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Old 07-15-2009, 11:57 PM   #21
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Whether you retire early at 56 or wait until you retire at 65 you will still have the same dilemma of what you are going to do with your time.

I'm assuming that as you are able to retire at 56 with your superannuation is that you are a public servant. Can you not see if you can institute a job sharing arrangement so you can perhaps go to 20 hours a week and use the other 20 to start developing other aspects of your life. You do not mention if you have a spouse and children which can often influence what you do with your time.

I would suggest that you seriously work out ways to overcome your feelings of having to be useful. My FIL died a couple of weeks ago, probably wore himself out because he wouldn't let go of the feelings of having to be useful and was trying to cut down trees and clear gutters when he was way past it.

With a generous super deal, I would be focussing on doing things that you enjoy and perhaps making a difference in the world in areas that mean something to you.
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Response to DangerMouse; and a good book
Old 07-16-2009, 06:26 AM   #22
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Response to DangerMouse; and a good book

Thanks DangerMouse, yes I agree that sooner or later the decision of how to keep busy will have to be made and as you say now is the time to start developing other aspects of life outside work.

Yes, as a government worker (in a state high school) I can work part-time and in fact have recently started doing this - and am thinking of this as a 'practice retirement'.

With the children now well grown up and the recent arrival of a grandchild, life is definitely moving in new directions and will influence how my wife and I spend our time.

I think that perhaps when I work out my own directions better that this will enable me to be more useful to others, being less self-absorbed.
Service to others seems to be the key (as opposed to just doing things for perhaps selfish pleasure) - on the other hand it has crossed my mind that travelling, spending and indulging oneself IS really a service, since by so doing we are helping keep in business those tourist operators, shopkeepers, golf resort owners, etc (all trying to make a go of things and support their families) - looking at it this way, 'selfish' pursuits in retirement are helping economies to keep rolling along and are really helpful and UNselfish! I guess so much of all this is in the mind, to do with attitude.

Sad to read of your father-in-law's passing and hope that he did find satisfaction in the service that he was able to give for as long as he could, although very sad that he perhaps took things too far.

I wonder if perhaps he was a person who just could not really retire at all and may have had a less fulfilling time (and shorter time) if he had just 'retired to a rocking chair'. I wonder if he maybe did enjoy that physical activity even though to others it may have appeared that he was working too hard when it was no longer necessary. Everyone is different but I know that my own FIL would have been totally 'lost' in retirement if he had not engaged in lots of physical work in a very large garden and volunteered to prune relatives' and friends' fruit trees, as well as constantly working on woodwork projects. (And this was after a working life spent running fruit orchards!)

You say that with a generous super deal, I should be focussing on doing things that I enjoy and perhaps making a difference in the world in areas that mean something to me. In relation to this 'making a difference' idea I have just read former President Jimmy Carter's book "Everything to gain: making the most of the rest of your life" about finding new directions and useful things to do, written in the aftermath of losing the 1980 election at age 56. In particular the fulfilment he and Mrs Carter found with the Habitat for Humanity project. Some forum readers may find this interesting. (I bought my copy from www.alibris.com )

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Old 07-16-2009, 09:50 AM   #23
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Sorry to hear about your FIL, DangerMouse. It sounds like he went too soon.

I remember mom talking about this topic in her mid ‘80s as if it has to be re-evaluated as you go along. She said, “you can’t read all the time.” She also kept going socially and physically, did a lot of work around the house, painted the exterior every year or two, had very impressive muscles.

Sounds like an interesting book, Newpond.
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:24 AM   #24
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Problem with my FIL was he didn't have a plan, no hobbies or friendships he desired to pursue after he retired. He made the big mistake of attaching himself to MIL and becoming her shadow. He was 83 when he died, so it's definitely not a tragedy in the sense that he died to soon. However, what was sad was that someone so intelligent and with so much to offer really did nothing for the last 18 years of his life. You could see the boredom in his face which is why he insisted on doing household duties because it was all he had.

Also there is nothing wrong with spending the rest of your life in pursuit of personal activities. I think the main thing is you have to have something that keeps you going whether it be your hobbies and family interests or whether you opt for volunteer opportunities.

BTW whereabouts are you from in SA? I grew up on Yorke Peninsula, lived there for the first 23 years of my life.
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