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Should I Feel Guilty?
Old 05-15-2013, 12:05 PM   #1
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Should I Feel Guilty?

I am recently (2weeks) retired. I was talking with a group of retirees yesterday after golf. Common amongst the group was the experience that if they "Do nothing" for a while they feel guilty and have to accomplish something.

I am looking for your input. Should I embrace this when it happens? Or reach for some inner calling that says I don't have to get that chore done today. Tomorrow (or the day after?) will do.

My group yesterday observed that we are drilled since birth practically that we have to finish that coloring, homework, work project, etc. But do we need to do that now, at this stage of life? Shouldn't we allow ourselves the freedom to "just do nothing" for as long as we like, and not feel guilty?

Your thoughts?
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigal50 View Post
I am recently (2weeks) retired. I was talking with a group of retirees yesterday after golf. Common amongst the group was the experience that if they "Do nothing" for a while they feel guilty and have to accomplish something.

I am looking for your input. Should I embrace this when it happens? Or reach for some inner calling that says I don't have to get that chore done today. Tomorrow (or the day after?) will do.

My group yesterday observed that we are drilled since birth practically that we have to finish that coloring, homework, work project, etc. But do we need to do that now, at this stage of life? Shouldn't we allow ourselves the freedom to "just do nothing" for as long as we like, and not feel guilty?

Your thoughts?
Not sure that doing nothing all the time would suit most people, even my lazy a$$.

But I've been on someone else's schedule since 1960: time to wake, time for school/w*rk, time for recess/break, etc. So setting my own schedule, whether something, or nothing, sounds very appealing...
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:19 PM   #3
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I am recently (2weeks) retired. I was talking with a group of retirees yesterday after golf. Common amongst the group was the experience that if they "Do nothing" for a while they feel guilty and have to accomplish something.
I think your opinion of not needing to tick off a to do list is all that matters. Personally, as a retiree, I wouldn't worry at all about what others think of what I do or do not do
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:51 PM   #4
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What is important to you is what is important. I don't know much about you OP, but based on the choice of words and topic at hand, I'm guessing there is a strong chance you are an INTJ, or ENTJ (Myer-Briggs).

Oh all 16 types, these two constantly strive to improve their lives and of those around them. They have an internal desire to make a difference in the world and are very analytical, innovative and creative people. These are also the types who most often make it to FIRE, because they enjoy delayed gratification and see the big picture in their lives. What drives these personalities in life is making a difference and feeling they are in the pursuit of something (be it, knowledge, projects, experiences...etc.)

There is no reason to suppress that desire to seek out the opposite of 'doing nothing'. Do with your freedom what you wish. Whether that be sitting around and being lazy... or picking up hobbies and tasks that others might consider "work or chores". The only thing that is important, is what you want to do and enjoy it.

Enjoy!
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:00 PM   #5
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If your goal is to do nothing, and then you in fact do nothing, haven't you done something?
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:10 PM   #6
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Today is my first official day of retirement. I just got back from a 3 day road trip and I am recovering from the flu. I have been perched in my LazyBoy since getting up at 8am. I do not feel guilty

If I weren't retired I would have gone into work today even though I am not quite over this flu bug.

I think retirement is going to be an adjustment. I'm going to relax and sleep when I am tired and play hard when I feel well.

I say, play, rest, have fun and enjoy life!
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:56 PM   #7
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:04 PM   #8
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Since you are recently retired, you may need some time to chill out and "do nothing" for awhile. You don't need to respond to those who ask what you are doing. Most of them are probably jealous anyway.
Personally, I make a distinction between "doing" and "being". When I worked, I did the things I needed to do. Now, I'm more focused on becoming who I want to be.
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:34 PM   #9
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Yeah, I think your friends are right. We get programmed to do, do, do. "Human doings rather than human beings," as they say. Because of that programming, it can feel awkward not doing. I think you have to deprogram yourself, to a degree. There's nothing wrong with doing/accomplishing, but there is more to life than just that.

I have always enjoyed days when I have very little to do -- completely unstructured, free, empty time; time when I'm free of demands and duties, time when I don't have to do anything. It's one of the things I look forward to most in retirement.

Granted, even when I have that sort of free time, I end up "doing" various things, but the spirit in which I do them is very different. I think there's a big difference between "doing" out of obligation/compulsion and "doing" out of your own desires.
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:38 PM   #10
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Just responding to your title: No, you need not feel guilty. Guilt is an emotion that serves very little purpose (remorse OTOH has its uses, but that's different). What's that saying - "Don't go on guilt trips. Go fishing, go on a cruise, go anywhere - but not guilt."

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Old 05-15-2013, 03:39 PM   #11
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Yeah, I think your friends are right. We get programmed to do, do, do. "Human doings rather than human beings," as they say. Because of that programming, it can feel awkward not doing. I think you have to deprogram yourself, to a degree. There's nothing wrong with doing/accomplishing, but there is more to life than just that.

I have always enjoyed days when I have very little to do -- completely unstructured, free, empty time; time when I'm free of demands and duties, time when I don't have to do anything. It's one of the things I look forward to most in retirement.

