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You have reached FIRE. So what?
Old 11-29-2017, 08:34 PM   #1
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You have reached FIRE. So what?

Just sayen...

My take after reading so many posts on this site is most of us have worked hard, planned, sacrificed to reach FIRE. Yes, for many, getting out of the rat race saved stress, long commutes, our Heath, and our relationships. For others, we just hit a magical number that we dreamed about that made us FI and we dreamed of golf, margaritas, and the carefree life. I fall in the latter camp and while I have not pulled the plug yet, I am FI, but find my early selfobsorbded dreams don’t feel as motivating or fulfilling as they did when I pursued them. Yes, I want to improve my golf game, do some more travel, explore some hobbies, but I have determined it can’t be all about me living like Jaba the Hut. It all sounded like a great plan when I was younger and working the Plan, but now I am here and “so what”? I just read a book called Half Time by Bob Buford and I find the premise of pursuing significance to be both energizing and sobering at the same time. How are you finding significance and purpose in your second half? Did you have an epiphinony or what changed for you? I just don’t think I can play golf every day, drink wine, eat lobster and sleep. Maybe 3 out of 7 days...
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:43 PM   #2
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I don't care about having any significance.

My purpose is to have as much fun as possible -
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:48 PM   #3
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You sound like you like the hard work of working toward goals but imagined a life after retirement with no responsibilities. Why not find something to work towards after work or keep working if you enjoy the challenge.

If your goal is to hike a mountain or run a race, you train. Find an accomplishment to work towards.
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:51 PM   #4
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My HR director told me he wasn't sure if "sailing every summer and skiing the Alps all winter" would keep me happy. Twelve years later I'm still waiting for that unhappiness to arrive.
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:52 PM   #5
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No pursuit of significance and purpose here. I've spent the 12 years since retiring practicing the art of simply being. I'm getting to be pretty darned good at it.
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Old 11-29-2017, 09:16 PM   #6
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No real pursuit of significance or purpose for me. But that wasn't coming at work either. Now at least I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. Seriously, there was nothing fulfilling in my last few years at work, so it couldn't get less fulfilling in retirement.
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Old 11-29-2017, 09:33 PM   #7
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Another classic example of "YMMV." I don't feel need for continuing to be "significant." I'm ER'd 4 1/2 years now, and I still love the lifestyle. Fun of doing what I enjoy, not to mention being at my kids' beck and call for grandpa duties, is all that I need at this point in my life.
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Old 11-29-2017, 09:55 PM   #8
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It's awful. Never certain what to do with ourselves. Wasting time on the beach in Puerto Vallarta this week. Then to Cancun on Boxing Day with daughter and family. In mid Jan we fly to Singapore for two months in Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Then a trip to China in May.

Wish I was back at work. Not!
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Old 11-29-2017, 10:04 PM   #9
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Old 11-29-2017, 10:05 PM   #10
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I'm with you Dawg Man. I have been FI for 7 years now. Tried to RE 3 years ago. Was off for a total of 8 months. The first 3-4 months were good. Then it started getting weird. I wasn't ready mentally. DW wasn't ready for me to be home (she was and still is working). She will be 46 tomorrow and is just beginning to understand the idea of re. I have many first world problems. Job doesn't suck (currently out in the Nevada high desert working with unmanned aircraft. Pay is very nice. Adding to the stash. DW and I are both independent. We can only spend so much time together. March will be 25 years of marriage. I am sort of looking for a purpose in life. For now I will just keep working the enjoyable, easy, high paying job.
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Old 11-29-2017, 10:13 PM   #11
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No pursuit of significance and purpose here. I've spent the 12 years since retiring practicing the art of simply being. I'm getting to be pretty darned good at it.
I think that simply being is significant. While I'm not one of them, look at the ideal of a monk. My significance is leading a simple life. It may turn out that it is a problem for me, but I'm about to go down that path and find out.

If I can make a difference in my grand children's lives, if I can get grounded and calm, if I can feel good as in being healthy I will have succeeded. The one thing I would like to find is a passion. Maybe something as simple as gardening, maybe some work that helps people in a significant way, who knows. If that comes, it's icing on the cake.

