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ER crisis, sort of....
Old 04-30-2010, 10:07 AM   #1
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ER crisis, sort of....

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but after only one year in ER I'm getting bored and antsy. I've done every project I can think of, and now I'm running out of ideas of how to fill my day.

Background:
I'm 45. Closed down the business (car dealership) a year ago because I was totally burnt and it was not making much money any more. Financially secure-- under 2% SWR. DW still works and plans to work one more year. 8 years until both kids graduate HS, so I need to find something to do for 8 more years until they go off to college. Did a little car-business related stuff (wholesaling) for the last few months which kept me busy and made a little change, but the guy I was backing needed more money than it was making and wanted to expand. I didn't want to take the risk on him so I blew him off and shut it down, and now I'm stitting around again.

Things I like to do:
Surfing (but not really around here in TX), traveling to new places, cooking, fishing, yardwork, dancing, reading, riding motorcycles, shooting skeet, watching over finances, hanging out with the family.

Things I don't like:
Sitting still, doing nothing. Trying to figure out what to do all day. Golf. Doing stuff alone. Not feeling productive.

Criteria:
I have to be off during the summers so I can travel with the family when they are off (DW is a teacher). And whatever I do has to be fun and somewhat rewarding. Always wanted to open a restaurant but that definitely does not fit the summers-off criterion and I know I would probably lose my a$$. Thought about a concession trailer we/I could pull to different events and cook interesting food (Cajun food is a favorite) while the DW and kids played around at the event, but not sure it would make any money at all and it sounds pretty "hair brained" I have to admit. It would be nice if the business, job, whatever was cash based, if you know what I mean.

I don't understand why I can't come up with any good ideas. It's like I've lost much of my imagination or something.

Any ideas? Anyone else go through something like this in ER?
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:16 AM   #2
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I'm sure you'll get some good recommendations. Most of us ERs seem to stay well entertained.

HOWEVER - I'm glad my spouse shut his part-time business down when I retired, because I knew otherwise our travel opportunities would be much more limited. I didn't think it would be fun to be retired if DH wasn't completely free of obligations as well.

And we didn't have children. Still raising children while retired can limit your travel opportunities (maybe).

So, I think some of your challenges are due to the fact that your wife still works and you are still raising your children. But we have ERs here in that situation as well.

I see that you recognize your limitations for the next 8 years. Unless you decide to tackle home-schooling in which case you could take the whole family off for a wonderful longer-term adventure (a year or 2 maybe) while they are still children. Did you mention your wife was a teacher?.......

Maybe you have more options than you think?

Audrey
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:16 AM   #3
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I'm in a similiar situation in that my spouse is still working. I think part of the issue is your life still revolves around your wife's work schedule. When she retires, the dynamics may change.

In the meantime, have you considered charity work? I know lots of charities rely on used car donations and with your knowledge of the car business, you could be a godsend.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:25 AM   #4
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You want summers off? Seriously, go back to school like my DH did. Get a degree (associates, certificate program, masters) in something (hospitality or culinary industry comes to mind as you mentioned a restaurant). You can be done by the time your wife retires and you'll have more doors open if you decide to start a small restaurant or something, like a little breakfast diner or coffeecart that you can close when you want to leave and reopen.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:46 AM   #5
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Well, summer is right around the corner so you can do some stuff with your kids. Movies, fishing, hiking, museums, camping, etc. That should get you through the short term. After that, start learning to do something new. A hobby based business can provide you with the flexibility you need and it sounds like you need something to do more than you need the money. Write a book about business, or retiring early. Take some classes.

Why not surf? I know the gulf coast isn't known for its waves, but I bet has its share of decent surf. Try stand up paddle boarding instead. Not surfing, but you could easily convert. Buy a motorcycle, or restore one, and start riding. Texas has some great fishing, both fresh and salt. Like a lot of things you never stop learning new things.

That brings me to golf. You say you don't like it. I used to hate it...until i tried it. Now I am hooked. Don't know if you have ever done it, but if not, try it. I can provide a lifetime of challenges and visits to some very beautiful courses. Plus it gets you outside.

It sounds to me, though, that maybe your biggest problem is you haven't learned to do stuff just for the sake of doing stuff. You seem to want to go back to work, and there is nothing wrong with that, especially if it is something you love. On the other hand you list a bunch of leisure activities you want to try. From everything I've seen, read and heard, its not uncommon to feel out of sorts, even guilty, when pursuing leisure activities. Its like you aren't being productive. If your not making money or pleasing the boss or making clients happy it seems hollow.

You're retired and this is your time. Maybe you're not ready, but I doubt it. It just takes a change of attitude and a focus on yourself and your own happiness. Even the most flippant activity can provide you with plain old relaxation, which if nothing else will help you be a little healthier and live a little longer. More involved activities provide learning, self improvement, exercise, physical or mental challenges. If that doesn't seem to be enough, volunteer to help make your time spent seem more worthwhile.

