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Old 10-19-2008, 11:09 PM   #1
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I’m not sure where to begin, but here goes. I’m a professional woman with 26 years at a major corporation. I’ve enjoyed a modest success in my career; truthfully much more so than I ever expected. My husband and I are very financially secure and I don’t need to work, however I’m a poster child for the “golden handcuffs”…bored with the job but I make a very nice salary that I am loathe to give up. I’ve been thinking of early retirement for several months but somehow I can’t reconcile myself with the emotion of the thing.

Several of my friends have recently retired; mostly they are the “I can’t wait to get the hell outta here!!!” types who are enjoying themselves immensely. I envy them. For some reason, the decision to retire is one of the most difficult I have ever had to make. What the heck . I’m sick of my job, so why can’t I let go?

Khan’s “Who Am I” thread really resonates with me. Just exactly who WILL I be once retired? See, all our lives we look forward to things. Look forward to being 16..getting a driver’s license…going to college…being 21...to love, to marriage, to babies, to our first home…etc. I suppose I see retirement as the beginning of the end or something. A time when looking forward will become …looking back.

Does anyone understand this, or perhaps had a similar feeling? My husband is tired of hearing me obsess about this, lol. Why can’t I throw caution to the wind and set off on a new adventure? Gaaah.


p.s. I feel silly posting this, so I might have to wear a disguise in future posts. ahaha
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:47 AM   #2
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......I’ve been thinking of early retirement for several months but somehow I can’t reconcile myself with the emotion of the thing.

Several of my friends have recently retired; mostly they are the “I can’t wait to get the hell outta here!!!” types who are enjoying themselves immensely. I envy them. For some reason, the decision to retire is one of the most difficult I have ever had to make. What the heck . I’m sick of my job, so why can’t I let go?
It's uncharted territory for all of us.....something we've never experienced before. That alone can make it a bit unnerving to even think about. Others have gone before us and survived thrived.....I made the plunge in April '07, and was a bit uneasy about it...until I woke up the next day and realized I was now free to do anything I wanted! So the initial nervousness/anxiousness is fairly normal I think.

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Khan’s “Who Am I” thread really resonates with me. Just exactly who WILL I be once retired? See, all our lives we look forward to things. Look forward to being 16..getting a driver’s license…going to college…being 21...to love, to marriage, to babies, to our first home…etc. I suppose I see retirement as the beginning of the end or something. A time when looking forward will become …looking back.
It's not the beginning of the end.....it's the end of the beginning....only the end of one single chapter in life......there are many more chapters yet to be written....by you! You are you now, and you will continue to be you after retiring. The only major difference will be that you no longer will have a job to clutter or clog your mind and/or life! You'll no longer have to meet someone else's standards.....you get to set your own standards, and achieve whatever you want to achieve.

Your job is not who you are, it's merely been a means to reach the beginning of a new chapter in your life.....the beginning of a new journey.

It's like you drive to the airport....but the airport isn't your destination. At the airport you board a plane....but the plane isn't your destination. The plane drops you off in some port city.....but that port city isn't your destination. In the port city you hop aboard a cruise ship.....but the cruise ship isn't your destination. The cruise ship take you to some tropical paradise......and it can go on and on and on, limited only by your desires and your imagination. Each step is just a tiny piece of puzzle of your life's journey. As you keep pressing forward, the past will gradually fade into the distance.....not necessarily forgotten, but rather just not as important as the present. I remember the past, but I don't live there....and I look forward to the future, but I haven't reached it yet....so I just live each moment for all it's worth, and life is great!

I've had friends who've asked me, "So what's retirement like?" My answer to them is, "Remember when you were a little kid.....before the big people sent you to kindergarten? Remember those seemingly endless days of play? Those days when you got up and ate breakfast, then went out to play? Then you'd come in for lunch and a nap, and then go back out to play until supper time? Then after supper you'd go out to play until dark or until bedtime....whichever you could get away with? Then you'd start all over the next day? Well, that's what retirement is like!!!"

