Don’t be a Perlemus

This is Perlemus, our pet cat.

We first met Perlemus at the Vancouver BC SPCA shelter 5 years ago. Back then she was a tiny kitten only a few months old. She and her 3 sisters were rescued by the BC SPCA. We never found out what happened that resulted them ending up in the rescue shelter. All we knew was that the BC SPCA was looking for families to adopt these kittens.

On that faithful day when we went to the Vancouver SPCA shelter, Perlemus purring very loudly when Mrs. T started playing with her.

We knew then she was the right cat for us.

Since joining our household, Perlemus has been living the good life. A typically usually consists of…

  • Meows like crazy around 7:30 AM as her way to ask for some food.
  • After being fed, disappears for a while. Usually can be found in our bed, napping.
  • Reappears in the kitchen after we finish eating breakfast. She would meow very loud as if she hasn’t had food yet.
  • Runs up and down the stairs like the Road Runner from cartoons.
  • Goes to our den room, then lies on top of the sofa, looks outside. Takes another nap.
  • Wakes up, walks over to the den room chair, curls up herself into a fur ball, takes another nap.
  • Wakes up, stretches for a bit. Then runs up and down the stairs like a mad cat.
  • Goes to our bedroom and lies in our bed again. Takes another nap.
  • Before lunch time, runs down to the kitchen, meows uncontrollably, and looks at us very innocently. We would feed her some food.
  • After eating, disappears again. She usually can be found on the living room couch, napping.
  • Wonders around in the house, looks outside for entertainment (she’s an indoor cat). Often falls asleep on one of the window sills.
  • Runs to the kitchen whenever Mrs. T or I step in the kitchen. Meows like crazy to express that she’s hungry. We would ignore her.
  • Runs up and down the stairs, then disappears for a while.
  • When we are busy preparing for dinner, Perlemus reappears in the kitchen. Sits on the floor and stares at us. Runs to the laundry room where her food & water bowls are kept, whenever one of us walks toward that direction (the pantry is next to the laundry room).
  • We finally feed her. She then walks over under the dinning table. Looks for food that Baby T1.0 and Baby T2.0 may have accidentally dropped.
  • Disappears, usually be found on the living room couch, napping.
  • Not seen or heard for a while, then reappears around 9 PM, meows hysterically because she’s hungry again.
  • Jumps onto the couch to have hygge with us. Purrs like a loud race car.
  • We get ready for bed. She runs into the kitchen super quickly, meows frantically, wants food. We feed her.
  • After eating, disappears once again.
  • We go to bed. If we close the bedroom door, at one point during the night, we would hear her sitting in front of the door, meowing. She would then scratch the door. She wants to get in.
  • I get up, open the door, tell her to get lost.
  • A bit later she sits in front of the door and starts scratching the door again while meowing.
  • I get up again. Open the door to let her in.
  • She jumps in our bed, starts her super loud purring, finds a spot by our legs, curls herself up, falls asleep.
  • She leaves and enters our room multiple times throughout the night. Purring each time she settles herself in our bed.

Yup, that’s the relaxing life of a house cat. Food, naps, multiple hygges with the owners, more naps, more food, and more naps.

This might sound wonderful to some. But be warned, if you are a human, you don’t want to be like Perlemus.


Don’t be a Perlemus

Don’t be a Perlemus, especially when you are retired. If you spend your days by watching TV, roaming aimlessly around the house, eating random junk food, sitting around, taking naps, and not really doing anything, boredom will quickly set in. You will deteriorate both physically and mentally very quickly. You probably will gain a lot of weight because you don’t exercise. You will be bored because you aren’t being challenged mentally.

You have mentally and physically checked out.

When that happens to someone, bad things usually happen!

The other day I was talking to someone in his late 50’s. Somehow we started talking about retirement and his first comment was…

“I don’t know how I would handle retirement. I would get so bored.”

When I asked why, he said…

“Because I don’t have any hobbies. What would I do? Sit in front of the TV all day? I don’t want to travel because I have travelled too much for work…”

I felt really bad when he said that.

If you are like me, you are aiming for financial independence and possibly early retirement. Some of us have this “magic” number and “magic” date. We then work very hard to try hit the number and the date.

Some of us forget that it is about the journey. And it is about learning and developing ourselves as human beings along the way.

It is not about the final destination. What if you get there and you don’t know what to do with your “new” life? How would that do any good?

This is why it is so important to have some hobbies, learn new skills, explore your interests, try something new.

Here are a few things I would love to do more of:

  • Reading
  • Photography
  • Hiking, skiing
  • Playing board games
  • Training for a race (i.e. marathon, triathlon)
  • Traveling
  • Cooking
  • Learning new languages
  • Spending time with my family

I do all of these right now (well except for training for a race), but I wish I can do more. I would also love to pick up some more hobbies.

It is not about reaching financial independence retire early THEN do the things that I enjoy.

The two things do not need to be done sequentially. They can be done in parallel.

It is about finding time now to do the things that I enjoy in life and challenging myself both physically and mentally. It is about continue developing myself as a human being, and learning new things every day.

If you wait till FIRE, THEN start doing these things…

It is TOO LATE! Because…

When you are not busy learning, you are busy dying!!! 

