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Old 04-19-2016, 11:04 AM   #81
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Languagefan -- you sound like an incredibly interesting and thoughtful guy. I wish I lived on your island so I could buy you a beer and chat for a while. I was amused by the idea of someone saying you "think you are a doctor." At the end of your life, it sounds like you will have helped lots of people, contributed to the accumulation of knowledge, chart your own course despite pressures not to do that, and had some fun. Not bad at all!
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:58 AM   #82
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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.
When I set retirement date at age 61, a co-worker in his 70's who I thought the world of, took me aside and asked me about my health. He thought I must be dying if I wanted to retire! I told him I was perfectly healthy. Then he said, not in a jealous way but in a kind way, that I should NOT retire because people who did just sat in front of the TV, got lonely, and died within a year or two and he didn't want that to happen to me. He was serious! I told him I would be OK and tried to reassure him, but gee.

Others just could not imagine me existing without my oceanographic work. They identified me as fitting into that job slot, and apparently never thought that I might have other things to do in life as well. They thought I'd get bored and would be back immediately, if not sooner, to consult.

I think that some people who haven't retired, haven't thought about it much and they just can't even imagine what retirement could be like.
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Old 04-19-2016, 01:30 PM   #83
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Thanks endlessly for all comments and advice on this thread. It has definitely helped bring about positive change.
I am writing this sitting on a supercomfi-superlux tropical chair in this posh gym where I joined after this thread started, viewing the pool, after a 1.5 hr work out with a quiet smile on my face. On the way to the gym I realised that there is a volleyball group in our town which I will join in an hour to put my name down there as well. It will take me to my school years of playing volleyball

This morning I went to the shopping mall in the neighbouring city and treated myself with a good deal of new clothes, and felt chuffed like a 20 y/o blond girl with the stuff I bought. During my time in Brazil and Vietnam the boiler leaked and destroyed most my clothes.

And guess what tomorrow afternoon I got a meeting with a female alternative therapist that hearing I was back asked to meet. The excuse is work stuff, but we have been gently flirting in the background of our conversations, so it may become a date!

Re: Buddhism: I have researched Buddhism thoroughly partly due to interest and partly because of research as an author in the field of emotional health. I have learned a lot from the secular juice of it, and am in awe that someone 3000 yrs ago had such a scientific and fact based attitude toward the question of human happiness and suffering. I am familiar with advanced meditation/breathing technics and use them on a daily basis. I don't believe is Buddhism as a philosophy and religion and not interested in the rituals and practice. I am familiar with different bud. schools and not particularly inclined to Dalai Lama and Tibetan tradition, and find Theravada Buddhism, disciples of Ajahn Chah, and the works of his most snr disciple an American monk Ajahn Sumedho very interesting. Their work remains pure, nonpolitical, and noncommercial and all their materials are available for free in PDF forms online. No expensive retreats, DVDs and packages....

Re: Dog: living in an apartment, travelling a lot, animal rights tendencies, don't make that a suitable choice. But thanks for advice.

@Dumpste..: thanks for your words, and sharing some beautiful moments so graciously.

@Medved: thanks again. Your words are heart warming and generate very comforting smiles over thousands of miles and oceans of distance!

@those whom have learned caution about the idea of ER subsequent to this thread, I should say that satisfying the world and people's opinion is an exercise in vain. You won't be rewarded by reaching the objectives the matrix prescribes for you. Achieving high sometimes leads us to learn that it is lonely on the top! Sometimes you are rewarded by jealousy, sometimes a kick in the teeth, and far a few in between a pat on the back. Follow your dreams. Life comes in cycles, so do emotions and as long as we are alive we would go through phases of contentment and discontentment,and that is a force that moves life forward, and a sign that your heart is still beating!

This thread taught me more about the value of listening, understanding, sharing, a kind word or two, and how they can impact and bring about change. Thanks
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Old 04-19-2016, 02:14 PM   #84
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When I set retirement date at age 61, a co-worker in his 70's who I thought the world of, took me aside and asked me about my health. He thought I must be dying if I wanted to retire! I told him I was perfectly healthy. Then he said, not in a jealous way but in a kind way, that I should NOT retire because people who did just sat in front of the TV, got lonely, and died within a year or two and he didn't want that to happen to me. He was serious! I told him I would be OK and tried to reassure him, but gee.
I am actually more surprised by the fact that there was a 70+ yr old guy working in your office! I was 56 when I quit and I was the oldest in the whole department - They might have had a few people in the 60's in the company, but nobody in their 70's for sure. Anyway I feel bad for him... Maybe he is still working because if he quits, he will wither and die...

