Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
non-leisure ER activities of choice?
Old 05-11-2010, 10:29 AM   #1
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 42
non-leisure ER activities of choice?

Browsing though a couple of threads, I came across statements about what ER is about....such as enjoying leisure activities, stepping off the fast-paced treadmill of American life, having time to hang out, spending time on hobbies, etc. I agree with all of this, especially the idea we need to learn to slow down and experience just "being". That said, ER for me is often not about leisure (i.e. relaxing), but about getting to do just what I want to do, when I want to, and how I want to (although I'm sure my perspective will evolve too since I'm new at it).

Thinking about this made me curious about what "non-leisure" activities other ER folks have chosen to do or plan to do, not because they have to but because they want to. By "non-leisure" I mean activities that are not typically thought of as relaxing or easy (golfing is leisure but I don't consider running a marathon leisure or volunteering at the homeless shelter). I'd also be curious about the ebbs and flows of these non-leisure activities for those who have been retired a long time.

Here's my current list of non-leisure activities that I'm working on at a slow pace.
1) building a treehouse (not a weekend project....about 200 SF plus deck)
2) writing a book (yeah, I hope for a little supplemental ER income here, but it is still a pure "want to")
3) vegetable gardening (too many weeds in my garden for me to call it leisure, but then it is relaxing)

On my to-do list:
1) build a root cellar (that doubles as a wine cellar)
2) build a grass-roofed "green barn" into the hillside for storing a bunch of stuff
3) build a garden wall (to keep out the deer and rabbit and whatever else keeping eating our garden, but more aesthetic than just a simple fence)
3) learn to weld (you can see I enjoy building things, so would like to learn)

Here's a couple of big projects I periodically mull over and learn a little about, but they are very iffy and I'm not sure I want to spend so much time on them.
1) help one of my kids start a small business some day
2) build a little cottage for a rental (I live in the country so have some extra space)
__________________

__________________
mmcc is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-11-2010, 11:08 AM   #2
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,860
It's all leisure to me, but using your definition
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmcc
By "non-leisure" I mean activities that are not typically thought of as relaxing or easy
then here are some "non-leisure" activities that I have been up to lately:

1. painting the woodwork in my dressing room (it's half done, and I only work on it when I feel like it)

2. doing some spring cleaning (again, only when the spirit moves me)

3. grocery shopping (actually this is fun when retired because I can shop during the day, when the store is virtually empty).

4. laundry (how hard is that? The machine really does the work these days. It's not like I have to use a wringer washer or pound the clothes with rocks at a stream to get them clean).

There isn't much in my life that fits in this category! And really, the only reason these activities could be considered as non-leisure is that OTHER people don't typically think of them as relaxing or easy. When it comes down to it, who cares what other people think about what I do? I think that everything I do is fun and relaxing.

I would argue that one item on your list, writing a book, is actually the ULTIMATE leisure activity. That sounds like a lot of fun and I plan to write one too, once I determine a topic and find the time for it in my busy retirement. My retired older brother and I have both been talking about each writing a book, for over a decade.

Also, most of the rest of your non-leisure activities fit into the category of "puttering around the house and repairing/improving the property" which to me is also very much a relaxing leisure activity.

It's all attitude.
__________________

__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 12:34 PM   #3
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
It's all attitude.
Agreed. Ultimately I enjoy everything on my list or I would not do it (I'm not talking about any kind of obligation), but there are also elements of struggle (physical or mental), frustration (I goofed up), worry (is the whole project going to be a failure), and occasionally even fear (I don't like heights but want a treehouse). I suppose a different take on my posting could be how much delayed or indirect gratification do we choose to insert into our ER, given we all had to very disciplined to get where we are at. (I'm not implying more or less is better or worse, only that there is a difference.)
__________________
mmcc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 02:47 PM   #4
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmcc View Post
and occasionally even fear (I don't like heights but want a treehouse).
Have you thought about "shrinking" your tree? Cut off the the middle of the tree, then use your new skill which you'll learn later, to "weld" it together again.
__________________
oilspill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 02:55 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,929
Construction on my personal Winchester Mystery House.