No need to fear....come on in! The water's great!!!
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:40 AM   #3
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You will ultimately have to retire anyway so why not do it when you are young and healthy.I had a similar dread about retiring asking myself questions about what i will do?, will i lose all my work friends?,will i survive finacially? well for me my job was so physical in nature that by 60 i just couldnt continue so the choice to retire was academic but had the job been a lot easier i too would have been victim to a complacent attitude toward retiring as i found the daily routine of the job along with its finacial and social attributes had a captivating sense of security that becomes a hurdle to overcome. If you are really tired of your job,and financially secure make the jump and start thinking about the rest of your life.I'm not sorry,in fact i now wonder how i made time for work every day yeah there are now times where nothing happens and i wish i were still part of the social aspect of work but i'm sorting all the pics of my 6 week trip across Canada this past summer,and planning a big trip down the east coast for Xmas and another 6 weeks travel to Canadas Maritimes next summer,the fishing this year was good and hunting season is now upon us,and my bowling score has gone from around 80 to 150,i'm also in the market for a newr motorcycle and another sportscar..
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:13 AM   #4
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Its an interesting change. One that I would make again. I did lose some friends but not because of leaving the job but moving 600 miles away. I still have plenty of contact with all on the phone and emails and when we visit. At 52 with a pension and my new found consulting work on my terms and a home paid for the daily worry about work and monthly bills is gone. It is great to be sitting here right now on a Monday morning and thinking gee I only need to do some work tuesday and wednesday this week for a couple of hours. I will go and workout in a few minutes and then sit in the sun, yes it will be sunny with no clouds and 70 degrees today. I might even make a red sauce and an eggplant parmesian today. Looking towards the holidays we will be making a 3 week trip to the hills of PA do some sking and just PLAYING doing stuff like we did on college breaks. Remember them?? Drink a bit but now with experience we will have a fun time with PREMIUM Alcohol, you know the good stuff.

Now however I will NOT BE buying New Cars, my 04 and 05 vehicles will be driven until the wheels fall off!! I might buy a bike or Chinese scooter though.

Anyway so far even my wife has lost 40 pounds from the more relaxed time we have and I feel better than ever physically.

Enjoy the time.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:26 AM   #5
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As the others have said you will still be you. You are not defined by your job, it is the means to an end, hopefully one that you would do again at the age you started, as mine was. It does take a while to make the change and realize that you have the freedom to do or not do whatever you want.

I made the decision to go back to work, but it is a low-stress environment since no one will die if I screw up and the money will buy some toys like a new motorcycle. Others cringe at the thought of having to be somewhere at a defined time of day.

Retirement is having the freedom to make the choice.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:33 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by SarahW View Post

Khan’s “Who Am I” thread really resonates with me. Just exactly who WILL I be once retired? See, all our lives we look forward to things. Look forward to being 16..getting a driver’s license…going to college…being 21...to love, to marriage, to babies, to our first home…etc. I suppose I see retirement as the beginning of the end or something. A time when looking forward will become …looking back.
Sarah, I think it is common for many of us to spend our lives looking forward. But for many that ends up amounting to never fully living our lives as the years tick by. Why not make retirement an opportunity to stop looking forward and live in the moment. Just think with no need to plan or prepare you can simply enjoy who you are and what you are doing.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:55 AM   #7
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You have plenty of company here. Your (our) dilemma is a nice one to have but in some ways more complicated than the "get me the he$# out of here" crowd. Throw in the recent seismic economy and it's even harder not to postpone the timing.

My suggestions: give serious thought and planning to a part-time position, hopefully something novel and enjoyable. Don't punish yourself for delaying if you are not miserable.

Meanwhile hang around here and read some of the archived threads. You'll see that you are in the company of many who have faced similar decisions. It's all good.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:13 AM   #8
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If you are happiest working, and really don't want to retire, then please give yourself permission to do what makes you feel happiest! The rest of us are grateful for your voluntary contributions to the Social Security system, helping to keep it afloat.

I guess what I am saying, to be serious for a moment, is that none of us need to feel like we "should retire", or "should work". These decisions are very individual.