languagefan,
Your meeting with your friend (a female therapist) sounds great! I concur with Ha and others! Love is the most important thing IMHO, and a romance can certainly lead to a type of love we all enjoy. Have fun
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Old 04-19-2016, 02:21 PM   #85
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I am actually more surprised by the fact that there was a 70+ yr old guy working in your office! I was 56 when I quit and I was the oldest in the whole department - They might have had a few people in the 60's in the company, but nobody in their 70's for sure. Anyway I feel bad for himr... Maybe he is still working because if he quits, he will wither and die...
I worked for the federal government, and they can't force people out due to age. So, we had quite a few old people. It was an unusual job in that respect.

The 70+ year old guy was a really nice person. He did a lot of charity work for the Catholic church as well as work. He liked having a reason to get out of the house. It's not that his marriage was bad, but he wanted to get out of the house.

We had another guy in his 80's, but he was a gambling addict and couldn't afford to quit. Every time he saved up any money, he would go to the casinos and gamble it all away. So, he dragged himself into the office every day. I'd hate to spend my 80's that way.
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Old 04-19-2016, 04:35 PM   #86
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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.



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).



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.
Just wait until you are able to do a dog walk meditation, or the pet pups meditation. I am blessed to live in a place where my 4 dogs and I go for a daily hour walk/hike. No one is on a leash and I do a silent meditation while I walk, always in awe of the quiet and beauty that surrounds me.
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Old 04-19-2016, 06:12 PM   #87
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What meditation? I'm a Buddhist and come from a long line of Buddhists. Maybe the Zen thing is not to find the meaning of life, just live it. Well at least that's my plan, gardening is my Zen. Have not been to a temple for a long time. Bad Buddhist maybe?


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Old 04-19-2016, 06:51 PM   #88
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LanguageFan - you have a hole in your life and that can be answered by 2 things:

1) looking for a companion that shares your interest (a wife or lady) who likes the same interest or can interact with you in a more intellectual and spiritual level. If you have that someone, it will fill your life.

2) ... you'd want to lead a Buddhist life of meditation. ...
Gee, there are some folks that like just being a plain old Hermit.
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Old 04-20-2016, 12:00 AM   #89
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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.
I'm not at all sure that's true.
http://www.share-project.org/fileadm...n/FRB1/CH5.pdf
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Old 04-20-2016, 12:22 AM   #90
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I'm not sure if someone broached this subject, but maybe you're lonely and finding companionship, romantic or not, would go a long way toward relieving that.


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Old 04-20-2016, 02:37 AM   #91
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That's a 50+ page article. It's too much w**k to read the whole thing!
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Old 04-20-2016, 05:57 AM   #92
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Thanks very much for all comments posted on this thread. Reading some felt very emotional.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not in any form or way short of ideas about how to fill my time! No!

Through last five years I have done a diploma in educational coaching, learned to cook various world cuisines to professional level and helped friends entertain many people on different occasions, travelled abroad 8 times for a good length of time, published a number of books, learned Spanish from 0 to fluent, taught Spanish and English to a number of acquaintances, did some extensive gardening and tree surgery to help revive a big piece of land of a friend, organised hiking trips and picnics for younger travellers every weekend for about two years, went to Brazil and Vietnam helping NGOs, and hosted many couchsurfers. I read extensively on Buddhist literature, and joined different yoga, meditation and alternative groups. I organised a few dance workshops which continued a short while. And I bought a fantastic apartment from bank foreclosures through lengthy written negotiations in a foreign language when I was a beginner, and I also helped three other friends do the same. I also gave up driving to be physically more active walking out and about (And yes, of course I sought medical advice, and I don't suffer from depression, remember most of us don't feel brave enough to share our vulnerabilities with others this openly , many of us don't even admit them to ourselves!).

In fact at some point, I spent so much time on my laptop/iPad working on my last book, and spent so much time reading online that wrist and back pain showed me my limit and made me incapable of computer work for a few months.

Then one day, I gave up this compulsive need to be an active leisure and pleasure agent. It was exhausting. What I lack now more than anything else is motivation and meaning in my life. And probably more than that to unlearn all my childhood programming that makes me identify my value with how productive I am work-wise.

I don't know for sure whether the social status, and public attention and recognition I received in the past is an important factor, or my upbringing and family ambitions.