Waiting for the USS Parche blueprints to be declassified so I can order one of those neat-o multilayer wood cutaways. (It's gonna be a long wait...)
__________________
M Paquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 03:36 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,642
I agree with W2R - those are all leisure. Only work is not leisure. Now, if you define "non-leisure" to include non-work things you don't really want to do then I try to avoid as many as possible but my list would include things like weeding and picking up dog poop.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 04:02 PM   #7
Recycles dryer sheets
ScottFromUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Orem/Provo
Posts: 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
I would argue that one item on your list, writing a book, is actually the ULTIMATE leisure activity. That sounds like a lot of fun and I plan to write one too, once I determine a topic and find the time for it in my busy retirement. My retired older brother and I have both been talking about each writing a book, for over a decade.
My wife and I have written (and published) over 40 books; about half are nonfiction trade books (like those in BN, B. Dalton, and Waldenbooks) and about half are college textbooks. Here are my observations about writing books.

1. The main difference between those who talk about writing a book and those who actually write a book is that those who write a book, write a book. They aren't smarter, better organized, better writers, with better ideas; they simply get in and do the writing.

2. I wrote several books and about a hundred magazine articles "just for fun," as a side hobby. It was enjoyable, and I made a little money at it. Then we started making real money, a lot of it. It was wonderfully rewarding but not nearly as much fun. In general, I believe that converting hobbies into money making work takes most of the fun out of them.

3. I don't particularly like to write, but I love "having written." Good writing is terribly hard work. But getting a box of freshly printed books that you have authored is one of the most rewarding experiences or your life.

4. The keys to making money at writing books are (a) be eager and happy to get feedback (read "painful criticism") from editors, and be willing to revise your writing based on their "suggestions"; (b) be fanatic at editing, so that your writing is clean and crisp; (c) don't let rejection get you down--accept it, learn from it, and move forward; (d) specialize (find your niche) in a field you love and become an expert in that field.

5. My family and friends ask my wife and me why we don't write a novel. I answer, "I read lots of nonfiction; I read very little fiction. I am not qualified to write good fiction." Again, you have to write about what you love and what you know.

Good luck to all you writers and future writers.
__________________
ScottFromUtah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 04:06 PM   #8
Recycles dryer sheets
ScottFromUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Orem/Provo
Posts: 231
My favorite non-leisure activity is humanitarian work, as in foreign humanitarian expeditions. They are challenging, and they are hard work, but they are pleasurable, educational, and rewarding.
__________________
ScottFromUtah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 05:38 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,384
The only thing I do that is not leisure is active investing, which I really consider a part time job. Also self care and hygiene and medical-dental appointments, and the little bit of housework required by apartment living. Housework for me is always a learning experience. For those of you who remember my housecleaning confessions of some years back, I can say that I am very much improved from that embarrassing level of sloth.

I guess cooking and meal cleanup should also be included in non-leisure for me. I do like food shopping, as I go every day or even several times daily and it is kind of an excuse to get out early and do some walking, see some people, etc. The cooking I do in the most direct way that I can and still get tasty, healthful meals, but I don't really enjoy it much. I do enjoy the eating part.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 08:14 PM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
ladypatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 121
Non-leisure activities are (at least, to me) those activities I'm compelled to do or perform. Housework, for instance. I like a neat, well-kept home so I keep up on my housekeeping chores. Well, at least I try to. Some people find cooking a leisure activity; and although I don't mind cooking, I personally can't call it a leisure activity, so it would fall under non-leisure category for me.

One person's leisure can be another's drudgery, I suppose. My dh is happiest when he's building something or remodeling something or installing something. Actually, anything that involves power tools makes him happy. He can be sweating and swearing, but having a great time. That's his leisure.

Maybe anything can be a leisure activity with the right attitude. Except for dental cleaning. Or gynecological checkups.

