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Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 04:18 PM   #1
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Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

I am quite a few years away from retirement, but I am curious to hear from those who are already retired. I assume that most of you had a professional type job that stimulated you intellectually. (I know I do) Given that assumption, did you miss the intellectual stimulation during retirement?

I know the politically correct answer for those on this board goes something like this.... you should not be defined by your job and you should develop interests outside of your profession that stimulate you both before and after retirement, and you can spend more time on those interests after retirement.

Ok, now that we know what the pat answer is, I want to know what the REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE of those on this board has been. Do you find yourself creating schedules for yourself to force yourself to get involved in stimulating activities? Do you get bored? Did you go back to work, either full time or part time? Did you develop other professional interests which brought you back to work in a different capacity? Or, were you happy to put the professional life behind you and go into "permanent vacation" mode?

UPDATE: After posting this question, it occured to me that the responses would be skewed given the makeup of the people on this forum (ie, people in favor of early retirement). It is sort of like taking a poll of people who are members of a gym regarding their exercise habits and using the results of the poll to determine how much the general population exercises. Ah well, let's see what we get.
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 04:30 PM   #2
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
Ok, now that we know what the pat answer is, I want to know what the REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE of those on this board has been. Do you find yourself creating schedules for yourself to force yourself to get involved in stimulating activities? Do you get bored?
My real life experience is that I am most stimulated by a game in which I have something to gain. Dealing with stocks and other investments has filled that need for me, better than my jobs did except when I was in some farly adventurous situation.

Just trying to understand our economy in any detail is a real plate full.

Also, in retirement you have only yourself to satisfy. There is no PC committee passing on whether or not you are right thinking, except when you are willing to submit to some degree of this because of socio-political reasons. (e.g. - to make oneself more acceptable to women.)

Ha
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 05:27 PM   #3
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

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Originally Posted by HaHa

Also, in retirement you have only yourself to satisfy. There is no PC committee passing on whether or not you are right thinking, except when you are willing to submit to some degree of this because of socio-political reasons. (e.g. - to make oneself more acceptable to women.)

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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 05:32 PM   #4
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
I am quite a few years away from retirement, but I am curious to hear from those who are already retired. I assume that most of you had a professional type job that stimulated you intellectually. (I know I do) Given that assumption, did you miss the intellectual stimulation during retirement?
"Stimulated"-- yeah, that's one word for it. I tell a lot of jokes & sea stories, but there's very little that I miss about being a Navy nuclear engineer & submariner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
I know the politically correct answer for those on this board goes something like this.... you should not be defined by your job and you should develop interests outside of your profession that stimulate you both before and after retirement, and you can spend more time on those interests after retirement.
Very well said, but leave some slack for yourself. I didn't learn to surf until I'd retired because I'd watched shipmates have to choose between working & surfing. You may also develop new interests in ER-- I never would have found tae kwon do if a shipmate's kids hadn't sucked our kid into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
Ok, now that we know what the pat answer is, I want to know what the REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE of those on this board has been.
Have you read any of the posts from the people who've been ER'd for more than a couple weeks? Do you think we've been making it up as we go along? We haven't been kidding around here. None of this "C'mon in, the water's fine" misrepresentation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
Do you find yourself creating schedules for yourself to force yourself to get involved in stimulating activities?
Uhm, no. I make schedules to force myself to do the things that have to get done-- chores, meals, repairs, school events, returning library books, doctor's appointments, taxes, and so on. Pretty much the same as when you're working but without those huge 8-12 hour blocks of time when you have to be at work.

If I didn't have a schedule then I'd wake up and have some coffee, enjoy a breakfast or three, surf the Internet for a couple hours, work on a spreadsheet project, eat lunch, take a nap, read a couple hundred pages of a book, open the mail and spend some more time on the Internet, research some stocks, and suddenly it's dinnertime. If my spouse is home I might add another activity or two but definitely nothing scheduled...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
Do you get bored?
Only when I'm trapped in a doctor's waiting room with a loud, blaring TV. But I'm usually able to entertain myself with a book or a conversation. However the longer I'm retired, the more I resent having to make appointments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
Did you go back to work, either full time or part time?
No. I thought long & hard about one offer but I turned it down. The rewards were less than detractors of commuting, wearing aloha attire, working a 40-hour week, and dealing with people I didn't want to deal with. Spouse pointed out, too, that I'd probably get all competitive and feel it was necessary to be fully qualified at my job and then start learning the boss' job, too.

