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Life after FIRE
Old 06-22-2016, 03:57 PM   #1
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Life after FIRE

Well, interesting forum heading isn't it? How long do you wait or go in retirement before you are qualified to answer that question or state what life after FIRE is? I am 2.5 weeks into retirement and I have no idea what I am doing or thinking each day. Two nights ago I had a dream and I was telling someone I had to leave the fire department. I was crying in the dream telling him and woke up actually crying. Yesterday I thought, my God what have I done I am bored outta my mind! Then today I start the grill and pop a cold one and think this is amazing! The lack of stress and responsibility now is almost scary. Getting by on so much less sleep and lost 10 pounds already. Life is good. I really miss the FD but not the stress.

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Old 06-22-2016, 05:52 PM   #2
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Life is good. I really miss the FD but not the stress.
Rest assured, this is normal. I retired from law enforcement so there are some similarities. Another member, Leonidas, put it well - "it's hard to go from full throttle to idle in one day".

I had much the same reaction along with the sense of well, not guilt exactly, but something out of whack because I wasn't "doing anything". Then light dawned over Marble head and I realized fully that "I'm retired, I earned it. I don't have to do anything!"
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Old 06-22-2016, 07:27 PM   #3
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Thanks Walt34. I do feel a bit better each day. The other night a storm hit and I was a bit nervous and thought, I need to call the BC and see how we are holding up with the call load. Then it quickly hit me, wow I am not in charge of that any longer and then I didn't care so much about all the flooding and possible tornado strike. Well, at least being responsible for the incident command and aftermath. Yep full throttle with afterburner to grabbing a hook on the deck and instant stop. That pretty much describes it.

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Old 06-22-2016, 07:33 PM   #4
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How long do you wait or go in retirement before you are qualified to answer that question or state what life after FIRE is?
There's no qualifying period - and you may find that your answer may change over time. Likewise, I suspect that the only universal answer is "whatever you want it to be".

I was worried about being bored so I kept a part-time consulting role after I FIRE'd. The original plan was to do it for a year or two as a transitional thing to avoid going cold turkey. Maybe I need therapy, but nearly three years into retirement and I'm finding that I enjoy the consulting and am actually considering increasing the working hours to around 15 per week.
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Old 06-30-2016, 08:49 AM   #5
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Backdraft, I concur with the others. Having been retired from the fire service for almost a year now, I still sometimes feel that I'm going to get in trouble for being awol. It's a good problem! I still have dreams that I am on the fireground or at the firehouse, but they don't occur nearly as much as they used to. The feeling of 'I'm supposed to be somewhere' is diminishing too. Seems that the feeling of freedom is increasing and the feeling of guilt is decreasing. Finally. I guess the guilt comes from all of my friends around my age are still grinding it out and will continue to do so for a long time.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:28 PM   #6
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Thanks J.F. Today is my one month anniversary of my retirement party. Each day gets better and I have almost been euphoric the last few days wrapping my head around the fact I am getting paid to stay home and do what I want. It's almost scary how good I feel. I stopped by a station the other day to see what it would be like as a civilian after working there 35 years. Said hi and was gone about 3 minutes later. Creped me out and had this very distinct feeling that I didn't belong there.

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Old 07-01-2016, 07:37 AM   #7
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Yep, I understand that feeling. Right before I retired, I thought about visiting the stations I was assigned to over the years, but the desire diminished. I do plan on visiting one old compadre I came through training with who happens to still be at the house where I cut my teeth, so I guess it's the people more than the firehouse (and I do love the firehouse) that I miss more...
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:29 PM   #8
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You will have dreams about returning to work, and some of them will create anxiety. I retired last year from the aviation flight test field. It's been almost a year and I still have weekly dreams about being thrust back in to flying some new unfamiliar aircraft. Everyone in the dreams think I will do just fine, but I have this dread of failure. Weird, eh?
On the positive side, in my waking hours retirement is a relaxing blast. I can't imagine going back to work.


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Old 07-14-2016, 03:53 PM   #9
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You will have dreams about returning to work, and some of them will create anxiety. I retired last year from the aviation flight test field. It's been almost a year and I still have weekly dreams about being thrust back in to flying some new unfamiliar aircraft. Everyone in the dreams think I will do just fine, but I have this dread of failure. Weird, eh?
On the positive side, in my waking hours retirement is a relaxing blast. I can't imagine going back to work.


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Yep, had another fire department dream last night. I also can't imagine going back as everyday is a stress free Saturday. I think I am mourning the passing of my youth and the fact I will never fight another fire. Hate to say it but it was a rush.

