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Adjusting to ER
Old 09-06-2014, 03:28 PM   #1
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Adjusting to ER

Last week was my first full week of ER. DW has said that she will no longer greet me with "How was your first Monday of retirement?" etc. She also brought to my attention that I probably don't need to rush around and eat breakfast so that I can have my bike gear on as she leaves for w*rk. I probably could take my time and enjoy the morning.

A second thing - for the last several years, reading has been something that occurred around the edges of everything else. So I would read on the Metro, read at lunch and read in bed before going to sleep. So, I fixed lunch the other day, sat down with a book and read for a while, finished up, put the plates in the dishwasher and went off and did something else. It didn't occur to me until much later that I COULD HAVE CONTINUED TO READ!

Anybody else have stories about little adjustments that took a while to make?
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Old 09-06-2014, 03:44 PM   #2
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Your experience sounds a lot like mine. I was just thinking this week about how I still have very definite M-F routines which are different from S-S routines and I'm not sure why - and this is nearly 4 years in.

The good news is that there is no right or wrong answer, and you can make it up as you go!
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Old 09-06-2014, 06:39 PM   #3
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A second thing - for the last several years, reading has been something that occurred around the edges of everything else. So I would read on the Metro, read at lunch and read in bed before going to sleep. So, I fixed lunch the other day, sat down with a book and read for a while, finished up, put the plates in the dishwasher and went off and did something else. It didn't occur to me until much later that I COULD HAVE CONTINUED TO READ!
When I was younger I read a lot. Then during the working/raising a family years I simply didn't have the time. Other things took priority over reading an enjoyable book.

So now one of my favorite activities is reading again.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:39 PM   #4
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One of the adjustments I had to make was the realization that I didn't have to be in a rush all the time. Dawdling while DW took "forever" to pick out a shirt or something didn't bother me anymore, more patience with slowpoke drivers, that sort of thing.

And yes, I read a lot.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:47 PM   #5
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Only in hindsight can I see just how many adjustments were made in my first year of FIRE. It is a hugh transition, and I suspect you may find yourself making adjustments and self discoveries for a long time to come.

I am now three years into ER, and am finally completely comfortable in my ER skin. And loving every bit of it.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:53 PM   #6
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Yeah my first day I asked my wife, "What's for lunch?". She said, "I don't usually eat lunch".
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:53 PM   #7
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I think that a job gives one a certain 'framework'; a structure of sorts and my first few weeks were disorienting. It took me about two full years to 'come down' and be 'me'.

From my perspective, people who still feel like they're on vacation haven't reached the full retirement mindset yet. After a (long) while, your life becomes the way you live ...without work being the reference point. THEN you're really retired!
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Old 09-06-2014, 08:20 PM   #8
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I retired in June and for the first couple of months we had a couple of domestic trips and when we didn't travel I was playing lots of tennis, we were going to the beach twice a week and the days were extremely busy and hectic. The last couple of weeks things got much slower for us and we felt that we no longer needed to be busy all the time to enjoy retirement. This week I spent hours relaxing at home watching the US open tennis matches and I enjoyed it. Meanwhile DW who is not a tennis fan spent her time reading and she enjoyed it as well.
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Old 09-06-2014, 08:38 PM   #9
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I retired in June and for the first couple of months we had a couple of domestic trips and when we didn't travel I was playing lots of tennis, we were going to the beach twice a week and the days were extremely busy and hectic. The last couple of weeks things got much slower for us and we felt that we no longer needed to be busy all the time to enjoy retirement. This week I spent hours relaxing at home watching the US open tennis matches and I enjoyed it. Meanwhile DW who is not a tennis fan spent her time reading and she enjoyed it as well.
My situation will be similar, I think. This month I've got a pretty good list of deferred household chores that need to be addressed and then next month we are off for a celebratory vacation for 2+ weeks. Then, of course we'll be prepping for the holidays and then getting through the holidays. I suspect it will be into next year before I really settle down into ER as opposed to an "I'm on vacation" mindset.
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Old 09-06-2014, 08:47 PM   #10
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Meanwhile DW who is not a tennis fan spent her time reading and she enjoyed it as well.
We had a lot to do immediately after retiring since we had moved and bought a new house (neither of us gave a thought to the fact that it wouldn't have window shades or curtains - where we came from they usually convey with a "pre-owned" house since they're useless anywhere else anyway) since we'd never bought a new house before. So there was a lot to do but we had all day to do it in.

