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Old 08-03-2008, 12:16 PM   #21
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:14 PM   #22
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I have been feeling kinda down these days. I retired in January '08 and went through a flurry of activity to clean up and fix up the homestead. Lately, I have been in a funk. I am starting to feel like my life doesn't matter anymore since I left my career. Yes, I do have many activities including my volunteer work at the animal shelter, but just feel like I'm out of the mainstream of life these days. When I go to the grocery store and other places I see the "worker bees" and actually feel a bit of envy since I'm no longer part of the professional community. I have even found myself looking at the help wanted ads but have found nothing I really want to do.
My experience was a little different. I certainly in no way envied the "worker bees". Exactly the opposite. My attitude when witnessing the morning commute from my neighborhood was more like "Woohoo - I don't have go to work today and you do!". This rush lasted for a couple of years at least.

Nevertheless, it was a huge period of transition, a lot of it psychological. I do remember feeling somewhat adrift at times during the first 6 months or so. Certainly there was a little feeling of unease due to no regular paycheck - that probably took two years to get used to.

Yes, I did have to go through a period of "redefining myself" after work. I think it's impossible for work/profession not become a large part of one's identity. I did feel "less important" in some ways, but that didn't really bother me. Yes - it was kind of like being a freshman all over again. I had to carve out a new life for myself. But I did that by going out and doing the things I finally had time to do. Some of them I tried and said - nah, not for me! Other things I tried I really connected with and over time they came to the forefront as major "avocations".

By the way - I did NOT focus on "chores" or "things that needed to be done" or "keeping myself busy" right after retiring. I knew those things weren't going away - but those were not why I retired. I focused on doing what I really wanted to spend my time on. Gradually I fit those other long neglected chores in, but they always took lower priority.

Perhaps one difference is that my spouse was able to retire at the same time and so we were able to go off and do things together - travel, sail, hiking, birdwatching, etc. We were able to go do the things we had been really looking forward to but had to put off because of work. That might be a huge difference. I had a partner in adjusting to the retirement lifestyle. We have a great deal in common - that definitely helps.

To yes, I did go through a major transition, and at times it felt a little awkward or unsure, but it was far from blues. There was so much glee to balance any unease.

Oh - it became pretty obvious within a year of retiring that living in a suburb of a major city was NOT a good environment for our retired life. Too many negatives for someone who no longer works.

As to concerns about whether one's life matters or not....

My life matters to me, my husband, my family and friends, and those communities in which I participate/contribute. That's good enough for me!

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Old 08-03-2008, 01:23 PM   #23
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:06 PM   #24
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When I go to the grocery store and other places I see the "worker bees" and actually feel a bit of envy since I'm no longer part of the professional community.
My reaction is quite opposite. I avoid the grocery store during prime "worker bee" hours. All the drones run around like mad trying to fill their carts as quickly as possible so they can rush home and feed the family before going to bed and getting up and heading back to the salt mine again the next morning. I feel a little sad for them until one of the rude ones bangs my cart or gives me a dirty look because I'm in their way.

Weekends can be slightly irritating because the worker bees are all off and running around shopping and recreating and whatnot. Of course, I forget that it's a weekend sometimes, and it's only after I find myself stuck in traffic near the mall that I remember what day it is because I'm asking myself: "What's with the traffic? Don't these people have jobs?"
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Perhaps it's due, at least in part, to my location near DC where "what you do" is everything.
There was a lot of my identity tied into the job, along with enough ego to fill a box car. There was a period of adjusting after I got over the initial giddiness (I'm free, freeee, freeeeee!).

Ultimately I decided that I had moved past the job, and the way I did it was to remember the dues that had be to be paid for the brief moments of fulfillment and satisfaction. Like last night, I was reading a news story that involves my former employer and a work-friend who is the person in charge of basically disrupting 70 employees' lives. She was catching a lot of heat for a tough decision and I thought "Thank God I don't have to do that anymore".

