Look forward retirement payday - retirement written in calendar and highlighter (iStock)

I often tell people that I feel like a senior in high school.

You may be having the same experience. You’re getting close to being able to retire. You can feel the freedom.

But you have a ways to go. You’re anxious for the next stage of your life. Yet, you still have to work hard and finish. You can’t quit just yet. And there you have it. It’s just like senior year in high school.

For me, I pass the time reading about others who made the retirement leap early. I figure, I can live vicariously through their experience, which brings me to a delightful blog post I read last week from ESI of ESIMoney.com. ESI is all he goes by. He’s in his 50s and enjoying early retirement.

In a recent blog post ESI shares the things that surprised him about retirement living. Here are my favorite points – there were 10.

Monday’s became marvelous. “Monday was my archenemy for decades,” ESI writes. “I worked as a marketing executive for 28 years, many of them in high-pressure jobs. The sinking feeling would start about 4 pm on Sunday — dreading the workweek to come. Then Monday would hit and it’d be the low point of my week. Each day got better than the previous one until we hit Friday. It was all great from there. Until Sunday at 4 pm again.”

Raise your hand right now if that’s you. Nobody will know.

Starting your workweek off with a different frame of mind could be good for your mental health and wealth. Read this from Psychology Today: “I Love Mondays: A healthy and realistic approach to apply to the first day of the work week.

Mornings became marvelous. “I have been a night person my whole life. My ideal world was to stay up until 3 am and get up around noon. Not bad, right? But I had to go against that grain during my career. Most companies expect you to roll in well before noon, so I was up early every day and I hated it. I’m now up and at ’em by 6 am most days. I’m getting up to do things that I want to do. It’s a blast — almost like the night before Christmas. I’m excited about the next day and simply can’t sleep longer.”

This article might turn you into a morning person even if you aren’t retired: “A man who spent 5 years studying millionaires found one of their most important wealth-building habits starts first thing in the morning

Moving more became a priority. “I started working out at a faster pace. The freedom of time and lack of stress has really taken my workouts up a notch. Who would have thought my best physical years would be after 50?”

Hate exercising? Read this: “Rich people exercise more

Read all 10 points. You might still be years from retiring, but ESI gives you something to look forward to.

Send your questions: Join Michelle Singletary on Thursday at noon for a weekly financial chat

Tax time
Here are some articles on taxes I thought you’d find interesting:

The most-overlooked tax breaks for retirees

2017 tax rates — how to use them in your retirement planning

Top tax tips for retirees

Retirement rants & raves
This feature belongs to you. You get to rave or rant about anything related to retirement. Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “Retirement Rants & Raves.”

So what’s on your mind about retirement?

Bruce Backa of Nashua, N.H., let loose about retirement savings or the lack thereof. He wrote: “I’m the CEO of a successful software company. We’ve had a 401(k) since our first day. Regardless of what we say or do, our staff contributes too little – often none. This is the same for highly paid staff as it is for the less well paid. A dialogue about investment tortures most people. The 401(k) providers have made the process a nightmare. It’s easier to just give up and let the future be a problem in the future. The way to fix this is obvious. Make a retirement account and a minimum amount of savings a standard deduction from payroll, just like Social Security. Many other Western nations do this – because it is the only thing that works. If we can do it for health insurance, we can do it for retirement.”

Backa raises a good point. Should we make retirement contributions automatic?

Here is some research on the issue:
5 keys to automatic retirement plans

The downside of automatic 401(k) enrollment

Should retirement savings be mandatory or voluntary?

What do you think? Should companies or the government force people to contribute to a workplace retirement plan? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Please include your name, city and state.

Live chat this week
Join me on Thursday, April 13 at noon (ET) for a live discussion about your money.

If you’ve got some financial drama or need a push to get rid of debt, I’m here to help. Click this link to participate in the chat.

Newsletter Comments Policy
Please note it is my personal policy to identify readers who respond to questions I ask in my newsletters. I find it encourages thoughtful and civil conversation. I want my newsletters to be a safe place to express your opinion. On sensitive matters or upon request, I’m happy to include a first name and last initial. But I prefer not to post anonymous comments (I do make exceptions when I’m asking questions that might reveal sensitive information or cause conflict.)

Have a question about your money? Michelle Singletary has a weekly live chat every Thursday at noon where she discusses financial dilemmas with readers. You can also write to Michelle directly by sending an email to michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read more Color of Money columns, go here.