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Ready, or just forgot how to have fun?
Old 12-09-2013, 01:22 PM   #1
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Ready, or just forgot how to have fun?

SO and myself have about everything we could want, except family. Most have died off, rest of our families fragmented after the patriarchs died.
Anyway, we have a snowbird house in Florida, rent it to some friends and stay with them a few times a year, we rent it since we can't go stay for weeks or months like we'd like, we both still work so we're still busy at home.
But, no matter what we do or try it's like we're not having fun anymore. Just going through the motions waiting on "The Day" when we cut the cord. A concert or weekend away is a short respite and my hobbies now sometimes create more anxiety than joy because of the time they consume.
It seems when we do plan something we'll enjoy, the closer it gets the more we just want it to be over with to get back to our daily lives rather than enjoy the event. We don't seem to enjoy our lives, but it obviously gives us comfort in that we're in control of it and can't wait to get back to it and away from what was supposed to be fun and new.
I'd think at mid 50's we'd be more into rolling with the flow and wanting to expand our horizons rather than dreading the next day, and the next.
We both freak out when things don't go as planned at home, with working when ever there's a hickup at home we get into a panick as to how to fix it with limited time, and we find no joy in about anything because the back to work cloud is always there on Monday to Friday.
It's like we live for weekends again like when we were kids, but now it's 2 days of solid weekend warrior just to stay caught up and start the cycle all over again.
We try to not watch the news as it makes us even more cynical.
I did have one older guy say being cynical is the only thing that brings him joy anymore. But, I don't want to be that guy.

I'm beginning to think making the break from full time work is what we need, we're both still at work 10 hrs a day by the time we leave home, commute, work and get home, 5 days a week.
Anyone else find that making that final break into ER solved a similar problem?
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:27 PM   #2
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I find myself in a related situation. I'm 48, never married, no kids (and no plans to be anytime soon), and feel like I'm just existing (not living) day by day until my "prison sentence" is over.

I say "prison sentence" because, to me, that's exactly what it is. I don't enjoy my job, I don't enjoy where I live, there's nothing for me here except work, and I feel like I don't have a life. It's just marking off day by day until the golden handcuffs (stock vesting) complete about a year from now, and then I can hopefully cut myself free, and start a life again.

If anything, I've gotten very lethargic about weekends. I don't get out and do much on weekends anymore, it's just two more days to cross off the calendar until I can escape.

I wholeheartily believe that leaving this job and moving back to somewhere I want to be (instead of someplace I HAVE to be, just for a job) will give me much renewed energy to find things I enjoy doing again. I can't wait until I can move back to the Rockies and start skiing, snowboarding, hiking, backpacking, start flying lessons, etc. But until I can do that about a year from now, I'm stuck just existing day by day, and it's a bore.

So...good luck with your endeavors. I'd have to think getting out of the daily grind of a job and all those other day-to-day headaches will give you renewed energy. I know it will for me.
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:11 PM   #3
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Gee, GRamabler. If you are having hard time enjoying your free time now, unless you and your SO change your life style significantly, I don't see your retirement being a happy one. Perhaps, some soul searching is in order. Good luck and best wishes.

LoneAspen - sounds like you need to practice having fun before you retire . Bay Area has a lot to offer. If not, you can always drive up to Reno or nearby areas to enjoy "skiing, snowboarding, hiking, backpacking" on weekends, during vacations. Just reading your post (don't mean to criticize), you are keeping yourself in prison unnecessarily & by choice. I don't believe it will be fixed easily by quitting work, and leaving the area. Old habits die hard. Good luck and best wishes to you as well.
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:23 PM   #4
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When was the last time you took a real vacation?
I mean at least ten days in another city to do fun things.

If it has been a long time, that should be #1 on your list, I think. I would give you some needed perspective.
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:30 PM   #5
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In general I think that when you are mentally and physically fit, life is enjoyable regardless of what may be going on at work, or where we may be currently living. I'm sure there are people with far less than both of you living in much less desirable places that still enjoy life to its fullest every day. I have met many of these people and find it very uplifting to be around them.

If life is not going so well, it's time to evaluate why. Work can be tough, and there can be alternate places to live that seem more enjoyable. But if life is filled with drudgery, it may be related to health - either physical or mental.