Yes, I know what others think should not matter, but in real life, the disappointed and confused looks and comments of every stranger, date, or acquaintance (some of whom have done nothing whatsoever with their lives!), when they hear that you were a high flying, high earning doctor, and then resigned to writing a book every now and again, pierces through your soul one way or another.

The last straw on camel's back that led to my ER was when I learned that my role model, the man I worshipped, who was a fellow doctor, broadly published author, and medical business man, died of stress induced heart disease at the very young age of 54!

What I know is that my subconscious mind plays the most important role. I enjoy the evenings with a comedy or documentary that I watch eating the food that I have cooked. Why?! Because you are allowed to chill in the evening without feeling guilty. And funny enough, weekends are allowed to a certain degree as well! But I can't enjoy watching my favourite comedy during the day! I feel alright reading news, or something that helps make my Spanish more solid. I don't like to go shopping during the day even if the fridge is empty, probably because I find myself among the "wrong" lot of people, or within the wrong time of the day to be choosing between different kinds of peanut butter!

I know that meeting a woman with whom I share values and hobbies would definitely help. Yet, those women are normally working to pay their mortgage, and not many women with similar ambitions and passions of my age around on a sunny Island. I have dated a few times, and believe me or not, most women don't really feel amused by the idea of seeing a very highly educated and able bodied man of my age living a slow life of pleasure and leisure, when in fact he could produce **** load of money (even if that is at the expense of being in 2,000,000 debt!). And I look so well when I am well that people can't possibly imagine how unwell I could have been when stress used to break my back.

My ER was definitely the right decision as my previous life style was going to kill me sooner or later. And I planned everything by the book -then- being sure that ER in a nice and tranquil place and writing would satisfy me. On the other hand life is so comfortable and trouble free, and finances are so marginally and only marginally perfect, that I find myself trapped in this most desirable little paradise. I can't possibly find my previous positions in the medical world again, and can't afford living the same quality of life in a fast and expensive EU capital.

Writing this thread and reading through your words is helping put things in perspective. More so, as most of you are being incredibly tactful in your use of language and sharing your wisdom for which I am grateful.
"And probably more than that to unlearn all my childhood programming that makes me identify my value with how productive I am work-wise."....

BINGO!!!
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Unlearning
Old 04-20-2016, 07:15 AM   #93
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Unlearning

Unlearning the unnecessary is an important one, though not the easiest.

The cycles of discontent are not all bad, unnecessary, and fruitless, and sometimes lead us to new places. I learn a little bit from mine that I have summarised in the following paragraphs. I thought it is worth sharing:

*Happiness, contentment, and discontent*


Like all other animals we have a rhythm. Even though we all aspire for happiness, we should know that "happiness" is not a state that can be maintained 24/7 and to the same level all the time. If you can experience a few happy hours everyday and a few happy days every week, you can say that you are a happy person. Our mood changes during the day, during the week, and during the month, and our physical and psychological experiences affect our mood and perception of happiness consequently.

What we can do is to maintain a life style -physically and psychologically - that is most conducive for "happiness" to touch our lives as often as possible. This is a process and not something that can be achieved overnight. However, taking the right steps, and to the right direction will impact soon on our state of well being and perceived happiness. What is happiness after all?

Happiness is simply liking the way you feel. Contentment is a broader concept and has more to do with the psychological state that "you want what you have" or "you like the path your life has taken" . For most of us this is an impossible state to achieve, as we human are somehow better wired for discontentment!

How many times you desired something in your life and were 100% certain that once you achieve it you will be happy?! You changed jobs, cities, countries, partners, friends, cars, houses, name it, and yet soon after, when you found yourself in a new place, you grew a new wave of discontent, new disappointments, new wants, and new needs! Why is that?! Frustrating! right?!

As opposed to contentment which is about enjoying what you have, happiness hunting and the natural greed assciated with it, is the surest path to unhappiness. Because there is no end in having what you want! It will only end in wanting something else!!

Part of human discontent is "creative discontent", the life force in you telling you to learn new things, explore new places, grow and discover in to new realms. There is nothing wrong with creative discontent as long as it doesn't overtake your life or paralyze you with negativity and non-creative discontent.

There is another form of discontent that can be very harmful and is rooted in "greed for happiness and contentment! Greed is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves. Greed is a major source of discontent in our lives. The moment we stop enjoying the little things that life brings us on a day to day basis, we have closed the door tight to happiness.

