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Dare I squander this rare opportunity? How shall I invest my life?
Old 01-30-2013, 12:55 PM   #1
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Dare I squander this rare opportunity? How shall I invest my life?

Hi all. I was hoping some may be able to share their experience about how they added meaning, passion and signficance to the post ER life.

Don't get me wrong. I am a very happy person. I ER'd about 7 months ago and have not been bored at all. However, I am starting to think about and appreciate the rare oppotunity that is now mine. How shall I invest this last half of my life?

I do not have to work but I obviously still do have somewhat of a budget. I think most understand the ER doesn't equal unlimited funds. However, barring anything "extravagant", budget should not be a hugely limiting factor. The bigger asset that is at my disposal now is TIME so I can literally ask myself, "What would you do if time was not a factor?"
I hope this doesn't come across as naive or "pie-in-the skyish" but I honestly believe that this sort of opportunity can truly change lives and make this world a little better if properly utilized.

Maybe this comes down to defining my "passions" and focusing on those. However, it is a little embarassing to admit, but I have had a hard time doing that. I guess I was too busy spending the first half of my life getting to this point. I feel like that "car-chasing dog" that finally caught one! Now what? : )

Does anyone have experience or suggestions they wouldn't mind sharing?
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:07 PM   #2
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Maybe this comes down to defining my "passions" and focusing on those. However, it is a little embarassing to admit, but I have had a hard time doing that.
My advice is to get involved in various volunteer areas and keep looking until something 'clicks'. Maybe it will or maybe it won't - some of us spend a lifetime and never figure out what we really want to do when we grow up how to add "meaning, passion and significance to the post ER life".

Here's hoping you can find that something, or at least get comfortable with the fact that for you it may not exist.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:17 PM   #3
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I haven't done the things that I thought I wanted to do in ER, but didn't do while working. For example, even when very busy, I always found time to stay fit and I continue to do that. I've always wanted to learn Spanish, but didn't make the time to do so when I was working - and guess what? Almost five years into ER, I still haven't. Same with volunteering. I still hold out hope, however.

I write this because if you suffer from the same issue, you may want to look at the things that you did do (and enjoyed) while working.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:52 PM   #4
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Don't be too hard on yourself, being that you have only been retired for a short time. Everyone will have to answer the question based on their unique needs or circumstance. I have read some people take up to a year and do nothing before they get their phase 2 life plan in order. Hillary Clinton even mentioned she has no idea what she is going to do now, but was told to relax and do nothing for a while, and she planned on doing that, before her next endeavor. I for example, may be a rare one, but I have zero interest in learning anything new. I had to learn my whole life, and I hopefully am through with it. I am focusing on being physically active and patiently waiting for spring to increase my golfing to 5 days a week. My interests are the same except now I get to do them more often, and have learned the art of "piddling" to fill in the other parts of the day. Maybe when my body breaks down, I will shift to more cerebral endeavors, but probably won't and will just increase my sports betting hobby instead.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:55 PM   #5
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My advice would be to lower your standards. If you are enjoying life, that is enough.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICNTR View Post
Hi all. I was hoping some may be able to share their experience about how they added meaning, passion and signficance to the post ER life.

Don't get me wrong. I am a very happy person. I ER'd about 7 months ago and have not been bored at all. However, I am starting to think about and appreciate the rare oppotunity that is now mine. How shall I invest this last half of my life?

I do not have to work but I obviously still do have somewhat of a budget. I think most understand the ER doesn't equal unlimited funds. However, barring anything "extravagant", budget should not be a hugely limiting factor. The bigger asset that is at my disposal now is TIME so I can literally ask myself, "What would you do if time was not a factor?"
I hope this doesn't come across as naive or "pie-in-the skyish" but I honestly believe that this sort of opportunity can truly change lives and make this world a little better if properly utilized.

Maybe this comes down to defining my "passions" and focusing on those. However, it is a little embarassing to admit, but I have had a hard time doing that. I guess I was too busy spending the first half of my life getting to this point. I feel like that "car-chasing dog" that finally caught one! Now what? : )

Does anyone have experience or suggestions they wouldn't mind sharing?
We tried out quite a few things in the first 6 months to a year. Took some trips, took up some old hobbies, took some classes, tried some new hobbies. By about a year it became pretty clear what we preferred doing and what didn't excite us that much. Then we started the process of streamlining our lives to focus on our priorities. But without the experimentation, I don't think the priorities would have become clear.

So be willing to give yourself time to experiment, and time to decompress. Things will begin to become clearer. I don't think figuring out one's retirement leisure-time priorities can really be done ahead of time as a thought experiment. One must try things out first.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:49 PM   #7
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Anyone this introspective will turn out very fine.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by heeyy_joe View Post
Anyone this introspective will turn out very fine.
+1

Or go completely nuts...
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:58 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the thoughts. I really do appreciate it.

I find myself growing tired of the talking and thinking stage. I am about to embark on the doing stage! Hopefully it will not take me too long to find the right path and it would be much preferred to not spend too much time going in the wrong direction.

The ironic thing is that I do not think the rest of my days should be spent studying these types of things on the internet and yet that is what I have done all day! Thanks for the time you've also invested in it for me and feel free to keep the thoughts coming.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
+1

Or go completely nuts...
+2
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:02 PM   #11
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Never sweat the small stuff....here's one of my favorite tales...