In both your cases, I would pay close attention to how you are feeling, both physically and mentally. Are you eating well, exercising, sleeping well, etc? If not, why? What is getting in the way?

For Lone Aspen, if you are only a year away from vesting your stock options, this would seem like an incredibly exciting time for you. At your age you have your whole life ahead of you to plan for adventure and excitement. If you've been fortunate enough to work in a career where you can be FI so early in life, you've done fantastic! Start planning for your future and think about all the exciting opportunities will may come your way.

I tend to think that staying healthy and fit play a big role in generally feeling good. Alcohol, tobacco and drugs tend to increase the likelihood of depression occurring. And lack of exercise and proper diet can have the same effect. Think about what you both can do to make some healthy and enjoyable lifestyle changes. Good luck with everything!
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:15 PM   #6
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Gee, GRamabler. If you are having hard time enjoying your free time now, unless you and your SO change your life style significantly, I don't see your retirement being a happy one. Perhaps, some soul searching is in order. Good luck and best wishes.

LoneAspen - sounds like you need to practice having fun before you retire . Bay Area has a lot to offer. If not, you can always drive up to Reno or nearby areas to enjoy "skiing, snowboarding, hiking, backpacking" on weekends, during vacations. Just reading your post (don't mean to criticize), you are keeping yourself in prison unnecessarily & by choice. I don't believe it will be fixed easily by quitting work, and leaving the area. Old habits die hard. Good luck and best wishes to you as well.
I see you're in the bay area also. I don't agree with your comment "you are keeping yourself in prison unnecessarily & by choice." I used to get out on long trips when I was much younger, but now? Taking hours to get to Reno (LoneApen is in SJ so same situation for him too) is just not worth it after working a 60 hour week. 2 day weekend is barely enough to get recharged while doing chores. When I have had one week off, I usually start getting my energy back by the 4th day. I think it's mental stress that takes that many days to shake off. It could just be me though.
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:31 PM   #7
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I am less than a month away from giving notice and I am in a low energy swirl as well. I don't really have anything to do at work lately, I have done all the stuff I can to prepare to bail, and I am just marking time. It does not help that it has been unbearably cold so I have been effectively trapped in the house. I have all of a sudden had a huge need for sleep. I slept almost 12 hours Saturday night for the first time in years and struggled to stay awake on Sunday. I assume this is a combination of the cold, time of year, and just being beat now that the race is run. I am hoping that once I actually finish separating service that I will regain more energy and zest for life.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:30 PM   #8
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I see you're in the bay area also. I don't agree with your comment "you are keeping yourself in prison unnecessarily & by choice." I used to get out on long trips when I was much younger, but now? Taking hours to get to Reno (LoneApen is in SJ so same situation for him too) is just not worth it after working a 60 hour week. 2 day weekend is barely enough to get recharged while doing chores. When I have had one week off, I usually start getting my energy back by the 4th day. I think it's mental stress that takes that many days to shake off. It could just be me though.
I feel sorry for you and others in your situation. Good luck and best wishes to you as well.

BTW, I work 60 hours a week too, my commute is 70 minutes each way, my boss is a huge jerk, have lot of family members who rely on me financially & emotionally, etc.. But I play golf 2 - 3 times a week, go to occasional concerts, enjoy fine dining, has friends at work, do my share of couch potato'ng, and will use my vacation to travel a little. I.e, I balance my work and life. Life is what you make it, and I refuse to make it a hard one. I had a hard life and I am determined to have a good one the rest of my life on earth.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:44 PM   #9
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I feel sorry for you and others in your situation. Good luck and best wishes to you as well.

BTW, I work 60 hours a week too, my commute is 70 minutes each way, my boss is a huge jerk, have lot of family members who rely on me financially & emotionally, etc.. But I play golf 2 - 3 times a week, go to occasional concerts, enjoy fine dining, has friends at work, do my share of couch potato'ng, and will use my vacation to travel a little. I.e, I balance my work and life. Life is what you make it, and I refuse to make it a hard one. I had a hard life and I am determined to have a good one the rest of my life on earth.
Good for you! You do what you can to make your life sustainable.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:12 AM   #10
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I feel sorry for you and others in your situation. Good luck and best wishes to you as well.

