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Feeling Empty after early retirement
Old 08-01-2010, 11:53 PM   #1
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Feeling Empty after early retirement

I'm leading with the early retirement life that every outsider would envy about. Retire at age of 47 (by accident, after company downsizing). I've zero mortgage,and is leading a very comfortable life with no worry of finance. I'm current only consume about 15-20% of monthly income generated from my passive income. My husband is working in a high position job, we have already save enough for our 3 kids future education.

Although, I've the live what everyone want to be, BUT I always have this feeling of emptyness inside me. I still do not get used of the life after stop work for a year. I have 3 vacations outside the countries in last one year, I have also spend 3 hours a week volunteered in an non-profit organization, spend about an hour a day in Gym or Yoga class.
At times I do enjoyed the free time and the luxury of doing thing at slower pace as compare in corporate life, but quit often I feel that there is no solid goals that I can achieved .I do not know whether this is due to my 20+ year of corporate life style or I wasn't mentally prepared for the early retirement. Most of my friend are still at work, I do not have much social activity. I did consider goingback to work, but with my age and previous position (was in a director poisition) was not easy to get a job.
Anyone had the similar dilemma? Any advice are welcome. Thanks
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:24 AM   #2
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My DW is in a similar situation. She was tired of her mega-corp job. But since she has ER'd a few years back... she has a lot of time on her hands.

Same situation as you, she does some volunteer work.

I don't think she gave much thought to her mental prep. Still, she does not want her old job back or to go back to work.

I think the biggest issue for her is the social connection at work. Most of her friends still work.

She is adjusting.

I will FIRE next year. I am a fairly structured person and have a number of plans for several home projects. That will help. We both want to do some extended traveling.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:35 AM   #3
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It sounds like you got off the horse while it was still at full gallop.

Retirement isn't for everyone. While my DW/me planned to retire at the same time (we're the same age) three years ago, I did (and very happy, thank you) but my wife changed her mind about a month before she was to leave.

She realized that she was not "emotionally ready" to retire at that time. Today, a bit over three years later she continues to work. Yes, she complains about the same things most complain about, but she knows it's her option to "put up" with it, and if it gets too bad, she can retire any day she wishes.

Sounds like you (emotionally) were not ready to make the jump to full retirement, regardless of your volunteer and personal activity schedules.

You just may want to get back on the hamster wheel. While it may not be what you had (with the status/pay) previously, it might be enough to satisfy your need for what you think you lost.

Good luck to you...
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:52 AM   #4
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Hi previously happy bee!

You may find some helpful hints in this recent thread:
Retired at 30 and Bored! (ignore the negative reactions, some people had great suggestions)

It sounds like you're doing many things right already. Volunteering, gym and yoga do help some people feel better.

It's a pity that you didn't have the occasion to prepare for this. I'm a couple of years away from ER and have accumulated long lists of projects, too many for a single lifetime. Maybe I won't do any of them, but I have them in case I need them (programming projects, creative projects, books to read and write, subjects that I want to study and figure out, things in my life that I want to improve, etc.).
I expect to feel down for a while, even with all this preparation, because I'll lose the structure that I've grown used to. But I've adapted in the past and I'm confident I will adapt again.

Maybe you just need time to adjust after a busy life and an important position?
Maybe you need to find a project or an activity that you feel very passionate about? Or maybe you will end up finding happiness in small things, in just feeling that your body is alive, remembering the people you're attached are alive at this very moment, lying in the grass in the shade, feeling a breeze on your face and watching kittens play... or maybe you'll go back to (part time?) work.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:06 AM   #5
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If you were a happy bee while working you probably should consider going back to work. But why focus on the same thing you did before? you are financially independent so you can look for work that suits your interests and social needs. On the other hand, if you were never really happy at work and thought the freedom of retirement would/should lift your spirits you may suffer from chronic depression (not simply a temporary reaction to your current situation). In that case you should talk to your doctor about meds, psychotherapy or both.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:08 AM   #6
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I also find myself missing w*rk or some aspect of it sometimes. When I do, I think hard about the day-to-day details of what it was really like--particularly those occasional stomach-churning days and sleepless nights. It always turns out that what I was missing was an idealized version of what w*rk was like, rather than the reality.


