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Old 04-18-2016, 07:56 AM   #61
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Okay, maybe I am an outlier here but I have no grand goal of accomplishing anything major or recognizably significant at all (but I am very happy that other people do because it benefits me).
I work because I need to in order to get to the point where I don't need to.
At work I am very knowledgeable and productive, outside of work I am very lazy (my wife will attest to this! ).
I am not retired yet but it is coming in less than a year now. Once I retire my fulltime job will switch to keeping myself and my wife healthy, happy and financially secure. I may do "something"....but it isn't my goal.
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Old 04-18-2016, 08:06 AM   #62
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@Lucantes: we are all different, and finding happiness for you and your family benefits the world in very different ways as we are connected to the rest of the world and our happiness and unhappiness radiates and affects others.
Good luck with plans to be happy
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:28 PM   #63
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Okay, maybe I am an outlier here but I have no grand goal of accomplishing anything major or recognizably significant at all (but I am very happy that other people do because it benefits me).
I work because I need to in order to get to the point where I don't need to.
At work I am very knowledgeable and productive, outside of work I am very lazy (my wife will attest to this! ).
I am not retired yet but it is coming in less than a year now. Once I retire my fulltime job will switch to keeping myself and my wife healthy, happy and financially secure. I may do "something"....but it isn't my goal.

+1 I don't have any grand visions to accomplish anything special myself. My life is fulfilled everyday watching my children grow and spending time with family and friends. I strive to find joy and peace in the everyday beauty that surrounds me. My greatest accomplishment is financial independence and as I move toward retirement in the next couple of years all I can think about is how much more time I will have to do whatever I want including not doing much if I don't want to. I guess I am lazy since my greatest pleasure comes from socializing with family and friends.


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Old 04-18-2016, 12:42 PM   #64
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@letj: I guess having a cohesive family around is a precious and invaluable gift and more so throughout retirement.
And socialising with family and ones social network are grand enough things to look forward to.
I think the biggest gift we can give to this world is finding peace, serenity, and happiness, and by nature these qualities would spread to others on our way.
Some of us by nature (and nurture) are more prone to happiness, and some need more work toward finding happiness.
Good luck with plans to enjoy your years to come.
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:47 PM   #65
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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.
Thank you for sharing this Languagefan. It is important to live in the moment and strive to make each day count! Sometimes as we plan our futures and/or look into the past, we can momentarily forget this!
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:52 PM   #66
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Thank you for sharing that meaningful passage. I will savor it.
As to your situation, I cannot help but think that your feeling of being unsettled or bored may be related to the fact that you have chosen to live on an island, lovely though it is. In my early retirement, I have realized a need to find new avenues of engagement and meaning in my local community. Mere travel via a short plane ride to cities in Europe is not a substitute for finding opportunities for regular engagement with a community. Could your choice of where to live be diminishing your opportunities?
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:55 PM   #67
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@sheeh1: you are welcome! I have framed it on my wall to actively remind myself everyday of facts that we forget too easily.
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:22 PM   #68
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@ Timsf: you are welcome.
As about myself: we underestimate the power of a few kind words, a pat on the back, and a heartfelt recognition of your goodness in the mirror of another person.
Tenerife is pretty big and has a very large population of expats. Nowhere is ever going to be perfect. I find the noise and fast pace of big cities troubling as well as the time spent commuting. The eternal spring here is a luxury that u know only when u actually live it. Life including eating out is incredibly cheap here due to policies of Spanish gov.
I probably made a miscalculation buying my flat in a small town. Yet, I can always move to the capital Santa Cruz which is a more vibrant city with more culture. And I havent necessarily married to Tenerife, if life unfolds differently and a love story, an interesting project or something else comes up, I am open to other destinations.
For now, I am going to stay put as each move entails losing your social network, costs time, and money and shakes ones social standing and connections.
Since the start of this thread, and partly thanks to insights shared by others, I have started this week with new hope and energy. I got my name on a paragliding course, joined a posh gym that offers every kind of fancy class and facility you can think of, planning to get athletically fit by the end of this year, met a local town hall manager today to help youth with educational and career coaching, and this weekend we will have a local book fair for British authors and I put my name down to be part of that event too.
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:27 PM   #69
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Hello everybody,

It all went as planned. I retired early. Own a flat in Canary Islands, no debts, and a bit of saving for the rainy days. Earn enough to have a simple life as I envisaged. Published a number of books. And after 5 years life has become incredibly quiet, if not boring. I am feeling restless for I don't have enough "meaningful" activities in my life. Went to Brazil and Vietnam doing some charity work for 6 months, and now life has become painfully quiet again.

