How It Ended
And then it happened on June 29, 2018. I was 37 and I retired.
After having worked at a multinational corporation for 11 years as a software engineer, I decided to call it quits. And that is how it ended and I broke free from the shackles of hedonistic treadmill. Somehow, the few months leading up to my early retirement were calm and relaxed. I would have thought that taking such a bold step would make me anxious and restless. I think the thought of leading a simple life trumped all inhibitions.
A few days before my last working day, I sent out this longish goodbye email which everyone loved. So I thought it should be published here again for the benefit of the readers. I had to redact a few names to protect the innocent :).
Sub: ‘Til we meet again...
If you don’t recognize the sender, you should stop reading now.
TLDR; After making it to the top at Company X in the past 11 years, it is time to say goodbye. I am retiring on June 29 and don’t have any future plans
I am sending you this email because we have perhaps worked together or had an interaction, formal or informal. I wanted to let you know that it has been an incredible privilege working with you. Thank you for all the support! A co-worker sent the following goodbye email and I cannot say it better
I can't believe how many people I had to BCC on this message. I've been lucky to work with so many incredible folks here. I'll remember a lot of things about my decade at X, but the sheer number of amazing people at this company will be the thing that I remember most. So many of you are the very best in the world at what you do. It's truly been a privilege.
-- A co-worker
As to what I am planning to do next, I decided to follow Mr. Money Mustache’s route and retire early. My last working day is June 29, 2018. I will miss working / interacting with people like you. As for the future, I don’t have any plans. No really, I am not doing a startup :). It is a bittersweet moment leaving X. Maybe it is good. Maybe it is bad. Who knows. But I agree with Nassim Taleb when he said
The three most harmful addictions are heroine, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary. But salaries, fed through cubicle farms, are worse than addiction: salaries are slavery. While starting a company may emancipate you from salary slavery, most founders are enslaved to their startups - trading family time, personal health, and happiness for late nights, long commutes, and stress.
-- Nassim Taleb
So I am getting rid of my addictions :). If you are in the city, let’s catch up for lunch / chai / coffee. Don’t be a stranger and please drop me a line to stay in touch. See you when I see you!
What surprises me most is “Man”, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present; The result being he doesn’t live in the present or the future; He lives as if he’s never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.
-- Dalai Lama
PS: While I will miss X a lot, I will certainly not miss these work perks (especially #3). Anyway I never felt that I was a good fit at work :). Now on to practising Stoicism even more strictly.
WARNING! TMI beyond this point and you should only continue reading if you are worried about my future or not fully convinced that I will just be sitting on my hands the rest of my life.
Over the past few weeks when I talked about retiring, I have met several people who are genuinely concerned about my future plans; “an idle mind is devil's workshop” sort of thing. And there are others who think I am bluffing and secretly planning a startup. I am neither lazy nor an adventure seeker, so neither apply :).
Normally I follow what Mark Twain said “It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it”, but today I will make an exception and prove myself a fool. Here is my current thought process on how I will spend my time, explained with three pictures...
1 Scratching the itch
Some of you may know my love for electronics and that I used to try and work on some fun home projects after work. But it was getting increasingly difficult to find a big slice of dedicated time required to get into the zone. Now with my upcoming free time I will be diving head first into that big list of fun projects that I always wanted to work on for several years now. Some of the things I want to build include home automation, build an arduino MPPT, repair a TV, something with 3D printers, robotics etc. I need to get back into the learning zone. I have some other interests that I want to pursue too. [Why some of us don't have one true calling].
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
-- Henry David Thoreau
2 Friends and Family time
Shortly after sending our 4 year old daughter to school, we figured out what a mess today’s education system is. So we decided to homeschool (actually unschool) her. These days as I get ready to work in the mornings, my daughter (who is now 5) keeps asking me -- “Daddy I am doing homeschool, why don’t you do homework and be with me?”. Makes sense right? So I will be doing some homework going forward :). I will also be spending a lot of time with friends and family.
Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down. Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends…
-- Steve Jobs
3 Health and fitness
Most of you probably know my obsession to stay fit. So then it is no wonder that I will be spending more time on it. I recently got my home gym all set up. I will now have more time to keep myself fit.
The goal of life is to die young as late as possible
-- Ashley Montagu
If I can magically find time to do more than what I have listed above, I will be surprised. But the truth is that I would like to get bored sometimes. So that is the plan folks. At least for now. The only certainty is uncertainty. Time to connect the dots and take flight.
You are free to make whatever choice you want but you are not free from the consequences of the choice.