I have been telling myself (and to the world) that I am enjoying a mini-retirement. It is not unlike the mini-retirements that Tim Ferriss advocates for in The 4 Hour Workweek. It is a change of tact from having described it a gap year or a career break. Reframing it as such has been such a blessing, and I have quickly become a staunch advocate for it.
A mini-retirement relieves you of any baggage associated with taking a gap year or having a career break. From my perspective, there are expectations if not stereotypes associated with framing time off work as a gap year or career break. The first thing is a mindset thing, many see it as an opportunity to fill in as much fun as possible before having to go back to the real world. This manifests commonly in travel or the prioritisation of recreation like nightlife and such. In short, it is a lifestyle that favours extremes.
Retirement is a legitimate reset point and connotes a sense of balance and moderation. Aside from being old, retirement traditionally marks an end to one’s working life and the start of a life lived fully – lived for ourselves and for others. In our working lives, a majority of our time is spent at work while even more time is spent thinking about work. The lives we led whilst in the education system also mirrors this. In a career break, the major pre-occupation is about how one can have as much fun. All of the burdens of societal expectation fall away with retirement, it is all about living in the present with the freedom to do almost anything.
This is the mindset that I have found intoxicating – one that is graciously allowed me to live what I describe as peak-life. Everyday, I find myself lucky to be able to journal, exercise, make and eat delicious food, write, read, learn, and connect with friends and family. All of this lived and looked forward to every single day, without any external pressures taking me away from the moment.
I will be the first to admit that it is a privilege to have the means and opportunity to commit to a mini-retirement or a career break. It goes against conventional wisdom and certainly does require a financial diligence to be able to make happen, but it is something I am grateful to have plunged myself in.