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What do you do all day?
Old 08-06-2002, 08:20 AM   #1
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What do you do all day?

That's the kind of question many early retirees get. Even when I was just talking about retiring early, people though I was nuts. It seems to break down into 1) you have no "right" to be "unproductive" when other people (read, the person you are talking to) have to work and 2) what could you possibly do all day without being bored.

I usually answer the first question by saying that what I got paid for was often useless; I wrote lots of papers that got used as doorstops. And if you are taking care of your house (or boat or RV), you are being productive - just not paid. And volunteering is a whole other way to be productive. My favorite is that having saved like crazy, my money is being productive for me, funding the capital expansion (I hope!) of the nation.

The second question, about boredom, I find amazing. Apparently a lot of people don't have any life outside of work. I had a list 3 pages long of things to do when I retired. I'm still on page 1.

So - any other stories about clueless questions?

arrete
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 08-08-2002, 05:42 PM   #2
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Re: What do you do all day?

My case is a little different, so I don't get too much of this question. Most of my extended family just shake their heads (including my unretired father). But most of the people I see these days -- cruising boaters mostly -- are also retired early, so they understand.

As for the list of stuff to do and places to go, if I work at it full time, I'll be done sometime in 2008!

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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 08-08-2002, 07:00 PM   #3
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Re: What do you do all day?

I am not entirely sure what I do all day, but I sure enjoy doing it.

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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 08-09-2002, 04:04 AM   #4
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Re: What do you do all day?

A few months before I retired, someone on the old TMF REHP forum wrote, about early-retired life:

"I wake up in the morning with nothing to do, and go to sleep that night without accomplishing even half of it!"

I never expected it to be so true!

Dory36
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-13-2003, 09:11 PM   #5
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Re: What do you do all day?

Even though were both excited about our impending retirement, my wife and I are somewhat terrified of the unknown.
She's already developed a long list of "honey-dos" for me, but once we've exhausted the list there's a concern that we'll waste our time watching TV all day or something as equally bad.

My suggestion to her was that we set aside certain days for various activities so that would enable us to look forward to the each day. For instance, we both like "Antiquing", so will probably do that on Fridays when most garage sales and estate sales take place. Other days would be allocated to all of the other interests we have including family. I know some don't like to regiment their lives, but we're of the sort that likes to have a plan.

Does anyone else do anything similar? Or is this plan doomed to fall by the wayside?

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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-13-2003, 10:43 PM   #6
 
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Re: What do you do all day?

The minute I retired I immediately picked up where I left off before I was so rudely interrupted in 1963. Ever since the first day of first grade I knew that my first and only priority in life was to get into a position, as soon as possible, where nobody could tell me what the F*** to do.

I really don' t understand the question "but what do you DO all day?" What is the hang-up people have about "doing" something? I have the same life I had while I was working, except without the work now. Nothing's really changed
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-14-2003, 05:26 AM   #7
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Re: What do you do all day?

Hi Steve. Re. "What do you do all day?", my (only)
brother asked that exact question of my parents after
I retired, i.e. "What does he do all day?" Made me smile.
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-14-2003, 05:34 AM   #8
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Re: What do you do all day?

This is in response to proudTexan, re. "planning"
your activities. We do very little of this and what
little "planning" we do frequently gets changed
cancelled or rescheduled. My wife still works, so that
is preplanned for her. I frequently get up in the
morning with absolutely no idea what I will do that
day. Yet, every day is filled up. I like it that way.
Lived on a schedule almost my entire pre-ER life.
Don't want one anymore.
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-14-2003, 06:32 AM   #9
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Re: What do you do all day?

:-/ We must still be in that mode...work regiment. I guess it will take us some time to transition. I'm a type "A", so that may take a while. But, I must admit that my hammock is calling me.

I read somewhere in this forum that someone's blood pressure improved dramatically after ER. I'm hoping to become more active than I have been the last 25 years sitting in a Dilbert cube. I want to lose weight and lower my blood pressure. What's the point of ER if you're not healthy? My wife and I like to walk and hike, so we'll be doing much more of that on a daily basis.

Diet is another thing that we will attempt to alter. No more business lunches and too much caffine!
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-14-2003, 02:31 PM   #10
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Re: What do you do all day?

I'm a Type A also (big time), but between my ER
activities and the unavoidable loss of energy as we age,
I can now loaf for long periods without angst. I think
the Type A trait has helped in that I always have a
bunch of stuff I want to get done. Thus the lack of something to
occupy me has never been a problem. The key is that I have
learned I can put it off (sometimes for long periods)
and the world will not implode. Some days if I feel
especially perky, I may decide to tackle a whole raft of stuff. Other days I may feel lazy and not do anything
"productive" all day. The point is that I have a choice
and that what makes it all so delicious.
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-14-2003, 06:55 PM   #11
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Re: What do you do all day?

When I first started the transition, I didn't know that I was! I had planned to retire @ 55, but didn't expect the collapse of an industry that happened. As the months went by, I started to see how I could make a go of ER.
During those first few months, I felt like I didn't belong out on the streets during the day. Like I was supposed to be at work, and anyone who saw me would know that. Some sort of post-employment paranoia, I expect. But that wore off with time.