BTW, I work 60 hours a week too, my commute is 70 minutes each way, my boss is a huge jerk, have lot of family members who rely on me financially & emotionally, etc.. But I play golf 2 - 3 times a week, go to occasional concerts, enjoy fine dining, has friends at work, do my share of couch potato'ng, and will use my vacation to travel a little. I.e, I balance my work and life. Life is what you make it, and I refuse to make it a hard one. I had a hard life and I am determined to have a good one the rest of my life on earth.
If you are playing golf more than two days a week working 60 hours/week plus 140 minutes commute per day (that is almost 72 hours/week total), you must be entertaining clients.
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:32 AM   #11
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Is "freaking out" secretly fun for you (it is, for some folks)? You have been on the earth long enough to realize that things often don't go as planned.

So much in life depends on other people (uncontrollable; unless you want to have people hating you for your attempts to control them), storms (uncontrollable), biology (very little control available) the stock market (uncontrollable), our health (less controllable than we'd like), politics (irrational, and therefore impervious to control), and on and on. You have a choice: freak out, or roll with it.

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SO and myself have about everything we could want, ...no matter what we do or try it's like we're not having fun ...We both freak out when things don't go as planned at home,
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:52 AM   #12
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....
But, no matter what we do or try it's like we're not having fun anymore.... beginning to think making the break from full time work is what we need, ....
Anyone else find that making that final break into ER solved a similar problem?
If you spend much time here you will notice there are a few already retired posters who do not seem happy. You might turn into one of them, in which case we can prepare your curmudgeon level 1 certification right now. But I hope you will rediscover your fun side instead. Happiness comes from within.
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:02 AM   #13
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To me the answer to the first two posts may be just making changes. We've moved around all our lives, and find it invigorating. Discovering new places, new climates, new friends, new activities, new cultures (even within the US) makes life interesting and breaks you out of your everyday rut. We've been in the same home for 20 years, and we look forward to moving again.

But I'm not saying moving is the sole answer, it's just changing things up somehow that helps.

If you're consumed by chores over the weekend, change that (maybe hire some things out, switch jobs with your spouse, replace/get rid of maintenance intensive items, or just simplify your lives by eliminating/reducing some activities).

Join new groups. Go new places. Make time for a hobby/activity you've always wanted to begin, but haven't for whatever reason.

The above may not hit the right chord and I could go on and on, but the point is, what can you change to make life more interesting? You might be surprised what a difference it can make.

And I'm not necessarily advocating buying something new. That never works for me. New toys usually lose their appeal pretty quickly IME.

Change small or large, almost always reinvigorates DW and I...
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:43 AM   #14
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Thanks for the replies - and I hope I didn't hijack the OP's thread

There are things to do here in the Bay Area, that's for sure. I used to go up to the city (San Francisco) more on Sundays to get out of San Jose. And, every couple months I go up to wine country with some good friends of mine.

When I lived here in the early 2000's, I tried going up to Tahoe once to do some skiing and (this is going to sound horrible) hated it. I was used to living in Colorado about 90 minutes away from Keystone, Copper, Vail, etc, and I remember it took me about 3 or 4 hours to get up to Tahoe, and almost 8 hours coming back on Sunday due to traffic. I hate traffic like that, and the time required to get up there and back turned me off of Tahoe, and I haven't been back.

I just find myself in the same place right now that I did in 2005, with an incredible emotional desire to move back to Colorado (or at least someplace in the Rockies), and right now, nothing else will measure up to that. It's just something I know I have to do - get back there for at least a couple years to get my soul back, so to speak.

Until then, it just feels like I'm marking time here, and not much else.

Somebody posted once it's important to not just have something you're running away from (job, etc), but that you have something to run TO. I have so many things I want to run towards after I quit and leave, I just wish time would pass faster so I could get on with it.

