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Having a little trouble getting adjusted......
Old 04-08-2009, 12:38 PM   #1
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Having a little trouble getting adjusted......

For those who don't know about me, I recently shut down my car business due to slow sales and a general lack of interest on my part. I was the third generation owner, and I did well and saved most of the profits for 15 years but the wheels came off recently when the economy slowed and I couldn't get motivated to slug it out anymore.

I was prepared pretty much financially, but I'm finding out mentally I was not really prepared to have all this time on my hands and I'm already struggling a little with what to do with myself. My wife is working part time now and she is planning on going to work full time until we get our expensive house sold to help with expenses. I'm basically being Mr. Mom, running the kids to school and activities, doing the house finances, cooking, cleaning the house and working in the yard. It was fun for the first month, but I'm embarrassed to say it's already getting old and I feel kind of silly sitting around the very quiet house. We have three residential rental properties and I'm renting out my old car dealership building, so that gives me some stuff to do from time to time when things break, but the shock of not really having to do something everyday is getting to me.

We are kind of in limbo right now-- if we can sell the house by this summer we are planning to live near some good friends of ours in Costa Rica in a little surfing village. Our friends own a real estate brokerage firm and need some help, so I may help out there. My wife is a school teacher so she may teach at the private school. I was really excited about this move, but we have had no luck selling the house so far so it may not happen. That may be what is causing my creeping anxiety now, as I feel I may be trapped here for awhile with nothing to do.

I find myself driving around looking for businesses I can start up-- crazy stuff like restaurants and go kart tracks. I don't want to jump into anything so soon, but I think I need to find something productive to do. I didn't think I needed that, but after 15 years of fast paced business and being "the man", I guess I do.

Did anyone else experience any of this? Will this anxiety eventually go away with time?
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:50 PM   #2
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Would you consider locking away your capital so you cannot make a depression or anxiety driven bad decision? Year long CDs? I had feelings like this myself early in my retirement. I think it is especially difficult if you are right in the comunity where you ran your operation, and where your wife and many of yuor friends are still working.

Why not take a risk free job at Indian not Chief level in some car related business? It will help tide you through until you could sell your house.

Ha
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:18 PM   #3
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You could spend time photographing and organizing all the stuff that will not make the move to Costa Rica. When the house sells you can gear up the E-bay thing. It will be busy work for a few weeks and set up some return of capital when the time is right. It's only a few weeks till the kids are out of school and this is a marvelous time to connect on a deeper level with both them and the wife. Also, look at potential volunteer work in an advisory capacity perhaps something like SCORE.

Much of the anxiety will resolve itself over time. If not, then you can jump back in the game or try a new game (i.e. a franchise restaurant with a full time day to day manager think McD's).
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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I agree with Ha - not the time to do anything.
You went from going 100 MPH to 0 MPH in a short period of time.
This period of time is a phase and an adjustment. No matter what course your life takes you there will periods of excitement of the new, adjustment and some boredom of the routine.
Take the down time to enjoy the small things in life - a walk to the coffee shop or a conversation with someone new.
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:53 PM   #5
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I think Connie's idea is excellent . Since you are downsizing anyway start selling things on Craig's list or ebay . It will keep you occupied but you'll still have free time to do what you want . Plus it will bring in some income . When I first retired I was not busy enough so I took a one day a week job at the Surgery Center I had been working at . It was a mistake . All it made me do is realize I had to get a life not dependent on my former life .
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:04 PM   #6
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Not retired yet, but spent the last several months decluttering and selling excess "stuff" on eBay. Improved my (closeup) photography skills, how to write effective eBay descriptions and enjoyed doing the research on old items I sold, some things 30 to 50 years old. Cleared about $2,000 after expenses. So I'd also encourage you to consider the eBay/craigslist exercise too - I had a lot of fun doing it. After selling about 50 items, not much left to sell (for now).
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:51 PM   #7
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In addition to all the good ideas above, might I add that you consider starting an exercise program? Most people don't take time to take care of their bodies while they are working. Find a gym and a few sessions with a trainer to get started, then chart your progress. Or begin a walking program outside if that's more appealing.
The physical activity may help relieve some of your anxiety, and setting up a schedule to stick to can help you feel more like normal. It worked for me.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:27 PM   #8
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Also, I would acknowledge that it is a major transition, and as such, comes with an element of sadness, like weddings. Iíve known SOís niece since she was in high school. What I remember best about her wedding in í03 at the age of 39 was the tear in her fatherís eye as he walked her down the aisle. Mourning is appropriate for RE as well.

