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Old 04-08-2013, 01:58 PM   #21
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One thing I'd never considered while working, but occurred to me some months after I'd left, is that when you ER (or R, for that matter I suppose), you get your thoughts back. This is related to the "freedom" thing.

While still working, it's amazing to think about how much of your day is given to thoughts related to work: you do it in the morning when you have your coffee and breakfast (and maybe answering work email that accumulated overnight), you do it in the shower getting ready, you hop in the car and do it during your commute. Then you land at your place of work, and you really do it... including lunch sometimes. Do it during travel for work trips, and so on. Some people even do it while they're sleeping . I remember one beautiful early summer weekend while still employed, I was outside doing yardwork and I realized "hey! It's Saturday and sunny! Why are you thinking about that work stuff?".

The Beatles expressed it well in the bridge to the song "A Day In The Life", the part that begins "Woke up, fell out of bed..."

Anyway, after a while, you find all this space in your mind reappearing once all the work things begin to leave. Then you have your thoughts back, and you can focus on all the other great things (family/friends, travel, favorite projects/hobbies, etc) that people have mentioned and that ER clears the way for.

There's a famous Zen koan that says it another way:

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The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind."
Your teacup is full (Empty your cup) | Bengt's Notes
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:21 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by steelyman View Post
One thing I'd never considered while working, but occurred to me some months after I'd left, is that when you ER (or R, for that matter I suppose), you get your thoughts back. This is related to the "freedom" thing.

While still working, it's amazing to think about how much of your day is given to thoughts related to work: [....]
Very true. Work issues are usually the first thing I think about when I wake from sleep, and they pop up periodically in the evenings after work, some days more than others, depending on the level of crisis/problems. Some people are successful in leaving their work-related thoughts at work, but I've never been able to do that. I can leave my work at work -- I don't bring works tasks home -- but I can't shut off the work-related thoughts, especially if something stressful is going on.

Even when I take a week off, it takes a couple of days for the work thoughts to fade, and then they reappear during the last day before I go back. I'm looking forward to having them disappear for good. As you say, that should clear out some real estate in my head.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:25 PM   #23
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:54 PM   #24
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Nords posted a great essay on how much of your day is given to thoughts related to work. I have it bookmarked and reread it occasionally to put things back into perspective. Here it is:

The "fog of work"
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:43 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Redbugdave View Post
Nords posted a great essay on how much of your day is given to thoughts related to work. I have it bookmarked and reread it occasionally to put things back into perspective. Here it is:

The "fog of work"
Thanks, that was worth reading. "All action takes place in a kind of twilight, which like a fog or moonlight, often tends to make things seem grotesque and larger than they really are." That's a good way to encapsulate how the petty concerns of the work world get amplified and magnified in our heads into something bigger than they are. I was thinking for the upteenth time yesterday that I want a mental life that is BIGGER than this -- deeper and wider in scope than this constant focus on the work world. But when work occupies so much of the brainpan, it's not so easy.

That is one of the main reasons I'm looking forward to retirement. I want to "get my thoughts back," as steelyman so aptly put it.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:16 PM   #26
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:32 PM   #27
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My DH was pointing out how when we had few things (and no career) we DID whatever we wanted (we smiled more, took more camping trips...we did whatever and were making real memories to cherish) and after years of working we became about accumulating THINGS...then we figured out what we wanted and that was freedom again. We stopped accumulating and started saving.

I want to regain that freedom from work and things and start living!
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:40 AM   #28
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Another guy at work and I were discussing this very issue. We work at a government site as employees of a contractor and the feds are raising the qualifications and lowering the pay (by almost 50%!) in July so I and a bunch of others are leaving.

Bill is the guy who told me the story of how in his first week on the road as a police officer he got a call for a car idling for a couple of hours in a residential neighborhood. Looking in the window he found a man in his mid-60's, dead, with his face planted in his retirement cake. So the lesson that Tomorrow Is Not A Given was made early on.

The range of reactions to this pay cut is fascinating to watch. Some are rolling with it (this job is their only source of income) and others, like me and Bill, and many others, are in a position to say "Well, it was a good gig while it lasted but losing it is not a big deal".

But the few who are living paycheck-to-paycheck and deep in debt are suddenly highly stressed. Some thought the party would never end and these people are angry, depressed, and worried.

So glad I'm not one of them.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:52 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyman View Post
One thing I'd never considered while working, but occurred to me some months after I'd left, is that when you ER (or R, for that matter I suppose), you get your thoughts back. This is related to the "freedom" thing.

