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Old 08-28-2015, 12:18 PM   #21
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Mead and Healthy brought up another struggle I am going to have to face;
personal identity and professional persona. In reading "how to retire wild, happy, and free", I realized that my personal identity is almost completely wrapped up in my profession. Somewhere, along the way, I lost almost everything else that I was and i either have to find that person again or develop a new one.
A fellow retired executive friend with a similar identity issue got himself a job at Home Depot for a while; more or less to kill time.

One day, as he was stocking paint buckets, he said to himself, "what am I doing here? I'm a vice president!...".

At that moment he realized that he wasn't a 'vice president'...he was just "Bill" working at Home Depot. It cured him!! It helped him get on the road to 'himself'.

In my case, I WAS my job title. It took me several years, but time eventually healed that misconception.
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Old 08-28-2015, 12:43 PM   #22
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How To Retire Happy, Wild, and Free has a Get A Life Tree in it. I highly recommend doing that activity. I also insist that people call me by my first name. Some never will, but surprisingly many now do. I find that makes me feel just like an ordinary person.
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Terrific Thoughts and Advice- thank you
Old 08-28-2015, 01:11 PM   #23
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Terrific Thoughts and Advice- thank you

38chevy- yes, moving (to be a bit more anonymous0, has crossed my mind. The wife wants to work two more years however.
Healthy- already working on the tree. I plan on spending my last 9 months trying to figure out who i am and want to be.
Kind of like adolescence all over again (ewwwwww)
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:27 PM   #24
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In my case, I WAS my job title. It took me several years, but time eventually healed that misconception.
I was never anyone of particular import, so no problem with that...

Megaconglomocorp called me engineering tech, process tech, research tech, etc., but I settled on "silicon bitch" as the most descriptive...
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:35 PM   #25
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I am retiring in mid-2016 and they only thoughts I have about retirement right now are pull the blinds, don't answer the phone or the door.
I can relate to that! It was where I was when I retired 13 years ago. My job was also a bit high-visibility at times (law enforcement) and I am also introverted, which actually worked out fine since I spent a lot of time working alone.

Now I spend a lot of time reading, (got five books from the library yesterday) reading/posting here, watch movies online and really don't need a lot of social activity. Going to the gym and family gatherings seem to be enough - we're going out for dinner tonight with family and I'm looking forward to that. A hobby is photography although I've slacked off on that for a while but expect to get back into it. I've given thought to joining a photography club but haven't done so yet.

The best part of being retired is the freedom to do - or not do - what you want when you want. Going from full throttle to idle is an adjustment and it took me a couple of years but I like where we are now.
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:44 PM   #26
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I have always been an introvert, but when working I enjoyed talking to other nerdy engineers about all sorts of subjects at lunch. They all tend to be more conservative than the public. However, I do not socialize with them outside of work.

Since retirement, I still have my extended family and relatives, many living in town. Up in my part-time 2nd home, I often socialize with the neighbors, though some we only see once or twice a year. I am going to throw a party for them on Labor Day weekend. Somehow, I am not close to the neighbors in the main home, where I live most of the year.
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:51 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by erkevin View Post
Mead and Healthy brought up another struggle I am going to have to face;
personal identity and professional persona. In reading "how to retire wild, happy, and free", I realized that my personal identity is almost completely wrapped up in my profession. Somewhere, along the way, I lost almost everything else that I was and i either have to find that person again or develop a new one.
Time will change that but it does take some time and the desire to do so. A change of venue and getting into different social circles helps a bunch. After 32 years with mega corp in somewhat of a visible position in a small town I couldn't wait to make the move to a larger city if nothing else than to gain some anonymity. (I literally could not leave my house without running into someone who knew me.) After ten years of retirement and nine years living in a location 500 miles from where I worked, I have divorced myself from my former vocation identity.

As a side note my neighbor was the high school principal and ended up in Key West to make the escape after his retirement.
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Old 08-28-2015, 05:37 PM   #28
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I am retiring in mid-2016 and they only thoughts I have about retirement right now are pull the blinds, don't answer the phone or the door.

I am thinking that I just want to be in peace and quiet. For those of you that had similar circumstances, did you feel the same near retirement? Do those feelings fade months into retirement?
I wanted peace and quite too. We moved out of the big city after I retired to "way out in the country". In the 10 years we have had this place in the country, we have never had anyone knock on our door. (zero) Maybe is has something to do with living on a private road out in the middle of nowhere and having a no trespassing sign on main gate several hundred yards from any public roadway. We added our home phone to the National Do Not Call Registry and rarely get any unwanted calls. Sometimes the phone doesn't ring for a week or more.

