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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 10:27 AM   #21
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Re: Been thinking lately

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Wow, JG's post really said it for me.

The number one problem in this world, and the root cause of most other problems, isn't even on the radar for 99% of people, so I'm throwing up my hands and running away.
I almost hate to ask, but what is the "number one problem?"
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 10:39 AM   #22
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Re: Been thinking lately

Brew -

Have you thought about joining the board of an endowment fund for a school you described earlier? I am sure your advice could go a long way and be worth just as much as any monetary contributions.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 10:40 AM   #23
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Re: Been thinking lately

I know, I know, three posts in a row. Unseemly.

The most amazing volunteer I know is my sister. She works in a middling paying job in LA managing a drug rehab program. When not working, she is helping someone out, volunteering her time for some cause, or taking part in activities concerning her religion. She is a very religious person in a good way.

She and her husband some years ago took in a young teenage girl from Bolivia and raised her. They often have other young visitors in their home. She is amazing because she is selfless and is energized by doing things for others. Not one bit of ego involved. Although she is younger than me, I look up to her and admire her generosity.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 10:45 AM   #24
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Re: Been thinking lately

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I think they should do what gives them satisfaction during retirement. That is what I do. What gives me satisfaction is swimming every day, reading several books a week, listening to music, spending time on-line, going for walks, and not doing anything because somebody else wants me to do it.
Good points Grumpy. It appeals to some and not to others. A person must want to do it and it shouldn't feel like a chore or a job. In my case someone pointed me in the right direction (and it wasn't a family member) so I feel I should offer the same service to others at some point in my life.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 10:51 AM   #25
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Re: Been thinking lately

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Originally Posted by wildcat
Brew -

Have you thought about joining the board of an endowment fund for a school you described earlier?* I am sure your advice could go a long way and be worth just as much as any monetary contributions.
Frankly, I am more than a little overtaxed by my new job and running afer a 1 year-old at the moment. I get in a bit of volunteer work here and there on a one-off basis with an animal charity, but I don't have the spare time to commit to much of anything else. I suspect that it is one of the reasons I am a little dissatisfied with what my life has amounted to thus far: everything I have is committed to fulfilling my present responsibilities to my family.

I'll keep that idea in mind, though. I happen to know that the head of the endowment is a VERY capable alum whose son I went to school with. One of the good things about a school that educates bright kids is that you get high earning alums who tend to be able to contribute a lot of money and help. The downside is that about half of each graduating class goes on to become attorneys. (Not meant as a dig at you, Martha).
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 11:06 AM   #26
 
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Re: Been thinking lately

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I almost hate to ask, but what is the "number one problem?"
Guess I've firmly established a non-serious reputation.

But I'm convinced that overpopulation is the most serious problem today, and is directly responsible for environmental problems (such as global warming), famine, education problems, wars, and poor customer service.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 11:10 AM   #27
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Re: Been thinking lately

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about life, especially life after FIRE. More specifically, I have been thinking about what I really want out of life and what is really important. After all, my life to date has been taken up with marriage, family, getting educated, and making money. The first two are of enduring importance to me, but I can't say that much of getting educated is, and that goes double for most of the making money part.

So I am left with a sensee that much of my time is taken up by things that don't really matter much in the grand scheme of things.
I'm surprised no one's tried to "save" you yet. You're really asking for them to come out of hiding speaking like that, so be careful! They're like vultures, some of em. Especially here in Arkansas.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 11:15 AM   #28
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Re: Been thinking lately

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Originally Posted by azanon
I'm surprised no one's tried to "save" you yet.* You're really asking for them to come out of hiding speaking like that, so be careful!* *They're like vultures, some of em.* Especially here in Arkansas.
Oh, probably someone already has. Most of these ruminations started after listening to a sermon at Mass last Sunday. I have just been deliberately keeping religion out of it.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 11:20 AM   #29
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Re: Been thinking lately

Brewer said in part: "I guess I am surprised at how few here have done much volunteering, etc. after achieving FIRE. Its probably partly a funtion of who we are. After all, most of us were motivated to do this by a disgust with organizational nonsense, so the idea of voluntarily jumping back into a potentially similar situation is obviously not going to work."

