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Boredom in early retirement.
Old 04-18-2013, 06:18 PM   #1
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Boredom in early retirement.

I know this topic has been discussed before and I hope I'm not beating a dead horse but please........please, help me understand, how people can get bored when there is so much in life to enjoy.

Coments like the quotes below, came up in another forum regarding retirement and I simple don't understand it. In early retirement I wish a day had 30 hours instead of 24 since there is so much to do and many more things to accomplish and enjoy, yet people allow themselves to get or become bored. I've never been bored in my life and I don't believe I will ever accomplish everything I want to do since life is simply to short. Mind you there is nothing stopping me from trying and enjoying everything while I'm at it. I also don't believe any words of wisdom can knock some sense into these people, or maybe it's me that has the problem or wrong attitude.

"Speaking for myself, I get bored. I 'retired' a bit and after almost 2 years, got pretty bored. Most individuals who say that they wouldn't get bored haven't spent 6 months, 1 year, 2 years bumming around. Again, that only applies to me. If an individual has taken a few years off and don't get bored, more power to them!"

---------

"When I was in my 30s and 40s I looked forward to retirement. I spent time working out the financial math to achieve retirement by 62 and pretty much put it into place.

I retired at 60. Didn't like it. I had known I enjoy my work, but I didn't really realize how much I like the work. I went back to work within months.

A year later I'm taking a couple of months off. I still don't enjoy it as much as I enjoy the work. I think I'll go back to work next month. "

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"I think that's the problem when 'painting a retirement picture' for the majority.... having a cold drink by the pool or the beach sounds all nice and dandy, but for how long can you keep up with it... I think I might outlast a lot of people doing that, but eventually even I will get bored."
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:22 PM   #2
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I agree with you. I don't understand how people can get bored. Whenever someone tells me they're bored, I want to ask if I can take their time since they're not using it.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:33 PM   #3
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I think the best explanation is that not everyone is identical, or has identical situations in his/her life.

I find it easy to understand when different people get different results and evaluate these results differently. People here are often similar in that they really loathed work. I think this is a minority position in the larger world.

Ha
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:37 PM   #4
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I think it's a lack of imagination or creativity, brought on by working too many hours and focusing too much of your life's energy on work. When work is taken away, a lot of people simply don't know what to do with themselves. There is a huge void, and they don't know how to fill it. There is a quote in Ernie Z's book, The Joy of Not Working, about leisure being one of the biggest challenges a person can face. I think that's a bit exaggerated, but there is truth in it, too, because it takes a lot more active imagination and self-motivation to fill an empty schedule than it does to carry out tasks assigned to you by others. A lot of people do "fail" retirement. They never developed something to live for besides work, and when that's gone, they are pretty much lost. Work served as their identity and anchor in life, and without that, they just float aimlessly or feel washed up.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:52 PM   #5
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Cold drinks and beaches w*rk just fine for me.

I will admit to some moments of boredom in the early stage of FIRE, but this forum got me right back on track. Now I savor the rare moments of true boredom. It's been an evolution from my high achiever life and c*reer to just plain doin' nuttin', sometimes, perhaps later...or tomorrow.

Hallelujah!
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:54 PM   #6
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I do think it takes a certain personality to enjoy ER. Last time we did a Briggs-Meyer personality test survey, it became pretty clear that the population of this board was quite different from the general population.
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
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People here are often similar in that they really loathed work.
Guilty as charged!

Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
I think this is a minority position in the larger world.
Hmmmm. Not sure about that one. There is definitely a strong cultural taboo against admitting your quiet desperation. IMO, it's that taboo that keeps the labor force intact.

Anyway, I went two years FIRED without any boredom whatsoever. Then last summer it hit me. I just felt idle, and I really, really missed the old feeling of investing new money. So I started some small business ventures, and so far that's done the trick.
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Boredom in Retirement
Old 04-18-2013, 08:58 PM   #8
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Boredom in Retirement

Now let's see what do I do in ER:

1) Travel in our RV to places I've never seen
2) Read books I never had time for
3) Spend quality time with my spouse
4) Exploring family history
5) Re engaging in my woodworking hobby
6) Sleeping in when I want to
7) Guest lecturing at local business school
8) Catching up with old friends
9) Meeting new friends
10) Taking an occasional afternoon nap
12) Part time consulting for my old company. Only if when I feel like it.
13) Golf - I haven't had time yet.

Bored? Not yet.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:49 PM   #9
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Some people are just wired to keep working, don't know why and don't care. Appreciate 'em for the extra taxes they pay and that they will help keep the supermarket aisle clear during weekdays. Many boomers will be unable to retire because they were either stupid with their money or unlucky with health or similar. It's only the unlucky that have my empathy.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:23 PM   #10
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I'm never bored. I'm still trying to sort out the clutter that accumulated when I was w*rking, never mind the studio I need to clear out so I can resume art work. Right now I'm collecting things for a yard sale with a friend.

