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Old 04-16-2016, 01:16 PM   #41
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How about research? Find a project of interest and see if you can get on the team. Autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer's seem to be good places to be right now.

Jerry Jeff Walker once said at his show in Belize when we saw him, "Ya gotta have something to do". He was talking to anyone who came to Belize, liked it and wanted to stay.
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:35 PM   #42
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Or how about watching a few TED talks on Youtube for inspiration?
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:56 PM   #43
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@languagefan I'm in a somewhat similar situation. Mostly retired, single in mid 40's. Except that you are clearly a much better writer and have probably accomplished much more in your last few years than I have. My priorities right now are: Health, finding a companion, friends and meaningful work. I know I'm much happier and friendly after eating well and exercising. I just wish I could bank on continual improvement and reaching goals.
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:09 PM   #44
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@Rickt: thanks for your comment. True, the periods that I have had a partner in my life had been much happier. I am more motivated to be active, exercise, share my fun side, cook, surprise, and organize trips that entertain the other person....

@Jetpack: thanks mate. I guess we all have our unique gifts. I am likewise motivating myself to get to the previous semiathletic level of fitness, and not allow boredom and demotivation become too stale.

I guess on a forum like this, we owe ourselves and others to share the down sides, as well as the happy as a clam parts, otherwise what is the point of sharing experiences. This will help enrich decision making of the new ones to avoid the problems that we all are bound to face at one stage or other.
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:20 PM   #45
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This is why I love this ER board.

OP's post really asks deep philosophical questions. What is my purpose, why am I here sort of thing. And being retired truly gives us a chance to ponder these questions.

Compared to OP, I'm humbly not even nearly as accomplished, but allow me to make a few suggestions:

The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer (free on Kindle).
Find an accomplished intelligent partner.
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:23 PM   #46
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Hi languagefan. I am not retired yet but am starting to think about it. I have had what most people would call a successful professional career.

I know your purpose in writing this thread was to get insights from other people, but I wanted to let you know that it served another purpose too: to help me think through some issues about retirement. For sure, nothing in this thread has dissuaded me from retiring early. But your post and the various responses have helped me think through some issues about changing mindset, feeling fulfilled (which may be different than "keeping busy"), dealing with others' views and expectations, thinking through what "success" means, etc.

So I guess this is just a note to say (1) thank you, (2) good luck, and (3) enjoy the island!
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:24 PM   #47
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I could be wrong, but I have a feeling you may not be happy until you find something that gives your life meaning somehow... Have you ever watched Ikiru? It's a very, very old movie. It hit home when I watched this movie a while back.
Good luck to you.
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:31 PM   #48
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@Elbata: thanks. I should say that unlike many other online forums that suffer from online vandalism of a very few who have nothing on their lives other than targeting shared vulnerabilities, I am deeply impressed by the spirit of understanding, sharing, and support I witness here. A big thanks to all members and moderators.

And you are right, I am suffering from an existential question/problem, and sharing it helps me understand it, and the feedback also shed lights on the angles that are obscure to my vision.

And thanks for the book, I will check it out.
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Old 04-16-2016, 03:01 PM   #49
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LF... Your posts are so refreshing. Greatest respect for your personal insights.
A wonderful reflection on the idealism learned during my own liberal arts college days, some 60 years ago.

Absolutely no suggestions.

Am mindful of the shining light in my life, a grandson entering college this fall, with a similar background of multiple languages, foreign travel, and a sense of social responsibility that just evolved, naturally. Still open minded about a career though leaning toward foreign service or Doctors without Borders.

Life has a way of finding those who have much to give, and the giving back is its own reward. The proof comes from seeing those who have given the most of themselves and continue to serve... with no thoughts of giving up to a world of luxury and casting off all responsibility. We have only to look at the world's most successful people, to see how few have actually "retired".

No doubt that you will find happiness, and some form of retirement, on your own terms. Your original post was the "easy answer" that you were looking for.

Best wishes for happiness and fulfillment wherever the future leads.
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Old 04-16-2016, 03:01 PM   #50
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My DH of almost 32 years found his passion when he was a kid but only recently has found some success and recognition from it, in music performance and musical theater. I went in medicine strictly from a financial security point of view, in that I was very smart in school and preferred math and science to language arts.

I never had a passion for it and long ago got bored and scared I would make a mistake. It became a job. In the meantime, I have developed an interest in cooking multiple ethnic cuisines, herb and vegetable gardening, skiing, and I am a good musician myself. I get annoyed with my DH whose only passion is his music, as it is difficult to engage him in other interests.

