“Aren’t you bored?” is a question I get quite a bit when people find out I left the full time corporate life behind. I hadn’t really thought about it much until people kept asking me. Last night I had a conversation with a gentleman on LinkedIn that got me thinking. He worked in the RV industry for 35 years. I asked him how he was doing, and he said, “A little boring being retired.” He was used to 10 and 11-hour days, 7 days a week. He went on to say, “But all is great.” He is now thinking about volunteering at the local VA hospital to find a place to direct his extra energy and overcome that boredom.

Throughout my long career as a retirement planner, I suggested to clients to not only have their finances in order but to also have their retirement lifestyle thought through. The lifestyle part can be tricky. Even with this suggestion, some never did and a couple of weeks or months after they retired, they were extremely bored and looking for another job. The ‘honey-do’ list eventually got completed and they were left twiddling their thumbs.

The idea that something is “boring” or the ongoing feeling of “being bored” is quite relative. Being bored can often come from a lack of direction to focus your energy. In many cases it may be the lack of a challenge or the underlying need to be creative in your life in some way. Think about the young genius sitting in class, completely bored by the material because she is not being challenged. That same dynamic occurs when we go from engaged to “sitting still in our minds”.

I have about two to three years before I can truly take off and do the things I want to do; roam the US and spend extended time in Central/South America. I have a son in his junior year of high school and a daughter in college so in the meantime, I ask myself “Am I bored?” and the answer I keep coming up with is “kind of.” On a good week, I might work on projects for 5-10 hours, writing a blog, doing a video and coaching calls. If I ask myself “Is this challenging enough?” the answer is no. You see, my brain runs non-stop with ideas. I need to be challenged.

Now, if I had jumped from early retirement into wandering the country in the RV, boredom would stay at bay because I’d remain engaged. However, sitting at home for the next few years has got me thinking about doing something during this time period. I need the challenge of being helpful and creative.

If I can work doing something I enjoy, when I want, from where I want, I can continue to dictate my life. I’m active on LinkedIn and there are several people I follow that still work but have crafted their schedule to work only a few days a week. They dictate their schedule rather than the schedule doing the dictating and that is how I want to continue to live.

You may have noticed I recently launched “Ask Eric” so that folks can tap into my 24 years of experience and get unbiased help with whatever financial questions or life questions they have.

Keep in mind, my definition of retiring early is to do what you want, when you want, how you want and from where you want. I’m still in control of my schedule and my life. I’m learning that I just need a little more challenge from now until I take off.

As humans, we’re all different in what drives us and what we need to be fulfilled. Right now, I feel like I’m lacking a challenge so it’s time to find an outlet for that for a couple of days a week for the next few years. If I can be of help to you, please reach out and let me know.

I want to do what I enjoy. I also want to help financial advisors and their firms as well as just individuals. I can do this by writing blogs, doing videos and workshops to help them build their business. I know this stuff like the back of my hand and I’m good at it. Most importantly it would not be a full-time job.

Check out this pilot in Australia who recently spelled out “I’m bored” in the sky above. The funny part is, I’ll bet he was NOT BORED while he flew that plane and wrote across the sky. Flying is probably their passion.

You are the captain of your own ship and the author of your life. You define what retiring early means to you. Work if you want, play as hard as you want and live free my friends.