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One year anniversary of ER, reflections
Old 09-29-2015, 04:07 PM   #1
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One year anniversary of ER, reflections

Hey gang! This week marks one year since I officially retired. I thought I would commemorate that with a few thoughts. I doubt that there is anything new here, but this group has been very supportive and I have always enjoyed reading other's thoughts.

On the bright side:

1. ER was definitely the right choice for my emotional health. Although my job wasn't terribly stressful, I have been much happier without it. DW cheerfully admits this to everyone who asks.
2. ER seems to have been good for my physical health, probably as a direct result of being happier. Blood pressure is down several points - not enough to discontinue meds, but definitely a statistically significant change.
3. My cooking skills have improved dramatically and DW is much happier to have meals ready for her when she gets home from her commute rather than having to start the cooking process at the end of the day.
4. I am slowly developing a circle of acquaintances around my music hobby. We're still in the early stages, but I have discovered that my skill level is quite a bit higher than I suspected and I have found a few older professional musicians who are looking to discontinue the stress of performing but still want to be able to read through music with other capable players.
5. Golf game is better, although not as much improved as I had hoped.
6. Reading a book a day is a great thing.
7. Spending numbers are below projections.

Disappointments, issues, etc:

1. 10:30 AM is the worst possible tee time. However, this is the time that my buddies would like to play. I would much prefer to play earlier (9:00) or later (1:00) so that I can have a big chunk of time at the beginning or end of the day for other interests/projects. One guy needs to drive across town and wants to avoid rush hour traffic, however.
2. I have definitely disappointed DW on the housecleaning front. I'm good with dishes and laundry, but sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting and the like- not so much. We are in discussion about possibly hiring cleaners on a monthly basis.
3. I have also disappointed DW on the household projects front. I blame this in part on the 10:30 tee time issue, but I don't share this excuse with DW.
4. Aerobic exercise has not happened like I wanted it to. I had hoped to ride my bicycle several times each week, but have been hit and miss with this. I have identified two excuses - 1) the 10:30 tee time - I can't fit a ride in before or after, and 2) I really don't enjoy riding the bike for exercise as much as I thought. I LOVED commuting on the bicycle, but riding a loop for 45 minutes or an hour just doesn't do much for me. As a result, bike miles are down from 1200-1500 miles per year to only about 500 this year.

One other thought:

1) Why don't libraries open at 8 AM? I still feel the need to get up and get out of the house every morning. This has not lessened over the year.

Anyway, if you've read this far, thanks. And a big thank you to all of you for this supportive community.
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Old 09-29-2015, 04:20 PM   #2
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Why don't libraries open at 8 AM? I still feel the need to get up and get out of the house every morning. This has not lessened over the year.
[shudder]

Sorry, but the first activities of the morning involve finishing 2-3 large mugs of coffee and reading two newspapers (local and WSJ) on the iPad.

By the time these truly necessary chores are done, it's time to start thinking about what to make for breakfast. Oh, and maybe just one more cup of coffee.

In the not-very-common situation of completing my morning chores before 9 am, I've found that this is a wonderful time to visit the supermarket. Practically empty between 8 and 10.
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Old 09-29-2015, 06:38 PM   #3
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Regarding cleaning chores: We bought a Roomba and though it makes me crazy to watch it (it does some pretty "stupid" things IMHO) it DOES seem to work if you use it often. YMMV
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Old 09-29-2015, 06:49 PM   #4
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Thank you for the encouragement this provides to those of us nervously peering over the edge. 32 weeks to go for me, and it is still kind of scary. Can I ask how old you are? I'll be 50, and am wondering what it is like for younger old guys.
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Old 09-29-2015, 07:09 PM   #5
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I started down the ER pathway about 18 months ago, but not quite full time as have been doing some consulting as well as being involved in a start-up as well over the past 12 months.

I can relate to the OP comments on lagging on housekeeping, projects, fitness and a recurring commitment mid-mornings..glad I am not alone here!

Being 50 myself at the time of ER was not a major issue, the way I look at it is that with some luck I will have more years of active pursuits to occupy my time. DW still is still working, but should be done inside of 2 years, so its a bit of a limbo period at the moment before the real adventure takes off for us.
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:25 PM   #6
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Thank you for the encouragement this provides to those of us nervously peering over the edge. 32 weeks to go for me, and it is still kind of scary. Can I ask how old you are? I'll be 50, and am wondering what it is like for younger old guys.
Present age 56 years and 4 months. It is a bit odd being one of the younger ones running around. My two golf buddies also retired last year - they are 62 and 63. We spend a lot of time complaining about the "old farts" on the golf course during the week. It has helped me to have more or less entered retirement with these two friends, although it has probably also acted as a bit of a brake on finding others to associate with.