As RunningBum pointed out, I'm not getting anything I'd call significance or purpose or passion from work, so what do I have to lose?
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Old 11-29-2017, 10:21 PM   #12
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I have been RE for 9 years, and absolutely love it. I get to do what I want when I want to.
I fly for Angel Flight and Pilots n Paws, and volunteer on a tourist railroad. I just paid cash for a new car, so that makes it planes, trains, and automobiles LOL.
I love sitting on my porch any time of year with my reader, and do some traveling.
I also have a small bucket list. In the past few years, I have piloted a B-25, a Mig-15, and an SNJ, and I am not through yet.
I have been married for 10 years to a wonderful lady and life is good!!
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Old 11-29-2017, 10:27 PM   #13
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How are you finding significance and purpose in your second half? Did you have an epiphinony or what changed for you? I just don’t think I can play golf every day, drink wine, eat lobster and sleep. Maybe 3 out of 7 days...
I'm trying to forget most of the first half as some things didn't go so well for long periods of time. Most of my friends and I don't watch the national news or discuss politics and only focus on what makes us feel good and be happy. Keeping healthy and on this side of the grass are the main objectives.
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Old 11-29-2017, 10:30 PM   #14
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It seems to me that few people are actually truly 'significant' in the roles they play in their work life. Whether a MegaCorp CEO or in some other form of employ. There is always someone else who can do the job as well or almost as well or in a different but effective way. There are rare exceptions of course. As time passes wisdom can only compensate for stamina and ambition for so long. By retiring I've freed myself to do other things that would be significant in different ways and perhaps allowed myself to make contributions for a longer period of time.
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:11 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by DawgMan View Post
Just sayen...

My take after reading so many posts on this site is most of us have worked hard, planned, sacrificed to reach FIRE. Yes, for many, getting out of the rat race saved stress, long commutes, our Heath, and our relationships. For others, we just hit a magical number that we dreamed about that made us FI and we dreamed of golf, margaritas, and the carefree life. I fall in the latter camp and while I have not pulled the plug yet, I am FI, but find my early selfobsorbded dreams don’t feel as motivating or fulfilling as they did when I pursued them. Yes, I want to improve my golf game, do some more travel, explore some hobbies, but I have determined it can’t be all about me living like Jaba the Hut. It all sounded like a great plan when I was younger and working the Plan, but now I am here and “so what”? I just read a book called Half Time by Bob Buford and I find the premise of pursuing significance to be both energizing and sobering at the same time. How are you finding significance and purpose in your second half? Did you have an epiphinony or what changed for you? I just don’t think I can play golf every day, drink wine, eat lobster and sleep. Maybe 3 out of 7 days...
I think you ought to try it before you knock it. Just sayin. I know lots of people who were worried about how they'd like retirement, and most of them tell me they wish they'd done it YEARS sooner- that they can't imagine they ever thought they'd be bored, etc. etc.
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Old 11-30-2017, 02:54 AM   #16
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It seems to me that few people are actually truly 'significant' in the roles they play in their work life. Whether a MegaCorp CEO or in some other form of employ. There is always someone else who can do the job as well or almost as well or in a different but effective way. There are rare exceptions of course. As time passes wisdom can only compensate for stamina and ambition for so long. By retiring I've freed myself to do other things that would be significant in different ways and perhaps allowed myself to make contributions for a longer period of time.


I completely agree with this. Although I was a "Type A", pretty driven C-level executive, the last year or two of my career, I was feeling that I had already fulfilled the major "value add" I could deliver to my organization and was more or less in "maintenance mode." If I hadn't been planning to RE, I would have found another company/bigger job.

Knowing I was planning to RE at a specific time, I instead focused on trying to be a good mentor and preparing the organization for my departure, without actually telling anyone when I was leaving until shortly before my departure. I also started thinking in earnest about how I wanted to spend my time in retirement and made a long list of activities I wanted to explore after ER. For me it was less about creating a feeling of significance post ER and more about retiring "to" something exciting vs just getting away from a job I no longer found desirable.

I have to admit that 1 year into ER, I don't even know where that list is. I've just "gone with the flow" and for the first time in my adult life, allowed myself to just do as I pleased. It has exceeded my expectations, and my expectations were pretty high. I love being retired and am thrilled we did it early enough to enjoy physically demanding activities while we still can.

In addition to spending more time with family, traveling, and spending a lot of time outdoors exercising, I've mentored some university students and young professionals, which I find very fulfilling. DH & I also did a month of hurricane relief volunteer work in the USVI. I also joined a couple of advisory boards associated with a local university.

For me, ER is a great opportunity to redefine oneself and try new things. There are many opportunities out there to give back if that's important to you and helps you feel significant. Or if just taking a break and enjoying the fruits of your labors is what turns your crank, you can do that too. The possibilities are endless!!

