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Why are so many people so concerned over how I spend my time?
Old 07-30-2012, 09:40 AM   #1
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Why are so many people so concerned over how I spend my time?

OK, Why are so many people so concerned over how I spend my time? Why do they expect me to be accountable to them?

I must admit that I am a bit amazed at how many people are now questioning me about the details about how I spend my time. While not technicaly retired, I have done my last day of work and am busy doing things about the house, catching up on my reading and socializing.

Have others experienced this phenomena? Questions like "What do you do all day?", "How long did it take you to do that?", What are you going to do next?", or, the worst one "Don't you get bored?"

I was not ready for this. I expected a few comments, but not this many and not so often. Or do I have so much idle time on my hands that I am imagining this.
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:49 AM   #2
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Most everyone in my neighborhood is an early retiree, so I don't get the questions as much.

However, I don't think they 'expect you to be accountable' to them as much as they're a little envious and curious. It's an easy conversation starter about retiring.

They're perhaps thinking about retiring and wondering how they'd fill their time. Or, they might lack imagination and can't figure out what they'd do if they didn't have a j*b.

They could be using the "don't you get bored" as a put down but if so, that'd be their problem wouldn't it!
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:52 AM   #3
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I get the same crap - principally from DW (who has been a SAHM for 20 years). I figure in this first year or RE I'm going to do what I want, when I want and not be concerned whether I am being "productive". I worked by tail off for many years to be able to spend this time doing as little as I want.
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:55 AM   #4
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OK, Why are so many people so concerned over how I spend my time? Why do they expect me to be accountable to them?

I must admit that I am a bit amazed at how many people are now questioning me about the details about how I spend my time. While not technicaly retired, I have done my last day of work and am busy doing things about the house, catching up on my reading and socializing.

Have others experienced this phenomena? Questions like "What do you do all day?", "How long did it take you to do that?", What are you going to do next?", or, the worst one "Don't you get bored?"

I was not ready for this. I expected a few comments, but not this many and not so often. Or do I have so much idle time on my hands that I am imagining this.
It might some people's way of showing some sour grapes. As in "I would love to do that but I can't, so I'll find a way to make it seem less positive". My standard response has always been "not doing anything is not the same as not having anything to do. Now I get to choose what, when and why"
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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Our neighborhood has a "two hour limit" per day of working around the house (boat-work excluded). This rule was established by one of our first retirees in order to keep a " nice pace" to the honey-do list.

If any of us goes beyond the two hours, all the other retirees come over and give you crap and remind you that the work will be there tomorrow.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:05 AM   #6
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Why are so many people so concerned over how I spend my time?

I expect that they are echoing their own concerns about what would they would do if they were not working. I haven't had to field many questions like that. I'm going to the retirement party for a colleague in a couple of weeks so I expect I'll get asked this question a few times.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:05 AM   #7
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You have chosen a lifestyle well out of the US mainstream. Expect curiosity and possibly some hostility. None of it shoudl really matter some come up with a stock answer or two you feel comfy with and go on about your business.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:42 AM   #8
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I tell them that I"m now a porn star.Hey,I can still dream right.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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Maybe they are genuinely curious? Either that or unimaginative or punitive.

Tell them to imagine everything that is fun and interesting in their lives that they do outside of work and tell them to imagine having an extra 50-60 hours per week to engage in these most awesomest of activities. If they want. Or not if they don't want.

Unless their job is their sole source of entertainment (which unfortunately happens), they should be able to think of a couple things they do for fun that they could do more if they had the time.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:51 AM   #10
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Tell them to just think of it as a long weekend. A really long weekend.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:54 AM   #11
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It's funny that these questions get asked a lot. Among people who I elect to spend significant time with, they are much more likely to talk about how to avoid spending more time at work, how they wish they had more free time to do fun things or relax, and how work crimps their style.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:55 AM   #12
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People asked me similar questions when I first retired (mostly out of concern for my well-being I believe). When it became clear that I had no problem keeping busy, the questions went away. The questions came back when I moved to SF. By moving from a suburban house to a downtown apartment, I had to give up many of my favorite hobbies, like gardening and woodworking. Many people thought I would eventually get bored and go back to work. But those hobbies have been replaced by new ones, and it has become clear that I may not get bored after all. The "what do you do all day"-type questions are going away yet again.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:01 AM   #13
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"Any man who cannot manage his own entertainment is a sad excuse for a human being."

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Old 07-30-2012, 11:18 AM   #14
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Motivations are many as others have said, curiousity, envy, benchmarking or just making conversation (many may assume you'd like talking about your "new life"). People ask me about sailing all the time, because they know it's an interest of mine, but I realize most are just trying to make conversation with a topic they know interests me even though they know little about it. Their intentions are good, so it certainly isn't unwelcome.

When people ask me, I tell them I find that I’m just doing all the things I truly enjoy more deeply than I could before. Sailing, studying investing / economics / politics / spirituality, reading, cooking/foodie, exercise (walking & cycling), playing guitar, internet forums, researching our final relocation, conservation, photography, improving our home & yard and a few new pursuits. Having the time to do more things really well can be surprisingly satisfying, I’d almost forgotten. That more than satisfies whatever their reasons are for asking. And the conversation moves on 9 times out of 10...easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

But no one can make you feel accountable, just as no one can make you unhappy. It's your reaction, totally in your control. They're not making you accountable, you're doing that yourself...
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:28 AM   #15
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Early on, I had the reverse problem! People (former employees and colleagues) asking me where/what new endeavor I would be taking on.

Their hope was that I'd hire them back and that their world would once again be re-aligned. Most couldn't believe me when I said that I had no intention of w*rking again...many assumed I was planning some secret thing and that I wasn't telling them. Some got really mad that I wasn't letting them in on my "next big thing"!!

It's been seven years and I still get a few calls. I"ve had to tell them that it's time for them to move on.

EDIT: Honest to God, I posted this an hour ago and just got a call from one of them!! (he calls every 6 weeks for the past 7 years!)
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:32 AM   #16
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I just look real sad and say, "I wish I could still spend all day in a cube".
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:39 PM   #17
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I just look real sad and say, "I wish I could still spend all day in a cube".
Ha! That's a good one!
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:47 PM   #18
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I've actually been surprised at how seldom I get this question. Mostly I get "how are you liking retirement" - and I'm surprised that nearly 2 years in I still get asked this quite regularly.
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:04 PM   #19
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Because I worked part-time at the same company for 7 years before finally ERing in 2008, I did not really get asked that question a whole lot because the far bigger transition was going from full-time to part-time. My main answer at that time was, "I wanted my LIFE back!" And because it was well known how much I despied the commute, another answer I gave was, "NOT commuting to the office!"
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:19 PM   #20
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and the absolutely best thing about being retired is NOT having to do timesheets and expense reports!!!

Though I'm sure DW would like to have me do accountings for my time.
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