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Top 5 Reasons I Retired in 2021!

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Somebody recently asked me – “Why did you decide retire from your company this year?”  It was a great question, so after a bit of thought, here are the top 5 reasons I retired from work this year:

  1. Burned Out
  2. FOMO
  3. ZOOMing and Feeling It!
  4. My Financial House was finally in Order
  5. YOLO

More on each of these Top 5 below:

  1. Burned Out!

I had worked 26 yrs + at a high tech software company at the heart of digital transformation.  I helped drive our sales engine for over 106 quarters w/very positive results. All good – I love the company, their products, and my colleagues – period! 

However, over the last several years I felt like I was becoming more and more robotic, basically more monotone.  50-60 hours a week – staff calls, forecast calls, 1×1 calls, just became more and more numbing.  With the pandemic and the advent of zooming – it only exacerbated these feelings.  Sure, during these times, the sales team had the best results we’ve ever had as a sales engine, however the level of personal fulfillment I was getting in return was no longer in balance.   I guess – the end just didn’t justify the means for me anymore. 

Bottom-line: I had burned out and felt I needed a change in my routine.

2) FOMO!

If you’re anything like me, your identity is tied up in what you do, and how well you do it.  For all the years I’ve been alive, work was my identity and my single highest priority.  It was priority #1 – period!   Here’s what my thought drivers have been:

a) 50, 60, even 70 hours a week – yep, that’s what it takes to be good at what you do.  

            b) Success never comes easy – but stick with it long enough success will be yours.

            c) If you don’t do it, your competition or someone else will!  

That’s what I told myself over, and over.  For years and years, it worked and I’m blessed and grateful for the time I spent at the job.  Heck, for all the success we had, my teams and I were paid well.  Tons of great sales campaigns were fought hard, and won!   So, I will always cherish these times.

However, along the way, my Fear of Mission Out (FOMO) became more and more real. As we probably all do, I generated a bucket list and over time I noticed that this list just kept growing. I wasn’t able to get to any of things I wanted to do, because I kept putting work first!  

What made my FOMO become unbearable was a former boss, friend, and mentor of mine retired several years back, and he retired with dreams and high expectations of having “fun in the retirement”.  However, after 40+ years of work he retired and after a short 6 months, he got sick and ended up passing away in just 3 short yrs later.  Not a fair way to go by any stretch.  

Of course I wondered – could this happen to me?  Certainly hope not, but it absolutely could.  This helped me make the decision as well – Father Time just doesn’t wait for anyone – it’s now – so, FOMO of a long and fun retirement definitely helped push me towards saying “I retire!” Today!

3) Zooming and Feeling It!

For all my life, like many, I have always felt younger at heart than my actual age.  Today, I sit here at 56 yrs old, and yet I don’t feel a day over 40.  This is good news because I still feel like I can run marathon’s, climb mountains, surf, etc.  Age has not been a factor in anything I have ever wanted to do and I hope it will never become one!

Of course, then came Zooming as a way to get our work done!   Don’t get me wrong, I love Zoom, and am so glad we, as a society, are able to continue to work from home during and after the pandemic, use it for telemedicine, etc.  However, as I was telling my work colleagues and friends – I have never looked at myself for so long in all my life.  What I found through this “Zoom – Self Reflection” was both a blessing and a curse! 

First the curse.  With all the zoom meetings and time for “self reflection” watching my zoom image, I quickly started to notice the graying of my hair, the lines in my face multiplying and getting more defined, and many other subtleties of a face that is naturally maturing.  Add to this, I recently went in to get a hearing test and found out that I have tinnitus – so I have ringing in my ears that I will now get to deal with – Yay (not!)!!!!   So, bottom line here, is that via Zoom, I was basically able to watch my aging happen – on a DAILY basis – right in front me.  What a reality check – right? Ugh!

Now the blessing. Given my realization that I wasn’t getting any younger, this seemed to stick with me and became part of my thought patterns more often.   So, in the most basic sense, I was given a reality check and noticed it!   Time is absolutely our biggest asset on this earth – period!  There is a finite time we’ll be on this earth and what we do with our remaining time is up to us.

Again, another reason for me to say – the time to retire is NOW, don’t wait any longer Jeff!  You’re still able to – so do it NOW!

4) My Financial House was finally in Order!

