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Seclusion in FIRE?
Old 08-27-2015, 08:45 PM   #1
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Seclusion in FIRE?

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 have had a very high-profile career (school principal in a small town- it is like being a celebrity without any of the perks). I have served offices in many service organizations, coached youth sports, etc. Very visible lifestyle, that I chose.
Work calls, texts, and emails come in constantly and frankly, I am just fatigued. The phone may ring at 2:00 am for an alarm at the school that I have to respond to (typically rare).
Today, at the bank, a quick transaction turned into a discussion about the students, raising boys.........got out after 45 minutes.
Everything I have read about retirement speaks of social connections, doing things outside of the home.
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?
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:51 PM   #2
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I am a bit of an introvert. I think I spent more time alone (and sleeping!) during my first year of retirement than later. I do spend every afternoon with Frank now that I am retired.

The nice thing about retirement is that you can regulate such things and do what you want. You may find that after a year or two, seeing other people is more appealing to you than it is now. Or not! Either way, you can do what you want.
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:59 PM   #3
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I did not have what anyone would call a high-visibility career but nevertheless I felt the same way. --I'm CLOSED!--

That was 1996. I still feel the same way. I do well on my own and people in any situation I find sort of exhausting.

Most people can't do that and it's not a "good" vs "bad" thing. What's your own personal make-up? You will always seek to acomodate that
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Old 08-27-2015, 09:28 PM   #4
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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.


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Old 08-27-2015, 10:03 PM   #5
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I too had a high profile career and I felt exactly how you did, erkevin. I have developed social circles that have nothing to do with my previous career. I have taken down my LinkedIn profile. I have refused invitations to friend former colleagues on Facebook, etc, etc. These days I don't mention my previous career unless someone asks. I am no longer defined by my career. And I like it.
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:15 PM   #6
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When I ER'd I told myself that I would do something social every week. I do a few things with people every week. It might be dancing, lunch, or a trip to a museum. Most of the time I am on my own.

People will probably impose on you because they think you have more time now. I think taking a rest from public life is understandable. Politely defer requests. Be aware that it takes 3-6 months to transition into retirement. 6 months from now you might feel different than today so keep your options open.
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:17 PM   #7
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"like being a celebrity without any of the perks" - great line, and I can understand why you would feel that way, especially after what you describe about constantly being 'on call' with the principal's job.
Well.... yes, there are times when I want to regulate things myself and while I like being social and my original post here was one of 'but I will MISS the work people' .... I also have a desire for just being quiet. Not the closed door sign perhaps but there's something really wonderful about claiming the freedom to have as much or as little 'reading/thinking' time as you want to have. Or working out time, or whatever it is.
Best wishes, OP. I'm sure it'll be a well deserved time of peace/quiet!
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Old 08-28-2015, 12:36 AM   #8
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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.
Do you have any meetup groups in your area? I joined one just over a year ago and I have met a lot of great people who share the same passions as I do.
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Old 08-28-2015, 01:01 AM   #9
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My DH was the headmaster of a private school in NYC so I know whereof you speak (he used to say his job was 36/7) and he went from 60 to zero in 1 day. It wasn't an easy transition. We did move away however and had to develop other social outlets. In a way that helped.

In your shoes I would pursue avocational interests and try to cultivate more relationships with like-minded people.


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Old 08-28-2015, 04:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by truenorth418 View Post
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.


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I agree missing the social aspect of work is one of the few drawbacks and the lack of retired folks my age (much better now at 56 than a 40).

My situation was complicated by moving to a new and very different city,without a work as way of meeting people. It took me probably 5 or 6 years to find interesting volunteer other activities.

The OP I think has rather enviable situation. It is perfectly ok to disconnect for a while. It sounds to me that you'll probably have the opposite problem, too many opportunities to serve on boards, coach etc.

I suggest either finding a real hobby or worse case make one up as an excuse why you can head up the youth sports advisory board.
I'd suggest, Art, or writing a book. Something that you can use for a long period of time but never really have to share.

