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Am I just a lazy SOB?
Old 03-17-2014, 06:57 PM   #1
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Am I just a lazy SOB?

My husband and I are looking forward to ER in about 20 months. When I mention this to most people in my family, I am surprised by the reaction. They imply our lives will lose all purpose and meaning. I got a serious monologue from BIL about how he could never retire, he loves impacting people's lives thru his work at church and he recently went back to school to geta PhD. I got a warning from my MIL that I better come up with a good hobby to keep me busy, lest I sit in front of the TV all day ("you can't just run all the time")

I understand that some people love what they do for a living and feel like their lives would be diminished if they stopped working. I also understand that we are not all the same.

I have big plans for my retirement. Mostly I plan on living my life on my terms, as my resources allow. I look forward to not being restricted to living my life on the ends of the day and ends of the week. I want to pursue my running and become competitive in my age group again (5k thru 100k). We are going to visit other parts of the country at our own pace, without having to worry if we have enough vacation. We will be able to visit and care for aging parents without feeling torn between work and family. I don't feel like I need to take on an intensive hobby as a replacement for my job just to keep me busy.

I know you have to retire "to" something but do you HAVE to take on a "jobby" to feel like your life is still fulfilling? Will I be asking myself "now what?" a year or 2 into ER?

Is retiring "to" your life (everything you do when not working) enough?
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:07 PM   #2
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My husband and I are looking forward to ER in about 20 months. When I mention this to most people in my family, I am surprised by the reaction. They imply our lives will lose all purpose and meaning. I got a serious monologue from BIL about how he could never retire, he loves impacting people's lives thru his work at church and he recently went back to school to geta PhD. I got a warning from my MIL that I better come up with a good hobby to keep me busy, lest I sit in front of the TV all day ("you can't just run all the time")

I understand that some people love what they do for a living and feel like their lives would be diminished if they stopped working. I also understand that we are not all the same.

I have big plans for my retirement. Mostly I plan on living my life on my terms, as my resources allow. I look forward to not being restricted to living my life on the ends of the day and ends of the week. I want to pursue my running and become competitive in my age group again (5k thru 100k). We are going to visit other parts of the country at our own pace, without having to worry if we have enough vacation. We will be able to visit and care for aging parents without feeling torn between work and family. I don't feel like I need to take on an intensive hobby as a replacement for my job just to keep me busy.

I know you have to retire "to" something but do you HAVE to take on a "jobby" to feel like your life is still fulfilling? Will I be asking myself "now what?" a year or 2 into ER?

Is retiring "to" your life (everything you do when not working) enough?
I got a lot of that from co-workers before I retired. People who I liked, admired, and respected told me that I would be bored in retirement. That was pretty unsettling. One person said that when people retire, they just sit around the house waiting to die (and he wanted to know if I had a grave illness). People asked me what I planned to do to keep busy and everyone suggested contract work. (Like... .what part of the word "retirement" did they not understand? )

I told people about how I was going to take up my former hobby of growing roses, how I planned to volunteer with seniors older than me, and how I wanted to go back to school and get an MBA. All of that was kind of a white lie, although I knew I could do all those things if I got bored so I did have them in the back of my mind, just in case. I never got bored, though, and never felt any need for these activities in retirement.

I am probably the happiest retiree who ever lived and really, I have just been enjoying my usual life. I have a lot more free time for my hobbies, and (by choice) I go to the gym and I am more physically active than I used to be. I don't feel an obligation to accomplish and compete any more; I already did that, quite successfully in my opinion, and I have earned my retirement. You know all that delayed gratification - - delayed leisure time, delayed spending, and so on? There is no longer any reason to delay, and I am enjoying it tremendously.

Now, SOME people do have a harder time adjusting to retirement, and thinking about that in advance is pretty smart. There are several books that can help and I am sure others here will post their favorite titles. But to answer what I think is your main question, there is no reason to assume that you will have a tough time adjusting to retirement. You may just slide into it easily like I did.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:18 PM   #3
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My neighbor is retired from CA State and she doesn't do much....sure she watches a little TV, plays candy crush on the ipad, goes on some trips, has visitors, swims at the county pool, eats out for dinner occasionally, chats me up, invites us to do activities, and smokes a lot of that stuff that is soon to be legal everywhere. I would by no means classify her as a lazy SOB, but I would classify myself as envious.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:20 PM   #4
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What W2R said:
+1

+1 = Complete Agreement like "I wish I'd said that."
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:29 PM   #5
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Are you a lazy SOB? No, you are not lazy.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:31 PM   #6
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You are doing what your heart tells you is right for you, and there is nothing wrong with that in my book. If your family can't understand this, I think that shows a bit of narrow minded thinking on their part. But you need to understand that what you are doing is not the "norm" in our society, and people who are comfortable following the norm get very uncomfortable when they meet someone who doesn't comply.

And, last time I checked, if one wants to belong to a religious organization and contribute something meaningful to it, they do not need to be employed by the organization to make their contribution.

My family members had a similar reaction, but I'm sure I'm having far more fun doing what I want to do than they are going to work every day.

Just give yourself some time to adjust to ER once you get there. In time you will know whether it's right for you.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:44 PM   #7
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I am only 2 months in, but I am friggin' busy. Some of that is the kids, but I have lots to do.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:56 PM   #8
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I did not retire "to" anything. I just wanted out. End of story. I have been nothing but uncontrollably happy with the results.

All the stuff people said about becoming bored, wasting away, climbing the walls, not feeling useful or fulfilled etc, was just another example of other people not knowing what the hell they are talking about.
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:06 PM   #9
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...