If you own and run your own company, I can understand missing that, but if you work for someone else at a company you don't own, I think there are many ways to feel MORE fulfilled after ER. You just have to be open to letting go of your old corporate identity and allowing yourself to find new ways to contribute and be fulfilled.
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Old 11-30-2017, 03:38 AM   #17
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I think there are many ways to feel MORE fulfilled after ER. You just have to be open to letting go of your old corporate identity and allowing yourself to find new ways to contribute and be fulfilled.

This seems to be at the crux of it. Some people are more or less hardwired to only feel comfortable with a series of goals, objectives, achievements. Other people are just naturally more comfortable experiencing life with no particular endpoint in mind. If one of these modes is really one’s core identity, i.e. not changeable, then rather than buck the tide, maybe it’s best to find ways to be FI/RE that work with your identity - setting up new goals, targets, etc. But to the degree that one of these modes is a learned way of being, a person can change it - “letting go... to find new ways to contribute and be fulfilled.”

This whole topic may even be not so much a matter of adapting to FI/RE, as a matter of adapting to aging. Was reading an article recently about the well-documented “U curve” in well-being. On average, across many societies, folks tend to be happier in youth (20s and 30s), then less so in middle age (coinciding with the mid-life crisis period, with average happiness bottoming out around 47 or so), and then, surprisingly, average happiness keeps rising from there (even into 60s, 70s and beyond). Lots of reasons for that, but one of the points was that, as people age, they tend to shift from “telic” (goal-oriented) outlooks to “atelic” outlooks (process-oriented, being more comfortable enjoying an experience rather than focusing on where it is headed).

An older family member, who had had a successful career running his own business, once said, “My advice would be to slow down and enjoy the ride.”

Easier said than done, but maybe trying to make that shift, from defining oneself and feeling worth based on goals, to just savoring and enjoying the experience of living, is at the core of aging well.
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Old 11-30-2017, 04:32 AM   #18
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How are you finding significance and purpose in your second half? Did you have an epiphinony or what changed for you? I just don’t think I can play golf every day, drink wine, eat lobster and sleep. Maybe 3 out of 7 days...
I try to devote all of my time to enjoy, do things I like to do whenever I feel like it. That's my new mission in life. Enjoy my life. The fact that I already lived 2/3rd of my life working makes the remaining 1/3rd of very precious. And I am going to live it the way I feel like it. In two years of ER'ng, I have mastered the new way of life. Well, almost.

Since you mentioned golf, I used to play full 18 holes and sometimes more. I can only play during weekend so playing as much as I can was important. Now that I play 5 - 6 times a week, I don't play a full round. I quit when I get tired, or having a real bad golf day. I don't even play in tournaments b/c it gives me undue stress.

Besides golf, I had a full list of things I want to do in ER. I found that I don't have enough time to do all of them. In that sense, enjoying life has replaced my work hours and more. I understand that many people cannot do what I am doing. They need to work, and/or find some purpose in life. My new purpose in life just happens to be "enjoying life" and nothing else. One of my co-worker used to say, 'life is short, then you die." I believe that. Life is way too short and then we all die. I want to enjoy it to the fullest while I am alive. When my time comes, I want to say to Death, yeah, I am ready to go.
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Old 11-30-2017, 04:48 AM   #19
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I'm with you Dawg Man. I have been FI for 7 years now. Tried to RE 3 years ago. Was off for a total of 8 months. The first 3-4 months were good. Then it started getting weird. I wasn't ready mentally. DW wasn't ready for me to be home (she was and still is working). She will be 46 tomorrow and is just beginning to understand the idea of re. I have many first world problems. Job doesn't suck (currently out in the Nevada high desert working with unmanned aircraft. Pay is very nice. Adding to the stash. DW and I are both independent. We can only spend so much time together. March will be 25 years of marriage. I am sort of looking for a purpose in life. For now I will just keep working the enjoyable, easy, high paying job.
Apparently it’s a “dawg” thing
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Old 11-30-2017, 05:00 AM   #20
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Appreciate and expected the responses to vary based on everyone’s individual experience and how they are wired. I’m all about making time for the “party” and just “being”, but I suppose I feel like I need/should leave this planet making the world a better place by using some of my time/talent/resources in this 2nd half of life. For me, I don’t think of it as an ego drive or necessarily type A personality drive, just a human condition pickle which is why I posed the question. I’m not judging anyone’s post RE path/decisions, just throwing around the concept to see how/if anyone struggled/solved this post RE... anyone who does not have “dawg” in their tag line.

Oh, and Go Dawgs!!
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