I worked full time last week while my co-worker was on holidays - visiting her daughter on the other side of the country. It's only been five months since I left my old job where I worked almost full time, but after only working two days a week for these last few months, I certainly noticed the impact of working Monday to Friday again.
Society puts a lot of value on what we do for a living and how much money we make. The comment I received several times in response to doing a full week's work was "think of all the extra money you'll have." The main lesson I've learned over these last months, is that it's not about where you work, or what your profession is, or how much money you make. No, it's about quality of life, friendships, family and living this time of life in a way that is enriching, not enslaving. The mighty dollar does not run my life - probably because we've adjusted our lifestyle enough to not really need too much to be happy.
I'm really looking forward to returning to my short working week and getting my time back again. I refuse to live my life worrying about the money I make or counting down the days until the weekend. I choose to focus on all the added extras of life and not lock myself into a mindset that insists that a full time job is the only answer to a comfortable retirement. Everyone's definition of "comfortable" is different - mine is probably quite modest and I'm hoping it will be full of fun and leisure and I'll have enough interests to keep me occupied.
I'm laying the foundation for retirement now and not waiting until I'm 65 or 70 and have worked myself into oblivion before I'm allowed to stop and smell the roses. After only a week of being at the 'coalface' full time I know that I've made the right choices in what works for me. My job is really pleasant and certainly not overtaxing but it's not where I want to spend the majority of my life. I want to be out in the world enjoying myself, and I'm sure retirement will take care of itself when the time comes.