Originally Posted by pl05br
would love to hear more about ER from those who have done so at or about 40...
It'll be three years next week; I ER'd just shy of 42.
My spouse is thoroughly onboard with free childcare, housecleaning, & cooking. She still works P/T but hours have declined precipitously as I corrupt her work ethic Reserve funding dries up. She's pretty relaxed but a couple times a year she has a hard time turning it off. I often occasionally hear a story about the Navy's latest personnel outrage or leadership incompetency and realize that I just don't care anymore. Like any big, impersonal, soulless corporation it lurches on its way without your guidance... if it ever responded to your guidance in the first place.
A couple months into ER I started getting job offers-- very entertaining but it was still too early to go back to work in a different uniform. After a year I was pretty sure that I wasn't interested in going back; after three years I'm very sure. Who knows what the next couple decades will bring but I doubt it'll involve commuting, wearing socks, or having an office.
My father (who gave me the ER idea) thinks it's great. My brother, eternally on the cusp of having his R&B band take off, doesn't seem to care one way or the other. My FIL was a little paranoid at first ("Don't f--- it up, man...") but he's beginning to relax. My brother-in-law and his spouse are just waiting for their minimum pension requirements (@ age 55, about 15 years to go). He's a CPA so we're always swapping ideas; he can't wait to join the club. Our kid has plenty of love & attention; she probably wishes that we were working so we'd just leave her alone.
Friends & neighbors on the street see me as the surfer bum who's always around for a delivery or to help with a project. One neighbor went through a "But you're too young to be put out to pasture!" phase and couldn't believe that I didn't want to join his MLM network. We've agreed that I'll trample my own pastures while he takes care of his businesses and his Lotus Triumph. Another neighbor's parent said "You're too young to retire!" which led to one of my signature lines. Later we bonded when he was fixing a broken water reducer and wanted some help... and now we've agreed that we're never too young to ER. The rest of the tae kwon do dojang think that it's great; we all agree that I need every spare minute of ER to improve my skills to keep up with them. (I'm looking forward to putting on black belt before the decade ends.)
The neighborhood kids see me as a source of free food, drinks, & entertainment while they're hanging out with our kid. Old shipmates pass through the islands and we still swap lies sea stories like we just got off watch. Workplace acquaintances... well, I hardly ever see the vast majority of them. They're almost all working and having a tough time turning it off. Some of them don't want to retire, others don't want to stop spending beyond their means. We all get along well but I don't think that we understand each other. Next month I'll be taking a friend to visit my last command and I'll see the old crew. It'll be interesting to see their reactions.
Besides my spouse, only one of my contemporaries "gets it" about ER. He's still four years away but his work has always interfered with his surfing, so he's more than happy to give up the former. He buys me lunch every few months to make sure that there aren't any surprises he should know about...