The early retirement was well deserved. I suffered from post traumatic stress working nearly a decade in war zones with Doctors Without Borders, and even though it was long time ago, I remained fragile and stress prone working as a specialist doctor later for national health services.

I come from a very high achieving family, and can't somehow deprogram my earlier programming of needing to constantly achieve high and doing "important" things to be happy.

I thought early retirement in a tranquil place, writing, and living a slower life was going to suit me, and things went perfectly and even better than planned.

I am 48, currently single, divorced with a grown up independent and successful son. I feel demotivated to fill my life with the "usual" retirement activities, have already travelled widely across more than 40 countries and travelling per se has lost its buzz. Strange enough I am stuck in the middle of my latest book which is ironically about happiness!

I wake up late as there are too many hours to fill in each day, and lay my head on the pillow with relief that the day has come to an end.

Most women around my age are working mortgage slaves, or have complex situations left from their past marriages, and I don't earn enough to take over someone else's financial responsibilities without damaging my life style big time.

Life here is incredibly comfortable and problem free that the comfort zone stops one from taking risks again and making it rough again.

Having been a doctor is a kind of pain in the neck, as everybody looks baffled to hear that I retired to live a humble life and left all social "importance" and wealth associated with it behind.

Have been looking at options like doing a PhD somewhere, but it feels like complicating my life simply for the sake of it for escaping boredom!

I guess I am not looking for an easy answer, more like sharing, and hoping to learn from experiences of others.
I think I have your answer. You need one or more women in your life, not to pull the plow for, you've had enough of pulling the plow, for your ex and also the worlds poor and sick. Time for a bit of la vida dulce. I'm sure there are self-sufficient women in Tenerife, take some of them to dinner, to a nice bar, to anything likely to be diverting to you both. And if a woman is kind of struggling financially, that does not make it your responsibility to take care of her. Let some other man do that if she can't do it herself. Make yourself available for fun, understanding, laughter.

Learn the laws governing marriage and sexual arrangements in your jurisdiction, get snipped, and get going. Doctors are popular with women, and not only because they are supposedly rich. You as a doctor have done important humanly positive work, and females like this.

The world has changed, and a good bet is to realize that many expectations have turned into grab-fests. You can have fun like anybody else, even though you have bee trained to look to "duty". But you have been mustered out of that period of your life, go enjoy your freedom.

Some of the happiest guys I have met have some kind of non-painful or minimally painful injuries which give them a living, and an excuse for putting down the plow. I have never seen one of these guys without feminine companionship.

Ha
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Old 04-18-2016, 02:46 PM   #70
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@haha: lol! Was not expecting this! But I do agree as the happiest two periods I had was with female companions. One was a 5 month long passionate love story with a polish woman who was a slave to a big corp job in Warsaw and we couldnt find a solution to marry our very different life styles and locations. The other a very passionate purely sexual liaison with a local lady that died down when the flames were gone.
I am well aware that having your other half next to you becomes a more crucial part of your happiness and patiently having my eyes open for finding hopefully my best friend.
Thanks for the tip. Your witty comments made me laugh!
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Old 04-18-2016, 02:55 PM   #71
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@haha: lol! Was not expecting this! But I do agree as the happiest two periods I had was with female companions. One was a 5 month long passionate love story with a polish woman who was a slave to a big corp job in Warsaw and we couldnt find a solution to marry our very different life styles and locations. The other a very passionate purely sexual liaison with a local lady that died down when the flames were gone.
I am well aware that having your other half next to you becomes a more crucial part of your happiness and patiently having my eyes open for finding hopefully my best friend.
Thanks for the tip. Your witty comments made me laugh!
I am glad there was something there for you. However, I meant none of it as wit. White American and European men are broke to the plow early in life, and doctors more so than most. Just pretend that you are in a Muslim paradise, only fortunately you neither need or want virgins cause they are all gone, and I hear not much fun anyway. (no personal experience with this)

