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Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 12:08 PM   #1
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Romanticizing retirement

For those of you who have retired already . . . have you found retirement has been an easy transition for you, as far as it being what you had dreamed? I think some people may tend to romanticize what retirement is going to be like.

For example, I think that many people may read about Billy and Akaisha and how they are living their early retirement and think, "yeah, that sounds awesome. That's what I want to do too."

But they forget to actually consider that they are different from Billy and Akaisha. Maybe they don't like travelling. Or maybe they like travelling, but only for 2 weeks or so. Maybe they are homebodies and would do better finding a place they want to retire and living there year in, year out.

And what if your spouse's idea of the ideal retirement are drastically different than yours? How do you compromise on something as major as that??

I would be interested in how your plans have differed or stayed the same when you actually reached your goal.
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 12:22 PM   #2
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

I left the work force at the end of June, so I've only had 9 months of retirement.

I have a lot of hobbies, love to putter around the house doing paperwork, reading, gardening and I record a lot of stuff with my DVR.

That said, I am much more relaxed, really appreciate my free time and have lost a nice chunk of weight since I am more active. I am really enjoying my ER and will do whatever I can so NOT to return to the stresses of working. I am 53 and still have a 19 yo kid at home (not for long though).
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 12:39 PM   #3
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

Welcome to the board, TR.
Quote:
Originally Posted by trharris
For those of you who have retired already . . . have you found retirement has been an easy transition for you, as far as it being what you had dreamed?* I think some people may tend to romanticize what retirement is going to be like.
No, it hasn't been anything like I expected.

It's been far better. Five years and looking forward to another six or seven decades.

Most of the transition consists of repressing the strong instinctive urge to return to the workplace. (OK, I'm being sarcatic.) The transition seems to start by taking it a day at a time-- pretending you're on vacation, getting extra rest & naps, exercising, and messing around doing whatever you want.

Slowly you realize that the vacation doesn't have to end. You feel refreshed & energized and you start picking through that list of things you swore you were going to do when you had the time someday.

For some people that consists of recreating their work environment in a way they find enjoyable (usually because now they're the boss). For others it's a combination of a part-time workplace and recreation/hobbies. For the rest, especially me, it's a gleeful dancing around & swearing that you'll never be caught working for a paycheck ever again.

Unlike your working years, now you're responsible for your own entertainment. If that includes fantasies, they may turn out to be hard work (as Billy & Akaisha can attest for their lifestyle).

We enjoy an occasional trip but for now we're largely homebodies. We'll have to see how that changes when our kid leaves the nest and her bunny goes to his great reward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trharris
And what if your spouse's idea of the ideal retirement are drastically different than yours? How do you compromise on something as major as that??
Yeah, good luck with that. But it's like any other big subject-- kids, where to live, what to do this weekend-- you talk it out and achieve a concensus. Personally I'm OK with my spouse working as long as she wants to. Just don't drag me into it! And again, if spouse wants to follow her own path for a time, you're still responsible for your own entertainment. You can't expect much sympathy complaining about your lack of fulfilment when she's logged her 40th or 50th hour of the workweek.

When I ER'd I had a list. I still do, but the timeline has shifted from weeks/months to months/years. I'm finding that I spend more time enjoying my interests as I achieve my goals, or some of them are just harder than they look! We'll have to see if that changes when we're spending less time on parenting...
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 12:42 PM   #4
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

I can see how some people might have unrealistic expectations for retirement. *The fact that you are responsible for your own entertainment can be a culture shock for some folks.

If you and your spouse don't like being around each other much, or don't have much in common, that can be a real drag. *But it's possible to each do your own thing.

People are generally MUCH MORE RELAXED in retirement. *That is a HUGE benefit. *I live around a lot more retired people now and I can tell you compare to my old city suburb, folks are a lot more happy, relaxed, and not in a hurry. *They're much easier to be around than people still stuck in the rat race.

I've been retired for almost 7 years now, and not having to work for a living and having control of your own time is SO GREAT it overshadows just about everything for me. *We've figured out what we like to do, and we are doing it as much as we want! *At our own pace - no one else's.

Yes, you do have to figure out what suits you. *Someone else's ideal retirement may not be a good match. *It might even take a year or two to figure this out. *You have to be patient. *Retirement is a big adjustment and really fine tuning it to work for you it takes some creativity.