So for your own sake, please don’t be like a Perlemus, lounging around all day, taking multiple naps each day. All she looks forward to is getting her food.

Don’t let your life become like that where you don’t really have anything meaningful to look forward to.

Don’t go through your “new” retirement life aimlessly.

Take incremental steps today to improve yourself today. Aim to expand your knowledge every single day. Aim to challenge yourself every single day. Make today the best day of your life!

Now if you are a cat, by all means be a Perlemus. Because that’s what cats do!


P.S. In case you are wondering… Perlemus means pearl mouse in Danish.

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  • Reply
    Mr. Tako
    December 18, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    OK, but can I take at least one small nap during the day Tawcan?

    If anything, I’m busier now after I’ve reached FI than when I was working. It’s tiring. Naps help.

    • Reply
      December 18, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      Haha but you aren’t napping all day… on the other hand, Perlemus does that all day. :p

  • Reply
    Accidental FIRE
    December 19, 2017 at 3:51 am

    In this great big world with so many amazing things, how someone can get to their late 50’s and not have any hobbies or interests is beyond the scope of my thinking. It just doesn’t seem possible.

    My problem is that I’m semi-retired and I still don’t have nearly enough time to pursue my hobbies.

    • Reply
      December 19, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      I was very curious about that too. How is that possible not having any sort of hobbies when you’re in your late 50’s. But I’m not judging. I suggested to him to take some lessons to see if anything might interest him.

  • Reply
    Amy @ LifeZemplified
    December 19, 2017 at 6:42 am

    “In case you are wondering… Perlemus means pearl mouse in Danish.” I was definitely wondering so thanks for this.

    My mom recently turned 70 (retired just 3 years ago) and she’s started learning Spanish, taking golf lessons, and going on 3 to 6-mile hikes each week. So glad she’s not being a Perlemus.

    • Reply
      December 19, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      It’s a funny name that we came up with. 🙂

      That’s awesome that your mom is learning Spanish and taking golf lessons. Keeping herself busy is awesome.

  • Reply
    Money Beagle
    December 19, 2017 at 6:54 am

    I love to read and I love having projects around the house so I don’t think I would get too bored at all. Man, it’d be nice to have the opportunity to find out and try 🙂

    • Reply
      December 19, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Reading is a great way to learn and keep yourself busy. 🙂

  • Reply
    Tom @ Dividends Diversify
    December 19, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Agree Tawcan. Gotta stay busy and productive. Financial independence means different things to different people, but using it as an opportunity to do more of the things you love as well as new things is what it’s all about to me. Tom

    • Reply
      December 19, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Yup FI means many different things and we all need to use it as an opportunity to do more things in your life. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dividend Reaper
    December 19, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. The brain is a muscle. If you stop using it, it will start to atrophy. Keep it busy at all times and your body and soul will thank you. Here’s to active and brain-crunching retirements!

    • Reply
      December 20, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Keeping brain active is definitely important post FIRE.

  • Reply
    Sarah | Smile & Conquer
    December 21, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    My cat wants to be your cat because she gets fed much more frequently than he does!

    I always think I want more lazy days at home but then I take a couple and get bored and need to get out and do something. Being the right amount of busy keeps me happy.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 10:40 pm

      Haha we only feed her 4 times a day. :p

      It’s about finding the right balance between not doing a heck of whole lot and doing stuff to keep you busy. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mrs. Groovy
    December 21, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    It’s possible that 50 year old can’t retire. It’s much easier to talk about being bored than to talk about not having enough money.

    I spend part of my day like Perlemus, but that actually makes me happy. I have plenty to do so that I’m never bored. And I’m branching out into a few new areas. But I think my days of being an over-achiever are over.

    Have a great holiday!

    • Reply
      December 21, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      That is definitely a possibility. I was just shocked about the comment of not having any hobbies.

      It’s totally fine being like Perlemus here and there, but just not all the time. Finding things that you enjoy doing in retirement to keep you mentally and physically active is important. 🙂

  • Reply
    December 23, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Completely agree, you can’t just sit around completely sedentary. That’s a sure-fire recipe for both mental and physical atrophy. I think personally, for me what would work best would be to be to be maybe 10-20% Perlemus lol. I’d like SOME time to just lounge around and do nothing, but not too much.

    • Reply
      December 30, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Some time to just lounge around and do nothing is totally fine… as long as it’s not all the time like Perlemus. 🙂

  • Reply
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life
    January 2, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    I would like for you to name our next pet! I love “Perlemus” and I hate naming things.

    I think you underestimate the level of work that goes into being a cat (or dog) whose job is to sleep 18 hours a day AND manage their humans without losing their edge. It’s a tough life, y’all, thank goodness our pets are here to do it for us 😉

    • Reply
      January 2, 2018 at 10:20 pm

      Somehow we both agreed on that name. 🙂

      Yes I’m sure it’s tough to be a pet and have to take care of their humans all the time.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    I don’t know man, I think Perlemus has the right idea!

    In all serious, we all have our time when we just want to veg out and do nothing for days at a time but I agree in that it’s not the right lifestyle choice for the long term if you want a healthy, happy life.

    • Reply
      January 2, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      Definitely OK to laze around here and there and just do nothing. But all the time isn’t healthy for you in the long run. 🙂

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