Ha
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:03 PM   #72
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Upon hearing that I retired, one of my uncles who just retired at age 72 was disappointed. He thought I should continue working and climb up the corporate ladder. I told him that my sole goal in life now is to live a happier life. I have no intention to meet others' expectation. I am happy with what I achieved already. To OP, you should be happy with what you have achieved. Not too many can say that they did what you have done. My suggestion is to take it easy, take one day at a time, and slowly build a new retirement life that you are comfortable with. What's the worst thing you can do? Go back to work, eh?
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:42 PM   #73
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Perhaps you could foster or adopt an orphan? That would bring meaning to your life, but maybe too much chaos. I'm sure you've wanted to adopt plenty of kids you've worked on through the years. What a gift it is to be able to do the soul-searching and self-discovery at this point in your life. Best of luck to you in your journey.


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Old 04-18-2016, 10:35 PM   #74
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+1 I don't have any grand visions to accomplish anything special myself. My life is fulfilled everyday watching my children grow and spending time with family and friends. I strive to find joy and peace in the everyday beauty that surrounds me. My greatest accomplishment is financial independence and as I move toward retirement in the next couple of years all I can think about is how much more time I will have to do whatever I want including not doing much if I don't want to. I guess I am lazy since my greatest pleasure comes from socializing with family and friends.
+1 Works for me!
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Old 04-18-2016, 11:32 PM   #75
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After reading the entire thread, I think a good companion should solve OP's problem. OP has said that he has tried, but has not been successful to establish a long-term relationship. I would like to suggest OP to solve this problem first, as other suggestions (pets, studying for a degree, etc.) might have to be altered once this problem is solved.
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Old 04-18-2016, 11:38 PM   #76
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After reading the entire thread, I think a good companion should solve OP's problem. OP has said that he has tried, but has not been successful to establish a long-term relationship. I would like to suggest OP to solve this problem first, as other suggestions (pets, studying for a degree, etc.) might have to be altered once this problem is solved.
The OP seems very driven to excel at many pursuits. Reading between the lines, I wonder whether perfectionism may be a barrier to long term relationships.
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:40 AM   #77
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Yes, I agree that having a good and meaningful relationship can def change things for better. I was married for 10 years, and am now more cautious about settling down with the wrong person.

Perfectionism and upbringing by a very demanding and perfectionist mother is definitely a problem.

Joining this forum and seeing others proudly on ER track is helping. Remember ER is a phenomenon that is spreading faster, and is better recognised and sought after in the US than Europe.

Hypothetically what other people think shouldn't matter, yes I know that, but realistically it subconsciously can chip your self esteem away bit by bit, no matter how well accomplished you are, and how unaccomplished they are.

A funny example was a date I had fairly recently, when the lady who had a PA job at an office, and a mortgage slave who owned 20 bricks of her apartment, summed up our meeting while we were leaving the restaurant looking really baffled: so you are 48, a specialist doctor, and now spend your time in the library and local cafes with your iPad writing a book every now and again, and you don't own a car because you have sold it to walk out and about to stay fit and healthy! Interesting! And she honestly didn't have a shred of malice in her voice, she was genuinely very very baffled!

I have also heard from acquaintances who are now friends that I am called by a few locals the English man "who thinks he is a doctor" at our local cafes!

Something else that I have personally experienced in my life: it doesn't matter what you have accomplished in the past, whether it is 3 uni degrees, and 24 published books, aid work, .....when it comes to others, and this includes your closest contacts. People are in touch with your present state, and judge you, react to you and deal with you according to that.

When I dated the Polish lady who had a "good" Corp job (she was a chief finance officer / Vice President working 10 hours/day and on call 24/7, monetary worth 150,000, and in 2,500,000 debt based on a big salary that could have gone bust any min due to company downsizing), and when we wined and dined with her friends, she introduced me as a jobless ex-doctor who spends his days doing what he likes, and more than once her friends whom I barely knew tried to convince me to find my path, or said: what a pity that all my talent was going waste! Strange enough, I was then working on my last book roughly around 4 hours a day, editing a book for an NGO, played badminton competitively, did all our shopping and cooked fine restaurant class meals for us every night! Again, she was not being malicious at all, she came from a poor Eastern European background and then flying high after years of poverty touching money, couldn't understand the philosophy behind my retirement!