It has almost certainly helped my adjustment that I am more than a bit of an introvert (as are many others around here). I do miss the casual daily interaction with others at the office just a tiny bit, but that is the ONLY thing that I miss.

It is also a bit difficult to find younger people to interact with. Fortunately, DD#1 and a former co-worker are close by and we socialize occasionally with them and part of their circle of friends.

Overall, I would say that the transition has been a huge success - life isn't perfect, but it is miles closer than it was 2 years ago.
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:51 PM   #7
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Appreciate the update, always nice to hear results vs expectations.
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:15 PM   #8
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Thank you for the encouragement this provides to those of us nervously peering over the edge.
Gosh, I casually looked at this and read it as "those of us nervously peeing over the edge."

But hey - when you're FI, you can do pretty much anything you want
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:24 AM   #9
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Thank you for the encouragement this provides to those of us nervously peering over the edge. 32 weeks to go for me, and it is still kind of scary. Can I ask how old you are? I'll be 50, and am wondering what it is like for younger old guys.
Well, I'm 46 and FIRED this year. Most of our friends range from the 40's to 70's in age. We don't know anyone who retired younger than 65, other than folks on this forum.

Our relatively young age hasn't been an issues when socializing. Although we consider ourselves introverts, we get together with friends about 4-5 times weekly. In retirement, we aren't forced to spend time with people and situations we don't care for. So we have much more emotional energy for friends and fun several times a week.

As for friends, we see our w*rking stiff friends during evenings and weekends. We can see some independent contractor friends whenever they have holes in their busy schedules. Obviously, we visit retired friends anytime.

So life is great. I never realized my life could be filled with so much joy.

As a caveat, though, DW and I are planners and have endless hobbies, interests, and passions. W*rk got in the way of life, so we quit w*rk upon FI so that we could live life. If you don't have a life outside of w*rk, then retirement, at any age, could be problematic.

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Old 09-30-2015, 12:31 AM   #10
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jjquantz,

Congratulations on your 1 yr ER anniversary! We hope to have ours in a few more months.

Is DW temped to join you in ER?? My DW and I FIRED at the same time so that we could play together anytime!

Music has become an even larger part of my life, although not quite at your skill level :-)
Still, I'm having the time of my life.

ER is like a great experiment. So how long will this feeling of a joy beyond words last? We'll see what happens tomorrow :-)
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:21 AM   #11
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I second the Roomba recommendation! I bought the $350 Roomba from Costco, and it has made my life so much easier, and my house so much cleaner. I have a crazy busy life, and two cats that shed non-stop. I can't express how much I love my Roomba....I named it Rover. I run it twice a week throughout the whole house. All I have to do is empty the waste bin every time, and clean the brushes every other time (because of all the cat hair & my hair too). iRobot designed the Roomba to be super easy to clean (brushes, waste bin, etc), it is fairly quiet for a vacuum cleaner, and it does a great job on both carpet & hard wood floors. Sorry I went off topic a little...you mentioned hiring a housekeeper & not vacuuming/sweeping often enough.

Racing for the FIRE finish line, but I don't know where it is.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:31 AM   #12
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Thanks jjquantz and freebear. I'm glad to hear ER is working for you.

Our Roomba is called 'Busby' after Busby Berkeley.
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Old 09-30-2015, 08:09 AM   #13
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jjquantz,

Congratulations on your 1 yr ER anniversary! We hope to have ours in a few more months.

Is DW temped to join you in ER?? My DW and I FIRED at the same time so that we could play together anytime!

Music has become an even larger part of my life, although not quite at your skill level :-)
Still, I'm having the time of my life.

ER is like a great experiment. So how long will this feeling of a joy beyond words last? We'll see what happens tomorrow :-)
DW has three factors that keep her from considering ER at this time:

1. She became a federal employee late in life. She has 2 years to the magical 10 year mark. Also, she worked for very little money through most of her career so her SS benefit rises pretty significantly with each year she works. I have told her that I will prepare a detailed financial statement on her 10th year Fed anniversary and every year thereafter outlining her Fed benefits and our overall financial picture. She can then make the call when she wants to pull the plug.
2. She likes w*orking. She is a person who really needs structure in her day. We regularly discuss what she would do to structure her own time, but she struggles with taking this responsibility on.
3. Related to 2. DW has some health issues (arthritis) that have taken some of her hobby interests away from her (knitting and piano playing). She has yet to figure out replacements.
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Old 09-30-2015, 08:54 AM   #14
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Pretty sweet! I'm definitely jealous of your reading. After ER I though I would do more reading but rarely read more than a book per week, and more often 2 weeks to finish a book. Too much netflix and computer games I guess.

