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Old 02-09-2009, 10:24 PM   #61
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Thanks for the essay, Nords.

I find that the fog of work has moved with me into my role as a full-time parent. Maybe once they go to school this will change? Anyone have this experience? Sorry if it's been posted already, I'm short on time and neurons today.
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:45 PM   #62
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I find myself constantly calculating things such as how to be more successful in my career. Of course, there is nothing I could do at 4 AM, so the only thing I am successful at is giving myself a bad night of sleep almost nightly. Thank goodness I still remember to meditate from time to time so that I can get back my peace of mind.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:15 AM   #63
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I find that the fog of work has moved with me into my role as a full-time parent. Maybe once they go to school this will change? Anyone have this experience? Sorry if it's been posted already, I'm short on time and neurons today.
I think some of the daily in-your-face always-on-24/7 burden is relieved when they start school.

Of course much of the physical stamina (or stress) is exchanged for mental stamina/stress. But elementary school peer pressure is a powerful tool for motivating kids to learn how to clean their own rooms, do their own laundry, prepare their own meals, and manage their own money. You're no longer the sole authority figure, either-- it's not your fault that there's no fun until the homework is done!

On the long-term view, I'm surprised that one more driver's license has made such a huge improvement in our family quality of life. We hardly ever have to nag about planning shopping trips or errands-- we no longer pay the price for her lack of planning. In addition she enjoys the driver training & proficiency chance to flee the nest and be mobile for an hour or two, so we exploit leverage that desire by having her take over the family errands. It's turned her into a much better shopper, too. I only drive our Prius once or twice a month now...
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:33 PM   #64
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+1 to the parent thing. Work is where I relax now. Get so wrapped up in daily parenting (dd is almost 3 and her favorite word lately is "NO"- lots of tantrums too) and trying to make it thru the day that long term thinking is hard.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:25 PM   #65
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I love this essay. Fog of work is real.
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:50 AM   #66
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But no one, not even nuclear engineers, plans our latté quota to project the savings cashflow and its compounded growth into a specific calendar date when we're going to start school, buy that house, and accumulate enough savings to retire.
Really? I'm sure that many people, particularly those on this board, engage in such planning.

It's not rocket science. Just reading and applying the principles set out in Your Money and Your Life will be sufficient for most purposes.
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Old 03-08-2009, 03:44 PM   #67
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Really? I'm sure that many people, particularly those on this board, engage in such planning.

It's not rocket science. Just reading and applying the principles set out in Your Money and Your Life will be sufficient for most purposes.
Yeah but even I limited myself to two decimal places - approximation wise.

heh heh heh - And I never made to age 63 - got layed off at 49 and had to redo my plan - handgrenade wise. .
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:00 PM   #68
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The "fog of work" can continue for months, years, even decades. Maybe work is fun, maybe planning is too hard or even scary, or maybe we're too busy with the daily minutiae to focus on the long-term picture.
I agree with you, well said. I was thinking along the same lines but, since you were so articulate in describing the "fog of work," you saved me a lot of ... well, work.

Continuing the metaphor, one might say that work is carrying out our lives by other means. That may be why some (most?) retirees, early or not, find themselves lonely, empty, confused, when the retirement date arrives and we need to live our lives through primary means.

Even if we've planned our retirement to the utter financial detail, we may not be ready to really live, because the fog of work has kept us so busy with things only tangentially related to real living. Most of us make the adjustment, and find that, gee, we really do have a life. It may not be the life we envisioned when we dreamed of retirement, it may not be the most exciting, it may be filled with many mundane things that still need to be done on a daily basis but, by gosh, it's a real life and I'm going to live it.

Thanks for a good essay.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:40 PM   #69
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Really? I'm sure that many people, particularly those on this board, engage in such planning.
It's not rocket science. Just reading and applying the principles set out in Your Money and Your Life will be sufficient for most purposes.
I used to be one of them too, but I much prefer Jeff Yeager's approach: Smart Financial Choices

To torture the metaphor even further, people can easily spend $3/day on cable TV or cell phone bills. But unless that's being subsidized by an employer, it's hard to feel virtuous about saving for ER without cable (let alone HD) and not being able to yak at will. Although he did fine for the 1970s & 80s, I bet even Joe Dominguez would have hesitated to implement some of his ER tactics in the face of more modern high-tech entertainment.

I think that a very very small minority of humanity, let alone ER Young Dreamers, will take pleasure in tweaking latté spreadsheets. If we tell people to forsake their daily caffeine to worship the putative benefits of simple living, then I doubt the pews will fill with converts. But people can appreciate the wisdom of making good choices on the big decisions, and it won't feel like they're flirting with the line between frugality and deprivation.