Audrey
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 04:16 PM   #5
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

I've been ERd for 7.5 months now and it sure is nice.* My sweetheart ER'd nearly two years ago.*

I did some of the house "to do" list stuff right away and got it behind me.* I've still got lots of hobby project list items, and I can have trouble where working on one thing makes me feel bad that I'm not working on all the others.* Of course, when I was "working" I didn't seem to work on much of any of them, so I'll take modest progress and some irrational guilt over no progress and lots of irrational guilt.* *

This past week I took a one-day class (offered by the company who does one of my CAD packages, and I did pay for it) but over the next couple of days I polished off two novels (1000 pages combined).* When I was working and taking the street car I used to regularly read a book every day and a half or so, but when the commute switched to me having to drive, that free time for reading dried up.* I'm working hard on being able to comfortably say "F it, I want to sit down and read this book, and by gum that's just what I'm going to do!".*

I still practice procrastination and avoidance, but retirement leaves time for some small bits of progress here and there, which is a pleasant change from when I was working.

I will admit I had some romantic dreams that I'd get rested up and would then become amazingly productive.* But I'm learning to deal with not having to explain away my slothful indolence.* After all, I'm retired!* *

cheers,
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 04:33 PM   #6
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
No, it hasn't been anything like I expected.

It's been far better. Five years and looking forward to another six or seven decades.
Hearing stuff like this is a huge motivator - it's exactly how I think I'll be if/when I reach ER ...
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 04:38 PM   #7
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

i'm 49 & on month 10. i decided right off that i was going to do nothing my first year and so far i've succeeded in that beyond my wildest dreams.

i sleep & wake up when i want. i hit the gym in the middle of the afternoon when i can actually get on the machines. i go biking at 3 in the morning when i have all the roads to myself. i take walks along the beach at 5 in the morning when i can actually hear the surf instead of the car tires on the road. i take the mountain bike into the everglades and i don't come home until after rush hour. it's wonderful.

probably this year i will start summer travels a month or two or three at a time (depending on family situation), then i will extend travel to 6 months to a year at a time, first in english speaking areas until i am comfortable with being away from home. then i'll venture into the more exotic places. then sell house, buy boat and the world will be my um, oyster.

i have the opposite problem of a spouse who has other plans, being single, having no one to travel with. so i am looking into how i will deal with that. but i'm sure one way or the other i'll manage just fine.

i loved recently reading about billy and akaisha on this very forum. more than inspirational, i find their story confirmation of dreams i've always held to be true.
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 06:34 PM   #8
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Michael
* I've still got lots of hobby project list items, and I can have trouble where working on one thing makes me feel bad that I'm not working on all the others.*
This is a good one. Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission NOT to multitask. The career/working environment was so twisted in this respect. Yes, it's great to have lots of projects to work on, but it's only reasonable to expect to make progress on one or two at a time. The others need to be demoted to a lower priority. As long as you are making progress on one of them, that is enough. Hopefully in time you can get over your "misplaced" guilt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Michael
I still practice procrastination and avoidance, but retirement leaves time for some small bits of progress here and there, which is a pleasant change from when I was working.

I will admit I had some romantic dreams that I'd get rested up and would then become amazingly productive.* But I'm learning to deal with not having to explain away my slothful indolence.* After all, I'm retired!* *
I'm a die-hard procrastinator and avoider too. So part of adjusting to retiring for me was to realize that whatever I was frittering away was my own time now. I still give myself plenty of permission to goof off - goof off time is apparently important to my quality of life. But I also know that I value some productive time and am less happy without it. So I set a few achievable goals on personally important projects on a regular basis, and let myself make good progress on them without driving myself like a slave (as I would have had it been work for hire). I guess this falls into the category of "managing yourself".

But don't let some work/career standard of productivity impose itself on your personal leisure time. You can enjoy being productive, but there is no law of the universe that says we must somehow be tremendously productive all the time in order to be worthwhile human beings (in spite of the severe work ethic instilled in each of us at an early age).

It's all about balance. Took me a few years to find mine so I suspect you are still in the process of learning about yourself and your needs.

Audrey
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 07:23 PM   #9
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
. . . i go biking at 3 in the morning when i have all the roads to myself.
Here in Las Vegas biking at 3AM is apt to lead to a very brief retirement!
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 07:48 PM   #10
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

SWR problem solved... :
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

I had no goals, plans or expectations about retirement and I've only been out for about si x weeks, so I'm feeling my way through this for a while. *I have some ideas about what I want to do eventually in the back of my head, but I'm not rushing to get to them at this point. *That's the best part so far...making it up as I go. *Work was just the opposite. *I was always doing what other's had planned for me and that didn't change when I became management; it got worse. *There was always some meeting, worthless training to take or some sort of personnel requirement to count beans so the bean counters had a job. *All I know is, I used to dread most nights, especially Sunday nights because I knew I had to get up and go to work tomorrow. *Now I go to bed exicted about what tomorrow might bring.