Never missed any of knocks on the door, endless sales calls, late calls from work, etc....
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Old 08-28-2015, 06:39 PM   #29
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I enjoyed the solitude and solo activities when I first retired. However, I have to say, after almost 4 years in, I could use a little more companionship than I have now. One of the very few drawbacks of early retirement, for me, is that I no longer have the built in social network that came with a job, even though that had plenty of drawbacks, too.
This describes me too, but there is no norm or right answer. Unlike full on extroverts, I enjoy time alone. But I need companionship too. I did not fully appreciate that until the built in social interaction at work was absent. Fortunately I have found that balance in retirement, with just enough group activities to keep me engaged.

When DW retires, I will probably have to adjust again, but I am sure we'll both find our balance in time.

My parents, especially my Dad, lost all their social connections later in life. It was not good for them. We need interaction to keep our heads on straight IMO.
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Old 08-28-2015, 08:18 PM   #30
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I still do some consulting work and stay in touch with former colleagues, plus both kids are in school, so I have more social contact than I really want/need. One of the attractions of leaving the cube job was that I could check out from all the enforced contact. I am jonesing for hunting season to start so hat I can shut the cell phone off, head into the woods, and not hear from or talk to anyone all day (except maybe a game warden for 5 minutes). If you need solitude, take it. If you cannot move (which would be the cleanest solution), go on a long trip.
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Old 08-28-2015, 09:10 PM   #31
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I was going to suggest moving 1000 miles from work, staking a claim to the top of a mountain, no cell or other phone service, and becoming a ... Hermit! Worked for me!

But something tells me your DW may not go for it.

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Old 08-28-2015, 09:47 PM   #32
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We need interaction to keep our heads on straight IMO.
Lack of any contact can turn us into Ted Kaczynski?

I read blogs of a few RV full-timers, many are single men and women who travel in solitude, and live in the outdoors such as the national forests, not RV parks. Still, they write their blogs and have people to communicate with. They also meet up with other RV'ers from time to time, but they are mostly alone. And when they look for a place to camp, the 1st thing they look for is a strong cell phone signal to allow them the Internet connection to the world.

It's tough to be truly solitary. In fact, putting people in an isolation cell is a common form of torture. In the old days, how did people live in solitude in places like Alaska?
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:29 PM   #33
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This grinder we call w*rk is crazy. The demands to make you BE the work borders on ridiculous. I try to keep my hand in things completely out of my field so when I finally get over this OMY disease, I can leave it all behind.
That's wise Joe, will help ease the transition.

I pursued music and photography late into the night during my w*rk years. I felt I lead an exhausting double life for decades.

Now I'm just that guy who plays electric guitar all day (my perception) or that bum who does nothing but sit at home or play out on the lake all day (others perception).
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:37 PM   #34
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My parents, especially my Dad, lost all their social connections later in life. It was not good for them. We need interaction to keep our heads on straight IMO.
This is a concern for me too. I consider myself an introvert, but I cherish time with a few close friends and anyone of similar interests. I even enjoy random casual conversations, now that I have energy for both myself and others in ER.

I'm planning to enlarge my currently tiny circle of friends hopefully to include more folks with similar interests in music and faith/church matters. This is a challenge to my introvert nature, and I'm reluctant to get dragged into the forced socialization typical in the former w*rkplace. I'll figure out some sort of balance; I've made it this far!
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Old 08-29-2015, 06:06 AM   #35
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Erkevin, I had exact same job as you. The high school principal for 8 years over 1,000 kids in HS, in a small rural town of 5k or so. Retired in same town now 6 years, and am left alone largely except to hellos while shopping.
I enjoy being anonymous now and have large tracts of free time as all my friends and GF still work. BTW- I didn't catch as much harassment as you probably did. One of my assistant principals was a lifer here and went to school there himself; I was the transplant. Parents liked to bother him all the time because they knew him and many grew up with him.


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Old 08-29-2015, 07:27 AM   #36
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My dad was a high school principal so I know the stress that you mention in you original post. Dad did not ER and and did not embrace the idea of retirement. It was an adjustment for him when he retired at 65. However, once he retired and got away from the stress he became a much more relaxed person. I think his true personality begin to shine through once he shed the stress that comes with being a principal in a small town high school. He had many interests and developed several hobbies in retirement. Once my mother retired they snowbirded until his death. I think his retirement years were enjoyable.


