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Is it really early retirement that we most want or do we want the absence of ...
Old 05-23-2016, 10:46 PM   #1
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Is it really early retirement that we most want or do we want the absence of ...

This article suggests that ER will generate its own challenges and, as in all human desires, lasting satisfaction will be elusive. I know I am a lot happier having simply changed jobs recently, proving here are ways to mitigate severe unhappiness at work short of ER, such as finding different work. Someday, however, FIRE me!

Getting What We Want Isn’t What We Really Want
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Old 05-24-2016, 05:47 AM   #2
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Note my signature line.

Thanks for linking to that blog. I wasn't aware of it. I like his approach and sense of humor.

I don't think I've ever been more satisfied than I am now, nearly two years after RE. It feels like revisiting the freedom I felt in my early 20s, but better. I was future-focused then and I'm present-focused now.
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Old 05-24-2016, 05:55 AM   #3
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This article suggests that ER will generate its own challenges and, as in all human desires, lasting satisfaction will be elusive.
Nope, not the case - at least not for me.
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Old 05-24-2016, 06:07 AM   #4
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I suspect most of us get tired of emptying the BS bucket, and if someone can find a job that doesn't rapidly fill up said bucket, great. But most jobs aren't like that and most people aren't so fortunate.
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:31 AM   #5
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Markola, that is one of my favorite blogs, and when that one came into my inbox yesterday, I was knocked out by it. David has an amazing insight in nearly all of his articles, but this one was truly great. I'm glad you like him, too.

Focus, I'm a fan of the Stoics as well. I enjoyed reading the Art of Living a few years ago, and your sig line reminded me to dig it up again.
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Old 05-24-2016, 10:40 AM   #6
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Nope, not the case - at least not for me.
Me, either.

Before I retired, I had no idea how much fun retired life could be, even though I wanted to retire more than anything. For some reason I thought it would be like a long vacation. It's so much better.
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Old 05-24-2016, 12:19 PM   #7
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W2R, from the article, he mentions how much more important the intangibles are, than the actual "thing" we might want. Thought you might especially appreciate this part:

The ease itself we can find much more readily by understanding our wants rather than scrambling to relieve them. We live in a society that’s constantly, cynically, promising that ease and relief through the getting of a particular thing, showing us pictures of it whenever possible, showing us how affordable it is. I constantly forget that it’s the ease, the unfettered mind, that I really want. And the restaurant doesn’t serve that.

I think you embody that part about appreciating "the ease, the unfettered mind" of retirement. And how much better that is, than what you imagined.
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Old 05-24-2016, 12:26 PM   #8
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W2R, from the article, he mentions how much more important the intangibles are, than the actual "thing" we might want. Thought you might especially appreciate this part:

The ease itself we can find much more readily by understanding our wants rather than scrambling to relieve them. We live in a society that’s constantly, cynically, promising that ease and relief through the getting of a particular thing, showing us pictures of it whenever possible, showing us how affordable it is. I constantly forget that it’s the ease, the unfettered mind, that I really want. And the restaurant doesn’t serve that.

I think you embody that part about appreciating "the ease, the unfettered mind" of retirement. And how much better that is, than what you imagined.
Thanks.

I have to admit that I don't find eating out to be nearly as disappointing as he claims. Usually I get more pleasure from it than I expect, not less. When reading the article, I couldn't help but think that he must be a bit of a sourpuss in real life. But, he makes a good point about self-knowledge.
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Old 05-24-2016, 12:42 PM   #9
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This article suggests that ER will generate its own challenges
Another balm for those with $25K in their 401k's.

"See, I'm glad I can't retire!"
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:12 PM   #10
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Work can be fun. Work can be productive, and financially lucrative.

But there is also life outside of work that one misses if he's too busy working and has only a few measly weeks of vacation each year.