Well I expect to do a good bit of volunteering work when I retire. Part of that is being married to a gal who will never stop being a teacher. We go on exotic vacations to Fiji, Rarotonga and parts of the South Pacific and she visits schools and makes friends we still correspond with. We work with the Heifer Project these days and I was a Big Brother for 9 years and long list of other things. My church alone would eat up 100% of my time if I let it.
One thing I wish everyone, especially those who have toiled in corporate structures, is to experience being part of a voluntary organization. It can really be great. I remember years ago in a meeting of Big Brothers they asked for a volunteer for some crappy assignment and all 22 of us present volunteered. I realized I wasn't at work.
I think balance is the issue. If I don't volunteer at all I mentally and socially "shrivel up" and if I volunteer too much I burn out.
But I really like the initial post because people need to think and feel their way into retirement rather than have it happen and just mentally be like the "deer caught in the headlignts", reactive and clueles about what is happening to them.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 11:21 AM   #30
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Re: Been thinking lately

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Oh, probably someone already has. *Most of these ruminations started after listening to a sermon at Mass last Sunday. *I have just been deliberately keeping religion out of it.
Sorry, i'm just a little bitter about it, cant you tell? *Almost my entire extended family is christain conservative, and just about everyone i work with is too. * Heck, i also attend and am a member of a baptist church, just to keep up an appropriate appearances. * I kinda enjoy the singing and inspirational messages despite me not believing them.

But I could not realistically be open about me being personally agnostic where i live, to my workmates and to most of my immediate and extended family (i have told my wife). *I am confident i would be both excommuniated in various ways, and discriminated against in the workplace. *This is to say nothing of the prayer groups that would probably start so that my soul might be saved. * *

I guess I have a taste for what it feels like to be in a particulat group of people that are discriminated against. *

Sorry, hope you dont mind the hijak.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 11:48 AM   #31
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Re: Been thinking lately

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl


Guess I've firmly established a non-serious reputation.

But I'm convinced that overpopulation is the most serious problem today, and is directly responsible for environmental problems (such as global warming), famine, education problems, wars, and poor customer service.
My great uncle, deceased now for about 10 years, believed strongly as you do and worked hard for zero population growth organizations. It does seem as if population growth is not on the radar as it was 20 or so years ago. People aren't going to have much of an appetite for talking about zpg as they feel the effects supporting the "largest generation", the baby boomers, by a smaller generation.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 12:38 PM   #32
 
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Re: Been thinking lately

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
But I'm convinced that overpopulation is the most serious problem today, and is directly responsible for...poor customer service.
Say what?

Somewhat related to this thread digression is a factoid that I saw on Frontline a few weeks ago:* in 1950 Europe had three times the population of Africa;* in 2050 Africa will have three times the population of Europe.



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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 12:46 PM   #33
 
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Re: Been thinking lately

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...poor customer service.
Well, yes, that was partly a joke. But it's possible that increases in population make our high-volume low service economy possible. If the population of the U.S. were half what it is today, would it be easier or faster to get to a live person when calling a company? Debatable.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 12:59 PM   #34
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Re: Been thinking lately

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Originally Posted by brewer12345
....So I am left with a sense that much of my time is taken up by things that don't really matter much in the grand scheme of things...* What other things might I pursue?...* I don't know where this leaves me, except that I know I am unlikely to figure out what is right for me until after I get FIREd.* I am curious if anyone else has grappled with this sort of thing.* So, anybody else following this path?
Most excellent post/question Brewer.* I think about it frequently.* The revelation that I simply don't have enough hours in the day to fit my job into was not necessarily a positive one.* I guess that may be what keeps me on the path to FI.

Questions abound, though.* Should I ditch what I'm doing now in a couple of years, and find some part time work?* Should I stick it out until I can walk away for good?* Will I think I'm wasting my time if it's not spent doing some constructive.

Sheesh.* Pass me a cold one....
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 01:59 PM   #35
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Re: Been thinking lately

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
If the population of the U.S. were half what it is today, would it be easier or faster to get to a live person when calling a company?* Debatable.
All the customer service reps I talk to are in India, which has a much greater population than the US. Problem solved

In any case, this planet has an interesting way of self-healing. If the population even becomes unsustainable, the planet simply kills a bunch of us off and starts over again (perhaps with organisms better adapted to whatever soup we create).
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 02:41 PM   #36
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Re: Been thinking lately

Of course, it's my understanding that a person in the U.S. consumes 250 times the resources of a person in a third world country, so overpopulation is a simplification of the problem. Not that I'm for living in a grass hut and carrying my water from the local stream to be boiled by burning dried cow dung, but we could mix in a few less 10 litre diesel F-750 crew cabs into our lives.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 02:42 PM   #37
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Re: Been thinking lately

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Originally Posted by brewer12345
about life, especially life after FIRE.* More specifically, I have been thinking about what I really want out of life and what is really important.* After all, my life to date has been taken up with marriage, family, getting educated, and making money.* The first two are of enduring importance to me, but I can't say that much of getting educated is, and that goes double for most of the making money part.

