Don’t Think So!

  1. Ken says:

    So how much more time do you plan to spend in CO? Do you mind sharing your bulk auction gig? Things are pretty slow right now so I’ve got some free time.

    • We’ll be in CO for at least another year. I’m not ready to leave yet, and once the school year starts we’ll definitely stay until it’s over.

      Hit me up over email and I’ll share a little more about the wholesale auctions. I only check on a few of them right now, but I’m pretty sure there are a lot more once you start looking around.

  2. Jim H. says:

    I’m about halfway to early retirement, but that still means I have about 5 years to go. I can’t stand thinking about working in a cubicle for another 5 years.

    This article has me newly inspired to really work hard on starting up a nanobusiness and making enough money to bridge the gap between my passive income through my dividend investments and the money I need to retire. I don’t mind working hard, I just hate working hard in an office for someone else to get rich.

    • Wololo says:

      Jim, replying almost a year later but I can totally relate. I am tired of making other people rich, wasting my own life for other people’s business ideas

  3. Dr. Doom says:

    Very nice. This post is more along the lines of what I’ve been waiting for since you put the RE in FIRE. I’m glad to hear that you’re busy and, most importantly, happy. I managed to take 3 full weeks off work a while back, sort of a long staycation, to test how I’d feel being out of the office for so long without any structured activity. Turns out I also became super busy, but in a healthy way. For me, the point of not working a formal job isn’t to suddenly do nothing. It’s to use your time and energy in ways that feel important for you and your family. If that’s working on nano-businesses, so be it. By the way, the best part of your story was your trip to the Y to participate in your son’s karate practice. Tremendously cool. Cheers!

    • Mirabel says:

      I’ll second Dr Doom. Being able to go to your kids activities (and truly appreciating that privilege) is the part of FIRE I want the most. I’m the person you described that has to rush from work to daycare to my kids activities and it sucks. I’m just a few years away from being able to do this, but my kids will also be older when I finally reach it. But at least I won’t be 60 when I quit, and my kids won’t be in their 30’s so better late than never.

      I’m also more interested in learning more about your nanobusinesses. I’m not that entrepreneurial, but maybe I can find a way to make something work if it lets me work less or not at all, so I can be home more with my kids. I’m especially motivated right now since summer just started.

  4. ERA says:

    Great post Brave. I have been reading your blog for a while now. Congratulations on your retirement. I feel like I am at the stage in my life now that you were 2 years ago (even though I am a bit older), and hopefully I will reach FI in the next few years. Keep us posted on what life is like in the new world.

    • cathy says:

      Same here! Just 1.5 years and I’ll be joining ya’ll. Posts like this pump me up for all the fun things I can do when I’m done working in my tiny cubicle.

  5. AEBinNC says:

    Well said, I feel more relaxed just from reading it. It gives me motivation dig in and redouble my efforts.

  6. Thanks for the visualization. I feel like I just looked into a crystal ball and saw my future life three years from now. Inspiring stuff!


  7. I really enjoyed reading your post and you painted a wonderful and enviable picture of your life post-retirement. As I don’t know anyone else (in person) besides myself working toward early financial independence, it is refreshing to read such a wonderful take on the joys of freedom. Thanks!

  8. One thing that maddens me, and makes me want to push for FI that much sooner, is that when I do return home from work, I need a little while to decompress. Next, being what we’ve gone through in our marriage, we prioritize time together. Lastly, there are things that need to be done around the house. Too often I pass up playing catch with my son in favor of doing the dishes because they need to be done.

    Have you found that even though you’re staying active, it’s easier to prioritize the guitar playing, the swimming, the game playing with your kids?

    • Absolutely. Doing those things (swimming, playing, riding, etc) seemed like a chore while I was still working because it always seemed like there was too much that I *had* to do in the limited time left over after work. Even when I was working less than 40 hours per week I felt too busy, despite knowing that 40 hours per week or less really isn’t all that bad.

      Even more important than all the excess time I now have, the biggest difference is the increased energy. I used to have so much of it in my 20’s before kids, that after a day of office work I still had plenty left over. But then I got old, and even a short day at the office drained me of that energy and I found it a chore to go play, swim, etc. Now, I have plenty of energy for all the things I want to do.

      • Nice. Just this morning as I was getting ready for work, I was thinking how cool it would be to just pack up and go camping during the week without having to worry about the cost, how much vacation time is left, etc etc etc. It’s times like those I kick myself for not getting our crap in gear sooner.

      • Man Of Leisure says:

        I know what you guys mean about finding it hard to devote as much time as you’d like to the kids. The weather here today is beautiful, so it would be nice to take the kids on a bike ride after work, but I *have* to mow the lawn since it is going to rain tomorrow and it needs to be timed out right so I don’t have a jungle for a lawn when we get back from an upcoming vacation.