I worked part-time on special assignments as a contractor for 10 years, taking off as many as 6 months/year. Finally quit for real, when the megacorp BS became too much. What price is your sanity?
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:04 PM   #11
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Focus, I'm a fan of the Stoics as well. I enjoyed reading the Art of Living a few years ago, and your sig line reminded me to dig it up again.
I'm glad! Here's another quote from Epictetus that could be applied to ER:

"There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will."
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:24 PM   #12
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This was good - thanks for sharing!
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Is it really early retirement that we most want or do we want the absence of ...
Old 05-24-2016, 08:16 PM   #13
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Is it really early retirement that we most want or do we want the absence of ...

You're welcome. Sarah in SC, nice to know you're a fan, too. This was another wise piece by a darned good writer and is another way of stating the old, reliable Serenity Prayer. For the record, my path is most definitely FIRE, probably in 5-7 years. Even if it isn't instant and permanent Nirvana, I want it. When I reach it, I plan to join the chorus of happy REs here!
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:30 PM   #14
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When it comes to ER, I look at it as freedom. The freedom to do what I want when I want. The freedom not to face a difficult career that my best years were in the past. The freedom to not to put up with customers that didn't want to follow my company's rules. And the freedom to sleep late if I desire (which I don't do anyway.)

The trouble is that I've worked harder in retirement than when working catching up on job tasks I had to put off when traveling 4-5 days per week on the job. We also work hard doing mission work and building houses for victims of tornadoes, etc.

My main interest is keeping sharp mentally and physically for the long term. We're a big part of raising our grandchildren, and we need to be on top of our game for them.
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:38 PM   #15
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I didn't get the article either. Me thinks he is some "lost soul" out there seeking...

Whatever he's not found yet.
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:02 PM   #16
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I think the Rolling Stones had something to say about getting what you want.
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:11 PM   #17
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The author of the article meant that we often desire things that don't turn out to make us happy as we originally thought. He was alluding also to Siddartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism.

We all know this effect, but call it by different names. We dream about owning a boat, spend effort and money to look for the right one, and after we buy it, find out that the maintenance requires too much time and money that may not be worth the pleasure that the boat gives us.

Generally, many toys and material possessions are like that. For example, I stop caring about fancy cars long ago. I do not get enough pleasure out of driving a fancy and luxury car to make it worth the frustration when an imbecile puts a dent into it at the grocery store parking lot. I do have toys, but they are not expensive, and I do not spend a lot of time pampering and taking care of them.

And the author talks about how the same feeling may apply to other desires, such as a fancy vacation or dinner. People say experiences are better than things, but perhaps many experiences do not work out as well as we expected.

I don't know. I do not have too many disappointing trips. I always try to not set my expectations too high, not be too picky. I try to enjoy my trips however they turn out to be. A lot of this is just common philosophy.

But it is the OP who extends this "not happy with it once you've got it" feeling to achieving retirement. I guess if one expects retirement to be the ultimate nirvana, he may get disappointed too.
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:16 PM   #18
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I am rarely disappointed at restaurants. I go to those that make food that I don't do well. I like being waited on and I don't have to cook.

The stuff I buy works well and I usually have it until it breaks and then I get something better.

I love being retired as I only do stuff I want to do now and it just rocks -

There is no "lasting satisfaction" and there never will be. Everything dies. There is grief and pain and suffering. And joy and love and new beginnings.

What's new?
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:19 PM   #19
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True. But I get longer satisfaction out of my toys than most people do theirs.

People just call it being frugal, but it is deeper than that philosophically.
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Is it really early retirement that we most want or do we want the absence of ...
Old 05-24-2016, 09:26 PM   #20
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Is it really early retirement that we most want or do we want the absence of ...

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But it is the OP who extends this "not happy with it once you've got it" feeling to achieving retirement. I guess if one expects retirement to be the ultimate nirvana, he may get disappointed too.


OP here and I don't, not really. Acknowledging and discarding fleeting desires for stuff and meals is healthy but those aren't in the same league as stepping away from paid work and its very real, dangerous BS buckets. I have experienced the latter too much and have temporarily solved it by getting a better job until I can FIRE. Others have solved it by FIREing, which is a far superior approach.
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