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"Lifting Fog" Effect?
Old 02-01-2014, 08:18 AM   #1
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"Lifting Fog" Effect?

I have been out for 2 weeks and in that time I have had unpleasant periodontal work and sick kids around the house. Things did not seem all that different from a normal weekend. However, this morning I woke up at 6AM on a day I had planned on sleeping in, bolt awake with no obvious cause. I had the answer to something that had been puzzling me for days right in the forefront of my mind and a feeling of great mental clarity. I realize that I have been drifting along in a fog of boredom and exhaustion for months as I ground out the end of the job. Everything seems so clear now, it is just astonishing.

Did others feel like this, or am I off the deep end this morning and will soon lapse back into the winter funk?
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:31 AM   #2
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Perhaps it takes the brain a little time to adjust to freedom
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:49 AM   #3
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I experienced the same thing. A sudden and unexpected burst of lucidity. Told my DW that I was going to hole up in my home office for a few days and have "great thoughts". And I did too, capturing the stream of thought on a whiteboard.
I was doing fine until waylaid by this darn flu.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:02 AM   #4
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What you are experiencing is the clarity that comes when you have control of your time rather than having it controlled by 'The Man from MegaCorp'. Congratulations.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:17 AM   #5
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From the title of this thread, I was initially wondering if 'lifting fog' was a new economic phrase, like 'rising tide.....'
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:37 AM   #6
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Similar experience here. I was under alot of stress and very burnt out in my j@b. I started reading about early retirement - found this forum and crunched numbers. When I became aware that I had enough $ I felt euphoric and felt stress and tightness fall away. Everything seemed so clear and simple - freedom was right around the corner. After being released from the constant concerns of work...the brain bounces back
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:53 AM   #7
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From the title of this thread, I was initially wondering if 'lifting fog' was a new economic phrase, like 'rising tide.....'
I thought that perhaps brewer had been on a trip to San Francisco and was describing the weather!

But yes - it does sound like the effects of sudden decompression after a stressful life of "working for the man". These kinds of descriptions of stress and B.S. from some of the members here have made me realize how very unstressful my job was. It must be wonderful to finally be living life on your own terms.
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:09 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
I have been out for 2 weeks and in that time I have had unpleasant periodontal work and sick kids around the house. Things did not seem all that different from a normal weekend. However, this morning I woke up at 6AM on a day I had planned on sleeping in, bolt awake with no obvious cause. I had the answer to something that had been puzzling me for days right in the forefront of my mind and a feeling of great mental clarity. I realize that I have been drifting along in a fog of boredom and exhaustion for months as I ground out the end of the job. Everything seems so clear now, it is just astonishing.

Did others feel like this, or am I off the deep end this morning and will soon lapse back into the winter funk?
That didn't happen to me, at least not quite like that.

For me, the huge thing that happened mentally was after a few days of retirement when it finally dawned on me that for me, happiness really is the default condition in the absence of something to make me unhappy. In retirement, there really are very few if any obstacles to my happiness.

I have been unusually, extremely happy for the past 4+ years of retirement with the exception of one or two days when something bad happened. But these unhappy days have been very few and far between. Maybe 2-3 unhappy days only, thus far.
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:23 PM   #9
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For me, the huge thing that happened mentally was after a few days of retirement when it finally dawned on me that for me, happiness really is the default condition in the absence of something to make me unhappy.
Love this. Writing it down.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:09 PM   #10
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I feel like that all the time when we're out camping for the summer in the middle of nowhere. I can write for hours at a time then and it's actually good and comes so fast I can hardly keep up. I wish I could feel like that when not working and at home, but there's usually some under or overlying cloud of guilt that I should be doing renovation projects (that I don't really enjoy doing) instead...
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:14 PM   #11
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I almost always wake up with clear lucid thoughts. They get crystallized when I then go walk the dog for an hour or so. I get back and take a shower where they get refined. Then when I go to work, I get my minions to act on them, so that I don't have to act on them myself.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:15 PM   #12
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but there's usually some under or overlying cloud of guilt that I should be doing renovation projects (that I don't really enjoy doing) instead...
Eh, f*ck the house. I will do what I feel like doing and the rest can go hang.

I have had the same thing when camping/hiking/hunting/fishing. Hunting is especially that way: when I am stalking the woods as quietly as I can with every sense straining for indications of my prey, everything else fades into the background. I don't notice or think about anything else, I don't get hungry despite hours of skulking/hiking (sometimes at altitude while lugging a pack and a heavy rifle), and I have to remind myself to drink water. I must be wired that way, and I get the same thing while fishing albeit less intense. Its a benediction, as all the aggravation and nonsense is somewhere else for a while.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:03 PM   #13
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Back in the day when I used to be a manager for the corporate reporting group of a fairly large public company, it was almost a joke how I used to come home after a long weekend away camping with the answer to how we could cut our workload by quite major amounts on month/quarter/year-ends.
There's a book called Slack http://www.amazon.com/Slack-Getting-...ck+tom+demarco
that talks more about this.

