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What will I do?
Old 01-11-2013, 05:54 PM   #1
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What will I do?

I'm tentatively planning on retiring in about 5 years, unless my MegaCorp has other plans. I've been there 29 years.

I got a new, very high pressure, dream promotion 9 years ago. I run our employee intranet, and it really is always what I wanted to do, even before Al Gore invented the internet. I get to work from home, but it's long hours, and very fast paced. I'm in my mid 50's, and seem to be keeping up. I keep getting raises & bonuses, so I'm assuming they're pleased with me.

Because it's so fast paced, and I'm a team of one, it's been hard for me to take vacation. This year at Christmas, I took off 16 days straight off. Guess what? I turned into a toad. I watched too much tv, got virtually nothing productive done, and generally felt like a slug.

So, fast forward 5+ years. What the heck will I do when I retire? How do you go from 90 miles an hour to a slow jog? Do you ever regret it? Did you start something else? Do hobbies fill the time, truly?

Inquiring minds want to know, please and thanks!
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:09 PM   #2
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Threads on this subject come up on a fairly regular basis so if you have the time to spend looking around here a bit, you should be able to come up with some answers/opinions from others.

You may well need some time to decompress after such an intense working life. For some the decompression period is a year or two; for others, little or no adjustment period is needed.

As for how you'll fill the time, it depends very much on your personality. Some people schedule their retirement so that it is as activity-packed as their working life was. Others, like me, find that a hobby or two, plus the everyday routines such as eating, drinking, and general pottering around the house easily fill the time. Some days, it's almost noon by the time I've had breakfast, coffee, fed the cats, performed my daily internet routine and started wondering what I'm going to do for the rest of the day. Other days, I never even get to the part where I wonder what I'm going to do!
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:14 PM   #3
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Also SumDay, consider this - although your working life is hectic, you are spending it performing essentially a narrow range of activities again and again. It feels high-pace, but compared to the wide range of skills/abilities/senses you could be engaging, you are probably only utilizing a narrow range, but repetitively. Such is the nature of work in a specialized labor force. Retirement can give you an opportunity to engage and utilize a wider range of skills.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:15 PM   #4
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(FAQ archive) But... what will I do all day? You may find some useful insights there.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:36 PM   #5
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Everyone is different, but in my case, I have absolutely no problem keeping as busy as I want to be in retirement. I have a variety of hobbies/interests that keep me fully occupied (gardening, fishing, hunting, hiking, kayaking, fitness, cooking, traveling, reading, computer, volunteer organizations, etc), and when you toss in all the other things that need to be done around here (maintenance and repair of various things, etc), I sometimes have a hard time keeping up. You don't mention having any hobbies or activities that you would like to spend more time pursuing after you retire. In my case, I had/have many, and was frustrated that I never had enough time (while working) to do them to the extent that I wanted to. If you truly can't think of any interests that you would like to pursue in retirement, then you may have some difficulty once your working life ends. I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to immediately get busy with a bunch of activities upon retirement (decompressing and relaxing may be just what you need, for a while). But you do need to give some serious thought as to how you will spend your days, after that.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:43 PM   #6
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No one's making you retire (hopefully) - you have to want to.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:59 PM   #7
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I was a RN in a high pressured environment so I had no immediate plans when I retired I just knew that after 40 years I was ready .Do whatever makes you happy . For me it's a combination of gym , savoring time with my SO & friends , visiting family , traveling, reading,trying new recipes ,home projects & an ebay business . Today I had a long long lunch with a group of my friends to me that is priceless .
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:43 AM   #8
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While many members here have spent countless hours working on financial planning aspects of RE, without spending any significant time considering the mental side of transitioning to RE (as for them its a no brainer), but for the hard charging types that have thrived, enjoyed and lived for the fast paced work environment, this may be something to spend time figuring out in advance, how do I want spend my time in this next phase of life.

There are many threads on this site that will provide excellent food for thought on answering that question, as most members are quite active in their various RE pursuits vs being couch potatos.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:54 AM   #9
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I should add that I found reading these two books was a huge help with thinking through the non-financial aspects of retirement. Figuring out how much money you need is relatively simple (but not easy), though pre-retirees and authors obsess about the $ almost to the exclusion of the non-financial. Some/many people readily adapt to a life without work, some do not (boredom & depression), and most probably fall somewhere in between. No matter where you are on the continuum, I believe it's an essential preparatory step before retiring to give serious consideration to the mental/emotional side of retiring before pulling the plug. Actively reading these two books really helped me FWIW...
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SumDay View Post
......So, fast forward 5+ years. What the heck will I do when I retire? How do you go from 90 miles an hour to a slow jog? Do you ever regret it? Did you start something else? Do hobbies fill the time, truly?

