My retirement thinking and scenario was different than yours. Thinking that my lifespan is probably reduced due to my diabetes, I wanted to retire early and enjoy my retirement, especially the early years. My original goal was to retire at 55 but that didn’t work out and I finally left my 25-year career working aviation electronics at 57 1/2. I liked my work well enough but I wanted to pursue other things like taking better care of my health.
I also wanted to move on with my life. I was never passionate about my work. It paid the bills and I enjoyed the people I worked with. Perhaps if I had a career like a teacher I would have looked at prospective retirement differently.
I feel lucky to have sufficient savings to retire early. A year after calling it quits, I was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a diabetes complication. Assessing the situation, I decided that my biggest asset to commit to this health setback was the ability to devote as much time as it needed to at least arrest the symptoms and hopefully reverse some of them as well.
I took on my health and diabetes care as a full-time job. I’ve written many times about that here over the years so I won’t bore you with the repetition. In short, I gave diabetes every demand it made and I discovered that diabetes is not the bottomless pit I always thought it was. My diabetes health improved dramatically and I continue to benefit from the many changes I made back in 2012.
Enjoying a livable income without the need to show up at a job 40 hours a week is a blessing that I hope everyone can experience. It creates space to recreate yourself into a new person socially and spiritually. I love it. I read, write, walk, engage in do-it-youself diabetes tech, spend time with my daughter, and travel. I live with a magnificent hypoglycemia alert dog, Norm, who keeps me centered and always reminds me that the most important moment is right now. I look after his needs and he looks after mine. In over six years of retirement, I’ve yet to be bored
Thanks for your continued story-telling, Richard. Your long diabetes career gives hope to many of us. Heck, I’ve only had diabetes for 33 years, less than half of your experience! Your story reminds me that my longevity may not be shortened as much as I at first feared. Thank-you for that!