I agree with the others about selling some of your stuff. My mileage varied, so to speak: I did that for the first time in Ď03, while recovering from an illness, it helped me get thru the grieving process of acknowledging that a reduced state of health was both a loss and a transition; I was letting go of lesser things before dealing with the bigger loss. I miss only one item from that batch of stuff, and check every once in a while, there are none to be had at any price. Iím selling some excess stuff now (after retirement) and it is sort of a replacement for the sense of working. I plan to give up that ďjobĒ real soon.

I know a couple, she is a school teacher and he has a year round govít job. Early in their marriage she made it clear that she would take on no extra work during her summers off from teaching, they would continue to split the house responsibilities the same way. They hire cleaning help because they both have physical limitations and are still married 29 years later. Iíve been retired seven months, SO since í02, and we constantly re-negotiate the relationship stuff.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:58 PM   #9
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The feeling that I was supposed to be somewhere, doing something persisted for months for me. I was driving myself nuts!
Yes, it does pass.
A part-time j*b in car business sounds productive if it won't negatively remind you of your last venture. How about being a parts or new vehicle delivery guy? Rental car agency? That would be active but not subject you to the inner w*rkings of a dealership.
Or go do some volunteer w*rk. Always a need for that in any community.
http://www.volunteermatch.org/
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:15 PM   #10
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I miss only one item from that batch of stuff, and check every once in a while, there are none to be had at any price.
Perhaps you need to look in a larger universe. Would this be something that one of us may have gathering dust in a closet somewhere?
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:28 PM   #11
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Cardude,

Boy do I ever relate. I've been retired since January '08 and found myself going crazy after the euphoria wore off. I found out how much I missed being part of something and did explore going back to work but held off.

Now that DH is nearing retirement, I'm finding myself more content and looking forward to the next chapter in our lives.

Retirement is not a destination, just another step on the path.
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:54 PM   #12
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I went thru the exact same thing when I closed my business after 16 stress-filled years of working constantly, lots of employees and cranky customers. I felt for the longest time after closing it up (like 2 years) that I should be running around and "doing something."
It took me forever to really calm down and enjoy my time not working--and even longer to quit thinking of what kind of business I should be putting together. I had the exact same experience as you, so we'll have to assume this is normal for a certain type of personality.
As they say: This, too, shall pass. My best advice is to just ride it out, and, one day, you'll wake and really enjoy your current life.
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:43 PM   #13
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Did anyone else experience any of this?
Can't speak for anyone else, but no. I'm doing what I always wanted to do, nothing.
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:50 PM   #14
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Can't speak for anyone else, but no. I'm doing what I always wanted to do, nothing.
What he said.

I enjoy indulging my 'inner sloth'.
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:56 PM   #15
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I've always viewed work as a long, exasperating hiatus from what I really wanted to do, which is to write and create. I have tremendous drive, so I can empathize with Cardude's frustration as he is evidently a driven person. Not being employed - through no choice of his own, unless I'm mistaken about that - could be to Cardude what having my hands and eyes taken away would be to me. Maybe he is not meant for the fully retired life?

Why not seek an interesting, off-the-wall business to start up? For Cardude that could be the outlet that my hobbies are to me. He seems to see business opportunities everywhere, the way I see pictures, patterns, and stories everywhere. His family are taken care of financially, now Dad just has to figure out something enjoyable to do with all his energy and time.
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:31 PM   #16
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You planned for ER, you succeeded where many have failed, and now you can't figure out how to be responsible for your own entertainment? Did you not see this coming?!?

Now that you have control over most of your time and your focus, you think you should devote it to recreating the environment you just left?!?!!

You've proven that you can tackle business challenges and make them work. You would think that further effort in that direction would result in hollow victories.

Perhaps you owe it to yourself to devote as much time to living your ER as you did to planning for it. An excellent starting point is Ernie Zelinski's "Get-A-Life Tree" in his "How To Retire Happy, Wild, & Free" book. I can fax you my copy-- it's still blank. It's been sitting around on my desk for several years until I take the time to get to it.