Don't give up. It is an adjustment. Give yourself some time, read these boards, buy a couple of books about retirement (not financial ones). Figure out what you want to do with your life and what your passion is and pursue it. The rest should be easy.

Or you could just hang out on here and monologue like me
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:56 AM   #6
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Concession trailer may be a good very part time biz. One of my counterparts at a state agency has a concession trailer as his side hustle. He's making a very comfortable salary working for the state, but also has this little side hustle that brings in many hundreds of profit or maybe $1000 in a single (very busy) day or evening. He sells gyros, falafel, hummus and pita I think - mostly Mediterranean food. Short order stuff. He does street fairs I know. You could also do sports tournaments, state/county fairs, etc. As much or as little as you want, since most of your fixed costs are in the overhead of your trailer and kitchen equipment. Variable costs are incurred as needed - fuel, food, labor (if necessary), vendor or concessionaire privileges at events.

The kids could get involved too.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:10 AM   #7
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I really think that if I were retired, and well off enough that my spouse didn't have to work either, and still raising kids, I would take them off on some kind of wonderful 2 year world traveling adventure, and deal with home-schooling requirements on the way.

Why?

Because my memories of my unusual childhood where I grew up overseas AND my parent still took us on a lot of trips are just incredible memories. We had a wonderful time. I was exposed to some many interesting places and cultures. It was a very rich childhood.

If I could afford it, I would want to give that kind of gift to my children. Children grow up so fast, and if the parents don't have to work, then you can spent so much more time involved with your children. This is such a luxury that most modern parents don't have!

But that's just me!

Audrey
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
I really think that if I were retired, and well off enough that my spouse didn't have to work either, and still raising kids, I would take them off on some kind of wonderful 2 year world traveling adventure, and deal with home-schooling requirements on the way.

Why?

Because my memories of my unusual childhood where I grew up overseas AND my parent still took us on a lot of trips are just incredible memories. We had a wonderful time. I was exposed to some many interesting places and cultures. It was a very rich childhood.

If I could afford it, I would want to give that kind of gift to my children. Children grow up so fast, and if the parents don't have to work, then you can spent so much more time involved with your children. This is such a luxury that most modern parents don't have!
I'm glad to hear that you appreciated this experience. I am seriously considering doing something like this kind of trip since we will probably be able to ER while the kids are still school age. Homeschooling would be required, but we could handle that I think.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:39 AM   #9
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You like reading, you say? Get a library card and use it. Spend a couple of hours at the library each day.

You like cooking? OK, try a new dinner recipe three times a week, and keep a file of those recipes that went over well so you can repeat them once a month. Plan a month's menus ahead of time (subject to change if something comes up, of course), that is nutritionally well balanced with a lot of variety. Try not repeating any recipes for a whole month, just for the fun of it.

How about gardening? Springtime is here. Imagine how nice it would be to grow some beautiful flowers, or to serve fresh vegetables in the meals you cook.

There is a whole world out there that is now yours to explore, and the vast majority of it has nothing to do with running a car dealership.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
I really think that if I were retired, and well off enough that my spouse didn't have to work either, and still raising kids, I would take them off on some kind of wonderful 2 year world traveling adventure, and deal with home-schooling requirements on the way.

Why?

Because my memories of my unusual childhood where I grew up overseas AND my parent still took us on a lot of trips are just incredible memories. We had a wonderful time. I was exposed to some many interesting places and cultures. It was a very rich childhood.

If I could afford it, I would want to give that kind of gift to my children. Children grow up so fast, and if the parents don't have to work, then you can spent so much more time involved with your children. This is such a luxury that most modern parents don't have!

But that's just me!

Audrey
I second traveling during the summer. You have the free time to prospect, plan and prepare, and then your family has the time to spend much of the summer together.

When I quit working I hated travel and everything related to it - due to the extreme amount I had to do as part of the job. Once I got over it I have had a number of really enjoyable trips with different family members, with some (unexpected) real bonding and incredible memories.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:51 AM   #11
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Dang, I wish I grew up like Audrey!

Some kids don't take well to being pulled out of their environment and social networks--depending on what cardude's kids are used to and their personalities, being home-schooled and traveling for a few years might be good or might be bad for them in the long run.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:02 PM   #12
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DH has been retired for over a year. He occupies his time taking music classes...he's currently playing in four bands.

You say you love riding motorcycles...perhaps you could purchase a bike that needs a little fixing up. A bike doesn't take up too much space; you could tinker with it at your leisure and sell the bike at a profit.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:19 PM   #13
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Readind cardude's post, I saw that he listed several activities that he liked to do. Then, he talked about another business endeavor.

Perhaps he feels guilty to spend so much time in leisure activities. Many people feel that we are not productive if what we do does not result in something of a tangible economic value, i.e. something that someone will pay money for, or at least something that would have cost us to acquire from others.

