The greatest thing about early retirement is having the time and freedom to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. But when creating our early retirement lifestyle it’s easy to fall into the comfort zone rut. Ruts are easy to fall into and hard to get out of. We constantly tip-toe the ruts in life’s path. But because we are still going in the direction we want they sneak up on us and we fall in.
Unfortunately we can be rut-unaware because we are actually enjoying what we are doing as we fine-tune our early retirement lifestyle. When we are no longer obligated to a boss or work it’s easy to get a little lazy and stick with what’s comfortable. Same goes once reaching our retirement freedom goals. The comfort zone rut isn’t bad because of what we do while in it. It’s more about what we miss out on as we happily skip along early retirement easy street.
I Love My Comfortable Early Retirement Lifestyle a Little Too Much
I just recently had an OMG moment. We had a long planned vacation where we had an out-of-state family wedding to attend followed by a 10 day beach vacation. I came face to face with the fact that I didn’t really want to travel. The kicker is I really enjoy visiting with distant relatives. Not to mention hanging out among palm trees and the ocean. During the weeks and days before leaving it messed with my sleep and added stress as we prepared for the trip.
Then it came to me. What it really was about is that I love the early retirement lifestyle at home that I have created for us. I didn’t feel like taking a vacation from it. I was in a comfort zone rut.
We did go on the trip and during our travels I realized the importance of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I took account of what I would have missed and what I have been probably missing lately and neglecting in everyday life.
Being obligation free and having the freedom to always choose ‘easy and comfortable’ over ‘not sure’ meant a lot less spice in my lifestyle. I not only enjoyed our vacation but I met many interesting people. I had great conversations and gained new insights that I would have never experienced if I had elected to stay home in my comfort zone rut.
Here are a Couple of My Observations:
A Break in Routine Can Be a Good Thing
The thing about early retirement lifestyle routine, even when it’s all freely and happily entered into, is it becomes simply a habit. We no longer make a cognitive choice. Not that it’s bad since we do enjoy what we are doing, but in the grand scheme of things it is limiting. It is both enjoyable and comfortable but at the expense of passion and excitement. There are things to be learned from stretching beyond the comfort zone.
What I will now consider in life and restaurants is to go ahead and occasionally pick something different from the menu instead of always picking the same things that I know I like. There will be some selections that will pleasantly surprise me and others not so much. But I will never know if I don’t taste what is available to experience.