Still in a year you maybe ready to be one of those super busy retirees.
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Old 08-28-2015, 06:04 AM   #11
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I've been RE'd for 9 1/2 years and was quite well known in my industry. (I did have many of the perks of celebrity however!).

I still get 1 or 2 calls a week from a customer, former employee, rep, supplier or other work contact usually asking for a reference or to help solve a problem.

It usually takes no more than a phone call on my part and at this point gives me something to do. If they're asking too much I tell them.

Goes with the territory.
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Old 08-28-2015, 07:01 AM   #12
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Another 9 1/2 year retiree, when we first moved to our new casa we were excited to be instantly included in the new community. Seems like for the last year everyone says where ya been haven't seen ya. We blame it on travel, busy, whatever when really we are the new hermits. We have just started accepting invites to social functions. I think that we never got the down time we needed.
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Old 08-28-2015, 09:42 AM   #13
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I am likely less than 2 years from some kind of ER, possibly much less. And, I want to do much the same; in fact, I am considering semi-serious backwoods solo hiking/camping to find my personal seclusion.

Luckily, my high-profile 24/7 life was mainly centered around a very specific company (where I was very well known and respected, I think/hope). But, situations have changed for me over the last couple of years allowing me to pull back somewhat ahead of ER probably the main reason I have been able to hang in there for the last few $$$'s.
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Old 08-28-2015, 09:59 AM   #14
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I was in public education and also in a fairly high profile position. *I yearned to have time for myself, balance in my life, and the flexibility to travel. * After *decades of responsibility and dealing with ever increasing and many times idiotic demands, I simply wanted to escape.

I gave myself three months to let the fog of work lift and ease into a new life. *I set up a regular exercise program. *I read stacks of books and slept a great deal. * I bunched errands early on a weekday *so I could get in and out without encountering people I knew. *I was selective about answering emails, texts, and messages and none too quickly. *I had many calls complaining about my replacement! *I let all calls go to voice mail. * I did not return to my place of employment. *

Gradually, I felt like a new person and became more social, met new people, and made friends. * It was a transition to let go of my professional persona. *I did have calls to work in various positions. *I declined all of them. I still encounter people from my former life. *I am friendly and polite, but try not to linger. *I maintain friendships with a few educators, but we almost never discuss their work. * Two years have passed and I have created a good life for myself. *I savor my solitude and enjoy a life with a variety activities, some social.*

*I wish you well. *My advice would be to make your own path and do only what you want.*
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A Whole 'Nother Issue
Old 08-28-2015, 10:22 AM   #15
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A Whole 'Nother Issue

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.
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:27 AM   #16
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Not famous; maybe infamous...

Definitely an introvert, and don't need much socializing, but do need some.
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:29 AM   #17
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We don't get many retired pastors or rabbis here, but I can assure you they have this problem in droves. They absolutely have to completely delink or else they get sucked back in.

I sometimes see an old retired pastor, and I call him by his first name and ask about the golf game. He's told me how much that is appreciated.

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 said, I'm not a principal or pastor.
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:56 AM   #18
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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.
I think it's important to begin that process before you retire, otherwise you will feel a sense of loss. Push yourself to take up at least one personal activity now, one that you will enjoy more when you have more time, and preferably one that will introduce you to a new group of friends.
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:06 AM   #19
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Previous discussions have noted that seemingly most of us tend to be introverted - I know I am. DW goes back to w*rk on Tuesday Sept 1 along with gazillions of other teachers and students here in NJ.
I enjoyed our summer times together, but I gotta confess I am also looking forward to the emptier streets and parks when I get out there and run or cycle. So, yes, I do enjoy my alone time as well.
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Old 08-28-2015, 12:05 PM   #20
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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.
I think you have struck on a big part of your retirement challenge. To separate the old "work you" from the upcoming "retirement you". Do not define yourself by your career, instead focus on those things that are what you like to do.

Since you are in a small town that everyone knows you, it will be hard to totally separate the old work contacts. Just a question, have you thought about moving?
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