I still have that feeling. It is one of the reasons for me to keep my part-time work!
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:01 PM   #14
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My niece's husband is into motorcycles . He is a lawyer but also sells motorcycle parts on ebay .That would be a very flexible thing to do .
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:03 PM   #15
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I'm glad to hear that you appreciated this experience. I am seriously considering doing something like this kind of trip since we will probably be able to ER while the kids are still school age. Homeschooling would be required, but we could handle that I think.
I can see how there might be some concerns about removing kids from school for a couple of years or separating them from their friends. But many kids adapt well to this kind of thing (they are kids!) and make new friends on the way AND high school is not so advanced in the US that a bright kid can't stay abreast.

Now - there is the bit of being a bit "different" as a kid because you had different experiences from your friends and sometimes that can be a little hard for kids (depends on the social environment). I had to deal with that in returning to the US as an adolescent. But once you grow up this is a good thing. I think it is better in the long run than trying to protect kids by keeping them the "same" as their peers.

But ultimately this is something that is a family decision, and some kids might be wildly enthusiastic about it. But if they are not - then figure out what does work for the family.

Audrey
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:45 PM   #16
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I can see how there might be some concerns about removing kids from school for a couple of years or separating them from their friends. But many kids adapt well to this kind of thing (they are kids!) and make new friends on the way AND high school is not so advanced in the US that a bright kid can't stay abreast.

Now - there is the bit of being a bit "different" as a kid because you had different experiences from your friends and sometimes that can be a little hard for kids (depends on the social environment). I had to deal with that in returning to the US as an adolescent. But once you grow up this is a good thing. I think it is better in the long run than trying to protect kids by keeping them the "same" as their peers.

But ultimately this is something that is a family decision, and some kids might be wildly enthusiastic about it. But if they are not - then figure out what does work for the family.
(sorry to threadjack cardude, but maybe you will get some thoughts from our conversation here! )

I think this is definitely one of those "wait and see" things. We will have to see how our kids would handle it. The 5 year old has been begging us to take her with us on our next trip far far away (Argentina was the last one and she kept asking to go).

I imagine the loss of being with friends these days is much less of a concern versus 10-20 years ago. They can skype/videoconference in with anyone any time. And there is email, facebook, skype enabled cell phones, online games, etc etc where they can still interact with their friends virtually in real time. And imagine in another 5-7 years what it will be like tech wise! Heck, by then I could probably buy the kids a 3rd gen ipad each for $100 that has videoconferencing built in!

I think the international perspective would be great developmentally (like study abroad). I lacked that for most of my growing up years. It wasn't until high school when I was exposed to a lot of children of foreign expats from Russia, India, Japan, China, Europe, etc and it was really eye opening and a fairly unique experience for me. Both my kids love looking at maps, the globe, google earth, etc. The 5 year old has memorized the names and shapes of almost all the countries in Asia, most in Europe, and many others elsewhere, so she is a little world traveler in the making I think.
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:52 PM   #17
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I imagine the loss of being with friends these days is much less of a concern versus 10-20 years ago. They can skype/videoconference in with anyone any time. And there is email, facebook, skype enabled cell phones, online games, etc etc where they can still interact with their friends virtually in real time. And imagine in another 5-7 years what it will be like tech wise! Heck, by then I could probably buy the kids a 3rd gen ipad each for $100 that has videoconferencing built in!
Oh good point! Was not an option when I was a kid, so I forgot about that. But this would make a huge difference.

Audrey
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:57 PM   #18
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Oh good point! Was not an option when I was a kid, so I forgot about that. But this would make a huge difference.
I'm around my teenage nephews a lot, and the oldest one (freshman in high school) has had a direct cranial link installed between him and his smartphone.

Heck, there may be highly viable virtual classrooms for "homeschooling" kids in another 5-7 years. I know I did some successful online classes towards a masters five years ago, so the technology is there and only getting better.
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:44 PM   #19
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I really think that if I were retired, and well off enough that my spouse didn't have to work either, and still raising kids, I would take them off on some kind of wonderful 2 year world traveling adventure, and deal with home-schooling requirements on the way.

Why?

Because my memories of my unusual childhood where I grew up overseas AND my parent still took us on a lot of trips are just incredible memories. We had a wonderful time. I was exposed to some many interesting places and cultures. It was a very rich childhood.

If I could afford it, I would want to give that kind of gift to my children. Children grow up so fast, and if the parents don't have to work, then you can spent so much more time involved with your children. This is such a luxury that most modern parents don't have!

But that's just me!

Audrey
Audrey, My childhood was very much like yours. My father's career meant our family moved often. We spent 3-4 years at a time living overseas including England, Thailand and the Philippines. In addition, we visited many different countries. I believe it brought our family closer together and taught my brother and I so much about different cultures.
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Old 04-30-2010, 03:17 PM   #20
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Yeah - my parents were working too, and we moved because of Dad's career, so I grew up overseas too. But we also traveled when possible for fun. It was all an amazing experience.

Audrey
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