So I am left with a sensee that much of my time is taken up by things that don't really matter much in the grand scheme of things.* I have responsibilities to my family, and I am the sole breadwinner, so I have to forestall doing more worthwhile, but less lucrative things until I have built my hoard to escape velocity.* But eventually, I will have completed my indentured servitude and have the freedom to pursue other things.

What other things might I pursue?* Obviously spending more time with family is high on the list.* Plus travel, de-stressing, better lifestyle, etc.* However, when I consider how much human misery there is in the world (to say nothing of animal cruelty, environmental destruction, etc.), I'm not sure I would be happy just puttering around doing things that are fun.

I don't know where this leaves me, except that I know I am unlikely to figure out what is right for me until after I get FIREd.* I am curious if anyone else has grappled with this sort of thing.* So, anybody else following this path?
Are you trying to figure out "Waddya gonna DO all day?" *Don't worry, your FIRE plan won't survive its first contact with reality.

Speaking of kids, I'm beginning to think that parenting expands to fill all available FIRE time. *When our kid's in school we have a few hours off, but when she's home then things tend to revolve around either getting the list finished or hanging around keeping an eye on things. *Then there's field trips, classroom tutoring, the PTA, the school council, and so on. *It's kinda hard to be digging wells in Honduras when you have school-age kids in the family. *It can be done but it would definitely require putting your goals ahead of the family's school selection. *At this point I feel that "true freedom" for adult activities & travel seems to happen AFTER we become empty-nesters.

You probably have a "To Do With My Life" list. *I'm a big fan of spending the first month of FIRE catching up on sleep & quiet contemplation and then deciding what I'd like to do with that list. *Paul Terhorst advises changing nothing for the first two years just to make sure that you don't fall too deeply into a bunch of new "Try It" activities that leave you no time for re-evaluating a big life change.

While you could FIRE to emulate Mother Teresa, I suspect that your choices will gravitate toward activities that bring you personal satisfaction. *Whether they're regarded as "fun" or as sheer penury by the rest of society won't affect your decision. *Hopefully marriage & family will stay near the top of your list-- if not then both are headed for a big surprise-- but if you're concerned by world misery then eventually you'll find a way to do something about it. *It might happen by joining a large charitable organization, by going back to work in a large govt bureaucracy, or by coming up with your own personal initiative.

But it's awful darn hard to make those plans while you're slaving away in a cubicle. *Give it time after your retire and these things will no doubt work themselves out. *If nothing else, by retiring you'll already have eliminated a lot of the world's personal misery for yourself. *That seems worthy of a few afternoon naps.

I'm still waiting for the day when I get up and feel like all I'm doing is "puttering". *Usually I'm dealing with adolescent angst, a savage backyard jungle, crumbling infrastructure, neighbor problems, or just plain crises. *None of those are any fun, especially when the surf is up, but it all gets taken care of. *If I wasn't happy then I'd be doing things differently. *When I'm feeling really sorry for myself I think back to all those Tuesday 7:30 AM department head meetings, and suddenly my FIRE life seems worthwhile!
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 02:50 PM   #38
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Re: Been thinking lately

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Guess I've firmly established a non-serious reputation.
I think it was that photo you posted of your chaperonage at your kid's graduation party...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
But I'm convinced that overpopulation is the most serious problem today, and is directly responsible for environmental problems (such as global warming), famine, education problems, wars, and poor customer service.
You don't strike me as the sort of person who pulls chocks & moves to central Idaho when he can see his next-door neighbors from the edge of his property. SG can probably tell you that humans have been ruining our cultures & local environments for thousands of years, even before call centers were invented. Now that we have the Internet & outsourcing we can just do a much more effective job of it.

I think that we can all provide enough resources to support at least the current population and maybe another 50% if we could be more efficient about distributing it. For example, I'd have a hard time explaining America's crop-subsidy payments to starving Africans. While I think that a lot of the world's women are still seeking effective birth control, I'm not a fan of population-control schemes. When we make better use of what we waste, I bet we'd even find a way to make a profit from it...
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 03:29 PM   #39
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Re: Been thinking lately

Well it is disconcerting to think that 50 years ago, when I was born, the world population was 2.8 billion and now it is 6 billion.
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Re: Been thinking lately
Old 07-12-2005, 04:02 PM   #40
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Re: Been thinking lately

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Originally Posted by Martha
Well it is disconcerting to think that 50 years ago, when I was born, the world population was 2.8 billion and now it is 6 billion.
Just think of it as a larger scale version of the internet bubble.* *Someday it will pop, and it will be ugly on an unprecedented scale, but then things will reach a new equilibrium.

As a general rule of thumb, exponential growth is not sustainable long-term:

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