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Loneliness of ER -- where are all the other ER's?
Old 02-04-2009, 07:58 PM   #1
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Loneliness of ER -- where are all the other ER's?

I tried semi-retirement with my "lifestyle" business over the past five years (2 weeks work, 2 weeks slacking off or on vacation) and I honestly found it sort of depressing. During the day, the only people "out" around town are the elderly, housewives and I suppose the chronically unemployed. All my friends, neighbors and peers were at work, of course. It felt lonely.

Vacations were similar, it was usually me and a whole lot of conventional retirees -- mainly old people hobbling around. And yes I'm going to be there one day myself and yes they're very interesting to talk with and had great stories, but really... does ER mean I would have to spend the rest of my life with a bunch of really old people? Or was I just picking the wrong places?

So where do all the early retirees tend to loiter? Ski slopes? Europe? Where are you all?
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:05 PM   #2
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So where do all the early retirees tend to loiter? Ski slopes? Europe? Where are you all?
Here on the board, surfing at the beach, working out, walking around, volunteering, parenting, at the coffee shops & stores during off-peak hours...

Do the people you seek have to be ER, or do they just have to be people who are available when you're available?
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:20 PM   #3
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2 weeks on, 2 weeks off... maybe you didn't really get to know the "real" retirees (since you were working half the time), but were too retired to really hang out with the regular working crew?
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:21 PM   #4
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I go to the gym several days a week and it is packed with all ages .
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:22 PM   #5
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...does ER mean I would have to spend the rest of my life with a bunch of really old people? Or was I just picking the wrong places?
I think you're locationally challenged.

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So where do all the early retirees tend to loiter? Ski slopes? Europe? Where are you all?
Here on the board, having lunch with other ER forum members, working on projects around the house, doing things during the week that most folks have to try to cram into weekends, planning a 6 week trip in the RV this summer (and a couple of 10 day trips in the interim), visiting out-of-town siblings whenever I want rather than only on holidays, ... Does that help?
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:24 PM   #6
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Here on the board, surfing at the beach, working out, walking around, volunteering, parenting, at the coffee shops & stores during off-peak hours...
That could be what a lot of ER's are doing, but other than "volunteering" those seem to be pretty solitary activities.

Which seems like it would be lonely? Hence my question... I just missed interacting with peers during the day.

It would be nice to be retired and be able to golf with peer friends and not have to wait for the weekend, or decide to head up to Alaska on a fishing trip until we get bored and decide to come back... or rent a sailboat and hop around the Bahamas. Isn't that what early retirement is all about? How do we hook up?

Maybe country clubs are an answer, but at least the few in my area I've checked out are pretty dead during the week. So where are you guys? Alumni clubs? Yacht clubs? Or mostly just involved in solitary activities?
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:30 PM   #7
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And to sort of answer my own post... somebody told me about the Smithsonian world tour packages ( Smithsonian Journeys ) that provide exotic tours like 30 day excursions to the Arctic, or around-the-world things. Has anybody done tours with them? I wonder if those long, more exotic tours might tend to have a younger "peer" clientele...
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:56 PM   #8
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During the day, the only people "out" around town are the elderly, housewives and I suppose the chronically unemployed. Where are you all?
I'm out and about, but I just appear to be one of those "housewives" you see. I don't try to stand out, I bet other ERs you may encounter keep a low profile as well.

I'm married, so I have someone to go places/hang out with much of the time (which I'm thankful for), but I also like being alone. It is hard for me to answer your question because I do think ER can be a lonely prospect for someone who craves company.

A friend of mine just went from working full time to 3 days a week, now we do something together once a week (or every other) and I really like it. Another friend and I have coffee once a week and go out with our husbands a couple of times per month. Usually nothing exotic, but it fulfills my socialization needs. We've also been to a couple of "meetups" around town for different groups we are interested in like Veganism, or Democrats Abroad.

I'm sure you would meet some interesting folks on one of those adventure trips, maybe you should try it (and report back!) Also, I think you should maybe try to find a girlfriend/boyfriend if you don't have one already.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:04 PM   #9
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Also, I think you should maybe try to find a girlfriend/boyfriend if you don't have one already.
Good advice. Start having sex with someone and she has to take your calls...for a while.

I spend most of my time with my foot in my mouth. This keeps me pretty busy apologizing.

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Old 02-04-2009, 09:07 PM   #10
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During the day, the only people "out" around town are the elderly, housewives and I suppose the chronically unemployed. Where are you all?
And Ha is one of those elderly, chronically unemployed people you see!!

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Old 02-04-2009, 09:09 PM   #11
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Seriously, I was going to say that besides all the love/sex benefits of having a GF/BF that just having someone to hang out and do little things with is nice, especially when you are ER.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:10 PM   #12
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And to sort of answer my own post... somebody told me about the Smithsonian world tour packages ( Smithsonian Journeys ) that provide exotic tours like 30 day excursions to the Arctic, or around-the-world things. Has anybody done tours with them? I wonder if those long, more exotic tours might tend to have a younger "peer" clientele...
have you considered joining a sports club that will involve 2-3 hours of hard training? OK, the training will probably start at 5 PM, but it's still better than sitting around by yourself all day. A sports club will also attract a broader demographic than something like a cruise.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:11 PM   #13
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So where do all the early retirees tend to loiter? Ski slopes? Europe? Where are you all?
I have noticed the same situation you describe. It shouldn't be all that surprising. There really are not all that many of us so we're spread pretty thinly around the world. For increased social contact with those in your age group, you may need to shift your circadian rhythm to interact when the w*rking folks are available.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:20 PM   #14
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Seriously, I was going to say that besides all the love/sex benefits of having a GF/BF that just having someone to hang out and do little things with is nice, especially when you are ER.
I so agree. I have been spending a huge amount of time with my tango partner. We are very sweet to one another, but she is married and so no sex. I have actually liked this as I don't have to hear "your kisses are too wet!" Or "you only think of yourself!"