There are a lot of people that are paying their dues for the job, and some of the dues are pretty hefty. I remember sitting on surveillance one morning in a hotel parking lot just off a freeway. One of the really expensive Mercedes pulled up next to me and a woman got out. She's driving a $130K car, wearing a suit that must have cost a grand or more, perfect hair, expensive but tasteful jewelry, a body toned in a gym 4-5 times a week - the whole "I am somebody important" picture. She didn't see me through the tinted windows as she got out with her large coffee tumbler in her hand and opened the trunk. She popped out a big bottle of vodka and filled that cup up before jumping back on the freeway. It was 8 in the morning, and I don't care how much money or prestige that woman had, the price was too much for any sane person.

Not every one pays that kind of price, but we all pay something or else we wouldn't be ER or considering it.

Reflecting on the transition in my case I think of the job (other than the whole making money thing) as just a pacifier that kept me occupied and was a good excuse for not doing the things I thought I would rather be doing. Once I stopped working I no longer had the excuse and I had to figure out what it was I really wanted to be doing with my life.

After you get past the "projects I've always meant to do" stage, then you have to come to grips with what's important to you and what's worth your effort. Think of it as a new job that deserves your dedication and commitment, but the pay is in different currency.


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Old 08-03-2008, 02:09 PM   #25
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i might be too lazy for early-retirement, decision pending. the first year came quite naturally, but with alzheimer's and then death and then the estate, i had a lot more going on.

i haven't enjoyed the second year at all. part of that is because i got so depressed that i lost my regular routine of biking & swimming & gym. my sleeping is so out of whack that i not only lose track of the day, i don't even know what time it is.

i think if i wasn't stuck with real estate so that i'd be free to perpetually travel, i'd take better to this life. but now i can't do that, i've lost my routine and i'm dealing with depression so early retirement for me for now kind of sucks.

i too have been looking through the classified for jobs. the only ones that interest me are working with animals (which i've never done but always dreamed of) and the closest zoo is an hour commute for a $9/hour job working in the petting zoo area, which i think would be so much fun. but then two hours on the highway everyday ruins that.

out of curiousity i checked my old company and they are advertising a job near my recently found father (who disappeared for many years--took me a year to find him). he's 80 years old and it might be nice to get to know him for what few years he has left. the job is lower pressure than my previous job (in fact it is a position i one time wanted but was conned into taking a higher pressure position instead). the office is about 40 minutes from where my dad lives. my biggest problem in this decision is jersey winters. i've never even driven in snow before. it sounds horrible.

so, so far my options seem to be commuting two hours a day to make $9 an hour at a petting zoo or drudging through snow covered highways for a few months a year when all i really want to be doing is enjoying a cold beer in pattaya.

early retirement. go figure.

hey, while i was looking i came across this job which is sure to bring some excitement to life...

EG&G - Small Arms Repairman - Iraq

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Candidates interested in the outstanding opportunities for personal reward and service to country that this position offers should carefully consider the hardships associated with overseas working conditions.
Extreme danger, stress, physical hardships and possible field living conditions are associated with this position within a desert camp complex.
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:23 PM   #26
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i haven't enjoyed the second year at all. part of that is because i got so depressed that i lost my regular routine of biking & swimming & gym. my sleeping is so out of whack that i not only lose track of the day, i don't even know what time it is.
Yeah, went through that period as well - even started smoking again. There's no fun like starting running and exercising after a period of layoff (and giving up nicotine), unless it's doing it when you're 49. It makes me sore, tired and pretty damn grumpy during the transition phase.
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hey, while i was looking i came across this job which is sure to bring some excitement to life...

EG&G - Small Arms Repairman - Iraq
Yet another job that I'm qualified for that involves excitement - 2111 was my last MOS in the military. Fortunately (or unfortunately - depending on how you look at it), I'm not qualified for too many peaceful occupations that pay well. And my brief sojourn as a civilian in this field was too exciting for my idea of employment during retirement. It's not that I can't deal with the excitement, it just doesn't seem like what I should be doing. I had one of those "I'm too old for this S$%t!" moments and remember thinking how upset the family would be for me to come home in a box. It cured me.
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:25 PM   #27
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I am not retired yet and I won't be for another 10-15 years, but I hope I won't feel lost when I retire, especially when I am really old.

