Brandon’s last day of work was Friday, July 29, 2016.
He was 34.
Living frugally and working in rural Vermont, he managed to save and invest about 70% of his after-tax income, and saved enough to leave his job in spring 2014. However, when his employer offered to make his position remote, he stayed on for a few years more than planned, intermittently traveling with his wife Jill until they relocated full-time to Scotland in May 2015. There, he continued working, blogging, and saving until he retired last summer.
On a new post on his site, Brandon wrote that since his last day of work was a Friday, it didn’t feel that different from the end of any other week.
“It wasn’t until I woke up on Monday, August 1st that it really hit me,” he wrote. “And boy did it hit me.”
“You would have expected it to be the best morning ever but it was actually the only time in the entire first year that I freaked out about the whole thing.
“I had escaped the normal life script but now I was in uncharted territory.
“I was staring into the vast unknown and the immense gravity of the situation freaked me out (much more than I expected).
“It’s crazy that I wasn’t mentally prepared for it, considering early retirement was something I had been thinking about and working towards for over five years.”
Brandon wrote that “[Financial independence] was something I talked about and thought about so much that it just became this abstract concept in my mind and didn’t relate to anything in real life. It was a long-term goal that I guess I never actually pictured achieving.”
- Courtesy of the Mad Fientist
The “first morning of freedom was tough,” he said, “because I couldn’t process it all.”
To distract himself from the existential angst of early Monday, he put in some time working on something fun: his blog. “I was happy to be making progress on things that were important to me and I started getting really excited about the idea of doing that every day,” he wrote. He continued:
“Maybe life wouldn’t look so different, after all? I would still be working but I’d just be working on things I’m passionate about.
“That was the whole reason I pursued early retirement in the first place so I’m not sure why I didn’t think about that when I woke up that day.”
However, he settled into his new reality after that first, jarring day. A year later, he’s thrilled with his post-job lifestyle. “Have you ever woke up thinking it was Sunday morning but it was actually Saturday instead?” he wrote of his later months as a “retiree.” “It was like that but 1,000 times better because it wasn’t just an extra day off that you didn’t expect but the rest of your life!”