If that doesn't help, maybe you should go back to w*rk.
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:10 AM   #7
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My work place was very social so I do miss that aspect but you can replace it . Start reaching out to the women in the gym or at your volunteer gig . Join a book club or some other club that interests you or get a part time job . There are many goals you can accomplish without a job. One of my non medical friends goes on mission trips . A few others have started small businesses , a few are writing short stories and others have taken courses on something they always wanted to do .You now have the resources and income to do whatever you want so go for it .
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:31 AM   #8
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Start reaching out to the women in the gym
Is that legal now?
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:36 AM   #9
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Is that legal now?
I used to do that at Curves..........
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:22 PM   #10
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Is that legal now?

It is legal if it's reaching out not groping !
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:44 PM   #11
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What about living like you were dying?
I often think of this song as I go back/forth from work.

It's a song from Tim McGraw: Tim McGraw, Live Like You Were Dying Lyrics


I guess you have to answer to yourself what you want to do in retirement. I know I would like to do a lot of things (including everything but riding a bull). All these things take time, and of course cost money. And even more so, some of them would require you to be fit enough to do (not too many 80 year olds can climb the Rockies).
Write a book about your experiences and or possibly ways to fix things that you saw were wrong in the processes you worked within. Or what about painting works of art to see how well you do and/or progress over time?
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:57 PM   #12
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IMO - it's not nearly as much fun to be retired if your spouse is still working. That really constrains what you can do - like you can't really move, and your spouse is not available to travel with you, etc.

"Retiring" because you were laid off is very different than choosing retirement as a lifestyle change. I think you really need to look at what you want at this stage in your life and pursue that.

Audrey
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:03 PM   #13
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IMO - it's not nearly as much fun to be retired if your spouse is still working. That really constrains what you can do - like you can't really move, and your spouse is not available to travel with you, etc.
Audrey
You're right on! A friend of mine desperately wants to retire, is 55 with a good pension lined up, but his 50 yo wife just landed a promotion and wants to keep working. She tells him to retire, but he wants to travel. Now his plans depend on hers - not good.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:58 PM   #14
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IMO - it's not nearly as much fun to be retired if your spouse is still working. That really constrains what you can do - like you can't really move, and your spouse is not available to travel with you, etc.
Actually, for us it has worked out quite well. I retired 3+ years ago; DW is still "on the wheel" (her option - she planned on retiring same time as me but she found she was not "emotionally ready" at the last moment.)

Instead of trying to schedule vacation for both of us, I'm available on her schedule. I do much more "househusband" stuff than I ever did during our joint employment years (heck, I even have dinner ready for her when she comes home from the "salt mine").

We have no desire or plans to move in retirement. We've "retired in place" (at least me) and it works out well.

Just another opinion....
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:00 PM   #15
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Simple solution: get a job.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:10 PM   #16
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Can you pinpoint what aspects of the job you are missing? It might be the social interaction, the sense of accomplishment, or even the routine of a structured day. Once in a while I find my self missing something and I realize it isn't the workplace at all but something it gave me. There are other ways to fill those voids if you can identify what they are.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:12 PM   #17
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Three things you have to find for yourself in ER.

A sense of purpose
A sense of community
Structure in your life
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:34 PM   #18
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Three things you have to find for yourself in ER.

A sense of purpose
A sense of community
Structure in your life
...a beer, a shade tree, and a hammock...
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:41 PM   #19
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...a beer, a shade tree, and a hammock...
Yeah those hammocks can take your mind off your old job !...

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Old 08-02-2010, 07:42 PM   #20
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My work place was very social so I do miss that aspect but you can replace it . Start reaching out to the women in the gym or at your volunteer gig .
One of my brothers lost his wife to cancer a couple years ago. He sold his home and moved into an apartment next door to his gym. He used to go 3 x/day. They had an indoor track, and he got to talking to various women while they walked together. I think it kept him alive.

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