I like your term "optional semi-retirement".
I am an accidental early retiree, courtesy of my former corporate employer, 59 yo. I have been teaching marketing for several years, mostly online, in addition to my corporate gig. No real $$$ in it, but the pay does help with expenses.
Now that I don't have a corporate job, I have been treating my teaching gig as my working identity. I know what you mean by having that comfort zone in telling people what you do.
I was okay with it until I started two new courses this week. I realized (partly due to joining this forum
) that I truly don't need to do the teaching if I don't want to. Or to put it another way, if I would rather just have my days completely to myself to do whatever I want.
It's been an interesting self-discovery process: do I feel I "need" to do the teaching in order to feel good about myself and my place in the world?
As I was commuting to the class yesterday, I really wondered why I was doing it. So I guess I'm in the process of answering my own questions.
Again, by reading this forum, I have really resonated with folks' experiences with living each day the way they choose. One of my favorite threads is "What did you do today?"
Like you, after this teaching gig, I think I will be in a better place to be able to say yes or no to future offers.
good luck to you!