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Old 07-31-2016, 07:53 AM   #10
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Backdraft, I concur with the others. Having been retired from the fire service for almost a year now, I still sometimes feel that I'm going to get in trouble for being awol. It's a good problem! I still have dreams that I am on the fireground or at the firehouse, but they don't occur nearly as much as they used to. The feeling of 'I'm supposed to be somewhere' is diminishing too. Seems that the feeling of freedom is increasing and the feeling of guilt is decreasing. Finally. I guess the guilt comes from all of my friends around my age are still grinding it out and will continue to do so for a long time.

Hey Johnny, so you are about a year further down the road than I am. Wondering when I might expect the station and foreground dreams to slow down. You mention having them but not like before. At what point did they slow? I keep having them and some are very disturbing.


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Old 07-31-2016, 07:53 AM   #11
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Fire ground


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Old 07-31-2016, 10:00 AM   #12
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I think your "missing the FD, but not the stress" captures it exactly. You're FI, RE and you CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT! (Including volunteering or working PT in some FD role if that floats your boat.)

I found "retirement" somewhat different from what I expected, but more for the better than the worse. My wife took an overseas job in Asia about 5 years ago and I took (slightly) early retirement at 62. After 4 or 5 months living in Manila, though, I was getting bored. My wife had a great "package" and I had a couple of pensions, so I really didn't need to work, but when I was offered a job as a "senior advisor" working 3 days a week but able to take off nearly whenever I wanted, I grabbed it. So, I was able to accompany my wife on most of her business trips and travel extensively as a tourist throughout Asia during the four years we spend overseas. Wonderful!

We returned home a little over a year ago and my wife (8 years younger) decided to take a year or two "sabbatical" to finish a graduate degree. At this point she was also getting a nice pension and we have substantial investments and savings, so again I didn't really need to work, but after about 9 months of traveling (skiing in Hokkaido and BC, schmoozing for 2 months in Charleston, etc.) and resettling in DC, I was again getting a little bored. But, again, I was offered another "senior advisor" position guaranteeing me about 100 days of work a year, but letting me take off nearly whenever I wanted... So in the past 9 months, I've since spent a couple of weeks skiing in Park City, a couple of months in Patagonia, a month in Charleston, etc. Mostly my wife accompanied (except the ski trip), since with the internet she can work on her dissertation nearly wherever she wants.

I do think I may slow down more with regard to work in another year or so. Maybe teach a college course or two (I started as a college professor and kept teaching off and on throughout my career). Or follow my wife, if she decides to work again herself.

We'll see. But I will say, "retirement" has been a great adventure thus far; but rather different than I expected....

Good luck!
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Old 07-31-2016, 01:07 PM   #13
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Well BD, I guess it was about three or four months ago that I realized they have been diminishing. That being said, they have crept up again in the last couple of weeks. Probably something to do with both my hire date and retirement date occurring recently. Seems I have specific incident type dreams. Every regular firehouse I have been assigned to has had, in addition to structural apparatus, a brush truck and/or tender that we manned for wildland firefighting, so I have a lot of wildland firefighting dreams, especially since I live in Bastrop county and we are coming upon the 5 year anniversary of the devasting Bastrop Complex Fire.

My last few years, I was assigned to ABIA aircraft fire rescue, so I have a lot of those type dreams in which I am not only responding to, but actually witnessing the aircraft incident.

You may have read about the murder/suicide incident in Bastrop last week. It immediately took me back to my first major trauma call in my career - murder/suicide. It is ironic that my ladyfriend's son made that call as a volunteer last week, his first. 4 fatalities. He, and all that responded are having a tough time dealing with it. CISD helps, but only so much. So I have been having those type dreams as well.

The good news is, despite the ebb and flow of the frequency of the dreams, I feel a LOT better to have one year of retirement in the books. Can't really explain why, didn't particularly look for it, but I'm glad it is happening.

The aha moments of retirement are coming more frequently and I hope they do for you as well!
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Old 07-31-2016, 05:34 PM   #14
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When I first retired I felt like I shouldn't be out during the day like I was doing something wrong. It was weird. Now 4 years later that is long gone. I rarely dream about work anymore either. although, I didn't have a life or death type of career either. I did get bored so teach a college course online that I love. I did a little consulting too but recently cut down on most of that. It does take time to adjust and feels weird at first. That will go away with time.
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Old 08-01-2016, 07:09 AM   #15
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Thanks JY, TT and JF. It's only been two months for me. About the time I think all is well and the FD is in the rear view mirror something pops up like a bad dream. I suppose the adjustment is MUCH more than I anticipated. JF, funny how the mind works isn't it? I remember my first fatal and her name and it was 35 years ago but I also remember the first child I delivered and that was about 35 years ago as well. Another dream last night. I was standing outside one of our stations with the door open and a FF standing in the doorway just looking at me. Weird stuff.

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