Let’s face it…the only way we can do things in this world is to have some $’s set aside to make it all possible.  For me, several financial things happened that helped set this all up.

First and foremost – I experienced a significant life change about 6 years ago, which changed my financial picture greatly.  Divorce – bluck!!!  But that was then, and just recently all the financial obligations from the divorce decree were officially over.   This certainly helped my financial picture become a bit brighter, which turned out to be a great 1st step.  

In fact, as a side note, this single event – divorce – has transformed my thought process on money and my life desires the most.  By default, it kicked off a form of minimalism in me that I continue to pursue today.  I will be blogging/vlogging more about this in the coming months.  Minimalism is something very core to my being at this point and I really believe everyone should take advantage of this mindset – TODAY!   For if you do, I promise – it will change your life quickly and more positively than you can imagine!!!!

Secondly, the stock market has been good for anybody in it for many, many years!  I’ve always been a big saver and investor, so given the market returns along with my ability/desire to minimize my expenses, I hit the proverbial savings goal of 25 times my expenses about a year ago.  

So today, my financial house is in order.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but today I feel blessed and secure enough financially to say – “Let’s GO!”


You Only Live Once! 

Given the always on world we live in today, I believe it’s no longer possible for us to be on, 24/7 , 7 days a week forever.    To support this notion, I continually read about business leaders taking breaks, getting re-charged and doing something totally new when they come back “on-line”.   I think this is because many have realized YOLO, are practicing something I call – YOLO in action, and that it was not only okay to do this, but good for us as well!   

To me, YOLO is another big reason for me to go, and go now!   The times they are a changing and in this day and age, we all need to take work breaks now and again to reassess our lives, figure out what’s important to us and then realign our effort to our passion going forward.  Remember – we really do only live once – so take advantage while you can!

So given these reasons, I went ahead and did it.  I retired from my job in 2021!

In fact, March 1, 2021 was my first official day of retirement!  March 1st – a Monday – was a great day.  I didn’t worry about the work week on Sunday nor did I have any worry about what was coming my way during the week.  In fact, it’s crazy, but I started using a new on-line calendar and I had absolutely nothing in my calendar to do that 1st week…and I mean NOTHING!  The feeling of going from a full calendar + some, to nothing was cool even if a bit unnerving.

Going forward, my goals are simple.  Right now, I want to stay retired from work for at least a year.   I plan to do new things during the week and blog about what I find along the way.  This will help me stay honest to the year of retirement as well as highlight the good, bad and ugly for others considering the same!

Lastly, thanks again for joining me.   As I mentioned, I plan on blogging about many things – the financial things I did to get here, my latest NoZoomMondays adventures and all the service work we’re able to participate in.  If there are other topics of interest for you, please let me know – comments or direct emails.  Also, I’m vlogging now as well – so please subscribe to my YouTube channel (NoZoomMondays), as this is an easy way to keep up with all the ups, downs, and all-arounds of what I discover as I move my way through retirement.

Enjoy your day and bye for now!

4 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons I Retired in 2021!”

  1. Well done Jeff. I hope healthcare costs don’t catch you out (nine years pre-Medicare!). I’ll be following your minimalization with interest. So many expenses we normalize which don’t need to be normal. I’ll see if our priorities align. Good luck!

    p.s. part-time mentoring to the next-gen of tech founders is fun.

    1. Thanks Steve! I’m with you, I hope healthcare costs don’t overrun my budget either. I sure do hope that the lack of high-tech stress will help me in this regard as well. I will post more on my minialism journey, but it’s definitely been the biggest “plus” around reducing expenses, not to mention the emotional release I got when I gave away so much of my stuff! Anyway, more not this later. Glad you’re mentoring – you have so much to give to others on this front. Keep watching, I hope you were able to subscribe to the YouTube channel I setup (NoZoomMondays!). That might be the easiest way to get notified of new vlogs and associated blog posts. Be well and bye for now…

    1. Thank you Jill! Funny thing. After just a few weeks of this blog/vlog, I’m finding many people are interested in all of this. I will continue to post about our adventures and what I find along the way. I’m hoping it will help others reach their goals soonest :-). Call me a “Retire-Mentor”. Miss you and Wind River, but glad to be out doing some new things, working to live life differently 🙂

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