I've posted before that at this point in my life, I couldn't care less about the journey anymore (meaning this job I'm at), I only care about the reward. And that's very true. If I could push a button and have the next year go by in an instant, I would. I'm in a mindset I just want to fast-forward, collect my "reward", quit, never look back, and get on with life.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:42 AM   #15
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Thanks for the replies.
Without getting into a lot of details let's just say that we lost a lot of core family in a short period of time. Lot of depression, denial, anger, the usual phases of grief. But we should be pulling out of it by now. Problem is there is no one left locally but us. We have some friends scattered about but finding local friends isn't easy so we stay home a lot.
The to-do list at home has also become overwhelming as we've gotten older, not the chores themselves but the time now needed to do them. We stay home to stay afloat, we can't seem to get ahead with only weekends to do them. I'm seriously thinking about asking for a 4 day work week for 2014, I took a lot of extra days this year and I've found with 3 day weekends I can get back to somewhat enjoying the place. Day or so to work, day or so to rest and enjoy the place.

Travel is something we used to enjoy but we've found it increasingly difficult to find resturants where we like the food. We don't eat fast food, nice resturants have nice prices, and usually the food is way-way to much for us to eat. We've gone back to many a room miserable after trying to consume all they bring you.

The above is what I'm saying, we don't even find joy in a nice meal out, we complain about the cost and quantity, and sometimes the food itself, where as we'll cook a full meal together at home over a bottle of wine and enjoy every second of it, then complain that we don't go out anymore.

We do take an 8 day vacation every year, and multiple 3-4 day weekends away. It's weird, in the spring we'll look forward to getting out and doing stuff, then we're mad at ourselves for indulging and letting the place get behind. We could downsize but ER would give us the time to do what we'd be downsizing for, we're right at the door looking through the window, either step inside or come back later.

I'm not trying to collect a reward, but I'm wondering if as we get closer to ER and getting older, the time spent working toward the day is more miserable because you know you're not there yet.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:16 PM   #16
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The to-do list at home has also become overwhelming as we've gotten older, not the chores themselves but the time now needed to do them. We stay home to stay afloat, we can't seem to get ahead with only weekends to do them.
You might want to check into resources on decluttering, downsizing & simple living so you spend more free time on having fun and building social connections instead of taking care of stuff.

The added bonus of simple living is that it cuts expenses which may move up the retirement date. It sounds from your post like you are living to work, instead of working to live. The book Your Money or Your Life might be helpful if you have not read it yet.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:37 PM   #17
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We have a huge house and estate we've built, at least by our standards, and done most all the work ourselves. Somehow we found time to build it between our 30's and 50's and enjoyed it, but now we can't keep it up.
We still enjoy the place immensely, we do get real joy out of it, selling it now and downsizing would be like failure, it's just a time issue. I physically can't work on it Sat-Sun and go back to work Mon-Fri without feeling beat to death.

I watched a neighbor go through ER, his place is about as big as ours and immaculate, his ER allows him the time needed to keep his place up. He said when he physically can't keep it up they'll downsize though, kinda my thoughts.

I've gone to hiring some help in the yard, it's helped some. Still feels defeating to have to hire help for stuff I'd normally do. Makes me realize I'm getting older I guess.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:57 PM   #18
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We still enjoy the place immensely, we do get real joy out of it, selling it now and downsizing would be like failure, it's just a time issue. I physically can't work on it Sat-Sun and go back to work Mon-Fri without feeling beat to death.
Then if I was in your spot I would hire people to clean the house, do yard work now and not feel bad about it. When we both worked full time I would pay people to help with grocery shopping, do car pools for me, run errands, organize closets, etc.

Use your money to buy some happiness and free time now, instead of deferring all the free time you want at some future date. It is good to have goals, but the reality is that some people do die or become disabled and never get to enjoy any of the retirement they had planned. From your post it just seems like you aren't striking a good balance between enjoying life right now and planning for retirement. Carpe diem, or as Churhill put it, "It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time."
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:11 PM   #19
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When was the last time you took a real vacation?
I mean at least ten days in another city to do fun things.

If it has been a long time, that should be #1 on your list, I think. I would give you some needed perspective.
+1, maybe taking some long weekends or a longer vacation might help you relearn how to relax and enjoy yourselves. You sound a lot like my old boss and his SO. Also, don't take your job too seriously, try to throttle down a bit
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:21 PM   #20
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Not a recommendation, but a comment:

A good number of people I know, both retired and on the treadmill, in that "hopeless" frame of mind are taking anti-depressants.
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