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Old 09-24-2013, 08:38 PM   #21
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I know the feeling, too. I have come to terms with my ER but DW struggles with the worth thing.

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Hi Tracy,
...
Most work is wheel spinning. Even things considered very worthy and socially useful are rarely seen that way by everyone, or even most people.
....
Ha
I thought a pic might help some.
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File Type: jpg are you really here.jpg (57.6 KB, 45 views)
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:59 PM   #22
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... Kind of like them struggling without me. ...
good to know I was not the only one who enjoyed seeing my previous employer struggle without me. When I retired my group was broken up and distributed to 4 managers as they realized they cannot find one manager to replace me and stay on track with time sensitive projects. For just a split second I felt sorry for them, just a split second.
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Old 09-26-2013, 04:56 AM   #23
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One BIG surprise for me is how unprepared I was for retirement outside of the financial part. All my working years, when I thought about retirement, my thoughts always centered around having enough money to retire and never, ever what would I do in retirement. So, when I decided to pull the plug on my career and I started waking up in the A.M. with total control over my own day, I started to face challenges I never thought I would have. Free at last and here I am confused about life purpose. What a surprise.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:11 AM   #24
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I've been on this blog for a few years now and I'm surprised at how many retiring individuals feel as I've felt and in many ways still do feel.

Retirement isn't all happiness....getting away from bosses and sleeping in ......doing what you want every day.......etc, etc. Yes, the 1st key is can I afford it.....I've learned a lot here about financials. It's also about feeling that you are contributing, of value to your community, respected not only because of who you are but also respected for what you do.

The worst mistake is retiring because of what you're running from....big megacorp.....mean bosses....etc. Most important is what you're running to....what will you do every day to feel of value to yourself so you have pride in who you are and what you do.

My Dad was an electrician and a handyman that didn't want to retire.......until, he started helping those less handy and those that couldn't afford what he would do at no charge. Then he beamed with pride.....sharing with friends what he had done recently. I know all this and I'm still working through my plan.....which is coaching those less skilled than myself in managment areas.

Just thought I would share that I've found this blog very valuable to me personally.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:58 AM   #25
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Well, I'm just glad to see I'm not the only one struggling with these issues. In our case the finances are not an issue; about 2.5% WR, no SS yet and a strong pension with some COLA. Do have a lingering issue of needing to care for elderly MIL but that will resolve itself eventually. Meanwhile, cannot travel the way we want (a big goal of why we saved the bucks) and have a lot of time on hands.

I'm 62, 2 years in from retiring from long term career, did ~ 1 year of what dwindled to PT work that I finally said was not worth it. I have thought a LOT about this issue, always was pretty good at honestly assessing my strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. I've dabbled at volunteer work but have yet to make a good connection that motivates me. There's no way I can/would return to former career (engineering) and even may drop my license this year. As much as I thought it meant to me, in rear view mirror it's like, meh, what was that all about anyway? Lunch with a former coworker strongly reinforces that I'm done with that.

Not to get too philosophical, but it does all seem to boil down to what is the meaning/purpose of life? In working years it was to succeed and do well, raise the kids, save for retirement, and LBYM. Ok, did all that. Another thread was talking about people attributing success to luck, and I'll be honest, I got some lucky career breaks that made FI come sooner rather than later. That and both kids got scholarships that redirected those funds. So now that's all done, and it's time to enjoy the fruits of all that labor (and good fortune).

At this point trying to keep up the fitness with biking and running, 3-5 days a week. I've found that starting a day with a good workout makes all this a lot easier to live with. Still finding things to do on the house (SWORE I would never do the painting again myself, but am doing it) like remodeling bath. In another few months that'll all be caught up. So it's back to trying out volunteer stuff. For me there's no going back, no desire to. It's just where to from here? I've tried hobbies but other than building furniture or construction I lose interest fast. I've analyzed that and think it's my innate need to occupy myself with activities that are productive...making stuff. That's why I write off things like golf or fishing, can't justify the time as productive. At least running and biking I get that good feeling afterwards!

Anyway, enough analysis of my current retirement status; just felt it was an obligation to let OP and others know you're not alone in this sea of gleeful happy early retirees!
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:03 AM   #26
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My sympathy to those of you struggling with finding meaning in retirement.