Inquiring minds want to know, please and thanks!
No regrets at all. Hobbies do fill (most) of my time. I golf a lot more than I did before (2-3 times a week, one day with a travel group of other retirees where we golf at a different course each week). I ski a lot more than I did before (~2 times a week, depending on weather). I also have lots of various honey-do projects that I pick off a little at a time.

Since you are a one-man band, you may want to pave the way by hiring your replacement and shift to part-time for a while to ease the transition. It could be a win-win. I worked part time (50% to 80% time) for almost 8 years before I pulled the plug.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SumDay View Post
This year at Christmas, I took off 16 days straight off. Guess what? I turned into a toad. I watched too much tv, got virtually nothing productive done, and generally felt like a slug.
That sounds like a lot of guilt for someone who's admittedly way behind on their loafing.

Quote:
So, fast forward 5+ years. What the heck will I do when I retire? How do you go from 90 miles an hour to a slow jog? Do you ever regret it? Did you start something else? Do hobbies fill the time, truly?
There are no rules, and sometimes that's the problem for some folks -- fear of freedom of choice. What you do, how fast-paced you do it, and other choices, are entirely up to you, with noone to be answerable/accountable to except yourself (and spouse, if applicable). Does that excite you or scare you? (rhetorical question).

It sounds like you still have planty of time to figure out your needs (aside from financial) as well as your desires.

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Old 01-13-2013, 02:05 PM   #12
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Sum Day - be sure to talk to your MD. Although anecdotal, there is a real issue of guys who retire then drop dead in six months. It happens. Since you are 5 years out, now is the proper time to start wrapping your head around the concept. Do a little day dreaming. What do I **want** my retirement to look like? You can volunteer. VISTA or Peace Corps would welcome the additional talent. Travel. As others say... hobbies. Deferred maintenance on the house. I still plan to take up model airplanes (radio controlled) again. Did it as a youth, now want to do it again. We got a small 5th wheel trailer and have been seeing the country off and on. The world is big ... lots to explore. The best part, it is your choice!!!
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:12 PM   #13
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Thank you everyone for the thoughtful input. I've been pouring over some of the prior discussions, and have an order into Amazon for a couple of books.

This is great insight, and very much appreciated.
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:18 PM   #14
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I would strongly suspect that after being retired for about a year that you will pause and muse how you ever found time to work. And you know, slugs are useful - ever thought about gardening? Once you develop a new rythmn you willbe just fine...
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:21 PM   #15
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I should add that I found reading these two books was a huge help with thinking through the non-financial aspects of retirement. Figuring out how much money you need is relatively simple (but not easy), though pre-retirees and authors obsess about the $ almost to the exclusion of the non-financial. Some/many people readily adapt to a life without work, some do not (boredom & depression), and most probably fall somewhere in between. No matter where you are on the continuum, I believe it's an essential preparatory step before retiring to give serious consideration to the mental/emotional side of retiring before pulling the plug. Actively reading these two books really helped me FWIW...
+1...especially "How to Retire Happy.." My date is March 1, but this book especially gave me the confidence that I will not want for lack of things to do.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:16 PM   #16
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One possible thing to do if you have a lot of family pictures is to digitize them. I am now up to 8000 prints and slides and counting (3 generations of pictures). Particularly if one has more than one kid its a way to avoid one fight after you are no longer around, and also digital photos take a lot less space. Note that the charge to have this done is about $.50/slide. One could also offer to digitize any photos ones siblings might have. (Thats a way to reassemble the pictures ones parents had also)
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:48 PM   #17
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I retired about 3 months ago and, surprisingly, not many people asked me what I would do. (Maybe they said it behind my back). I had a pat answer that I could give. For me it is still early, but I'm finding I'm spending more time on things that I did not think I would (like cooking, exercising, socializing, etc). So my advice is that planning for what you will do is a good idea, but leave some flexibility in it. Everyone is different, but I prefer just taking some time to unwind first.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:03 PM   #18
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SumDay when I was in my mid fifties I was like you too. I had a great job and loved doing it and had no thoughts of retirement. I simply still "wanted to work". I knew that I probably wanted to retire at 60 so I kept that year in mind as a target.
I hit that target and believe it or not, I felt entirely different about working. I no longer "wanted to work" and was ready to retire.
Only you will know when it is time to retire and you will not worry about what you will be doing. You will look forward to doing other things and you will answer your own question with all of the possibilities out there.
Trust me, it will happen but you can't force it.
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