And we took advantage of that. I think it took about a year and a half to get the house the way we wanted it.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:04 PM   #11
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I can't wait to adjust to ER.

4 workdays away from the high stress job. A part time lucrative gig that won't feel much like work. Then goodbye work!


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Old 09-06-2014, 10:22 PM   #12
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It took me many months to say "F it, I'm just going to sit here and read for a few hours until I want to do something else". It was about six months before I fully adjusted to my "new reality". At 1 year in ER, I'm getting used to this life!
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:47 PM   #13
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I can't wait to adjust to ER
One of those rare instances when it's "all that it's cracked up to be".
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:02 AM   #14
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Because I was working only 2 days a week for the 17 months prior to my ER, it wasn't a big adjustment to switch to working zero days a week. However, there was an adjustment period back in 2001 when I went from working full-time to working part-time in a mostly telecommuting gig. Back then, I had to get up early only 1 day a week, and 45 minutes later than for my full-time schedule. I had some weekdays free to do volunteer work and my local errands instead of doing them on the weekends. I had the time and energy to do stuff in the evenings again on weekdays which was nice. I had regained control over my personal life. THAT was an adjustment which was pretty easy (and nice) to get used to.
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Old 09-07-2014, 08:36 AM   #15
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Do you know we still awake to an alarm clock most days because we tend to pack our days so full? (Two type A's that will likely go to the grave that way). The difference in ER is that we're actually happy about what lies ahead, rather than dreading it. And what a wonderful difference that is!
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:03 AM   #16
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Do you know we still awake to an alarm clock most days because we tend to pack our days so full? (Two type A's that will likely go to the grave that way). The difference in ER is that we're actually happy about what lies ahead, rather than dreading it. And what a wonderful difference that is!
After several years of ER without using an alarm clock at all, I seemed to develop a 25-26 hour day or else completely irregular hours. I awakened when I wanted to in the mornings, but still was groggy, half asleep, and cranky for a few hours after arising. So, 3-4 years after retiring I gave up and went back to using an alarm clock. My body thanks me as it does much better on a regular schedule. Awakening at a regular, expected time, is wonderful as my body is already speeding up and ready to get going when the alarm clock rings.

I use an alarm clock that plays sweet birdsongs to gently awaken me now, instead of that annoying "BLATTTTT!!" with which my old alarm clock awakened me for work. I set it early enough to watch the morning traffic reports on TV while I sit in my living room, relaxing and enjoying my coffee.

As for adjusting to ER, I no longer stay up half the night thinking "why should I go to bed? I'm retired and who's gonna make me?" Instead, I now think "Bedtime. Time to wind things up and I'll continue this in the morning." It's difficult to explain the difference in attitude, but this adjustment makes my life much more pleasant.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:10 AM   #17
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Interesting comments regarding alarm clocks. I am bound and determined to mothball mine. My body seems to like to get up at around 6:30am, more than early enough to get a full day in. During my working life (I'm starting to use past tense already, even though I have 5 days left!) my alarm jarred me awake at 4:30am - for 24 years.

No alarm clock for me.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:16 AM   #18
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Interesting comments regarding alarm clocks. I am bound and determined to mothball mine. My body seems to like to get up at around 6:30am, more than early enough to get a full day in. During my working life (I'm starting to use past tense already, even though I have 5 days left!) my alarm jarred me awake at 4:30am - for 24 years.

No alarm clock for me.
Yeah, my whole life I thought I was a morning person because I always had to get up early like that. On my days off, I'd happily arise at 7 AM after sleeping in. Imagine my surprise when I found out in retirement that I am NOT a morning person after all, and love being up in the middle of the night. On the other hand, I love mornings too. I finally settled on a time that is early enough that I don't miss the entire morning. But, I can still stay up pretty late too.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:26 AM   #19
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I didn't use an alarm at work, and was always the first one in. We all react to stress differently, I did by waking up at 4:30 in the morning thinking about my day.

Now if I need to get up at some unreasonable hour or if I have an early morning appointment (that I was dumb enough to schedule) I'll use an alarm. Perhaps 2 or 3 times a year. The pleasure of a relaxed morning is beyond compare.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:40 AM   #20
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MichaelB, I completely understand what you are saying. Although my alarm was set for 4:30am, the majority of the time I was already awake, like you, thinking and stressing about the day ahead.

That first Monday in which I wake up with my day as a complete blank canvas to do with as I please (this is no quasi-ER in which there are dad duties or such things) will be a magical thing - a thing I have dreamed of for the past 10 years.
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