As for moving to a little surfing village in Costa Rica-- you surf, right? You can perhaps understand why I'm having a hard time seeing the problem.
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:44 PM   #17
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It sounds like you are financially prepared, so is there any reason why you couldn't moved to Costa Rica while the house sits on the market? Maybe you could rent a small place in Costa-Rica until the house sells.

As for me, I never get bored. Perhaps it's because, as a kid, I spent my summer in a remote mountain village in the Alps with few people around, no TV and no telephone for 3 months straight. There was nothing to do, no shopping, no movies, no swimming pool, so I got used to be comfortable with my own company and enjoy the simplest of activities.
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:58 PM   #18
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There was nothing to do, no shopping, no movies, no swimming pool, so I got used to be comfortable with my own company and enjoy the simplest of activities.
Nowadays, with a computer, there are so many things I meant to do but have not got around to. I have old videos of my kids growing up that I need to digitize from VHS tapes and transfer to DVD. I need to bring out one of my several old PCs and set it up as a file/printer server with Linux. I need to finish processing/filtering the audio files that I already digitized from audio cassette tapes.

Then, outside the house, I need to build that raised-bed veggie garden I started on last year. Up in my 2nd home in the mountain boonies, I need to finish playing mason on the stone steps of the terrace.

I need to do this, and to do that... But I have been back at my part-time work...

I used to feel guilty, even as I was doing the above things that I enjoyed. Why, I asked myself. I think perhaps it is because these are recreational activities that do not bring in money. So, somehow it does not feel right, and that you do not feel being "productive".

Could cardude be feeling the same?
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:15 PM   #19
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Nowadays, with a computer, there are so many things I meant to do but have not got around to. I have old videos of my kids growing up that I need to digitize from VHS tapes and transfer to DVD. I need to bring out one of my several old PCs and set it up as a file/printer server with Linux. I need to finish processing/filtering the audio files that I already digitized from audio cassette tapes.

Then, outside the house, I need to build that raised-bed veggie garden I started on last year. Up in my 2nd home in the mountain boonies, I need to finish playing mason on the stone steps of the terrace.

I need to do this, and to do that... But I have been back at my part-time work...

I used to feel guilty, even as I was doing the above things that I enjoyed. Why, I asked myself. I think perhaps it is because these are recreational activities that do not bring in money. So, somehow it does not feel right, and that you do not feel being "productive".

Could cardude be feeling the same?
Could be...

Of course, my definition of "productive" is quite different than most people's (including my wife's)... Mine has nothing to do with money. And in my remote village tucked away in the mountains, money was never a measure of productivity either.

Tending to my vegetable garden is productive. My work will yield organic veggies that will feed us. Cooking is productive. My work creates a meal which will sustain us and give us much pleasure. Reading is productive. It makes me a more rounded, cultivated and knowledgeable person. Even relaxing can be productive. Without occasional rest, how can you possibly continue to perform at your best year after year? It's all a matter of perspective.
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:55 PM   #20
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This is a great thread. At age 65, I've been a self employed energy consultant for over 25 years. You may think it odd, but I've had a belly full of that industry and have tried to retire from working as a consultant (reluctantly, I'm still pulled back into some projects that are marginally interesting). For all the reasons listed in this thread, this new phase, inappropriately called retirement, has been a challenge.
So to cope with this new phase of life, I decided to dust of some early vocational skills and built a machine shop and welding fab shop. What a hoot, I'm having a great time working on all kinds of projects that I want to do - not for hire, just for me. I also, dusted off a childhood hobby and bought a bass boat and now travel in the Northwest fishing and camping with friends and family. I really didn't have that good a skill set in machining, fabricating or fishing. So, I rented DVD's from SmartFlix, the Web's Biggest How-To DVD Rental Store for machining and welding and hired a couple expert fishing guides to show me the tricks to catching bass and walleyes. I even took a vocational class on ornamental metal design and fabrication from a local votech school. My mission was to learn to do something that I really didn't know much about.
One of the other great things to do is look at the courses that our national parks offer, it is simply amazing the range of really interesting subjects they present. Check out Yellowstone Association - The Institute I took a photography course from a world class professional photographer in Yellowstone and now want to go back and do it again.
Don't get me wrong, the transition from a busy business schedule to self induced - non revenue - activities has been a challenge. But finding new endeavors and staying active is the key to my optimistic view of the next 30 years (notwithstanding our screwed up economy).
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