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5 biggest ER surprises
Old 02-19-2015, 05:37 PM   #1
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5 biggest ER surprises

It was time to change my early-retirement.org user name, formerly wishin&hopin. All that wishiní and hopiní paid off about six months ago when I ERíd, and now itís all about focus. That is, focusing fully on the present and, since the choices of what to do are many, focusing my energies. Thus my new name.

One month into ER, I posted the three things that most surprised me. Iíve now updated that list and expanded the items to five:

5. Iíve come to realize that I spent the last few years at work sleep deprived, and a full nightís sleep (at least eight hours for me) is one of the most crucial parts of living a healthy, well-balanced life. I was as productive as ever at work with less sleep, but I was constantly irritable. I chalked that up at the time to some of the challenging personalities I had to deal with, but I now think it was more about me -- if Iíd had enough sleep, it would have been like water off a duckís back. Maybe.

4. I now understand why relatively few end up working part time in retirement, despite what they tell pollsters before they retire. Once youíve tasted the freedom that comes from having full control of your life and no work-related stress, itís very hard to give it up. Although Iíve heard retired friends say theyíre seeking opportunities to do ďmeaningfulĒ work of some sort, they want it entirely on their own terms. Not surprisingly, there arenít many of those unicorns around. And as previous threads here have made clear, volunteer work can be as frustrating as regular work, without the financial compensation.

3. Related to the above, if things get tight financially, I think itís more likely that Iíll economize further rather than try to earn new income. I've stopped worrying too much about it, since it appears I can live on less than I originally estimated, barring unplanned major expenses.

2. Iím never bored. Ever. It's very easy for me to stay mentally engaged, and being an introvert (like most of us here), I havenít even had to ramp up my socializing much.

1. Time goes by much quicker than pre-ER. Thatís why focusing my energies is an important part of making the most of each day.
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Old 02-19-2015, 06:33 PM   #2
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That's what I like to hear. I can't wait to join you...
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Old 02-19-2015, 06:49 PM   #3
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Lovely sort of surprises mostly, so that's nice.

I have thought that we go get part time jobs if we had a serious downturn that outlasted our reserves, but I personally would rather cut back on all non-essentials, while the husband disagrees (he likes his spendy hobbies - music and movies). But we're not actually retired yet, so I will definitely be revisiting that discussion once we've had a good taste of freedom.
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Old 02-19-2015, 07:05 PM   #4
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Your number 5 is absolutely 100% for me. In my case I also realized I had spent seven years constantly jet lagged from international travel a couple of times a month. Looking back, I'm not sure how I did it or how DW put up with me. I still love travel, but it is on my terms at my pace.


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Old 02-19-2015, 07:57 PM   #5
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Old 02-19-2015, 08:36 PM   #6
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#3 #2 and #1 resonated most with me. Due to my pension and tax credit limit, I will refuse to work par time. A $10 an hour PT job would net me 30 cents on the dollar after taxes. Not worth my time... Somewhere after retirement I have lost the ability to become bored. 50 years old and retired for 5 already, I could sit in a chair all day with IPad like an 80 year old man and not get bored. And yes time flies. I could sit in a chair all day and next thing you know it's time for bed.
Even though I do workout daily and visit GF daily I really don't need to do anything else to pass time away, it just evaporates. So this year I am forcing myself to join a weekly senior traveling golf group and play doubles tennis.



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Old 02-19-2015, 11:43 PM   #7
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3 weeks into ER and my surprises are:
1. How little I miss work.
2. How rest deprived I have been for years.
3. How easily I can fill my days.
4. How quickly the week goes by.
5. How little I am interested in making time commitments that don't align with unstructured days.


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Old 02-20-2015, 12:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Focus View Post
1. Time goes by much quicker than pre-ER. Thatís why focusing my energies is an important part of making the most of each day.
This is the biggest surprise to me. Time is going by 10 times faster in retirement than it did while working. I hadn't anticipated this in all my planning and thinking of what retirement would be like.
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Old 02-20-2015, 02:31 AM   #9
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I agree with all of them, but particularly 4 and 3. I was so motivated to work/meet deadlines etc when employed. After 6 years of pottering around in my pajamas, and working on pet projects at home, it's hard to imagine why I was so keen on working. I don't know what the heck I was thinking