It is good to use the fire of "creative discontent" in our lives, but to keep it at a safe distance not to burn in it. It is good to allow our creative discontent to work slowly toward growth and actualization of our potentials. There is a fine balance in this cycle that is not very easy to keep. But there is something that can help us feel content even when we harbour significant amounts of creative discontent in our lives.

That thing is called gratitude! Gratitude is an attitude of acknowledgement of a "good thing" that one has received or will receive. The attitude of gratitude carries contentment within itself. When you express sincere gratitude to life, God, others, universe, or nature, you are acknowledging happiness in what is. You are actively noting that you are in fact happy in that moment, that life is treating you gently indeed.

We can choose to be not only contented but also grateful for what life gives us and where it has helped us arrive. However, your creative discontent is there also - only - to keep you from stagnating where you have arrived forever. Within the cozy cup of contentment there should be the simmering tea of discontentment.

Although there is one very important point to note here. If your creative discontent is solely and narrowly focused on you and only you exclusively out of the wider picture which is the world, others, and the totality of life; you can easily and quickly fall back in to the big trap of greed that we discussed earlier. A large part of your creative discontentment can be reserved for the greater good. Our creative discontent becomes even more beautiful and powerful when its focus naturally and progressively shifts from narrow personal achievements and gains, to a purpose of contributing to a cause bigger than ourselves. This way our cyclical movements remain open to the wider cycles outside us -to give and also to receive. This way our happiness and contentment relate to the wider cycles of happiness and contentment.

We can learn to be aware of the rhythmic dance and movement of discontentment and contentment in our lives. We can learn to fine-tune the harmonious relationship between the two. To use our creative discontent effectively we need peace in our minds and contentment in our hearts. We should be mindful not to allow discontentment to consume us. Making a habit of daily acknowledgement of things that make us happy and expressing deep gratitude toward them is a practice that take your closer everyday to more advanced level of contentment.
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Old 04-20-2016, 09:03 AM   #94
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You came here seeking help and understanding and ended up helping more people than you can know. I am also a physician who retired 4 years ago at age 56. At the time I retired I had heard many times that a person should never retire away from something but retire to something. I had no real plan except that I was going to retire from practicing medicine to not practicing medicine. I had faith that I could figure out ways to spend my time other than to continue in a medical practice that was rewarding in many ways but which I had come to dread every day. I remain open to new things and have worked to create the life I want. I think you are correct to stay put for awhile and hope you can develop a pool of friends who accept you and value you for who you are. My one suggestion to you is to read the book Man's Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl. It was literally a life changing book for me as it gave me insight and focus on what mattered most to me. I have no doubt you will continue to have a productive and interesting life.
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Old 04-20-2016, 09:20 AM   #95
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@Jackson: thanks very much. I am delighted to hear that my contribution may have helped others here as well. Thanks for sharing a bit of your interesting journey.
Yes, I have read the book. Victor Frankl is one of the greatest authors in this field, and he was in fact an example of "being the change that you want to see".

on a shallower note and based on later reflection on my yesterday visit to this fancy gym: why on earth women are growing six packs?! It really doesn't look nice! Should I approach them one by one to advise them on this, or should I stick to my Buddhist tendencies and simply "let go"!? I may have to wait a bit to flatten my belly more before that though!
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Old 04-20-2016, 09:54 AM   #96
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Should I approach them one by one to advise them on this, or should I stick to my Buddhist tendencies and simply "let go"!? I may have to wait a bit to flatten my belly more before that though!
Nihilist say: why you care? It doesn't matter anyway
Relativist say: what makes your perception of nice the standard?
Pragmatist say: what do you hope to achieve?
Oprah say: "follow your passion!"

Elsa say: "That perfect girl is gone"
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/idinamenzel/letitgo.html
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:02 AM   #97
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....
on a shallower note and based on later reflection on my yesterday visit to this fancy gym: why on earth women are growing six packs?! It really doesn't look nice! Should I approach them one by one to advise them on this, or should I stick to my Buddhist tendencies and simply "let go"!? I may have to wait a bit to flatten my belly more before that though!
Please don't make any attempts to stop this trend!

To me, there is nothing more physically attractive on a woman (honestly any human) than a flat stomach with a bit of ab definition.

Different strokes.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:15 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by languagefan View Post
Unlearning the unnecessary is an important one, though not the easiest.