Then there's travel, reading, and loafing. I don't let my schedule get crowded. I'm happy playing with my computer and so on. Cooking. I wish the day had more hours too. And if I feel like watching TV or napping, that's fine.

I think for people without inner resources and without a self-motivation gene, it could be harder. People who don't read, or have intellectual curiosity about the world... but life must be boring now, too?
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:23 PM   #11
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... Work served as their identity and anchor in life, and without that, they just float aimlessly or feel washed up.
Yep, I think that might be a good part of it. If a person "is their work", they got to boss people around all day, they did that for 20 years, that's pretty much all they did, and they liked that feeling, they're not going to find a replacement for that in retirement. Yelling at the bag boy in the grocery store just isn't going to be enough, hehe.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:33 PM   #12
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No boredom here. In my 4 1/2 years of ER, I like being able to read more books, resurrect old hobbies, and take afternoon naps. And of course, not having to make that long, awful trip to the office makes even the remote possibility of boredom far more attractive than riding the damn trains even twice a week.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:07 AM   #13
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please, help me understand, how people can get bored when there is so much in life to enjoy.... I simple don't understand it.... people allow themselves to get or become bored. I've never been bored in my life and I ... also don't believe any words of wisdom can knock some sense into these people
You are fortunate, but please try to show a little compassion for "these people".

As Ha says, we are all different and not everyone has suitable education, experience or personality to allow them to enjoy self-directed leisure. That doesn't mean that they are willfully perverse in their boredom, or that they need some sense knocked into them.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:32 AM   #14
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I do think that people without a lot of outside interests are more likely to get bored.

However, I also think that there can sometimes be a situation of retirement not providing enough opportunities for the right kind of activities. Let me put it this way.

Imagine the food you most like in the world, maybe chocolate cake or apple pie, or whatever. Then imagine your second favorite and your third. And let's assume that those foods were all, say, desserts, meat, and fruit.

And you start eating those foods all the time. And, they are great. But, one day you suddenly start to wish you had some bread. Bread isn't really your favorite food exactly, but you sort of miss it. And, you know that there are restaurants that serve it. So you decide to find one of those restaurants. Now, maybe you could have gotten bread somewhere else. Maybe you could make it yourself or buy it from the grocery store. But, the only place you really know about and the easiest way is just to go to a grocery store.

It isn't that you don't like desserts, meat, and fruit more. You do. It is just that you kinda miss the bread....

The point being that I think sometimes in retirement people miss some of the things that they got from work, whether that be intellectual stimulation, solving problems, making money, or whatever. And, they may feel that they can't find those things anywhere else once they retire.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:42 AM   #15
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Another angle on this: we have become intolerant of boredom lately, with the constant busy-ness, always feeding ourselves entertainment, continual distractions of one kind or another... Back in the old days (100 years ago, let's say), people were accustomed to "boring" spells. It was just part of the rhythm of life. But nowadays, we are constantly entertained, distracted, and/or busy with one thing or the next. So boredom -- which is really a natural part of life -- feels strange and uncomfortable. I'm reminded of a parent who responded to her kid's complaint, "I'm bored" with "Good, be bored."

Everyone needs to learn how to tolerate some periods of boredom -- life is not all excitement and interesting activities -- and maybe that's something that some people have a hard time handling, in retirement. I think spending time being bored can be useful sometimes. But it can also be hard to tolerate, if you're not used to sitting with it, always getting up and having to "do" something...
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:43 AM   #16
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I wish a day had 30 hours instead of 24 since there is so much to do and many more things to accomplish and enjoy...
I wonder if it's either the structure, or a need for someone/thing to tell them what to do to fill up their day, or (as has been mentioned in other threads) they aren't comfortable spending so much tiime at home/with family?


All kindza folks & personalities & raisons.


I wish a day had 30 hours instead of 24 because it now takes me 30 hours (or more) to do what I used to be able to do in 24 (or less).

Tyro
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:44 AM   #17
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I definitely see how people could get bored, but I'm with you in not seeing how I could ever feel it myself. As a self-employed teen with little responsibilities, I get to live a life very similar to that of most of the lucky retired folks I know while saving to get there myself, and even if I lived like this for the next 70 years, there wouldn't be enough time in the world for everything out there.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:12 AM   #18
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This topic always reminds me of my 8th grade history teacher, one of those Readers Digest, larger than life, characters who spit out the memorable one liner - an angry and disgusted, "the idea of being bored in the twentieth century," pronounced like "the ahhdeeah of being bawwed in the twentieth century"!
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:18 AM   #19
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Yeah. I don't understand it either. Think about all that extra time you could spend having sex instead of working. Oh, as my wife keeps telling me, I spend more time thinking about sex than actually doing the deed.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:39 AM   #20
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Interesting topic. I will confess to a sort of vague uneasiness being retired. Maybe in a few more months things will get better. I have the feeling that I need to form a new "identity" now that the job is in the past. Still looking for another j*b.
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