So far I haven't had a hard time finding "enough" social interaction. Plenty of stay at home parents that are up for socializing with our kid(s) and their kids at mid-morning play dates. Some friends work odd hours or work only occasionally or are self employed artist types, so we can get together during the week pretty often (as much as I would like, which is 1-2x per week).

I have a lot of the same issues regarding home projects and household chores. They'll get done eventually but they aren't that fun.
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:05 AM   #15
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Thank you for the encouragement this provides to those of us nervously peering over the edge. 32 weeks to go for me, and it is still kind of scary. Can I ask how old you are? I'll be 50, and am wondering what it is like for younger old guys.
I retired a few months ago @48 and it's been pretty good to great so far, I have to say. In terms of being on the young side to RE, it does require you to have a succinct 'elevator speech' for others in the working world (at least around here), but otherwise it doesn't matter at all to most people. I will add that I've had to learn to surpress somewhat my wide smile when I say "I'm retired" in response to the inevitable 'What do you do ..' question. I've softened it to "I'm taking some time off .." and let them go from there, through I have no present intention of seeking new fulltime employment.

I also find myself in some ways busier in my new life than in my old one ... where before I left the house @730 or 8 am and DW/DD/DS assumed I was unavailable from then until 6 or 630 when I came home, I now have a lot more requests for little things during the day -- most of which are fine -- and also more opportunities to do as I please for chunks of time. Really enjoying being able to workout/shop/run errands when things are less crowded during the day, despite all the one-off items that before would have been taken care of by DW or not done at that time. FWIW, if you have kids at home, you're not really, fully retired until they move out or head off to college That said, part of the reason I left when I did was to spend some more high volume time with DD and DS (18 and 16) before they head off soon -- and that' s been nice so far.

Bottom line, I don't regret getting out when I did and would do it again in a heartbeat. What I tell all my old colleagues is that if the number work, leave as soon as you can!
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:18 AM   #16
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Tomorrow is my 5 year ER anniversary.

I'll be on a plane early tomorrow to go back east for my 40th high school reunion this weekend.

In hindsight, I ER'd at just the right time for me - BS bucket was full, FI was confirmed, lots of variables were eliminated (move to retirement house, new car purchase, kids college funded). Realize now that we were FI a few years earlier, but during the downturn, that was a little scary. And I ER'd five years before my original plans, so it was still an adjustment.

The ER life has been great. I overcommitted on long-term volunteer gigs at the beginning, but those are starting to wind down and I'm looking forward to some new things, as well as more of what I thought I would do - reading, hiking, scrapbooking. Life is truly good.
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:03 PM   #17
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Congratulations!

Could you ride your bicycle to the golf course? Get one of those baby trailers to carry the clubs. And, walk the course?

Exercise is important and I wish you luck in finding a way to incorporate it regularly in your schedule.
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:51 PM   #18
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Could you ride your bicycle to the golf course? Get one of those baby trailers to carry the clubs. And, walk the course?
I agree that aimlessly riding a bike isn't that inspiring. I do alot of my grocery shopping via bike. I have a large basket on the handle and I use a backpack. It's amazing how much stuff I can carry on my back.

I like the idea of riding to the golf course and am going to look into that myself. Great idea!
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:58 PM   #19
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Sounds like you've adjusted well jjquantz. I retired just a few months earlier than you and have similar observations.

Unlike you - I still have school age kids to deal with - so I'm up and out early to get them up and out. But I piggy back my exercise with that - taking the dog for daily beach walks. Good for the dog, better for me.

I, too, struggle to do the super-housework I planned to when I retired. I never accomplished the room by room cleanout I'd planned... and the house stays about the same level of cleanliness as when I was working (which isn't going to win any awards.).

I don't have the golf excuse. But like you, I'm enjoying a lot of reading. My library is my friend!
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:25 PM   #20
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Congratulations!

Could you ride your bicycle to the golf course? Get one of those baby trailers to carry the clubs. And, walk the course?

Exercise is important and I wish you luck in finding a way to incorporate it regularly in your schedule.
Walking the course is the ONLY way that I play golf. Biking up there is a possibility that I need to explore. It's the aerobic exercise that I need to build up. Even when we are able to walk 18 holes in 2 and a half hours (which isn't often due to the other golfers) it falls short of an aerobic workout.
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