And, last time I checked, if one wants to belong to a religious organization and contribute something meaningful to it, they do not need to be employed by the organization to make their contribution. ....
+1.

Also, if the OP listened to everyone, they'd probably have bought a new car when the old one worked just fine, would have spent money on all sorts of frivolous things, and never would have been able to save for an early retirement.

So did you listen to them then? No. So why listen now? Get on with your life, let them live theirs.

They may or may not be lazy, but I'd say they are the SOBs for trying to impose their lifestyle on you.

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Old 03-17-2014, 08:16 PM   #10
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I always chalked it (people's fears for you) up to a severe lack of imagination! I think that's a side effect of working too much and having no time left over except for chores and crashing from exhaustion. Obviously these people have nothing else to do on their days off.
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:17 PM   #11
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All the stuff people said about becoming bored, wasting away, climbing the walls, not feeling useful or fulfilled etc, was just another example of other people not knowing what the hell they are talking about.
Exactly!
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:10 PM   #12
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I have been out of the workforce for almost 4 years and I have to say my life has a lot more purpose and meaning now than it did back in my working days. I have no doubt that some people fail at retirement, but this is in no way an inevitability.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:16 PM   #13
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They imply our lives will lose all purpose and meaning. I got a serious monologue from BIL about how he could never retire, he loves impacting people's lives thru his work at church and he recently went back to school to geta PhD. I got a warning from my MIL that I better come up with a good hobby to keep me busy, lest I sit in front of the TV all day
The desire of people to control other people never ceases to amaze me.
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Am I just a lazy SOB?
Old 03-17-2014, 09:28 PM   #14
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Am I just a lazy SOB?

"I know you have to retire "to" something but do you HAVE to take on a "jobby" to feel like your life is still fulfilling?"

No. Do what you enjoy. Everything else is crab buckets: ie people holding back those who are not afraid of climbing out of the everyday expectations society places on you. You have the ability to retire and move on to a different phase of life. They don't, so they want to hold you back with them. It's not always a willful envious act - sometimes they actually believe they are doing it for your own good. Make your own decision on what is best for you, then do it - and escape the crab buckets.

"A crab bucket is what it is: crabs in a bucket. However, what happens in the bucket full of crabs is what makes it a famous saying.

When a single crab is put into a lidless bucket, they surely can and will escape. However, when more than one share a bucket, none can get out. If one crab elevates themself above all, the others will grab this crab and drag'em back down to share the mutual fate of the rest of the group.

Crab bucket syndrome is often used to describe social situations where one person is trying to better themself and others in the community attempt to pull them back down. Also often used in describing the ghettos of America (or anywhere, for that matter)."

- from Urban Dictionary
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:30 PM   #15
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And if you choose to be a a lazy SOB, then go for it. It's your life. (This from the guy who sometimes sleeps til nine am, then naps in the afternoon - when I'm not traveling the national forests of the country, hiking and canoeing.)
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:39 PM   #16
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I like retirement because everyday is Saturday.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:58 PM   #17
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I can relate to your desire to make your physical pursuits a cornerstone to build your FIRE life around. I have done similar since retiring a few years ago at 48. Since that time, aside from travel, which takes up about 1/2 of each calendar year, DH and I have significantly ramped up the time we spend pursuing road biking and hiking. Each time we raise the bar on what we think we can do, new doors open that we could not have imagined, and life has never been more exciting than it is today. I can't even imagine what the next few years will deliver given what has already transpired.

When I think about the person I was my last few years at w*#k, compared to the person I am today, I'm amazed. And trust me, no one, absolutely no one, questions if we are bored. They see my Facebook photos, they follow my blog, they know what we do with our time.

Best of luck as you work to come to a decision on this, but if you have even half the intensity your post seems to indicate you do, I think you are going to love what awaits.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:11 PM   #18
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You & DH are doing the right thing in planning ahead & considering your options. Hearing others' advice/opinions is fine, but ER (or not) is ultimately YOUR decision. Perhaps I'm cynical, but don't discount the possibility that folks attacking your ER plans are jealous, if only subconsciously. Clearly ER is a significant life change and some adjustment period is common, but most ER's fill up their time just fine. You don't need a j#b to have a positive impact on the lives of others. But some who ER do go back to w#rk (if only PT). Bottom line is its your choice. You've earned it.

One caution about planning to run lots in retirement- consider having a long-term back-up plan in case of injury. Most older runners eventually give up the sport (injury, lost interest, whatever), and for endurance runners that can leave big chunks of time to fill. Biking & swimming (even triathlon) can be fun alternatives (or X-training) to stay active.
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:18 PM   #19
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Thanks all for the responses and reassurances. I felt very sure about ER (after researching) before running into these reactions. I have been lurking for the most part on these boards and figured I would get supportive responses but wanted to make sure there wasn't something obvious that I was missing.

I feel like the reactions from family may have come from a need of the individuals to validate/rationalize their own choices and maybe had little to do with DH and I. I just have to keep that in mind and not let create doubt or second guessing.

Thanks very much for your replies

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Old 03-18-2014, 12:09 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by seraphim View Post

"A crab bucket is what it is: crabs in a bucket. However, what happens in the bucket full of crabs is what makes it a famous saying.

When a single crab is put into a lidless bucket, they surely can and will escape. However, when more than one share a bucket, none can get out. If one crab elevates themself above all, the others will grab this crab and drag'em back down to share the mutual fate of the rest of the group.

Crab bucket syndrome is often used to describe social situations where one person is trying to better themself and others in the community attempt to pull them back down. Also often used in describing the ghettos of America (or anywhere, for that matter)."

- from Urban Dictionary
+1. Excellent. I'm sure I will use this expression with my many ER detractors.
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