I am truly thankful for my blissful ignorance of this issue - since I pulled the plug eight years ago I've never looked back and never had a day when I didn't thank my lucky stars I was no longer working.

Life is good...
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:46 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
My sympathy to those of you struggling with finding meaning in retirement.

I am truly thankful for my blissful ignorance of this issue - since I pulled the plug eight years ago I've never looked back and never had a day when I didn't thank my lucky stars I was no longer working.

Life is good...
My sentiments exactly.
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:52 AM   #28
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Welcome to the forum. I have a way to go before I retire, but I'm in no hurry. I like {need} the structure of work. When I have a few days off, being around the house starts to wear on me. It's not rocket science I do, but it does make me feel good when I can make folks' wedding or birthday party one to remember.

If you do take the job, stay at least a year. It wouldn't be fair to cut and run sooner than that.

But my advise to anyone with too much time and not enough to do is to write a novel. When I was working on my first one, I was so into it, I was lucky to feed me or the dog. If you have tried everything else, try writing.


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Old 09-26-2013, 09:28 AM   #29
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One BIG surprise for me is how unprepared I was for retirement outside of the financial part. All my working years, when I thought about retirement, my thoughts always centered around having enough money to retire and never, ever what would I do in retirement. So, when I decided to pull the plug on my career and I started waking up in the A.M. with total control over my own day, I started to face challenges I never thought I would have. Free at last and here I am confused about life purpose. What a surprise.
Although ER is not without it's dissonance, you can take comfort that for most people it is a better path than staying in the cubicle.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:37 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
My sympathy to those of you struggling with finding meaning in retirement.

I am truly thankful for my blissful ignorance of this issue - since I pulled the plug eight years ago I've never looked back and never had a day when I didn't thank my lucky stars I was no longer working.

Life is good...
My sentiments exactly.
+2

I have been retired for 1417 days. Every one of those 1417 days* has been among the 1420 or so best days in my life.

*Even the day when I had my colonoscopy!
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:56 PM   #31
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Thanks to all who are honestly saying what they feel..both the confused ones and the extremely happy ones. I am still in days where in the morning, I am feeling 'WTH did I do?', and then as I go to do my 1st pre-set up activity...usually a fun thing, involving being with other people, then I feel really happy. I am tired of my Down and then UP moments, all within one day. I am confident though, that as I get more used to this...there will mostly be UP moments. I am just 'new' at this..but, now that I am FREE, I need this to be my new HAPPY norm. It will happen. I really like this board!
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:11 PM   #32
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Good luck to you. I'm 3 months in at age 49 and can sympathize with your feelings. For me it's been 95% great sprinkled with occasional feelings of loss. Not regret, but loss of my identity with my previous profession.

After reading of others struggle, I feel fortunate it's only 5%. I know I made the right move for my family and I always remind myself that the worst that could happen is I go back to the land of the working.
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:45 PM   #33
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I work with new media and am able to reach millions of people each year, sometimes millions in a single month.

I feel like I have been very fortunate in life, some due to hard work and a lot more just being in the right place at the right time, and I owe the world a lot of payback. So my golden years will be maybe making some money but I also feel a strong obligation to use what I know for public service projects.
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:37 PM   #34
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As one of those very early retirees now going on year 14, I'll admit to be being envious of those with huge passion or all consuming hobby. My dad retired at 55, and immediately threw himself to building a wooden airplane. 7 years later he was done and fortunately enjoy 10 years of flying (and tinkering with it) before dying pretty young.

I honestly expected to find a second career (paid) after a few years, but it didn't work out that way. Mostly because I am lazy but partly because, companies doing cool things hatch everyday in Silicon Valley and not very many in Hawaii.

Most of us on the forum had a careers not just jobs,and our work provide meaning and a sense of accomplishment to our lives. Plenty of people say they'd be bored not working and I sort of understand that. That hasn't been my problem, but I do get the lack of accomplishment or purpose.

I have finally come to a few conclusions. Your best months or maybe years working will probably be better working than retirement. The sense of accomplishment when the project you work is successful and your peers and bosses pat you on the back and give you raise. You just do not get that in retirement. Recognition is really just something you get from a spouse or family. Now people who go on great adventures like Sarah,or become heavily involved in overseas volunteer work they may get that sense of accomplishment. I think for the rest of us not so much.