Every time I offer my time to help with a local initiative, I am innocently asked: but how come you are not working as a doctor anymore?!

Malicious scracasms of friends as foes are different stories: I was once introduced to a group by a friend who wanted to be funny as a very well accomplished person who has suddenly decided to become a hippie!

Yes, what people think should not matter. Yet, walking against the mainstream trends is a challenging task my friends.

Surprisingly, owning tons of money somehow justifies idleness perfectly! If you are a multimillionaire it's alright to cruise idly around wining and dining in posh restaurants! And nobody bothers you for that!
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:04 AM   #78
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Great write-up, languagefan! I am sorry to hear people around you are baffled and somewhat callous in your reactions.

What you posted is not unique even in the US. A lot of people here on this forum (probably most of them) have experienced to some degree what you have been going through. Some people are jealous/envious, and some, like you said, are just baffled. We have had threads about how we respond to comments from friends/families/acquaintances. I have a feeling you will get a flood of posts on this topic since most of us have experienced it.

I left my wo*rk at 56, and 56 is not exactly young, but I have had some experience in this also. When I tell people (only because they ask) that I am no longer working, some people automatically think that I cannot find a job in my field (IT profession for 25+ years - Made very good money in Silicon Valley). Some of my old work acquaintances ask me every time I talk to them if I am working now. Some tells me they would be bored to death. Only a handful of good friends seem to understand and are happy for me. I am OK with that. I guess in your case, since you are doing so many things, you could mention in your defense that you are helping others in different ways now? I hardly explain to people anymore though. Same thing about being frugal. One friend even ridiculed me about my frugality (this was in my accumulation phase) Another mentioned that she felt sorry for me that I wasn't living in the present and she was happy that she was because we wouldn't know when our time would end (Her life is still going and she has $100K to her name in her late 60's.) I think frugality threatens people. Probably so does FIRE.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:57 AM   #79
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Reading your post tells me that you really do deserve your time going forward. Use it any darn way you please. We live in a world that has gone mad, you have seen it first hand. Time to let it go as best you can. Your first plus in my eyes is your place in the Canary Islands.. +1 ) Enjoy the beauty, the peacefulness . I was a teacher in an inner city school district in America for almost 30 years, saw way too many young lives ended by violence at a really early age. My wife an ICU nurse for years also saw the awful suffering that just getting sick causes. We left the rat race, 9 years ago at 51 and have not looked back. Travel, I am sick of it. I find the little things in life that make me smile. I ran at the crack of dawn today and watched the sunrise. Looked at the stars at 4 am, watched my Grand Baby for hours this past week, just 11 weeks old. Take in all the good you have earned. Peace
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Old 04-19-2016, 10:43 AM   #80
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Lanquagefan,

Thank you for starting this thread and sharing so much so eloquently. (This makes me want to read your long form works.)

Fear of exactly what you are experiencing may be what is postponing my own ER. You do not sound miserable by any standard; but, fear (this, running out of $$$, impacts on relationships, etc.) has me stymied at the moment. Reading this seems to be oddly helpful to me; so, many thanks to you and all who have contributed.

Here are a couple of things that have already been mentioned that I am hoping will help me. Hopefully this is a slightly different perspective on these topics than has already been discussed.

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....and on a lighter note. Do you have a dog?....
This was actually a suggestion I was thinking of making in the hopes of adding some value to this discussion. It is one of the things I am hoping to do for myself at some point. Currently, I travel too much to feel good about having a dog; but, once I settle down a bit, I cannot imagine a better source of unconditional love with a complete lack of any judgement of our life choices. It is also a great social lubricant (to help address the other issues around companionship that have been discussed).

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I second cyber888's suggestion about Buddhist practice....
Again, this is something I am hoping to pursue with more success after ER, if not Buddhist practice, some form of meditative practice.

While I do find meditation helpful, I have trouble sticking with a practice for some reason. It may have something to do with me not having any mystical/spiritual beliefs.

I understand a bit of the physiology supporting meditation on a purely physical basis; so, I keep trying to incorporate it into my life, kind of like exercise for the mind. Unfortunately, I always seem to short change exercise (both this and the gym) when I get too busy and likely need it the most.
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