It still felt like I'd dodged a bullet, so I took the rest of that week off to go surfing four days in a row. Since then I've been able to turn down the job offers much more quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
Did you develop other professional interests which brought you back to work in a different capacity?
Well, we're still parenting a teen. That sucks up large blocks of unscheduled time and I'm hoping to get fired from that job in a few more years. We've improved our home-improvement skills to the point where we're afraid of very little and only hire contractors if we feel that our time is better spent elsewhere. So there are weeks where we're working 2-3 hours/morning (until it gets hot) 4-5 days in a row on some projects. But we're not getting paid to do it, just saving the expense & hassle of finding a contractor.

We're rehabbing our rental property for our next set of tenants. I'm still trying to decide whether we've been suckered into continuing as landlords and should've sold the place, but so far the tasks have been the same for either goal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
Or, were you happy to put the professional life behind you and go into "permanent vacation" mode?
Yep. And every time I see a sailor I know I've made the right choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
UPDATE: After posting this question, it occured to me that the responses would be skewed given the makeup of the people on this forum (ie, people in favor of early retirement). It is sort of like taking a poll of people who are members of a gym regarding their exercise habits and using the results of the poll to determine how much the general population exercises. Ah well, let's see what we get.
Well, I doubt you'd get a response from the other demographics-- they're too busy working! But you could read just about anything by Ken Dychtwald, who is very very scared that someday he's going to be unable to work-- or maybe he just wants the rest of us to keep working so that our payroll taxes save his Social Security & Medicare...
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 05:42 PM   #5
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

Like Ha, I have no trouble keeping my brain engaged with investing and some personal projects. What I miss are the intellectual interactions. I was lucky enough to have worked with some really brilliant people, and when you put them together in a room to work on a difficult problem.. it was sometimes a real joy to be part of that.

On the other hand, there was a LOT of drudge work, political BS, stress, and unpaid overtime. The scale is still tilted very heavily in favor of ER!

I do believe you have to continue to feed your brain with a stimulating hobby, independent research, or something.. use it or lose it!
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 06:23 PM   #6
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

Quote:
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A couple hundred bucks...
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 06:36 PM   #7
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

I am not really retired. I'm on disability for vascular dementia (short term memory shot by diabetes). I miss work because of the social factor. I like to talk. I don't miss work for the having something to do factor. I am very happy entertaining myself. Actually the last few years of work were hell with anxiety about my poor performance. It used to take me 4x the time it used to to learn something new.

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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 07:49 PM   #8
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

I'm not quite there yet but I plan to read books, study and learn more about investing, and participate in forums such as this one. That should keep what little brain I have working. If that doesn't do it I may do some kind of volunteer work but I doubt that will be necessary. Golf and walking the dog should take care of the physical requirements. Well........maybe not all physical requirements.
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 08:28 PM   #9
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

I don't lack intellectual stimulation at all. I tended to have work conversations at work and a bit of politics. Science, philosophy, religion, politics were always primarily outside work and still are. I now read a lot more (I am a regular at the local library). I teach on a volunteer basis. Like Nords I am doing more sports than I could while working.

You make it sound like your work is a positive, stimulating endeavor. If so, why retire? If not, why not inventory the aspects you do find stimulating, try to figure out what you like about them, and decide how you can replace them when retired. A bit of retirement planning never hurts -- there are a lot of books out there to help you.
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 08:31 PM   #10
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
If I didn't have a schedule then I'd wake up and have some coffee, enjoy a breakfast or three, surf the Internet for a couple hours, work on a spreadsheet project, eat lunch, take a nap, read a couple hundred pages of a book, open the mail and spend some more time on the Internet, research some stocks, and suddenly it's dinnertime.
Sounds like my typical day except maybe a motorcycle ride thrown in.
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 08:42 PM   #11
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

Consider this one vote for "vacation mode".
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 09:50 PM   #12
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

I worked for the army. Tofu cloning would be more stimulating. Nowhere but up.