A major turning point was getting out and walking. I know it sounds corny, but in just a few days of starting that I felt much better. I had more energy, and a more positive view on life, something which had really seriously declined in the "every few weeks another layoff" game that had gone on for over a year and a half. I went from being "booked" from 5 AM to 6 PM, to free, just like that. And in return for this freedom, I am now responsible for myself and family much more so than before.

I wonder if I need some sort of job that I would work one day a month, just to remind me what it was like. So I don't start taking ER for granted and lose appreciation for it.
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-14-2003, 08:09 PM   #12
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Re: What do you do all day?

I've only been at this RE thing for about four and a half months, but I get this question a lot. I've come to realize that there's really no way to communicate an effective response to this question. Hidden in the question is an implication that working for a paycheck is the only acceptable way to spend time and that other pursuits are somehow an inferior use of life. I've even had folks follow up the question with comments like, "I'm just not the kind of person who could ever retire."

Although it sure works for me, I guess retirement isn't for everybody. If people can't figure out what I would do with my time or how I could avoid getting bored, then they probably shouldn't retire themselves. They are not likely to understand how I spend my days or value what I'm doing as highly as I do. And all I can do when they ask is smile and say, "Oh . . . I keep pretty busy."

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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-15-2003, 04:43 AM   #13
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Re: What do you do all day?

In the Dorothy Kalins book I referred to in a recent post,
she is interviewing a hard charging, tightly wired
executive about her subject (people who just dropped
out - which certainly applies to me). He opines that he knows who these people are: "Quitters!" I recall she
says he spat out. Well, A quitter I may be, but I paid my
dues. I surely did that.
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-15-2003, 05:10 AM   #14
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Re: What do you do all day?

Quote:
He opines that he knows who these people are: *"Quitters!"
What an idiot.

Quitters, yes. Quitters from the stress, quitters from the commute traffic, quitters from working with Aholes on a daily basis, quitters from bondage.

I keep telling those people I know that work overtime and weekends and take work home, that you can love your job, but your job can never love you back.

I can't begin to tell you how these people have been screwed over because they mistakenly believed that if you work for free you'll be rewarded. Life is about balance. Work is only part of the equation.

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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-15-2003, 06:08 AM   #15
 
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Re: What do you do all day?

Quote:
I've only been at this RE thing for about four and a half months, but I get this question a lot. *I've come to realize that there's really no way to communicate an effective response to this question. *Hidden in the question is an implication that working for a paycheck is the only acceptable way to spend time and that other pursuits are somehow an inferior use of life. *I've even had folks follow up the question with comments like, "I'm just not the kind of person who could ever retire."
Yup, I get this a lot also. When I see the implication that there must be something wrong, if I'm not working ; I have started answering this way:

"I do the same things I did in my off time when I was working, I just have more time to spend with my Family, Friends and Hobbies and take longer and more vacations - Of course if someone does not have a life outside of work, I would not recommend this lifstyle for them"

This of course implies that there may be something more deranged about someone that does not wish to retire.
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-15-2003, 06:36 AM   #16
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Re: What do you do all day?

I tell them I'm a private invester and no I don't give advice. If they persist I say I might be willing to review and comment on stock portfolio's over ten million. Usually I can keep a straight face and usually they shut up. Ten years in ER helps.
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-15-2003, 07:10 AM   #17
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Re: What do you do all day?

"What do you do all day?"

Well, I can can tell you about this beautiful morning. I headed out for a walk about 45 mins. before sunrise. It was a cool and crisp morning. The moon was shining brightly. Venus was real bright and high in the sky, along with another planet (not Mars, it had set already). It was so quiet and beautiful. All was alright with the world. To the east, nice colors starting, as time went by could see a few clouds spaced out on the eastern and northern horizons for variety. Then the birds started to awake, and a Chimney Swift silently zoomed by me low down in multiple passes, looking for bugs for breakfast. All in all, a glorious site and experience. If I was still working, I would have been at work already and never been able to see or experience any of it. It would have been just another rat race day.

This is what ER is about! 8)
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-15-2003, 09:32 AM   #18
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Re: What do you do all day?

Being and peace with one's self and being regular should be everyone's ER goal.

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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-16-2003, 04:27 AM   #19
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Re: What do you do all day?

Good morning my fellow ERs amd ER wannabes.

I sense a change in my day to day activities. I
remarried about 2 years ago. My wife is a former
antiques dealer and life long bargain hunter. Loves
garage sales and auctions. Me too, but I never bought much. Just entertainment. Now however I have started
to buy and sell. The longer I am at it the more
knowledge I acquire and the more "inventory" I carry.
Bottom line: For me this is easy money and I enjoy
the activity. I do have a concern it will start to feel
like work at some point, especially since my days were
pretty full before. A couple of my friends do this on ebay. I just use cheap local ads, etc. We each have
our areas of specialization. I told my wife that I thought I could make some significant money if I spent more
time on this. There's the rub. Stay tuned......................
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Re: What do you do all day?
Old 09-16-2003, 03:39 PM   #20
 
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Re: What do you do all day?

One of the things I was always commited to was to never turn a hobby into a business. I've seen a few of my friends do this and it can become quite ugly.

All of sudden friends become customers and customers become 'corporate friends'.

I am a software whore and developing software is not one of my hobbies.
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