But she is now in the hospital with a joint replacement. She says she won't be able to dance for months. I visited her today in the hospital.

I might invite the woman who made the beautiful flower arrangement for me to take to my partner for a drink tomorrow or Friday.

Btw, I agree with Shiny- if you should see an old guy creeping along in baggy jeans and Bunny slippers, it is likely me. Please don't cross the street!

Ha
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:22 PM   #15
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Good advice. Start having sex with someone and she has to take your calls...for a while.

I spend most of my time with my foot in my mouth. This keeps me pretty busy apologizing.

El Pobrecito

Sorry Ha but sometimes we realize it was a mistake and screen our calls !
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:23 PM   #16
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That could be what a lot of ER's are doing, but other than "volunteering" those seem to be pretty solitary activities.
Which seems like it would be lonely? Hence my question... I just missed interacting with peers during the day.
...golf ...fishing trip...or rent a sailboat and hop around the Bahamas. Isn't that what early retirement is all about? How do we hook up?
So where are you guys? Alumni clubs? Yacht clubs? Or mostly just involved in solitary activities?
Your points are very well put.

1. Age and low peer count - I also found a considerable age gap (FIREd at 48) between myself and the retired folks around town.
My answer is...so what? Age is a state of mind. I have found that I actually have more fun with folks who are more chronologically experienced < that is said with all due respect and maximum grace> than I do my own peers. My peers are way too serious.
Try connecting with other age groups. Greater AND lesser. Volunteering is your passport here.
I promise you will be pleasantly surprised.

2. Lonely? Once in a while, but I find that once I got used to my own company, all went smoothly. But I do pity myself having to hang around with me all the time. So I come here and bother you all.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:31 PM   #17
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I tried semi-retirement with my "lifestyle" business over the past five years (2 weeks work, 2 weeks slacking off or on vacation) and I honestly found it sort of depressing. During the day, the only people "out" around town are the elderly, housewives and I suppose the chronically unemployed. All my friends, neighbors and peers were at work, of course. It felt lonely.

Vacations were similar, it was usually me and a whole lot of conventional retirees -- mainly old people hobbling around. And yes I'm going to be there one day myself and yes they're very interesting to talk with and had great stories, but really... does ER mean I would have to spend the rest of my life with a bunch of really old people? Or was I just picking the wrong places?

So where do all the early retirees tend to loiter? Ski slopes? Europe? Where are you all?
I'll be on the ski slopes... in Europe, when I am retired.

I think it depends on your personality. My mom has a very hard time dealing with the loneliness of retirement despite seeing family members several times a week, living in an area offering many outdoors activities, very active travel and hiking clubs, etc... She misses interacting with people all day long (she used to work in retail).

I know for a fact that I won't miss it at all. I am very independent and I like being by myself. I sometimes spend entire weeks by myself (off from work and wife traveling around the world on business) and not once do I get bored. I take care of projects around the house, go shopping, spend a few hours at a coffee shop or a bookstore, have lunch with friends (which you can do with friends who are still working), watch movies, walk around town, cook, clean, play with the cats, play video games, chat with people on this board etc... I also socialize with friends and relatives on a weekly basis (mostly on week-ends), either in person or on the phone. Yes, some of those activities are rather solitary but, as far as I am concerned, it's OK.

For me the prospect of loneliness is not the problem... I just wonder how I will handle being with my wife all day, every day once we are both retired...
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:45 PM   #18
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Take up fishing. You would be surprised how many folks on a fixed income as they put it have nice boats but are afraid to fish alone and want someone younger to go with them. I am heading to the Venice FL area next week for a week of fishing with a few friends that are snow birds there now and provide the boat and tackle. I cover part of the gas and help them catch fish. The rest of the time is spent with family and we stay in another snowbirds 2nd home that is currently vacant so all we have to do is get there.

This arrangement took a few years to setup and was accomplished through a network of fishing friends. It works well for all and the age difference does not bother me.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:49 PM   #19
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Well, let's see...if you consider 51 elderly, then I'm an elderly housewife.

I enjoy my volunteer work at the police department and the court. I find these areas very interesting. My responsibilities are soooo different from what I did during my w*rking years.

DH will be retiring soon. He enjoys taking classes at the community college...many age groups there. We bought a motorcycle last year and have joined a club. So some time will be spent going on trips and meeting people who enjoy riding.

Here's another thought..tell your friends about this forum. They'll get financially savvy and will be able to join you in early retirement.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:07 PM   #20
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Just before giving notice, I photographed the dullest parts of my day. The last one is a particularly odious one; itís the place I went for brief breaks when it all got to be too much.

Iím fortunate that I had my own office and often worked alone so the social opportunities are actually better now. Itís true for me that the dullest ER day is better than w*rk. Hey, I stayed home and I did my taxes today, lots of fun. Laughing with SO as we speak.
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