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First Year of Retirement - Dreams vs Reality


Hello, about this time last year. I quit my job and took a flight to Berlin to go help some friends of mine shoot a documentary called Atlas. That's about immigration in modern Germany. This kick-started the first year of what I call "retirement". Back in 2009 at age 27 I did something similar. I read the Four Hour Work Week and quit my job as a hardware engineer and flew to Wroclaw and later Budapest. It was an attempt to retire by reducing expenses, what actually the FIRE people try to do. It didn't last forever, but it turned out to four amazing years of my life and a great career change.


At age 40 retirement is more of "I don't know when and if I'm going to go back to some job, but certainly not now". But now I live in New York, one of the most expensive cities in the world. I also have a family and I have a newborn, so the conditions are certainly way more demanding. Also my environment and I, we have very high expectations for ourselves and others. Back in 2009, I was vlogging in Greek before vlogging was a thing. Youtube back then was just four years old and I was super happy. But right now, nothing less than world class can make me happy and world class in what? So that's the key question of retirement. What? You are given the opportunity to do whatever you want with your life. So what do you want? After lots of thinking and soul searching, the answer for me was music, films and blockchain. Filmmaking has been the most successful thing for me.


I have been the executive producer in that documentary and also the director of photography in a short film. I have also released many YouTube videos like this one. And although I release less frequently than the years before, actually I'm very happy with the increased quality of those videos. People do not complain about sound anymore and I think they look better and they have better flow. All these took lots of time and money and effort and hard work and attention. I also learned some great lessons. For example, every YouTuber says "it's all about telling a story". For me, "a story" meant something like Star Wars. It got to be big and epic. I can now see the story in simple everyday things. It took me two years to get in this point. The that's my car. You can't imagine how hard it was to park it right there. And I have a garage, you know, it's just that someone blocked the entrance yesterday. No way. Can't believe this. Anyway, YouTubers talk a lot about finding your voice and yes, this is terribly difficult. My first videos were raw unprocessed anger and that's cool if you're a teenager. But there are not so many adults who want to watch angry people in a weird way on YouTube. Wow, another train is coming.


So yeah, finding your voice, YouTubers say, takes a lot of time and it's difficult. It's a process, but I like it because I, right now I enjoy the process. I'm not all the time thinking about technical stuff, lighting and stuff like that. I really enjoy both editing and shooting videos and filming and this is a beautiful place to be. It's certainly an achievement out of this year. Ah, I love sunsets and look at this. Now I'm shooting against the sun and my image is not burnt, right? How do you do that? Yeah, I have learned something this year. So my second thing, music, How does that go? The answer is absolutely terrible. So I have spent more money probably on music than anything else that year, but really I have nothing to show because, you know, it reminds me the early days of filmmaking when I was grabbing a camera and after lots of time and effort I could say, "hey, this now kind of works, it's an image", but I don't know what to do with it. So very awful, terrible stuff comes out of my synths and all those magic buttons,


I can just press them and get something that sounds like music out. But you know, it doesn't feel like it's expressing me. It's just random stuff. So nothing really worth releasing there. And finally, blockchain. Okay, so absolutely nothing to show there. Nothing. And I think there are two reasons for that. One of them is a little bit of PTSD out of my last job, to be honest. Anything that reminds job right now, it feels like a no no, let's not get there. Wow.


Yeah, so that's half of the story. Actually, the other half is that standards have been so high. So anything less than one month of work of a team of two to five people, what one would say it's probably a hundred thousand dollars worth of software. I, I don't consider it worth talking about. So all the small things that I do and I'm very happy because I have done some small projects here and there and they worked fine, but they're just not enough for me. So what else outside music, films and blockchain? Well, there are quite a few, so I don't if you have noticed, but there is a global recession and the crypto winter and you know, from the point in December where I was losing my sleep over, all those things till now there has been quite a bit of improvement. I also tried to do an executive MBA at Harvard called PLD, which was a terrible disappointment. and after one week I dropped out with full refund. Ugh, great disappointment. Stay away. Wow, what's going on? I also tried a great technique called neurofeedback, and that's a really cool technique for let's say enhancing your brain function and even reversing aging to some extent. And yeah, this is worth a whole series of blogging on itself. Probably I will do that at some point in the future. Finally traveling. There has been quite some traveling. I have been to Germany, I have been in various places in the States, and of course I have been to Greece. This is where I am right now.


I have also traveled on the crazy world of home ownership, which means fixing stuff that is breaking and then more things breaking. Yeah, really good place to be. And last but not least, parenthood. Yes, Orestes, is my newborn. He's three months old right now and he's a joy and it takes lots of attention and energy to take care of him and also create all those little cute family videos. Back home, bottom line, year one of retirement. Great fun, lots of work and almost zero output. I have spent the first nine months thinking that I should succeed in everything I do before the baby is born. This expectation caused lots of stress and suffering. It all magically went away when the baby was born. Okay, I failed that deadline. Or actually, should I say the birthline and what's the next one? The answer is the rest of my life. I have the rest of my life to figure all those things out. Yes, it is stressful to have to write the story of your own life. But it's much better than what I had before. Even on the most wasted days of this year. I still spend more than one hour on doing something I care about. This is more than what I would spend probably in a week on the year before. So looking forward for year number two.


Thanks for watching.

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