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Old 02-20-2015, 07:00 AM   #10
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I was definitely surprised by how fast time flies, and how easy it is to fill my day and never be bored. I also traveled extensively my last 5 years at Megacorp, including two trans-Pacific flights every month. My body clock was screwed up continuously and I never slept with any real regularity. I also avoid time commitments and enjoy the unstructured days. Even though I talked about teaching, volunteer work, and starting a small business, I doubt I will do any of that, as I can't get my head wrapped around the idea of having a regular schedule again. Thanks for the list.
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Old 02-20-2015, 07:27 AM   #11
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Great observations. #4 resonated with me as I actually worked 50% time for about 5 years before I retired and retired to have full control over my schedule. When I was retiring Mega and I talked about my perhaps doing some consulting for them after I left, but thankfully that never materialized... I suppose they found a way to get along without me which was exactly what I told them would happen.
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Old 02-20-2015, 09:35 AM   #12
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I discovered I like afternoon naps.
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Old 02-20-2015, 09:37 AM   #13
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I discovered I like afternoon naps.
Me too. In fact, I take mine whenever I feel like it, which has resulted in naps most anytime of day - morning, afternoon or evening
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Focus View Post

5. Iíve come to realize that I spent the last few years at work sleep deprived, and a full nightís sleep (at least eight hours for me) is one of the most crucial parts of living a healthy, well-balanced life. I was as productive as ever at work with less sleep, but I was constantly irritable. I chalked that up at the time to some of the challenging personalities I had to deal with, but I now think it was more about me -- if Iíd had enough sleep, it would have been like water off a duckís back. Maybe.
This is true for anyone who are sleep deprived and don't know that they are being irritable (and not the others). It takes an "enlightened" person to admit .
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:16 PM   #15
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I talked to a former boss who retired about 5 years ago.... someone asked him what he did all day.... he said he had lots of things to do that you have to get done... he then said he wondered how he got all these things done when he was working... his answer "I either had Karen do it or I did it at work"... Karen was his assistant (he was an EVP)....

The amount of 'free time' is less than people think because you now take your time on getting things done... what used to take a hurried 15 minutes can drag on for an hour and who cares...
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:24 PM   #16
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Thanks for the summary. I retired almost three years ago and experienced the same five things... Plus, if I am honest, I would add that I am adjusting to having too much time around my wife of 35 years. hope to work through it...


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Old 02-20-2015, 12:33 PM   #17
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14 months in and loving it. 2 observations:

1. On the 'not working' element, I think of the j*b occasionally, but don't miss it. Frankly, I don't miss the people and they were good folks..just don't miss them. Recently, I was asked back to sit on a planning committee for a big company milestone event... I told them I had a conflict.... the conflict was that I just didn't give a s#&t about it. More often, when I think of the j*b, it's just to remind myself how thankful I am to be out of the maze.

2. On the 'retired' element, it is amazing how great it is to have the options to do whatever the day brings.

final note... lots of laughs, grins and smiles these days. Cheers!
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Old 02-20-2015, 01:19 PM   #18
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Recently, I was asked back to sit on a planning committee for a big company milestone event... I told them I had a conflict.... the conflict was that I just didn't give a s#&t about it.
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Old 02-20-2015, 07:42 PM   #19
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#2 hit the mark for me.
FIREd in April 2007 at age 48.

I have transformed from an full high achiever A+ personality to an A- and I do believe I am becoming a B+. Maybe even a B.

Pre-FIRE, I was the mover and shaker type. Tech program manager, inventor, technical conference booth representative, social event organizer...other duties as assigned. Major league extrovert.

I am not used to being an introvert. These are totally new shoes and I'm still wondering if I like the fit.

Almost 8 years into FIRE...I am finding that I am less patient with OPB (other people's bullsh*t). I feel a real distance from people who are still w*rking, and their short tempered behavior about the smallest of inconveniences. I am seeing what I used to be...never having enough time, always dreading going back the next day, overly sensitive to schedule or situation changing minutia, etc. In a word...WIRED.

I like the mellower new me, but I can't help but wonder if it is due to being a bit older (56) for the mellowing part and/or maybe menopause that is making me less patient with other humans.

I'm doing a lot of "walking away" so I don't have to listen to the cr*p.

In any case...it's all good.
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Old 02-20-2015, 07:51 PM   #20
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One other observation. Urgency tends to go out the window. I can take my time to do things and not rush things because whatever doesn't get done today can get done tomorrow.
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