I took a little over a week off work recently. Whenever I take days off from work, I always go travel, but this time, I told myself that I would play retirement at home. I just wanted to see what it was like to just hang around. I found a couple of projects at home that kept me busy for a day or two, and also started an exercise routine again, so I can see that there are some things I would do more of when I retire, but each day seemed much longer because I wasn't tired at the end of the day. (When I am working, I am kind of tired at the end of the day and I don't do much on weekends either except for the chores and some hobby stuff.) I also ended up spending more money during my "retirement week" probably because I have energy left at the end of the day. I wish I could take a few months off to see how I fare. The whole week though, I felt slightly stressed thinking that I had to plan a day ahead so I could be productive. It sounds like true retirement won't be like that at all, but that is the mind-set we all have to some extent.

My mom finally retired at 72. (She had her own business.) She was busy for a few years helping out my BIL (he was sick) but after that, she started getting bored. She found a couple of things since then that she enjoys doing and keeps her occupied, but she sometimes get depressed (not clinically... more bored than anything). She says she feels like she is not contributing to society and that she misses being useful and needed. (Her DH died many years before her, and she has no grandchildren.) I suggested volunteer work, but she says she is simply too old for that. (She is very healthy, physically fit for her age, and mentally very sharp, but I think she is right.) So this makes me think a lot about my later years....

Just rambling.

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Old 08-03-2008, 04:18 PM   #28
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I think structure may be the key... my mom always talks about the past and really has no plans with friends other than going to lunch once or twice a week. While my MIL (same age - 80) is planning trips around the country and weekends with friends.

Maybe it is planning to have a future...
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:52 PM   #29
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I check the surf forecast first thing every morning.
apparently, with a lake and a speedboat you wouldn't have to check, but just make your own surforecast. check it out...

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even started smoking again....
yikes, i could never do that. all the walls in my house are freshly painted white.

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There's no fun like starting running and exercising after a period of layoff (and giving up nicotine), unless it's doing it when you're 49.
try it at 51. as i'm getting my act back together again and can't believe what i've done to myself. took me almost two hours to bike my normal hour circuit downtown, to the beach and back. not good.

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I had one of those "I'm too old for this S$%t!" moments and remember thinking how upset the family would be for me to come home in a box. It cured me.
i think a lot of that is realizing, as we don't when we are younger, how fragile our lives really are. my friend's army ranger kid is just now realizing that since a buddy of his just got shot up by friendly fire while training. suddenly the kid isn't as gung ho as he was when he signed up without discussing recruitment with his parents. oh, you mean, this is actually real? i thought this was just a video game.
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:25 PM   #30
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I'll go out on a limb and say that you have been "told" what to do, most of your life (e.g. you "must" get up, go to school/w*rk, support your family, etc.)
It's like the person who was in a profession that required them to wear a uniform (military, police, doctor, nurse, fast-food worker, etc.) There are "standards" that ensure that you all look the same (e.g. uniform ). It's easy to get dressed because you don't have to worry about what to wear - because you wear the same thing every day.
One of my friends who'd been out of the service for a dozen years had his choice of ties questioned by a shipmate. My friend retorted "Hey, I don't take fashion advice from a guy who just sniffs his uniform before deciding whether to wear it for the third day in a row!"

I feel the same way about civilian clothing as I do about wearing coveralls... it's just not that big a deal. I can't believe what ends up in Goodwill because by the time I'm done with a t-shirt even the rag bag rejects it. I have a hard time getting excited about wearing socks & shoes, let alone pants or a buttoned shirt.

Having had that background, especially where the quality of life is reduced to a bare minimum or even below, I can appreciate being able to do my own thing and being in charge of my own schedule. My expectations are low and it takes very little to make me happy or entertained...

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There was a lot of my identity tied into the job, along with enough ego to fill a box car. There was a period of adjusting after I got over the initial giddiness (I'm free, freeee, freeeeee!).
Ultimately I decided that I had moved past the job, and the way I did it was to remember the dues that had be to be paid for the brief moments of fulfillment and satisfaction.
Maybe it's because I knew my retirement date about eight years in advance (as soon as the promotions stopped) or maybe it's because I'd lived & worked with a lot of Trump-sized egos. But it took me about 10 minutes to make the transition and shed all of that. It only takes a few memories of the seconds of sheer terror to decide that days of uneventful living are a fair trade. The hassles just aren't worth the putative "benefits".