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Old 08-29-2015, 09:22 AM   #37
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No advice, but our experience.

Retiring at 53 with not quite enough money, we moved to a campground... away from the involvement with our social/manager/consulant/helper/go-to-person responsibilities. Not an intentional break, but one that worked to a happy result... A chance to reinvent ourselves to whatever we wanted to be. Never gave up what was ingrained... compassion, service, positive outlook etc... but way to 'untrap' from those personal connections to volunteer organizations, less than friendly 'friends', and the expenses and congestion of an upscale community, and the 'busyness' of a go-go young competitive local society.

We didn't do this on purpose, but it worked out perfectly. Rebuilding everything we loved, leaving behind the more onerous parts of life. Who knew Imagine... (back in the 90's) me, who hadn't danced since high school... three times a week square dancing... then ballroom dancing when we went to FL. Emceeing parties and shows, and finding people with the same interests and outlook on life.

But, back to the original question... Seclusion in retirement. Absolutely!!!
At one time in the pre FIRE days, the fantasy was to throw a brick through the bank window, and go to jail for a year. Away from people and responsibilities... A stack of books to read and no one to bother. The less aggressive plan was to live on a mountain top with barbed wire around my property.

In retrospect, although our decisions were for a different reason, I think it would have been good to take a break, away from my community for an extended vacation... maybe a few months rental in an active retirement community, far away. Costwise, in our midFlorida area, less than $6K for 3 monhs..
Whether Texas, Arizona, or any other well known snowbird area, the same kind of lifestyle change.

Pre-retirement, a chance to spend some time, looking ahead. It's exactly what two of our kids (age 57) are doing. She retired in May, he will retire in another year. They're planning ahead, and investigating all possibilities, using our FL park as a base to investigate retirement communities. They explore, together when possible, and she alone when he's working. As of today, they're in N.Carolina... looking.

Naturally finances come into this. DS and DIL are looking to dump a 12K house tax plus a relatively heavy state tax, so the investigations for an alternate home base promise to pay for the search.

Not a choice for those who choose to live and die in LA, but one possibility for those who haven't yet decided whether or not to keep the homestead.
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Old 08-29-2015, 10:06 AM   #38
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I also had a very high profile job and tended to define myself by the job. Been 9 years now and have gradually redefined myself, I think. I told one of my high profile co workers of my retirement plans a few months before retiring and his response really surprised me. He said "if you retire no one will know who you are". My response was, "exactly". Would be tougher to do in a small town. We moved after retirement and I basically reinvented myself. Everything is good.
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Old 08-29-2015, 01:05 PM   #39
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I'm 2 years into ER from a high profile managerial position, although nothing quite as visible as HS principal in a small town. The job was all-consuming, defined my identity, and all my social interactions stemmed from work relationships. Since ER, I've been a happy hermit, mostly doing projects around the house, hobbies (music, woodworking, building PCs), or nothing at all. Of course, lots of interaction with immediate family that all live nearby and one long-time family friend who is basically family. Otherwise, next to nothing. I have purposefully avoided social interactions. And honestly I've loved every minute.

But I've just about got it out of my system, whatever "it" was. And I find myself starting to look for more social interaction. I've stepped up my acceptance ratio for lunch invitations from former coworkers. Many are my age and like to pick my brain about retirement topics, which I enjoy talking about. Not much shop talk these days unless I ask, how's old so-and-so? I've also run into 2 local people I knew before Megacorp. About once a month, we meet for coffee, or go see a local band, or some similar activity. That's been nice and I find myself saying yes more than I used to, or even initiating some activities.

So who knows, maybe there's hope for some of us previously-over-exposed introverts.
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Old 08-29-2015, 06:51 PM   #40
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A fellow retired executive friend with a similar identity issue got himself a job at Home Depot for a while; more or less to kill time.

One day, as he was stocking paint buckets, he said to himself, "what am I doing here? I'm a vice president!...".

At that moment he realized that he wasn't a 'vice president'...he was just "Bill" working at Home Depot. It cured him!! It helped him get on the road to 'himself'.
I tried something like that recently for part-time positions, thinking I could meet some people and learn a new industry, but got rejected by everyone. I met the qualifications, and didn't show anything that would indicate I'm overqualified. I think they figured my age (from my year of graduation) and wondered why a 45 year old man would be applying for an entry-level job (I had zero experience in retail or hospitality so that was really all I could apply for). They probably figured I had been in prison or something the past 25 years.
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