I've had an early retirement surprise or two. The only real regret I have after retiring early is that I didn't do it sooner. This freedom is amazing. But I would be lying if I said that everything's working out exactly as I had anticipated. It is not. In fact, I've learned quite a bit about myself since calling it quits.
For example, I am not nearly as tired throughout the day as I used to be. Truthfully, I'm more frightened by this realization than surprised. Full-time work not only drained me of my time but also my mental energy. My motivation to DO. I have found that I just don't need to nap nearly as often as I had anticipated because the relentless monopolizing draw on my energy is no longer there.
Now, I am in control. I choose what to do with my time. I prioritize the things I enjoy and eliminate things I don't – well, except grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping, but I did it anyway as my wife finished up her job. Me … trying my best to be helpful!
But yes, back to what surprised me the most about early retirement. Quite simply, it has been the realization that the things I thought I enjoyed were nothing more than an escape from full-time work. I had no idea I was creating an alternate reality away from my full-time job.