Volunteer work can help but it isn't quite the same. Partly because for the most part it is hard to find volunteer work that really is intellectually challenging. Of the 1/2 dozen volunteer jobs only couple have provide much intellectual stimulation. But even then nothing quite says, "Clif you did good" quite like bonus and/or a raise.

On the other hand, your worse month or year being retired is absolutely going to be much better than your worse month or year working. There is absolutely nothing I miss about worrying about layoffs, firing people, giving poor performance reviews, or ranking and rating sessions. Likewise I'll miss nothing about dragging myself into a 2 hour staff meeting, that is a waste of time or dealing with a bad boss. The feelings of stress and exhaustion are so minor in retirement that few times I've felt that way in retirement, simply recalling the bad months working brought a smile to my face and feeling "Damn I am lucky I am not working" I also don't miss being force to prioritize work over my own needs or my family. And I don't even have kids, I can't really imagine how bad it would if you had miss a big day in your kids life, cause the job demands you be out of town. When something goes wrong in the retirement it only effects you and your family, work failures impact lots of others.

So retirement for me has resulted in lower highs, but much highers lows, and on average I am happier.
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Old 09-27-2013, 12:29 AM   #35
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Clif, that is just excellent. And yes, as someone who enjoys planning the adventures as much as executing them, I will never get that much of a thrill from my job.

It is interesting to see your words play out for DH, who is on what we are calling a sabbatical for the next year. He's never thought much about anything but the bad elements of his job and is now realizing he did he some satisfaction out of it. But your bolder statements are exactly what he feels, even after just a few weeks of being home.

Thank you for your clarity.
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Old 09-27-2013, 06:34 AM   #36
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Interesting thread. I pretty much fall into the ReWahoo satisfied camp but like Clifp I am envious of people with a passion for their work or a personal pursuit. In a sense my love of reading is a touch of passion that may save me from falling prey to the emptiness some seem to experience. I have activities I enjoy (cycling, travel, volunteer stuff) but I also have a lot of down time. But I always have a book I am enjoying that I can reach for so I rarely feel bored or restless. When I am home I usually have two or three hardbacks from the library. If those happen to run out or on travel I have scores on a Nook e-reader. DW similarly likes reading but still gets bored and antsy more frequently than I do. She is looking for a rewarding pursuit that can fill the gap.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:03 AM   #37
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+1 donheff. I also am quite content to "waste" time with some hobbies and puttering around the house and reading. I have used retirement as an opportunity to play more golf and a by-product of that has been some new friends who also golf and we now socialize with.

The other satisfying thing is having time to be able to help friends and family out with different things like taking a single friend for his shoulder surgery and followup visits, helping BIL's family with deciding what to do with a VA policy they own, taking Mom and my aunts on a trip to California to see my ailing aunt and uncle and playing travel agent/chauffeur, etc.

I still have doing some volunteer work in the back of my mind as well.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:00 AM   #38
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I think it's normal, and a good thing, to feel a somewhat directionless after pulling the plug. Leaving w*rk is a lot like getting out of a relationship - you need to get away from it for a while, let go, and find your true direction unconstrained by that relationship. If you decide too quickly what to do with the rest of your life, you will likely decide to do something very similar to what you had been doing, which may or may not be the right thing.

In my early months of ER, I've been doing what needs to be done around the house, and with the rest of my time, doing whatever I feel like doing, whether it's riding my bike, doing some woodworking, or sitting in front of a computer. Sometimes I feel like socializing, but I'm also perfectly content being alone a lot of the time (introverts definitely have an advantage for ER in this respect). I suppose that in time I'll latch on to one thing for most of my free time, but maybe not. One thing that has made the transition easy for me was that I was feeling bored and unfulfilled at w*ork, so the satisfaction and sense of self worth that I get out of doing things in ER exceeds anything that I got while employed by MegaTechCorp.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:17 AM   #39
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Work was chock full of challenges and achievement, that steady income was nice indeed, and time helps forget much of the less desirable parts. I'll take retirement, boredom and blather any day, because I don't have to repress the things important to me. Now I can bother my kids, go for a drive, read something for pleasure, talk with my wife, or even study up and learn something new so I can get into another debate friendly discusssion about health insurance.

It's not work vs retirement. It's work, then retirement. How fortunate we are to do both.
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:15 PM   #40
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It's not work vs retirement. It's work, then retirement. How fortunate we are to do both.
+1....Well said MichaelB
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