The cycles of discontent are not all bad, unnecessary, and fruitless, and sometimes lead us to new places. I learn a little bit from mine that I have summarised in the following paragraphs. I thought it is worth sharing:

*Happiness, contentment, and discontent*


Like all other animals we have a rhythm. Even though we all aspire for happiness, we should know that "happiness" is not a state that can be maintained 24/7 and to the same level all the time. If you can experience a few happy hours everyday and a few happy days every week, you can say that you are a happy person. Our mood changes during the day, during the week, and during the month, and our physical and psychological experiences affect our mood and perception of happiness consequently.

What we can do is to maintain a life style -physically and psychologically - that is most conducive for "happiness" to touch our lives as often as possible. This is a process and not something that can be achieved overnight. However, taking the right steps, and to the right direction will impact soon on our state of well being and perceived happiness. What is happiness after all?

Happiness is simply liking the way you feel. Contentment is a broader concept and has more to do with the psychological state that "you want what you have" or "you like the path your life has taken" . For most of us this is an impossible state to achieve, as we human are somehow better wired for discontentment!

How many times you desired something in your life and were 100% certain that once you achieve it you will be happy?! You changed jobs, cities, countries, partners, friends, cars, houses, name it, and yet soon after, when you found yourself in a new place, you grew a new wave of discontent, new disappointments, new wants, and new needs! Why is that?! Frustrating! right?!

As opposed to contentment which is about enjoying what you have, happiness hunting and the natural greed assciated with it, is the surest path to unhappiness. Because there is no end in having what you want! It will only end in wanting something else!!

Part of human discontent is "creative discontent", the life force in you telling you to learn new things, explore new places, grow and discover in to new realms. There is nothing wrong with creative discontent as long as it doesn't overtake your life or paralyze you with negativity and non-creative discontent.

There is another form of discontent that can be very harmful and is rooted in "greed for happiness and contentment! Greed is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves. Greed is a major source of discontent in our lives. The moment we stop enjoying the little things that life brings us on a day to day basis, we have closed the door tight to happiness.

It is good to use the fire of "creative discontent" in our lives, but to keep it at a safe distance not to burn in it. It is good to allow our creative discontent to work slowly toward growth and actualization of our potentials. There is a fine balance in this cycle that is not very easy to keep. But there is something that can help us feel content even when we harbour significant amounts of creative discontent in our lives.

That thing is called gratitude! Gratitude is an attitude of acknowledgement of a "good thing" that one has received or will receive. The attitude of gratitude carries contentment within itself. When you express sincere gratitude to life, God, others, universe, or nature, you are acknowledging happiness in what is. You are actively noting that you are in fact happy in that moment, that life is treating you gently indeed.

We can choose to be not only contented but also grateful for what life gives us and where it has helped us arrive. However, your creative discontent is there also - only - to keep you from stagnating where you have arrived forever. Within the cozy cup of contentment there should be the simmering tea of discontentment.

Although there is one very important point to note here. If your creative discontent is solely and narrowly focused on you and only you exclusively out of the wider picture which is the world, others, and the totality of life; you can easily and quickly fall back in to the big trap of greed that we discussed earlier. A large part of your creative discontentment can be reserved for the greater good. Our creative discontent becomes even more beautiful and powerful when its focus naturally and progressively shifts from narrow personal achievements and gains, to a purpose of contributing to a cause bigger than ourselves. This way our cyclical movements remain open to the wider cycles outside us -to give and also to receive. This way our happiness and contentment relate to the wider cycles of happiness and contentment.

We can learn to be aware of the rhythmic dance and movement of discontentment and contentment in our lives. We can learn to fine-tune the harmonious relationship between the two. To use our creative discontent effectively we need peace in our minds and contentment in our hearts. We should be mindful not to allow discontentment to consume us. Making a habit of daily acknowledgement of things that make us happy and expressing deep gratitude toward them is a practice that take your closer everyday to more advanced level of contentment.
Oh-oh, you came here because you were not happy and now you are the teacher. Congrats on your rapid metamorphosis!

Ha
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:21 AM   #99
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I am not a teacher by any standard! I do alright with the theory part, but not terribly good at practise! Only sharing stuff that I have been writing subsequent to a cycle of challenging feelings. I like to share the good news as well to friends who are patient enough to listen, and choose not to solely burden others whining about my pain. Also I am normally not in the habit of reacting to cheap sarcasm, so choose to take the latter with a pinch of salt.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:42 AM   #100
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@totoro & coolchange: lol! Point taken. Flat tummy is alright. 6 packs? Not really!
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