I don't think I will ever find my passion. I spent too much of my career in burnout. I think that finding one's passion is not a requirement for fulfillment in life. I also think it is one of the stories made up by modern society to keep people in the corporate world.

Look at the life of Ben Franklin. He was a printer who made enough money to retire at 40. His major contributions as an inventor and to the founding of the USA would not have occurred if he had not retired early.


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Old 04-16-2016, 07:12 PM   #51
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When I retired at 58 I suspected I might become bored without my job but I was sick of working for the state even though it was a professional position. I had did it for 19 years and previously was a SAHM and then a college student. For the first 6 months I decompressed and did volunteer work, etc. I started doing some consulting in my field and then totally out of the blue I got asked to teach an online college course and I have a Ph.D so said yes. I had never taught before and I love it. So I found my passion in something totally new and it is only p.t. and I can do it from anywhere. I have taught in Europe and on a cruise ship. I have not done all the traveling that you have done so we are also doing some of that and I have a partner. I think there are women out there that won't expect you to support them but will be fine with your situation. I think you should get out and try finding that special one) Don't be so hard on yourself-keep searching for the right thing for you.
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Old 04-17-2016, 08:06 AM   #52
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@Medved: thanks for your comment. It was heart warming to read your words. And you are very welcome. Good luck with everything.
@imoldernu: thanks for your very kind words, also for sharing a bit of your story. You choose your words very elegantly.
@easrwest gal: thanks for sharing you story and your DH's. Practising medicine without liking it should have been taxing. It's a very demanding career. You seem to enjoy a wide variety of activities.
And glad to hear that your DH's talent is now being recognised. Hypothetically, being good should be enough, but realistically being recognised is a very fulfilling need. You sometimes need to see reflections of whatever is valid in you in the mirror of others to feel valued.
@Teacherterry: good luck to you and the teaching career.
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:50 AM   #53
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I second cyber888's suggestion about Buddhist practice.

You've been involved in some meditation programs, but the thing with most of those for most people is that the practice is not carried out long enough or intensely enough or with a technique or teacher that is effective enough, and so not much comes of it. A student may attain samadhi, but that's not enough. Many do not even get that far.

Also, understanding Buddhism from an intellectual standpoint is not enough, as you no doubt have read. That hunk of meat in your skull is barely a speck in this vast reality. Connecting a few more neurons up there could never create a circuit vast enough to embrace the ultimate. Doing so merely creates another structure that, lovely as it's creations may seem, forms incomplete and therefore faulty concepts constructed as they are from a limited set of facts.

To take the practice further and see clearly why you were born with that brilliant, expansive mind (and why others were not); why you have excelled at so many things, and why now you are experiencing some dissatisfaction; to see that clearly and share that message with all people, that would be a noble task indeed.
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Old 04-17-2016, 11:29 AM   #54
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Old 04-17-2016, 12:00 PM   #55
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I have been following this thread. Not sure I can add anything that has not already been said. Lanquagefan, you are a well educated, well read, incredibly diverse person whose brain from birth was wired to achieve. Understandably, the PSTD from prior years of stress plays a role.
I can't tell from the posts if you are bored or lonely or both. As you said, "motivation" seems to be the issue. Kind of like "What now?".

A friend once told me something I will share here.
"We are not Human Beings. We are Humans Doing".
That rang so very true with me that I went, "Wow", how profoundly simple is that?".

First, Let yourself off the hook!

Second, it has been proven that happiness and quality of life in later years is highly correlated with the relationships we have (both friends and family). I find that true for myself but it is not casual acquaintances that I hold dear. It is friends that I share my innermost self with. You have not spoken a lot about a circle of close intimate friends.

Third and on a lighter note. Do you have a dog? A pet? If not, are you interested in getting one? I find taking care of something other than myself helps a LOT, especially since my children have launched and have their own lives. It gives a bit of structure and routine to my day. You travel a lot, so I don't know if this is something that would work with your lifestyle.

I am sure it is difficult at your age to find someone that is not working to pay their mortgage. Heck, believe it or not it is hard at my age to find that!

Best of luck to you!
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Old 04-17-2016, 12:45 PM   #56
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I second the suggestion that you seek an evaluation for depression. How is your diet? That can be a big factor in mental health.

Also, I think I am not the type to live on an island long term. Are you sure this is really the right location for you to live? I like living in a big metro area with lots of cultural activities, day trips and activity groups.