It was just a matter of letting myself daydream for a few days and was so incredibly simple. Of course, then they had to turn it into goals and productivity metrics and blah blah blah. Which was ok because woot - bonus for me! Yet it still comes down to a woman in a chair sipping coffee thinking "what if we..."
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:59 PM   #14
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Eh, f*ck the house. I will do what I feel like doing and the rest can go hang.

I have had the same thing when camping/hiking/hunting/fishing. Hunting is especially that way: when I am stalking the woods as quietly as I can with every sense straining for indications of my prey, everything else fades into the background. I don't notice or think about anything else, I don't get hungry despite hours of skulking/hiking (sometimes at altitude while lugging a pack and a heavy rifle), and I have to remind myself to drink water. I must be wired that way, and I get the same thing while fishing albeit less intense. Its a benediction, as all the aggravation and nonsense is somewhere else for a while.
I am the same way. The woods and my hunting friends is what has kept me sane and gotten me through all this the past 15 years. It has kept me grounded and put things in true perspective. I just retired and this coming year is going to be wonderful!
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by JacqJolie View Post
Back in the day when I used to be a manager for the corporate reporting group of a fairly large public company, it was almost a joke how I used to come home after a long weekend away camping with the answer to how we could cut our workload by quite major amounts on month/quarter/year-ends.
There's a book called Slack Amazon.com: Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency eBook: Tom Demarco: Kindle Store
that talks more about this.

It was just a matter of letting myself daydream for a few days and was so incredibly simple. Of course, then they had to turn it into goals and productivity metrics and blah blah blah. Which was ok because woot - bonus for me! Yet it still comes down to a woman in a chair sipping coffee thinking "what if we..."
Very early in my career I "discovered" this principle too, when I had a particularly difficult engineering problem. The harder I worked at it, the more involved, convoluted and difficult it became. Finally, I just gave up and walked around the campus for two days, doing no obviously productive work. And unexpectedly came back with such a simple solution it took me only a couple of hours to implement. I have applied this many times since then, and I am sure a lot of people here have also "discovered" this magical principle. Solutions that come to you walking, laying on the sofa, taking a shower or even in the john.

The problem is that in almost all megacorp situations this kind of problem solving is never allowed, and is one of the main reasons I have enjoyed consulting, no one can see how you "work" so you are allowed to actually occasionally get something accomplished.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:56 PM   #16
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Slowing Down to the Speed of Life is another book that delves into when/how to put problems on the back burner.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:45 PM   #17
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Very early in my career I "discovered" this principle too, when I had a particularly difficult engineering problem. The harder I worked at it, the more involved, convoluted and difficult it became. Finally, I just gave up and walked around the campus for two days, doing no obviously productive work. And unexpectedly came back with such a simple solution it took me only a couple of hours to implement. I have applied this many times since then, and I am sure a lot of people here have also "discovered" this magical principle. Solutions that come to you walking, laying on the sofa, taking a shower or even in the john.

The problem is that in almost all megacorp situations this kind of problem solving is never allowed, and is one of the main reasons I have enjoyed consulting, no one can see how you "work" so you are allowed to actually occasionally get something accomplished.

Exactly. Employees are measured by doing something or creating the illusion. It's amazing how just thinking without activity is perceived as not performing. Megacorps seem really bad about rewarding the crisis makers and firefighters rather than the preventers.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:16 AM   #18
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Exactly. Employees are measured by doing something or creating the illusion. It's amazing how just thinking without activity is perceived as not performing. Megacorps seem really bad about rewarding the crisis makers and firefighters rather than the preventers.
My megacorp got it, and valued engineering your way. Then we were bought out….
Team work, six sigma, buzz word this and that swiftly followed. I watched several times as folks planned crisis, and then ”solved” them. Promotions usually followed! Toward the end of my career, I ended my unpaid crisis aversion efforts, and just watched the show unfold.
I have found the management at retired inc to be down right brilliant. ;>)
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:47 AM   #19
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I'm reading Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, right now, and your description of the feeling you get when hunting, fishing, or now just contemplating problems, is exactly what he is talking about.
Congrats on finding that place!
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:56 AM   #20
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Sounds wonderful! I don't recall anything like that, and have unfortunately not become any more creative (writing, etc.) in ER. But I am definitely a more pleasant person to be around, I shudder at how much I stressed over the small stuff back in the day, especially with my family. I certainly wish I was as self-aware of how tough that was on them then as I am now.
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