LadyPatriot
__________________
ladypatriot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 08:16 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 16,464
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFromUtah View Post
My wife and I have written (and published) over 40 books; about half are nonfiction trade books (like those in BN, B. Dalton, and Waldenbooks) and about half are college textbooks. Here are my observations about writing books.

1. The main difference between those who talk about writing a book and those who actually write a book is that those who write a book, write a book. They aren't smarter, better organized, better writers, with better ideas; they simply get in and do the writing.

2. I wrote several books and about a hundred magazine articles "just for fun," as a side hobby. It was enjoyable, and I made a little money at it. Then we started making real money, a lot of it. It was wonderfully rewarding but not nearly as much fun. In general, I believe that converting hobbies into money making work takes most of the fun out of them.

3. I don't particularly like to write, but I love "having written." Good writing is terribly hard work. But getting a box of freshly printed books that you have authored is one of the most rewarding experiences or your life.

4. The keys to making money at writing books are (a) be eager and happy to get feedback (read "painful criticism") from editors, and be willing to revise your writing based on their "suggestions"; (b) be fanatic at editing, so that your writing is clean and crisp; (c) don't let rejection get you down--accept it, learn from it, and move forward; (d) specialize (find your niche) in a field you love and become an expert in that field.

5. My family and friends ask my wife and me why we don't write a novel. I answer, "I read lots of nonfiction; I read very little fiction. I am not qualified to write good fiction." Again, you have to write about what you love and what you know.

Good luck to all you writers and future writers.
Thanks for a great, informative post!

Audrey
__________________
Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
audreyh1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 08:30 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 16,464
I tend to call my non-leisure (non-chore) activities "creative projects".

I actually still consider them leisure activities since they are done for my own personal pleasure - but I consider them "non-recreational". For me, recreational activities are for relaxing or just "having fun" with no end goal in mind (even if it's something you do very intensely).

My "creative projects" have some kind of "deliverable" - i.e. some finished product/result I can point to or publish or share with others somehow.

I don't count cooking in the above - even though it does result is a finished product that I can share. Unfortunately, with cooking, the finished product disappears!!!!

My current "creative projects":
  • Travelogue writing (on my blog).
  • Researching for the above.
  • Taking nature/landscape photographs.
  • Editing photographs and creating prints or publishing somehow.
  • My big pretty picture "coffee table book" - which is going very slowly!
  • A great deal of work involved with our new house. I just published my complete landscaping plan part of which is an elaborate butterfly garden for DH.

In the past I have done:
  • Several graphics arts/design projects using our nature photographs.
  • Produced several nature videos in DVD format.
  • Taken several courses/studied several texts.

Audrey
__________________
Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
audreyh1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 08:39 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 16,464
It seems pretty clear from the OP's examples that he is describing projects or educational efforts rather than chores when he refers to "non-leisure" activities. And he is also describing things he wants to do.

I think he is attempting to distinguish between purely recreational activities (like say sailing or reading a book, etc.) and goal-oriented activities that are kind of like (dare I say it!) w*rk, except that you are doing it for your own pleasure, benefit, and sense of accomplishment and at your own pace.

Audrey
__________________
Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
audreyh1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2010, 11:00 PM   #14
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 882
I do taxes for people for free. Joined the Taxaide program a couple of years ago. Started out just preparing returns -- now manage one of the centers and manage the technical support for 4 counties.

The annual training is a bit of a time sink because the regs change every year. But the actual work is quite rewarding. Almost without exception the clients are very grateful for the help so it is very satisfying in that regard.

When I joined, I was surprised to find that most of the people I work with are not former financial professionals. Most don't have any financial background at all. It makes for an interesting and diverse group to work with.
__________________
jebmke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2010, 12:28 AM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
kyounge1956's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,171
My long-time ambition is to build a house with my own two hands.
__________________
kyounge1956 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2010, 05:14 AM   #16
Recycles dryer sheets
ladypatriot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
It seems pretty clear from the OP's examples that he is describing projects or educational efforts rather than chores when he refers to "non-leisure" activities. And he is also describing things he wants to do.