        By the way, BNL, thanks for the update on your retirement activities. It’s cool to see that you’re doing pretty much whatever you feel like doing.

        Like some of the other commenters, I’m curious about your nano-businesses. It’s interesting to see the ideas people come up with to make a little money without having to work for somebody else.

  9. KB says:

    Great post. Keep it up! Enjoy the good life man. We are all working towards joining you. :)

  10. CincyCat says:

    I’m a new reader who just found your blog via 1500 Days. I am curious about your nano-businesses. You wrote: “…one of our other nano-businesses, buying liquidation products in bulk auction and selling them for a profit on eBay.” Out of curiosity, how do you handle storage of such large purchases while sales are pending?

    I’ve often thought of starting a small furniture flipping business (I really enjoy taking something old & making it new/useful/attractive again), but worry about where I would store pieces before they sell that wouldn’t cost me a fortune in monthly fees.

    • We’re still working on setting up our inventory “system,” including how/where we store stuff. Currently, most of our inventory sits in our garage, but it’s a pretty big mess. My wife will tell you it’s an organized mess, but to me it just looks like chaos that’s infiltrated my bike space. :)

      Our products are much smaller than furniture, though, so that might not work for you. One thing I’ve considered for managing inventory of aquaponics supplies (if, in fact, that business takes off) is to rent out a space in a nearby self-storage locker. We have a place within walking distance where I can rent out a 5’x10′ space with 8′ ceilings for $53/month. Plus, as a business expense that would be tax deductible while keeping our house clean and uncluttered. It hasn’t come to that yet, but it’s a possibility in the future.

      I’ve heard remodeling furniture can be a pretty lucrative side gig, particularly if the local craigslist community is active. I’ve met people that buy furniture on craigslist and garage sales, clean it up as a hobby, then sell it for a substantial profit. You can also buy damaged furniture in bulk through some of the liquidation markets, but mostly what I’ve seen is by the truckload so you’d be talking about a big ass storage space.

      • CincyCat says:

        Thank you for the reply! We have a pretty active Craigslist community here in Cincy-land, and there are also quite a few strong “buy local” artsy neighborhoods. I thought I’d stick my toe in the water this summer & see what happens. :)

  11. Joe says:

    Congratulation! Life is what we make of it and it’s great to hear that you’re having fun in retirement. It’s great that you can spend time with the kids while they are young. I’m really thankful for that.
    Sounds like the DIY projects will keep you busy for a while. Probably won’t get bored anytime soon.

  12. Veritas says:

    Very enjoyable read! You did an excellent job of describing the pace and freedom that you have earned yourself.

    Let’s see you live in Colorado and are now selling “aquaponics equipment”…hmmmm I wonder what is being grown? Hahah!

    • When I was setting up my backyard system, my neighbor (who is a 50 year old single lady) asked me what I was growing. I told her tomatoes and other vegetables. Her response: “You should grow weed!”

      I should have explained to her that if I’m gonna grow a cash crop like that I can’t just leave it out in the open where she can come steal it.

  13. @freepursue says:

    Happy to hear you are adjusting well BNL.

    Waking up to birds chirping is heaven. You wake up slowly and almost always with the deep feeling of being fully rested. Am I right?

    Regarding energy levels: I love riding the wave of changing energy levels…now that I’m no longer a member of the cubicle jungle. Some days I go non stop and other days I just relax…very few of my activities are scheduled, except if I’ve made an appointment with someone. I find I produce quality output when I work on what I want to work on, when I want to work on it.

    It’s such a different way of being, this feeling that you can “just breathe” whenever you want to.

  14. Mr. FI says:

    Sitting in my office right now, I could not be more envious. I’m still in my mid 20’s, but I feel like my youth is being wasted in this environment.

    Thanks for the continued motivation!

  15. Sounds like pure bliss! This is exactly what my husband and I are working towards! The low-stress family time especially resonates with me. Thank you for this lovely post–am trying to feel motivated rather than jealous ;).

    I wonder if you miss anything about your “old” life? Probably not…

  16. The single best early retirement post/description I have ever read. I share your meandering curiosity and hope I still have it when I’m able to retire.

  17. Ash says:

    Hi BNL,

    Long time lurker and first comment. I enjoy your blog and your writings. Well done on achieving the passive income goal.
    When I read your article, I got a feeling you were bored and not enjoying it that much. Its almost like you are doing your best to reprogram yourself.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am aiming for FI as well.
    But felt it was worth a mention.

    • Ha! Well, there’s no convincing you, eh?

