Hey, a thread I have actual real experience with! As opposed to all those other threads where I just make stuff up. ;) Also, @scottagibson should come in here and share his experience.
I’m semi-retired right now. I worked in IT (systems integration, consulting, design and architecture) until January 2013. Then I quit, and haven’t worked for pay since. I say “semi” because I could take consulting gigs if I wanted to, and also I do some volunteer work.
I wrote a couple of blog posts about this a while back: Why I Retired and How I Retired. TL;DR - Why: I lacked motivation at work, and there are so many interesting things out there to do/read/see/watch/etc. How: I’m a single guy with no kids and a modest lifestyle, who was fortunate in his career choice and investment decisions.
As for what I do now - man, where to start? I spend time working on my various backlogs: games, books, movies, TV shows. (Somehow they keep growing nonetheless.) I stay (moderately) healthy with medium-distance running and visits to a local gym. I get together with friends to play games, usually 3-4 times a month. I volunteer with a local non-profit that educates refugee children. Generally I take 1-2 trips a year, mostly to visit friends and family in the USA but occasionally elsewhere (like Japan a few years back). I sample a lot of locally brewed craft beer.
I don’t understand anyone who asks things like “aren’t you bored” or “what do you do all day?” Dude, have you seen the Internet? And public libraries? And like every brewpub ever? Etc, etc.
I’m in Caledonia, about half hour east of Holland. Let me know if you (or anyone else) comes through the area! Always happy to meet QT3’ers for a beer or dinner or games or whatever.