Granted, even when I have that sort of free time, I end up "doing" various things, but the spirit in which I do them is very different. I think there's a big difference between "doing" out of obligation/compulsion and "doing" out of your own desires.
Good point. Some of my most productive days are days where I don't have to do anything. I may end up doing much more than if I planned it.
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:53 PM   #12
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What is important to you is what is important.
+1. I could go on and on with "my thoughts," but they're irrelevant for many other people...
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:56 PM   #13
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When I was working, just before our evaluations were done we had to write an e-mail summarizing everything we had accomplished since the prior evaluation.

On the other hand, one nice thing about retirement is that we don't have to report our accomplishments to a supervisor. We are each our own supervisor, and can do whatever we decide to do. Often this is the first time in our lives during which we can do this. This experience can be one of the greatest joys of retirement.

So, don't make these other retirees your supervisor.

If I choose to do nothing, that is my choice. Feel guilty? No way! We have earned our retirements and should enjoy whatever we decide to do, or not do, in retirement.
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:44 PM   #14
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I'm good at doing nothing. In fact I'm better doing that than when I was working. Today I worked my a$$ off as I washed all the wood trim on my house. Now I feel guilty because I wasted a good day to do nothing. Go figure...........
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:49 PM   #15
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Enjoy this interim. Soon enough the day will fill with other (better than work) things to do.

In a few years, you'll wonder how you had the time to work. I never thought that was true but it was for me. In many way, I"m busier now than ever...but it's all fun stuff! (mostly)
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:13 PM   #16
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I'm with those who say you shouldn't feel guilty at all. I thought I'd chill for a while after leaving work, but family matters came up. But that's one of those "life things", nothing to do with my new-found free time, In fact, that allowed me to handle it, which would have been real tough if it had to be worked around my career.

I do maintain a "to-do list", using a handy free app called Errands. But now I do when I want to! Chatting with your fellow golfers sounds like a fine thing to do
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:41 PM   #17
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I wonder if this is a part of the decompression phase, too. I notice you're only 2 weeks into retirement. I'm not retired yet, but when I think about that first phase, the first thing I feel like doing is just resting and do nothing. But then, as soon as I start to think about that (I'm a bit of a worrier), I start to get concerned: "Is that what the rest of my life is going to be like for me? Just sitting around doing nothing? Never doing anything meaningful or significant ever again?"

I know it's not true; I know that the decompression phase will last 6 to 12 months or so, and after that, I'll get back into meaningful activity. But it's where my mind goes, and I wonder if other people's thoughts sometimes go there too, when they are in that early decompression phase, doing nothing: "Is this it? Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like? Just doing nothing?"

I'm just speculating, but maybe that is part of what's going on. That's more anxiety than guilt, in my case.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:40 PM   #18
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reach for some inner calling that says I don't have to get that chore done today. Tomorrow (or the day after?) will do.

Your thoughts?

I've only been retired a little over a year now but I haven't had any such problem. After over 40 years working to meet someone else’s schedule, I'm happy now doing what I want and when I want. Unless the DW wants some chore done "today" (which typically means I should have got it done yesterday ) then I don’t feel guilty waiting until I'm darn good and ready.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:05 PM   #19
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I wonder if this is a part of the decompression phase, too. I notice you're only 2 weeks into retirement. I'm not retired yet, but when I think about that first phase, the first thing I feel like doing is just resting and do nothing. But then, as soon as I start to think about that (I'm a bit of a worrier), I start to get concerned: "Is that what the rest of my life is going to be like for me? Just sitting around doing nothing? Never doing anything meaningful or significant ever again?"

I know it's not true; I know that the decompression phase will last 6 to 12 months or so, and after that, I'll get back into meaningful activity. But it's where my mind goes, and I wonder if other people's thoughts sometimes go there too, when they are in that early decompression phase, doing nothing: "Is this it? Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like? Just doing nothing?"

I'm just speculating, but maybe that is part of what's going on. That's more anxiety than guilt, in my case.
For my first month or so of ER, my mind did go there frequently. I had to keep reminding myself that I need to allow myself decompression time. And knowing that if and when I decide to do other meaningful activities, I would choose what activities and when I'd start it.
From my experience, it is amazing how opportunities of meaningful activities do come up and I'm slowly taking advantage of some of them. But I also know the decompression is not complete, so I'm enjoying just letting myself chill out. I'll know when I am ready to jump into more new things. If there has been any surprise, it's how long the decompression takes (I've been ER for 7 months). It may be a situation that the final 20% of decompression will take as much time as the first 80%. The law of diminishing returns.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvrClrx311 View Post
What is important to you is what is important. I don't know much about you OP, but based on the choice of words and topic at hand, I'm guessing there is a strong chance you are an INTJ, or ENTJ (Myer-Briggs).

Oh all 16 types, these two constantly strive to improve their lives and of those around them. They have an internal desire to make a difference in the world and are very analytical, innovative and creative people. These are also the types who most often make it to FIRE, because they enjoy delayed gratification and see the big picture in their lives. What drives these personalities in life is making a difference and feeling they are in the pursuit of something (be it, knowledge, projects, experiences...etc.)

There is no reason to suppress that desire to seek out the opposite of 'doing nothing'. Do with your freedom what you wish. Whether that be sitting around and being lazy... or picking up hobbies and tasks that others might consider "work or chores". The only thing that is important, is what you want to do and enjoy it.

Enjoy!
Dead on as to what motivates me. Feeling that I am making a difference and being in pursuit of something; knowledge projects.

That tells me that I should listen to that voice in my head when it appears.

Thanks.
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