While still working, it's amazing to think about how much of your day is given to thoughts related to work: you do it in the morning when you have your coffee and breakfast (and maybe answering work email that accumulated overnight), you do it in the shower getting ready, you hop in the car and do it during your commute. Then you land at your place of work, and you really do it... including lunch sometimes. Do it during travel for work trips, and so on. Some people even do it while they're sleeping . I remember one beautiful early summer weekend while still employed, I was outside doing yardwork and I realized "hey! It's Saturday and sunny! Why are you thinking about that work stuff?".

The Beatles expressed it well in the bridge to the song "A Day In The Life", the part that begins "Woke up, fell out of bed..."

Anyway, after a while, you find all this space in your mind reappearing once all the work things begin to leave. Then you have your thoughts back, and you can focus on all the other great things (family/friends, travel, favorite projects/hobbies, etc) that people have mentioned and that ER clears the way for.

There's a famous Zen koan that says it another way:

Your teacup is full (Empty your cup) | Bengt's Notes
Amen!
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:30 AM   #30
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Wow...powerful post.
So many I know seem threatened when I share we will retire early. I,fortunately, was taught by a wise man to LBYM. He drove a late model buick but had 2 modest condos..one in FL and one in Chicago. When he died dancing at a wedding at 92, he had so much wealth his alma matre build a law library with his name on it. Sure he should have enjoyed more but he was a result of the Great Depresssion.

I can never figure out why people don't want to live! At some point enough money is enough and we can start accumulating memories and not stuff.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
Another guy at work and I were discussing this very issue. We work at a government site as employees of a contractor and the feds are raising the qualifications and lowering the pay (by almost 50%!) in July so I and a bunch of others are leaving.

Bill is the guy who told me the story of how in his first week on the road as a police officer he got a call for a car idling for a couple of hours in a residential neighborhood. Looking in the window he found a man in his mid-60's, dead, with his face planted in his retirement cake. So the lesson that Tomorrow Is Not A Given was made early on.

The range of reactions to this pay cut is fascinating to watch. Some are rolling with it (this job is their only source of income) and others, like me and Bill, and many others, are in a position to say "Well, it was a good gig while it lasted but losing it is not a big deal".

But the few who are living paycheck-to-paycheck and deep in debt are suddenly highly stressed. Some thought the party would never end and these people are angry, depressed, and worried.

So glad I'm not one of them.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:37 AM   #31
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When he died dancing at a wedding at 92...
My first thought was "that's how I'd like to go" - then I realized what a real bummer for his dance partner - not to mention for the bride and groom.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:47 AM   #32
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My first thought was "that's how I'd like to go" - then I realized what a real bummer for his dance partner - not to mention for the bride and groom.
Knowing him he probably made a joke about being a party pooper. But granted, i wouldn't want someone dying at my wedding.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:51 AM   #33
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I cherish being able to "putter around" in the garden, around town, in the house....cooking, learning new things, reading, reflecting, working in the yard. The days that I do have clients, it is so nice to be able to talk with them, work on them...no hurry, no deadlines
I also cherish not having to do any more of those silly "Performance Partnerships" and "Integrity trainings"...UGH!
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:02 AM   #34
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I cherish the ability not to be responsible for outcomes over which I have no control. I cherish not having to worry about how I represent an organization or a profession. It is very liberating to enjoy a social event where my work never once enters the conversation, because it is not relevant. I cherish not having to define myself by the work I did. My most important decision of the day is what to have for lunch. I cherish that freedom!
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:54 PM   #35
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I used to w*rk in a cube in a windowless building. During the winter months, I drove to w*rk in darkness and drove home in darkness. I saw daylight only during lunch, smoke breaks, and walks to meetings in other buildings, independent of the season.

When I first FIREd, I got up very early to see the sight of the sun rising and hear the sound of birds singing in a fabulous orchestra in my backyard at dawn.

At just over 6 years in FIRE, I'm pretty lazy about getting up early, but occasionally I am up at dawn. I still relish the sight and sounds.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:03 PM   #36
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:08 PM   #37
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:21 PM   #38
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Nords posted a great essay The "fog of work"
Thanks for that!

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There's time to read an entire Ernie Zelinski book and finish his "Get-A-Life Tree"....Free of the fog of work, many of us would return to the office after a sabbatical and think "What a bunch of toxic crap."
Can't say I was free from the fog of work after I did my get a life tree, but I can say that work looked much more toxic afterwards. That book should be required reading for anyone on the fence.

--Dale--
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:59 AM   #39
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:27 PM   #40
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Life, health and freedom (and a big plus for financial freedom)
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