Your feelings are valid, and although I do not share them, I respect them. I think you should do what will make you happiest. You say you are bored with your job, yet you don't want to retire. Maybe you would be happiest cutting back your hours, or adding/changing duties at your work. Just a thought.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:48 AM   #9
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Retirement is a change . You have to reinvent yourself which can be scary . I've had to reinvent myself several times after a divorce and as a widow so I knew I could do it but it still took awhile for me to get up the courage to make the final leap . I've happily reinvented myself ,found new friends and kept myself busy you can also when you are ready.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:49 AM   #10
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If your bored and financially secure, seems like a no brainer to me. You will have so many options to explore. Part time work, volunteer work, clubs, travel, etc etc........ Now if your not really bored at work and enjoy stock piling cash, then it's not an easy decision.

If you can get off from work, I would take take the longest vacation possible and look into the possibilities of life outside of work. Good luck.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:00 AM   #11
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But for many that ends up amounting to never fully living our lives as the years tick by.
Don, I know what you're saying but I don't believe that applies to me. I have had quite a life so far--lots of adventures, love and happiness, my share of heartaches, good friends, no regrets. My philosophy is similar to Dudley Moore's character in "Arthur"... "Fun is the BEST thing to have." In all the ways that matter, I have been blessed.

I don't understand this dread I feel for retirement--except that somehow I view it as an "end of life" event, which I know is ridiculous yet the feeling persists. Maybe I need therapy.

Thanks for everyone's responses; I appreciate the input.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:32 AM   #12
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Welcome to the board, Sarah.

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... however I’m a poster child for the “golden handcuffs”…bored with the job but I make a very nice salary that I am loathe to give up. I’ve been thinking of early retirement for several months but somehow I can’t reconcile myself with the emotion of the thing.
Then perhaps you're not yet ready. Many posters have set a deadline (in some cases, years in advance) while others have had a cataclysmic hint that it's time to go-- layoff, health issues, family crisis. In the absence of any motivation to ER, or anything forcing you to ER, you have no compelling reason to leave.

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I’m sick of my job, so why can’t I let go?
Apparently you're more enamored of the salary than sick of the job? What change in either factor would shift the balance one way or the other?

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I suppose I see retirement as the beginning of the end or something. A time when looking forward will become …looking back.
You can choose to look back. You can choose to look forward. The perspective doesn't have to depend on whether you have a job or whether you're retired.

Ernie Zelinski's "How to Retire Happy, Wild, & Free" sees retirement as looking forward to a whole world of new activities. His "Get-A-Life Tree" thought-provoker may help you decide what you'd rather do instead of working. Or, after finishing the process, you may take comfort in having determined that you'd rather be working.

You don't have to do one or the other. I cherish the good memories of my career and the nightmares are fading. Every morning I look forward to the surf forecast and the things on my "To Do" list. The nice aspect of not working is that I rarely have to face a deadline or a schedule or unpleasant people. I can also get away with procrastinating on many of the things I'd rather not be doing, or tackle a whole new project at my pace.

You don't have to fully retire. But if you're not happy in your work then the stress will eventually eat you from the inside out. At a minimum your mind & body are trying to tell you that it's time for a career change-- the only remaining debate is whether that involves cutting back, a different slate of duties, or a whole new ER life.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:39 AM   #13
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I don't understand this dread I feel for retirement--except that somehow I view it as an "end of life" event, which I know is ridiculous yet the feeling persists.
You don't have to actually 'retire' when you say goodbye to your corporate prison. You can articulate a vision for a better world, and use your newfound freedom to pursue/promote it. Defining your vision while remaining employed might be a good idea, in case you don't come up with anything particularly compelling.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:46 AM   #14
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I’m not sure where to begin, but here goes. I’m a professional woman with 26 years at a major corporation. I’ve enjoyed a modest success in my career; truthfully much more so than I ever expected. My husband and I are very financially secure and I don’t need to work, however I’m a poster child for the “golden handcuffs”…bored with the job but I make a very nice salary that I am loathe to give up. I’ve been thinking of early retirement for several months but somehow I can’t reconcile myself with the emotion of the thing.

