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Two years in and life just gets better
Old 09-26-2016, 12:11 PM   #1
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Two years in and life just gets better

This week marks two years since I hung up the yoke. A few reflections on this past year and thoughts about the future.

Some observations on this past year:
1) There is such a thing as too much golf for me. 2015 saw about 150 rounds (and that was with a six-week layoff with shingles). In 2016 ,I'm on pace for 150 again - that's just too much. There are too many other things I want to do. On the other hand, I'm playing better than at any time since 2006, when I was still teaching.
2) Music hobby is a huge bright spot - one gig this summer, another coming up at Christmas, vocal solo at church. Nice to develop the skills and connections needed to indulge myself with this.
3) I struggled with getting enough aerobic exercise in my first year of ER, golf was getting in the way and I hadn't found a way to incorporate biking into my days. For now, I bike up to my favorite fast food restaurant for breakfast a couple days each week and try to fit in one other ride. So I'm getting 3 days each week with 55 minutes of elevated heart rate. Maybe not the best solution, but it seems to work for me.
4) Our one car experiment has been a success. As we suspected, the number of days that we both "needed" a car at the same time was essentially nil. We maybe had a half dozen days where it would have been more convenient, but we're flexible and dealt with those.

Moving forward we are making some changes and contemplating some others:
1) I've gone inactive at the golf club where I've been a member and will probably drop my membership. At some point I may start a thread about this, but, except for the golf, the club offered nothing that DW and I cared about. So my golf related expenses should drop by about $5K per year, I should find it easier to play fewer rounds (target 100 per year). The down side will be having to find new golf buddies.
2) We've decided to hire cleaners for the house once per month. We just weren't getting the job done.
3) We're looking for a new church choir to join. We live just a little too far from our current church to comfortably take part in the social life of the church so we are hoping to find one in the neighborhood where we can expand our circle of acquaintances. As I told DW, it's better to do this while our voices still make us desirable additions to a choir.

Our biggest concern right now is that DW's health (she's only 56) is becoming a bigger issue. Her eyesight is deteriorating (myopia related macular degeneration in one eye). She is becoming less confident in her ability to drive and it has slowed her reading rate considerably. She is also seeing more frequent flare-ups of pain from her lupus. I'm encouraging her to accelerate her retirement but she argues that her health issues have already robbed her of her hobbies and that she still feels useful and productive at work. She's afraid that retirement will leave her sitting at home unable to do anything. She has lots of leave so we do just as much traveling while she's working as we would probably want to do in retirement, anyway, so at least that's working for us.

In short, I am very happy in my retirement and feel extremely fortunate that DW supported my desire to ER. I am very happy and she remains supportive despite her health issues.

As usual, thanks to all of you for the entertaining and supportive community.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:19 PM   #2
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Very nice post. Very interesting to read how others are making out.

when I worked I always thought I'd play golf "all the time" and practice "all the time". In reality I don't find it as captivating as I thought I would, and my body can't take too much of it anyway.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:40 PM   #3
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Hope you find new golf buddies and your wife's health improves. Other than that, it sounds like retirement agrees with you.
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Old 09-26-2016, 02:21 PM   #4
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Thanks for the post with your results and observations. It does sound like overall you are happy and finding a good balance with activities to keep busy with. Is there a different activity that your wife might like outside work besides the travel? Just seems sad that she wants to keep working because she is not sure what to do with her time otherwise.
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Old 09-26-2016, 02:25 PM   #5
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I always enjoy these posts about the real-world experiences of FIRE-ees.
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Old 09-26-2016, 04:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post
Thanks for the post with your results and observations. It does sound like overall you are happy and finding a good balance with activities to keep busy with. Is there a different activity that your wife might like outside work besides the travel? Just seems sad that she wants to keep working because she is not sure what to do with her time otherwise.
I agree regarding DW. Fortunately, her attitude is pretty positive despite the health issues. I'm sure we'll turn some things up, but it can be hard for her to look past the things she has lost. Her past hobbies/interests included piano playing, knitting, cooking, child care. We're trying to start looking at interests that don't involve fine motor skills that have deteriorated with her loss of sight and dexterity. She recently started using voice recognition software on her work computer and I've suggested that she might be able to use that to start blogging which is something she has expressed interest in before.
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Old 09-26-2016, 04:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by HadEnuff View Post
Very nice post. Very interesting to read how others are making out.

when I worked I always thought I'd play golf "all the time" and practice "all the time". In reality I don't find it as captivating as I thought I would, and my body can't take too much of it anyway.
There is some truth to the body not taking the punishment. I've got a bit of osteoarthritis in my hands and I can feel it after a round of golf. Right now, though, the real issues pushing for change for me are 1) the repetitive nature of my current golf situation: same golf course, same group, 2) I'm just spending too much time with the hobby, and 3) the club membership just isn't delivering sufficient value for the dollar.

I enjoy being with the guys in my group but they won't engage in any competition and they won't even think about changing the tees that they play from. I'd really rather not be saying things like, "I just had this shot last week."

So I'm going to start playing some different courses, meet some new people, enter a few tournaments and see how it feels to play 2 or 3 days per week instead of 4 or 5.
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:10 AM   #8
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Good to hear the first two years have turned out rather well for you.
Perhaps your wife will find more social activities, in addition to the choir, at whatever church you find closer to where you live. Even though I am a relatively reserved person, thee is nothing like enjoyable activities with a service component to them and pleasant conversations with like minded people to take your mind off your health problems. At least for a time.
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Old 09-27-2016, 04:30 AM   #9
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Very nice post and I wish you and your DW nothing but the best going forward. My first two years of FIRE, I was a nurse to my DW during her hip replacement and back operation. Took a while, but she has recovered nicely. Wish your DW the same recovery results.
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:07 AM   #10
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Your experience with only having one car is similar to ours. We are about 3 1/2 years with only one car, and with very few complications. (Neither of us has to drive to a job, and that helps). We live in a small "bedroom" community, and can walk or bike for many errands. Twice, in three years, we have needed two cars for a day, and we rented a car for a day (usually about $35-$40). But you become inventive on how to get by. Last week our car needed work at a specialty shop about 30 min. away. It was an "all day" type repair. Instead of getting a rental, I took my bike, and hung out at the library (2 miles away), an antique mall and Bob Evans.
We estimate a savings of $400 a month, or more, on giving up a car. So far, so good.
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:11 AM   #11
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I'd agree with the assessment of increased happiness and contentment. Going on 1 1/2 years and what's been most surprising is how easily I settled into a daily and weekly rhythm. No pressure to "be" anything or "do" anything in particular. It's surprising how all the concerns just seemed to work out and find their own way. A contributing factor I believe is all the preparation (i.e., reading) on not just the quantitative aspects but also the qualitative aspects of retirement. Early retirement has been a truly amazing experience unlike any other.
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