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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 09:19 PM   #12
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yipee-Ki-O
Here in Las Vegas biking at 3AM is apt to lead to a very brief retirement!
most of our bars close at 2 so i give them an hour to get home. also the 5 am beach walks are timed to be done before the 6-7 am morning traffic. i love not being on their time.
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 11:11 PM   #13
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by setab
All I know is, I used to dread most nights, especially Sunday nights because I knew I had to get up and go to work tomorrow. *Now I go to bed exicted about what tomorrow might bring.
Our new motto: Thank God it's Monday!
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-09-2006, 11:25 PM   #14
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

Quote:
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Our new motto:* Thank God it's Monday!
Yup!*

I'm in year 4... we need more Mondays, and less Fridays!*
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-10-2006, 08:12 AM   #15
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

I never had a problem getting up in the morning to go to work especially since I had an enjoyable commute by bicycle. Deep down, I am a lazy bum and so when I stopped working over a year ago (6 months were paid for) I further indulged myself in laziness pastimes.

Not working anymore, works for me (so far).
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-10-2006, 08:26 AM   #16
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

I'm still new at this, having left work just last month, but what I'm loving most is the feeling of EASE. No more deadline/scheduling of my life. No more of this "Oh, it's X:00 o'clock, I've gotta be getting ready, Gotta leave by x:00 o'clock, traffic's awful; Don't feel like stopping for groceries/gas/banking/etc after work, so pile that on for weekend chores; Oh, gosh, what to slap together for dinner tonight; crash, zone out, think about what's to be done tomorrow. Yikes! Do it all over again.

NOW, I'm at complete ease. Love getting out to do errands, I have plenty of time. Traffic is not an issue for me - not in a rush. It's so much easier to take time and be pleasant with others. Love browsing the Farmer's Market for something fresh for tonight. Love putting meals together - taking it outside for a picnic, a hike, to the library or lecture. Taking all day to read the paper in more depth. Reading for pleasure. Music wafting from the windows.

EVERYTHING is sweeter. Loving it!!
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-10-2006, 11:01 AM   #17
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

The other week I took off on a Monday and a Friday, and got a small dose, I guess, of what retirement might be like. I spent most of that Monday just doing stuff in the yard, including replacing a stockade fence that's been threatening to fall down for the past few years. One thing that was really nice was being able to go to Lowes, the bank, and run other errands without having to fight with traffic and crowds everywhere...simply because everyone else was still at work!

I also took my time on the fence, no rushing to get it done on time, etc. Because there IS no deadline on finishing it. I can do it whenever I want! Well, I got a good deal done on that Monday, and did some more on that Friday. Still didn't get the fence finished, but it was nice to be able to just slow down, relax, pace myself, not have to rush to be anywhere, and simply NOT CARE ABOUT DEADLINES!
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-10-2006, 11:21 AM   #18
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starry Night
NOW, I'm at complete ease. Love getting out to do errands, I have plenty of time. Traffic is not an issue for me - not in a rush. It's so much easier to take time and be pleasant with others. Love browsing the Farmer's Market for something fresh for tonight. Love putting meals together - taking it outside for a picnic, a hike, to the library or lecture. Taking all day to read the paper in more depth. Reading for pleasure. Music wafting from the windows.

EVERYTHING is sweeter. Loving it!!
Man, based on this post I think I want to move my FIRE date a year closer. C'mon Dow-Jones!
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-10-2006, 12:06 PM   #19
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yipee-Ki-O
Here in Las Vegas biking at 3AM is apt to lead to a very brief retirement!
Then again, come July and August, 3AM is about the only time you can bike without frying. LOL We went for a short (about 6 miles) ride yesterday afternoon, windy and warm but not scorching hot.
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Re: Romanticizing retirement
Old 04-10-2006, 12:39 PM   #20
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Re: Romanticizing retirement

The thing I am most looking forward to is being able to do errands & go to lunch when other people are working. I love breaskfast at Bob Evans, but you can't get near the place on the weekends. But mid-week, no problem! Ditto the bank, the library, and lots of other places. I can't wait!

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