Several of my friends have recently retired; mostly they are the “I can’t wait to get the hell outta here!!!” types who are enjoying themselves immensely. I envy them. For some reason, the decision to retire is one of the most difficult I have ever had to make. What the heck . I’m sick of my job, so why can’t I let go?
Are you afraid that retiring will mean you are old?

Quote:
Khan’s “Who Am I” thread really resonates with me. Just exactly who WILL I be once retired?
The “Who Am I” comes from no longer being miserable. Miserable was my identity for long enough that it defined my thoughts and actions.

I woke up one morning and realized I was happy.
Pre-kindergarten happy
Summer vacation on the farm happy
Standing in the sun spreading out your arms to feel the breeze happy

But I'm not sure how to be happy. I do however have the time to figure it out.

Quote:
I've had friends who've asked me, "So what's retirement like?" My answer to them is, "Remember when you were a little kid.....before the big people sent you to kindergarten? Remember those seemingly endless days of play? Those days when you got up and ate breakfast, then went out to play? Then you'd come in for lunch and a nap, and then go back out to play until supper time? Then after supper you'd go out to play until dark or until bedtime....whichever you could get away with? Then you'd start all over the next day? Well, that's what retirement is like!!!"
Quote:
See, all our lives we look forward to things. Look forward to being 16..getting a driver’s license…going to college…being 21...to love, to marriage, to babies, to our first home…etc. I suppose I see retirement as the beginning of the end or something. A time when looking forward will become …looking back.
It is a beginning: of oceans of time. Time to look back, time to look forward, time to look at now.

Time to do something, time to do nothing.

Quote:
Does anyone understand this, or perhaps had a similar feeling? My husband is tired of hearing me obsess about this, lol. Why can’t I throw caution to the wind and set off on a new adventure? Gaaah.


p.s. I feel silly posting this, so I might have to wear a disguise in future posts. ahaha
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:38 PM   #15
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Sarah,
You need to ask yourself what you like best about your work, and secondly, who you are earning the money for? If you and your husband don't need the income, who else does? That may be the motivation for staying in your job -- or not.

However, I'd also encourage you to look at who else can use your skills where you feel you can make a contribution. Take a look at Volunteermatch.com. You may find an organization where you can make a difference.

I will tell you ,though, that not working frees you to do so much more than you can do with a job. I retired earlier this year, and many asked me what I was going to do. My response was this was like leaving home to attend college: I had some idea of what it would be like, but it would be totally different once I got there.

But mostly I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want, and at the speed I want. It's an adventure!

-- Rita
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Old 10-20-2008, 02:20 PM   #16
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Looking on the lighter side read some of these. Retirement Quotes and Sayings

If you like em theres a lot more where they came from
retirement quotes - Google Search
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Old 10-20-2008, 03:56 PM   #17
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I LOVED big pay checks!! As the checks got bigger, the harder it was to walk away. It's a disease! Hey, if Alcohol is, I sure big pay checks are.

Now I find it just as satisfying to get paid for doing nothing!

The 'who am I' question. Easy, your the same person, you are not your work and never really will be.
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:24 PM   #18
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Are you afraid that retiring will mean you are old?
Um, yeah. I've concluded that's part of it.

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The “Who Am I” comes from no longer being miserable. Miserable was my identity for long enough that it defined my thoughts and actions.
Your "Who Am I" post make me wonder about my own identity once retired.
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Are you afraid that retiring will mean you are old?

Um, yeah. I've concluded that's part of it.
I'm 58; I'm retired.
I'd be 58 if I was dragging myself to the office every morning.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:04 PM   #20
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My lengthy reply is unnecessary, Nords said what I was thinking. There is nothing wrong with you, I believe only you will know when to hang up your spurs. From a $ perspective, you have to take the advice of recent retirees with a grain of salt - they'll be nowhere in sight when you reach the end of your plan. Sounds like you don't have to worry about $, congrats. Take your time deciding and you will make your best decision.
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