Vacation paradises are what make people happy in advertisements, but actual happiness research has some really different findings. Not that you can't be happy in a paradise obviously, but the paradise part may not be as important as factors like number of social connections, getting out in nature, exercise, being a part of a wider community, cultivating gratitude and bonding with a pet. Writing books tends to be a solitary activity. There are many good research based books on cultivating happiness. Besides some mentioned already, I think you would find Tal Ben Shahar's work of interest:

Five Ways to Become Happier Today | Big Think
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Old 04-17-2016, 12:58 PM   #57
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I think the emotions that youíre going through are not that uncommon at least for the single folks. Most people who achieve FIRE have highly motivated goal driven personalities. Like you, achieving FIRE wasnít everything I had expected. Yes, it was great in the sense I was able to travel the world and didnít have to deal with politics at work, and could do whatever I wanted but I donít think I was quite as prepared for some of the other aspects of being FIRED. All of my friends and co-workers still had regular full-time jobs so it took some time to adjust to the social aspects. Since I enjoy learning new things and interacting with other highly motivated people, I went back to school. Yes, I could have done a lot of the learning online but I choose to go to classes for the socialization aspects of it. (I have four degrees in three different fields Ė engineering, business and nursing). One thing Iíve learned over the years is that life is about the journey, not the destination so I hope you have a happy and rewarding journey.
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Old 04-17-2016, 01:30 PM   #58
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I have been reading this thread with great interest. So many good suggestions and experience sharing!

I cannot imagine anybody who is depressed can accomplish as much as the OP, but I am no expert.

OP, your accomplishments since your retirement are just mind blowing. (I couldn't possibly accomplish 1/10th of what you have accomplished, or having the drive to... I sleep way too much, and after 30 some years in the US, my English is still not exactly perfect.) Anyway, despite all the accomplishments, I guess I haven't heard the joy that might go with them, so daylatedollarshort may be partially right, or maybe, you just need to find something that doesn't appeal just to your intellect, but also to your soul/spirit?

What would you like more of in your life?
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:05 PM   #59
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@ sheeh1: thanks for your comment, more food for thought. I live in Tenerife which is a quite large island with more potentials that one could imagine about a tiny isolated island, and I am a cheap flight away to most EU capitals. As about your Q: boredom and loneliness both play a factor. Loneliness is partly due to shortage of the right companions, as there is no shortage of people with whom I can watch football and formula uno and get excited about it. Travelling helps, but coming back each time is not easy as you got to rebuild your routine and social connections each time and life becomes suddenly too quiet. So I have decided to stay put and expand my social circle and activities in more depth. I have dated a number of women over last few years, but finding the right partner as you admitted yourself can be challenging, more so if you are going to be choosy and prefer aloneness to wrong company.
@Fired: thanks for your comment. I am glad that doing different courses in person have been enjoyable and helpful to you. There is a shortage of professional courses available locally here, remember Spain is a semideveloping country in many ways, and Tenerife is a place that has been engineered for holidays and retirement. I looked for a course to become a master gardener to no avail, and am looking around to see if I find a mechanic who accepts an apprentice to learn about cars, I like the idea of learning to do something with my hands, and in a field that I know very little.
@friends: I have mentioned earlier that depression is not a problem according to more than one capable specialist who have given me a good deal of attention, hence I honestly don't need help with a diagnosis I am afraid.
I have shared my experience to learn from what echoes back, also the discussion per se allows us "share", identify similar experiences and emotions, and correlate with feelings and learn new insight.
Sharing one particular challenging area of my life doesn't mean that I think I have a horrible life, nor that I constantly feel blue! Far from it! I know perfectly how blessed I am, and very grateful for every single good thing in my life. I am also most grateful that I have the luxury of thinking, pondering and indulging in the idea of happiness, contentment, and fulfilment.
Thanks again for all comments
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:46 AM   #60
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As a token of thanks to all friends who commented on this thread, I attach below something I wrote a while ago and later put on my wall. It helps put everything in perspective every morning, and reminds me of what is important, and that life shouldn't be taken for granted. Thought would be worth sharing:

Everyday when I "wake up", I see myself as a passenger through this journey called "life". I acknowledge that this opportunity is not to be taken for granted. Each day I ask myself how I would like to enjoy this yet again one more opportunity to be alive. I take charge of my thoughts and don't allow my mind to get my vision clouded by dark lenses of "interpretation", "measurement", and "comparison". I refuge to the "innocence", "simplicity" and "clarity" of "what is" available right in front of me. Each day before I start my day I spend a few minutes asserting my "intention" to be happy and to spread happiness along my way. We hear a lot about meditation, but somehow the importance of "intention" is overlooked. Intention is the quality within us which can rise superior to own weakness and to outward circumstances; the power of free will, a spark of the creative force that animates every living thing. By the natural power within us we can be what we will to be! We can choose to attain harmony with our bodies, minds and souls; and we can decide to express inward harmony in outward health, strength, success and happiness.
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