Dennis
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 10:12 PM   #13
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

Most of my working life was in finance.

Since I left my last job 8 years ago, I still work in finance....mine and DH's.
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 10:21 PM   #14
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

I had little or no intellectual stimulation at work; just blood pressure raising inanity.

Now retired, I have time for books and the internet.
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 10:26 PM   #15
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

I just buy a house every four years. That seems to handle it.
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-12-2007, 10:53 PM   #16
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

I haven't retired yet. I am a firm believe in "use it or lose it" when it comes to intellectual capabilities.

When I retire, I intend to take more classes both to stay sharp, and to satisfy my (seemingly neverending) curiousity. Or, perhaps I could teach a class or two at a local college, which can be even more stimulating.
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-13-2007, 01:16 AM   #17
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

hi JC,

I would guess that someone asking these questions isn't ready to retire. If you don't have to retire and you really don't know how you will keep from being bored or maintain an acceptable level of intellectual stimulation . . . then don't risk it. Or find some way to partially retire first and see if you manage to fill the remainder of your time in a meaningful way or if you can't wait to go to work.

I was lucky that I always had a lot of interests -- both related to my job and totally unrelated. Work was getting in the way of my hobbies for years before I was able to retire. My problem in retirement continues to be how to balance my interests -- how to find the time to participate in everything that interests me.

There are also posters who seem to be very satisfied and comfortable "living in the moment". Relaxation and contemplation can be more than enough to keep many people very happy.

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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-13-2007, 07:44 AM   #18
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

I take classes just finished one on financial planning ,read a lot ,travel,do home projects ,sell on ebay and if things get boring I'll do like CFB and move .
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-13-2007, 08:20 AM   #19
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

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Originally Posted by Khan
I had little or no intellectual stimulation at work; just blood pressure raising insanity.
After working in an environment like the one described above, I feel like I have been released from incarceration! I have found the biggest challenge to be a change in attitude. For example: change from living paycheck to paycheck to living from my own income genereated by investments. Another change in attitude (for me) has been to adjust my concept of "being productive" from what the boss viewed as a good use of my time to what "I" view as a good use of my time. There is more!

Generally, I have more energy to pursue intellectual challenges now than I did during my work life.....especially the last several years when the job was "dumbed down" and most of the mental challenge was removed. I read more, study more, and enjoy it more than ever.
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?
Old 03-13-2007, 08:57 AM   #20
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Re: Do you lack intellectual stimulation after retirement?

I've only been RE'd about two months now, so maybe my perspective is too fresh, but here are my thoughts:

I think when we're locked into the worker drone lifestyle that we are less able to see all of the possibilities for stimulating/interesting endeavors that are out there - and within ourselves. Just think how much time, energy and psychic capital are spent just getting to, doing, and recovering from, our jobs on a daily basis. All of the routine, mindless stuff we do. Hell, it was all I could do to drag my sorry butt to the gym a few times a week, no less learn something new or read a challenging book, not so much because of the physical fatigue, but the mental & emotional toll the day exacted.

When you have the time & energy to ponder different things to do, & different ways of doing them, then anything's possible, and best of all, the only justification you need is that YOU Want to do it.

So far, here's what I've been getting into:

* Started a serious exercise routine that is showing results (thanks to whoever suggested "Body for Life" on the Health board)

*Taking classical guitar lessons. Always have loved it, never had any formal music education. Talk about intellectually stimulating!

*Getting involved with a group that monitors & works to improve the local river & watershed. Very smart, dedicated people.

*Spending more time at the Free Clinic where I've volunteered for a few years. Also keeping up with continuing ed. requirements for Pharm Tech (a challenge, as I have no other experience in the health field). Also designing and planning a remodeling job in the clinic.

*Researching kayaks.

*Occasional short road trips to wherever, just because I wanna.

*Designing a deck. Will start building soon ... or not.

*Have started to convert my LP collection to CD's.

The point is, there's a whole world of fun & interesting stuff to discover & get involved in as it suits you. When the largest part of your day is spent doing someone else's bidding, it's hard to open up to it.
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