I think he is attempting to distinguish between purely recreational activities (like say sailing or reading a book, etc.) and goal-oriented activities that are kind of like (dare I say it!) w*rk, except that you are doing it for your own pleasure, benefit, and sense of accomplishment and at your own pace.

Audrey
Everyone has a different concept of leisure. We all might agree on the precise definition of the word (i.e., leisure is defined as time free from work or duties), but how we apply the word to our activities can vary widely.

For me, anything I choose to do for fun or enjoyment, whether it requires physical or mental effort (or both), falls into the leisure category. For some people, learning languages is fun...so is that leisure or non-leisure?

Now, I have projects or activities that are goal-oriented and take some effort to complete, but I still consider them leisure activities because (a) they're fun, and (b) I'm free to spend as much or as little time on them as I choose.

I've developed a skill for decoupage art, and some projects take quite a bit of time and effort. I also enjoy sewing for my home (curtains, placemats/napkins, pillows, wall hangings, etc.) because it's fun to create something new, to experiment with colors and styles. For me, those things are leisure activities.

I enjoy studying geography. Weird, I know...but the world fascinates me. Did you know that the Basque language spoken by the Basque people of northern Spain is unlike any other language in the world? It doesn't belong to any of the language families recognized by language experts. Learning that kind of stuff is sheer fun for me.

I'm also a World War II amateur. I read books (biographies, military histories), study maps, visit museums, etc. Dh and I are planning to visit the national WWII museum in New Orleans sometime next year. And my bucket list includes a visit to Hawaii to see the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and a visit to France to walk the beach at Normandy.

And I consider all these things my leisure activities. So I hope this clarifies my earlier post.

LadyPatriot
__________________
ladypatriot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2010, 05:49 AM   #17
Moderator
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 9,345
I do close to 40 hours of yard work a week during the spring and summer, with a lot of woodworking mixed in.
__________________
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2010, 07:35 AM   #18
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
Thanks for a great, informative post!

Audrey
ScottFromUtah, I'd like to second that. As a guy struggling with book number one, I find great value in the observations of one who has written 40.
__________________
mmcc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2010, 08:30 AM   #19
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
It seems pretty clear from the OP's examples that he is describing projects or educational efforts rather than chores when he refers to "non-leisure" activities. And he is also describing things he wants to do.

I think he is attempting to distinguish between purely recreational activities (like say sailing or reading a book, etc.) and goal-oriented activities that are kind of like (dare I say it!) w*rk, except that you are doing it for your own pleasure, benefit, and sense of accomplishment and at your own pace.

Audrey
That's right. Early into my ER, much of my time if filled with these "non-leisure" activities. Some of this is due to who I am and how I like to spend my time, some of it is due to having a backlog of things I want to do, but a part may also be due to not yet finding the right balance in setting more time aside for a good book or a walk in the woods. I'm content, but always looking for new insights and curious about what you guys choose to do outside the pure leisure category. I appreciate the responses.
__________________
mmcc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2010, 08:37 AM   #20
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronstar View Post
I do close to 40 hours of yard work a week during the spring and summer, with a lot of woodworking mixed in.
Wow, that's a lot of yard work. As one who enjoys the results of landscaping, I'd be interested in what you are doing in those 40 hours.
__________________

__________________
mmcc is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Too Much Money= Too Little Leisure? yakers FIRE and Money 11 02-07-2006 11:02 AM
Cleaning out the closet: business v leisure education Other topics 11 11-06-2005 04:14 PM
James Garfield on Leisure Time..... Cut-Throat Other topics 1 04-12-2005 06:22 PM
Leisure time predictions in the 70's Cut-Throat Other topics 7 02-22-2005 05:58 PM
Leisure Spending?? haha FIRE and Money 31 10-03-2004 09:45 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:46 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.