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A man who retired at 34 says he 'freaked out' on the first Monday he didn't have to go to work

Business Insider logo Business Insider 8/3/2017 Libby Kane
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Brandon's last day of work was Friday, July 29, 2016.

He was 34.

The software developer and blogger behind the Mad Fientist — who doesn't use his last name online for privacy reasons — had been planning and saving for years to retire early.

Living frugally and working in rural Vermont, he managed to save and invest about 70% of his after-tax income, and saved enough to leave his job in spring 2014. However, when his employer offered to make his position remote, he stayed on for a few years more than planned, intermittently traveling with his wife Jill until they relocated full-time to Scotland in May 2015. There, he continued working, blogging, and saving until he retired last summer.

On a new post on his site, Brandon wrote that since his last day of work was a Friday, it didn't feel that different from the end of any other week.

"It wasn't until I woke up on Monday, August 1st that it really hit me," he wrote. "And boy did it hit me."

mad fientist.JPG © Provided by Business Insider mad fientist.JPG

He continued:

"You would have expected it to be the best morning ever but it was actually the only time in the entire first year that I freaked out about the whole thing.

"I had escaped the normal life script but now I was in uncharted territory.

"I was staring into the vast unknown and the immense gravity of the situation freaked me out (much more than I expected).

"It's crazy that I wasn't mentally prepared for it, considering early retirement was something I had been thinking about and working towards for over five years."

Brandon wrote that "[Financial independence] was something I talked about and thought about so much that it just became this abstract concept in my mind and didn't relate to anything in real life. It was a long-term goal that I guess I never actually pictured achieving."

brandon mad fientist © Provided by Business Insider brandon mad fientist The "first morning of freedom was tough," he said, "because I couldn't process it all."

To distract himself from the existential angst of early Monday, he put in some time working on something fun: his blog. "I was happy to be making progress on things that were important to me and I started getting really excited about the idea of doing that every day," he wrote. He continued:

"Maybe life wouldn't look so different, after all? I would still be working but I'd just be working on things I'm passionate about.

"That was the whole reason I pursued early retirement in the first place so I'm not sure why I didn't think about that when I woke up that day."

However, he settled into his new reality after that first, jarring day. A year later, he's thrilled with his post-job lifestyle. "Have you ever woke up thinking it was Sunday morning but it was actually Saturday instead?" he wrote of his later months as a "retiree." "It was like that but 1,000 times better because it wasn't just an extra day off that you didn't expect but the rest of your life!"

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