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T-shirt spotted recently in Walmart: I'm retire; do it yourself...
I like "Genius by birth, slacker by choice". I'm going to have mixed feelings if the high-school junior I saw it on starts dating my daughter...
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:29 PM   #31
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I like "Genius by birth, slacker by choice". I'm going to have mixed feelings if the high-school junior I saw it on starts dating my daughter...
I had to go with "I got out of bed for this?", because they only had smalls with "Your mom would love me".
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:46 PM   #32
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let alone pants or a buttoned shirt.
Can I ask, please, for the love of god...that you reconsider the pants?
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:11 AM   #33
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Can I ask, please, for the love of god...that you reconsider the pants?
Hey, if I gave up my beach jams for pants then I'd have to consider wearing underwear again, and that's a whole 'nother lifestyle compromise that I philosophically oppose.

As Leo pointed out, none of the moms have complained...
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:15 AM   #34
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I have been feeling kinda down these days. I retired in January '08 and went through a flurry of activity to clean up and fix up the homestead. Lately, I have been in a funk. I am starting to feel like my life doesn't matter anymore since I left my career. Yes, I do have many activities including my volunteer work at the animal shelter, but just feel like I'm out of the mainstream of life these days. ...
DW stopped working about 10 months ago. She expressed some similar feelings but she seems to be adapting.

I have about 3 years to work before I FIRE. I believe that the freedom will make a difference. We intend to travel and I have a number of interests to keep me busy. Still, adding some sort of basic structure to ones life can be important.

The average American spends most of their life in some sort of structure. age 0-6 (for me) were the only unstructured years. At age 6 most enter school (earlier for kids now days). Out of school, went into the military. Out of the military back to work and school part-time/full-time, Finish school work regularly for years back to school part-time and working full-time... up to now. I can see how stepping away from that pattern (after a life of it) and into less structure can be a bit of an adjustment.
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:40 AM   #35
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My experience was a little different.
Audrey, how do you think the RV lifestyle fits in to this? I can see where the zillions of planning details surrounding itineraries, choice of campgrounds, maintaining the rig and meeting new people all the time might provide a built-in structure to stave off stagnation.

But then again, the difficulty of getting really plugged in to a community (as in setting down roots) when you are full-timing might be unsettling to the newer retiree.

Any observations?
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:14 AM   #36
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Being off the j*b for a year now (last day of w*rk was Aug 3 2007) I can relate to having the "blues". Even before my official retirement (9-30-07) I was feeling down but could not quite figure out what I was missing. Something just wasn't right. Then it all came to light one day.

The missing pieces of my day were lunch and recess.

So a few emails and lunch with the guys fixed it all up. Coffee breaks in the sunroom with DW help too.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:51 AM   #37
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Hey, if I gave up my beach jams for pants then I'd have to consider wearing underwear again, and that's a whole 'nother lifestyle compromise that I philosophically oppose.

As Leo pointed out, none of the moms have complained...
Pants? We don't need no stinkin' pants! This is Hawai'i man.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:21 AM   #38
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Okay, as long as all the pantsless guys stay in hawaii I'm good.

Pantsless women can report to northern california. Although with average temps in the 95-98 range, there isnt much being worn as it is.
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:17 PM   #39
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Hmmm, Purron, with a few unsettling moments brought on by reading this thread (please keep wearing some sort of pants, guys, and no speedos) I think what stuck out for me was the idea of goal setting being important.

Settting and achieving goals, in life, or work, or whatever, is central to a lot of us. I think that you will be able to find a way to incorporate that into your retirement once you give it some thought. Either through your volunteer work, home/yard improvements, health/nutrition, or something completely new, I believe that you will stumble into the right direction for your focus. And of course, when your mate retires, it will make it all the more sweet!

I wish you great luck in finding "it", as I worry about DH a lot since he will be retiring before me and has not given much thought to this likely dilemma, despite my nagging.
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:20 PM   #40
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I wish you great luck in finding "it", as I worry about DH a lot since he will be retiring before me and has not given much thought to this likely dilemma, despite my nagging.
That gives me an idea- his goal could be to stop your nagging and just get you to dance around all the time.

Ha
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