Now, read this all the way thru....
>
> A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in
> front
> of
> him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty
> mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2" in
> diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed
> that
> it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured
> them
> into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled
> into
> the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if
> the
> jar was full. They agreed it was. The students laughed.
>
> The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of
> course,
> the sand filled up everything else. "Now," said the professor, "I
> want
> you
> to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important
> things -
> your family, your friends, your health, your children - things that if
> everything else was lost and only theyr emained, your life would still
> be
> full.
>
> Thep ebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your
> house,
> your car.
> The sand is everything else, the small stuff. If you put the sand into
> the
> jarf irst, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same
> goes
> for
> your life.
>
> If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will
> never
> have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to
> the
> things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children.
> Take
> time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There
> will
> always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and
> fix
> the disposal. Take care of the rocks first - the things that really
> matter.
> Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
>
> But then...
>
> A student then took the jar which the other students and the
> professor
> agreed was full, and proceeded to pour in a glass of beer. Of course
> the
> beer filled the remaining spaces within the jar making the jar truly
> full.
>
>
>
> The moral of this tale is:- No matter how full your life is, there is
> always
> room for BEER
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:04 PM   #12
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Hopefully it will not take me too long to find the right path and it would be much preferred to not spend too much time going in the wrong direction.
At this point there is no "wrong direction". You're embarking on a journey - try to enjoy the scenery along the way.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:30 PM   #13
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I did the Get-a-Life Tree exercise from the book How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie Zelinski before I retired to reassure myself. I might not have retired, despite reaching FI, had I not done the exercise first.

It can be done in 10 minutes, though I revisited mine a few times. You can probably find the book at your local library if you don't want to buy one (it was one of the best non$ retirement books I read so I recommend it FWIW).

There's an example below of a Get-a-Life Tree I found online - not mine, no idea who it belongs to. Basically you brainstorm for answers to each of the 4 legs, IIRC they challenge the reader to come up with 50 activities. Most people are surprised with how many answer they can come up with, I know I was.

Best of luck...
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:30 PM   #14
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Have you thought about volunteering ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ICNTR

Does anyone have experience or suggestions they wouldn't mind sharing?
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:45 PM   #15
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I learned it in French I in H.S.
"le temp... c'est l'étoffe dont la vie est faite"

"Time is the "stuff" of which life is made."

Retired, we are in the countdown mode... whether to:

Save the world

Indulge

Learn

Understand

Love

Satisfy

Help

Enjoy

... never to regret.

The time belongs to you. Follow your heart.

Your post points towards success.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:17 PM   #16
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......... I guess I was too busy spending the first half of my life getting to this point. I feel like that "car-chasing dog" that finally caught one! Now what? : )
Some have the same feelings after they realize they achieved comfortable FI. The j#b/career they sacrificed sooo much time nurturing, and desperately worrying about keeping through multiple recessions, becomes somehow boring & pointless. Spend your life chasing that next paycheck, but what happens if you are finally lucky enough to catch it
I haven't yet ER'ed, but not far off. My plan will be to rediscover my inner child. Play, try new things, & find what gives me the most fulfillment. One option I've kicked around is volunteering for Habitat for Humanity while I'm still in good physical shape. Help my fellow man & satisfy my long-time curiosity about how houses are built
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:41 PM   #17
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It was a good thing for me that I did not quit work cold-turkey, but had 9 years of part-time work to segue into full retirement.

What has happened is that I now take my time to do anything and everything. No need to haste, not need to cut corners. And I have been thinking that I have not really tried to broaden my leisure activities as much as to extend their depth. And when I am not actively doing anything, I just contemplate my navel (in a figurative sense of course), and do not feel guilty at all.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:43 PM   #18
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Thanks all. A couple have mentioned volunteering and I agree. That is certainly on top of the list. just need to investigate the options and pick one or some.
I do believe getting out of myself and helping others is the key to rewarding fulfillment. Now...time for me to get specific.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:48 PM   #19
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I think there is some trial and error. DH retired 2 1/2 years ago and I semi-retired (I work 1 to 2 days a week). So I have a lot more time.

About a year after DH retired we went on a 2 week vacation to England. My husband and kids and never been to Europe (I had been) and it was a great trip. I am really glad that we did it. At the same time - the trip was most instructive to me in teaching me what I really didn't like. I found that I didn't really get a lot walking through museums and castles or typical sightseeing. It isn't that I didn't like the British Museum...it is that I am pretty well convinced I would have liked it more watching a video about it.

The point is that the trip really showed me that I really don't want to do a lot of travel during retirement. And I wouldn't have really known for sure until I did the trip. You learn from not only the things you try and love, but from the things you try but don't love....
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:07 PM   #20
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I also learned through experimentation as much about things I didn't care to spend time doing. We took a pottery class. And even though I really enjoyed working with the clay and admired the ceramics, I quickly realized I wasn't interested in a hobby that kept me inside for long hours. I was clearly an outdoors person. That cuts out a lot of hobbies right there!

The way I imagined I would spend my retirement leisure time before retiring ended up being quite different from where we ended up after a couple of years. You really can't figure that much out ahead of time. We did try all the things I thought I would spend a lot of time doing, and quite few fell by the wayside. A few key activities rose to the top as being the essential ones.
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