      By the way, my old job has been bugging me to come back for a few months and work part time for a 40% pay raise – but I’m turning them down. That’s a lot of money, so hopefully I’m not just trying to “reprogram” myself. :)

      I’ll tell you what – I’ll keep updating here, and hopefully I’ll eventually convince you that this is all genuine. And if I turn out truly bored, I’ll be honest about it. It’s not like I’m selling anything but an idea here.

      • Ash says:

        LOL. No worries. Regardless on whether you accept or not congrats on the part time offer from the old job – it shows you have added value to the organisation and are an achiever. Which no doubt is the reason you have achieved the passive income goal as well!

        You dont need to convince me that you are genuinely enjoying BNL. It was just a “feel” I got from reading your article and wanted to mention it.
        For all you know, I might be completly wrong! :-)

      • Yep, I understand how you could see it with that perspective. In hindsight, I might have reached the same conclusion if I were you. It’s something to watch out for.

        Anyways, thanks for the comment. It’s always good to see the lurkers come out on occasion.

  18. Chad says:

    Loved the article! I have read a lot of your old posts, and it seems like your writing is even a little more relaxed! I say it is permeating everything;) nice job.

    I am about 2/3 to my own passive income goal and I am hoping that final 1/3 is bridged with a growth spurt of earnings and savings in next 2 years.

    But I already work for myself out of the house in my own real estate investing biz, so thankfully I have been able to experience some of these retirement perks already along the way. Most meals are with my wife and girls, and my schedule is flexible enough for trips and activities. Luckily i never had to deal with the corporate crap you have elaborated on.

    I have turned my work volume up and down over the last 11 years depending upon money needs, my desire to sprint or not, and how much I wanted to grow my passive income. Before kids (now 1 and 3) my wife and I took a 4 month mini retirement back packing in South America. I found it took me 6 weeks to finally unwind, distress, and wake up in mornings to birds as you described! Did you have a decompress time?

    It is interesting, but I could have made more money working a regular job, and probably reached FI a little faster. But starting as an entrepreneur right out of college has been great for me because I avoided a lot of the soil crushing stuff I hear from a lot of people here and from my local friends. And the pad to FI gas Vern a little more relaxed and enjoyable.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It is inspiring.

  19. You’ve got a very valuable approach to life. I think many people get lost in the busyness of life, but there is great truth in the idea that things will be waiting for them tomorrow. Its really hard to appreciate that when you are running a life based on meeting deadlines and the clutter of work life, but its always true.

  20. Congrats on your retirement, BNL!
    I also find it amusing when people say they’d just be bored in retirement. It seems that the people thinking they’d be dissatisfied in retirement are also dissatisfied with their current life and have a tough time imagining living a sustainable retirement without the comfort of a regular paycheck to fund it all.
    After moving into my first house last month, my fiance and I made a deal that we would forego cable tv until every project on our checklist was complete. Once we put a real list put together, it’s difficult to imagine ever completing it all.
    I wonder, do you have a list of items you’re hoping to accomplish? Or do you require less structure than I do to keep productive?

  21. BobToday says:

    I like this post because it gives an idea how an Early Retired life looks like (and hell it sounds good). Further, I am new to the Nano Business idea. Very interesting!

  22. Shawn says:

    The world would be a more positive place if nuclear families carried out their days as yours is.

    Seeing your brave new life get built over the last few years and simultaneously building ours has been real world epic.

  23. Ruthe Bronson says:

    This is a nice article, I must say u did a great job! Thank you for inspiring me.

  24. I really experienced studying your publish and you coloured a amazing and desirable image of your lifestyle post-retirement. As I don’t know anyone else (in person) besides myself operating toward beginning economical independence, it is relaxing to study such a amazing take on the pleasures of independence.

  25. You are living the dream! I’m still working my way through your archives (Up to Sept 2012 at the moment). So glad to skip ahead occasionally and see that all your previous hard-work and life optimization has paid off.

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  27. Congrats on reducing stress and enjoying freedom the real way. When you were close to or ready for financial freedom did you move to a lower cost of living city or did you stay put in the home town? I know I also wont be bored in retirement because I enjoy DIY stuff, spending time with family, volunteering, and building upon hobbies.

  28. Petra says:

    Hey, BNL… You are apparently enjoying your new life so much that there is no more time to write a blog post? Please, write more encouraging and jealousy-inducing posts!!!

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  31. Jack Gibson says:

    Its very motivational blog for the people who have been retired i would like to refer this post to my some relatives.

  32. […] Bored in Retirement? I Don’t Think So: BNL retired at 36 and lives in Colorado with his family. […]

  33. […] Bored in Retirement? I Don’t Think So: BNL retired at 36 and lives in Colorado with his family. […]

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