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Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-16-2006, 02:20 PM   #1
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Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

When I was approaching ER a lot of shipmates expressed their surprise that we'd try to retire in Hawaii. Most of them couldn't imagine owning a very expensive yet small lot with a "substandard" home when they could be living in a Mainland McMansion.

Mildly concerned, I consulted George Stott, a retired submariner & successful realtor. He reassured me that submariners do retire in Hawaii (at least until they have Mainland grandkids) and we struck up an e-mail conversation about ER. He mentioned that [url=http://early-retirement.org/forums/index.php?topic=3653.msg61948#msg61948]he'd never retire[url] because he loved his avocation and the lifestyle it funded.

I appreciated George's advice and he writes a great newsletter but I'd never physically met him until yesterday. He still resembles his pictures but time has taken its toll. What really shocked me was the realization that he's the same age as my father & father-in-law but he's 30 pounds overweight, looks exhausted, and has tremors that resemble Parkinson's. If I'd guessed his age I would have been high by at least a decade.

We were in the same meeting room but we could have been from different universes. I was there to stroll Waikiki & enjoy a sales presentation, perhaps with hot coffee and a few yummy cookies. The day was young, life was good, and the possibilities were endless. I was learning about real estate, curious to know more about the group George has mentioned for the last two years, and mentally stimulated by the challenge of picking apart the sales logic. George was working a room of strangers (most of them half his age) and earning $1000 finder's fees while he & spouse draw SS checks that are bigger than my pension-- plus their business and their other eight figures of assets. My family was busy with other things, I was taking a break from my routine to exploit a rare opportunity, the surf and the weather sucked, and I was happy to be there. The time passed quickly. Was George feeling the same way?

One of the reasons George stayed in Hawaii is that his kids could join the family business, and now the grandkids are starting their careers there. We come from the same Navy background and I face the same "Mainland grandkids" challenge with our kid, but of course I've chosen a different path. IMO we both have everything a man could want on this island. I just find it hard to believe that attending a sales presentation was the thing that he most wanted to do with his time. Maybe the cookies were disagreeing with his digestion, but he didn't seem to be as happy as he claims his avocation makes him.

Perhpas I'm just rationalizing my own ER because I don't comprehend what keeps him working. Ironically I find it easier to ask these questions of an Internet board of complete strangers than I do of George himself. Maybe I'm going to have to figure out a way to ask, because that conversation would presumably cover a whole bookful of issues. With what I know now I sure wouldn't want him to be a canary in my mineshaft.

I just hope when my age catches up with me that I'm spending my time on a longboard, not in a conference room...
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-17-2006, 01:34 PM   #2
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Perhpas I'm just rationalizing my own ER because I don't comprehend what keeps him working.* Ironically I find it easier to ask these questions of an Internet board of complete strangers than I do of George himself.* Maybe I'm going to have to figure out a way to ask, because that conversation would presumably cover a whole bookful of issues.* With what I know now I sure wouldn't want him to be a canary in my mineshaft.
WARNING: Amateur Psychological Analysis

I call the idea of being unable to turn it off after retirement the "Unfinished Business Syndrome". Some people approaching retirement age never lived up to (or can't let go of) the image of success they've had in their heads for decades, and despite having more money than they could ever possibly need in retirement, they continue to pursue business-related goals. George seems like the type of person who is driven by proverbial demons, and is sacrificing his health in the quest for (or to maintain) some undefined measure of success or personal accomplishment. The endgame of such a scenario remains undefined not because of laziness, but rather because to set an end point would require contemplation of a life outside or beyond George's present comfort zone. George knows how to survive and thrive in his little world; what he doesn't seem to be able to grasp (or is unwilling to acknowledge) is why others would want (or in fact that there is) anything different/better than what he's doing. Perhaps part of him realizes what he's doing to himself physically, but that part is nowhere near strong enough to break his mental addiction to his current endeavors.

Nords -- you broke away from you former life, and have embraced a life of leisure and self-discovery. From your postings, I assume you were able to do so simply because you had mentally decided to move on to other things. George sounds like he can't or won't do the same.
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-17-2006, 01:45 PM   #3
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

So if you never became what you wanted to be or thought you could be, you're screwed for life?
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-17-2006, 01:49 PM   #4
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

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Originally Posted by Cute 'n Fuzzy Bunny
So if you never became what you wanted to be or thought you could be, you're screwed for life?
No, but being driven by personal demons has destroyed many a man, marriage, family fortune, company . . . and even legendary empires.
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-17-2006, 02:08 PM   #5
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

Ooh, you're making me want to change my name to ozymandias again...
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-17-2006, 02:11 PM   #6
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

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Originally Posted by Cute 'n Fuzzy Bunny
So if you never became what you wanted to be or thought you could be, you're screwed for life?
Well, when I joined the Navy it seemed pretty clear that I could be an admiral.

15 years later I was just hoping to see my way clear to retirement!

I'm pretty sure that every night a former Vice-chairman of the JCS cries himself to sleep over not being selected for CJCS. *But I think that most of us have moved on to bigger & better goals. *Look at Bill Gates-- 20 years ago he wanted to be the richest man in the world and now he just wants to make Windows work.

I'm hoping that George can't imagine anything he'd rather be doing. *The problem is that I'm wondering how long his body will support him.
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-17-2006, 04:25 PM   #7
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

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Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
I think some people have this 'work ethic' thing and can't imagine just enjoying life. They just are not comfortable doing nothing.
I know those kind of guys too. I guess my wife would say I am sort of like that too but I find "working" around the yard to be relaxing. It gives me a chance to think clearly without other distractions other than the occasional moose or other critter wandering by.

I know a former manager (VP) that retired at 55 and bought a ton of heavy equipment. He now "plays" with his real Tonka toys on construction projects. He is having a ball; not for me but it floats his boat I guess.
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-17-2006, 05:32 PM   #8
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

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Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
I think some people have this 'work ethic' thing and can't imagine just enjoying life. They just are not comfortable doing nothing.

I had a older friend of mine that I use to take fishing trips with 25 years ago. He had just been fired as a CEO and claimed he wanted to enjoy life and take more fishing trips - He had plenty of money. He would turn our fishing trip into a "Mission" and work very hard at it. He was back working within a year and worked full time until he was 75. Now he goes to his Cabin and Works. Cuts wood, Builds roads - He's like a Beaver! The only time I ever saw him relaxed is when we were flying to Alaska for 5 hours. He could sit still and relax in the knowledge that we were moving 500 Miles an hour!

You are probably like me in that we can longer imagine ourselves working!
Here's Dale Riley who has that work ethic gene.
He doesn't believe in the Life of Reilly.

Both he and his wife were working the registers today.

http://www.startribune.com/1069/story/310255.html
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-17-2006, 06:13 PM   #9
 
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

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Originally Posted by DanTien
Here's Dale Riley who has that work ethic gene.
He doesn't believe in the Life of Reilly.

Both he and his wife were working the registers today.

http://www.startribune.com/1069/story/310255.html
Excellent! - Keeps him off the trout streams!
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-17-2006, 08:27 PM   #10
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
He's like a Beaver!
Exactly the simile I was groping for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
You are probably like me in that we can longer imagine ourselves working!
Yee-up. So when I see a guy like that from a similar background but 25 years ahead of me, it shakes me up a little.
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?
Old 03-17-2006, 08:30 PM   #11
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Re: Another one who can't (won't?) turn it off?

I can imagine working again, but I can see the first time some stupid so-called "politics" thing comes up and I say "stop that stupid horseshit right now" and then the next day I'm not working anymore...one way or the other...
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