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Continuing the metaphor, one might say that work is carrying out our lives by other means.
Good one!
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:11 AM   #70
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Nords - Mr Yeager makes a good point - however, he leaves out one of the most important ones - who you marry or decide to live your life with. Usually, that comes before the children.

I'm too lazy right now, but there was a list somewhere I read regarding the most important decisions in one's life and how that affected them financially - although the article focused on the finance aspect, turns out it was a good list to ensure happiness in life as well: house, spouse, children and upbringing thereof, auto, daily lifestyle costs and expectations seemed to be the list. This could encompass both the 'pay attention to the large decisions' as well as the 'small decision have an impact, too' viewpoints.

Bottom line - awareness of the decisions and the short-term and possible long-term impacts is most important.
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:50 AM   #71
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I think that a very very small minority of humanity, let alone ER Young Dreamers, will take pleasure in tweaking latté spreadsheets. If we tell people to forsake their daily caffeine to worship the putative benefits of simple living, then I doubt the pews will fill with converts. But people can appreciate the wisdom of making good choices on the big decisions, and it won't feel like they're flirting with the line between frugality and deprivation.
Am I supposed to feel deprived because I don't go to Starbucks or the equivalent? Sheesh - - why doesn't somebody TELL me these things!

I got a $5 "Secret Santa" gift card for Starbucks this year, and it is directly across the street from work so I thought I'd go get a cappucino. Haven't been in there in at least 8 years, and I was shocked at how small a Vente is (has it shrunk?) and how ordinary the coffee tasted. The price with tax was $3.75 and wasn't even a treat. Good - - no reason for me to spend anything more there.
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Old 03-10-2009, 11:02 AM   #72
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I don't know if it counts as fog or not - but I was mentally unemployed til I made the shift to ER in my mind. Memory says it took a while.

Note that folks around me - also considered me 'unemployed' as I was under 55(early retired at the plant) - no matter how well I was surviving financially.

Da rule - no pension! - you don't count as retired.

heh heh heh - I avoided certain retiree gatherings/doughnut shops until age 55.

heh heh heh - silly me.
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Old 03-10-2009, 11:04 AM   #73
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Da rule - no pension! - you don't count as retired.
As opposed to the future, which is feeling more and more like "no pension - you're never going to BE retired."
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Old 03-11-2009, 12:10 AM   #74
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I got a $5 "Secret Santa" gift card for Starbucks this year, and it is directly across the street from work so I thought I'd go get a cappucino. Haven't been in there in at least 8 years, and I was shocked at how small a Vente is (has it shrunk?) and how ordinary the coffee tasted. The price with tax was $3.75 and wasn't even a treat. Good - - no reason for me to spend anything more there.
Our kid gets plenty of Starbucks cards at Christmas & birthdays. The cards have zero value to her caffeine-free lifestyle, so I buy them at a cash discount. Then I enjoy going into Starbucks, asking for a small black coffee, and watching the counter action grind (so to speak) to a halt while they all stare at me and try to remember how to translate my request into action.

Feels like Oliver Twist asking for more gruel...
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:54 AM   #75
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Nords, excellent post. Unfortunately I think I am one of those who have (at least temporarily) lost the ability to truly sit down and just relax for a while. Perhaps I've trained myself to be this way --always on the run, always planning the next thing, etc.

I tried to slow down between Christmas and New Year's by scheduling a week of "staycation" where I just stayed home. I saw friends perhaps every other night. Honestly, I didn't even know what to do with myself. The whole time I was extremely unfocused and just wasted time on the Internet. Everyday I woke up really late and did nothing. Sadly I did not enjoy it. I was elated to go back to w*rk where, although there were headache moments, I at least knew had a structure and felt somewhat in control of my time.

FIRE is still at least 25 years away for me, but I think I will need to learn how to relax. I didn't use to be this way...
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:08 AM   #76
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Nords, excellent post. Unfortunately I think I am one of those who have (at least temporarily) lost the ability to truly sit down and just relax for a while. Perhaps I've trained myself to be this way --always on the run, always planning the next thing, etc.

I tried to slow down between Christmas and New Year's by scheduling a week of "staycation" where I just stayed home. I saw friends perhaps every other night. Honestly, I didn't even know what to do with myself. The whole time I was extremely unfocused and just wasted time on the Internet. Everyday I woke up really late and did nothing. Sadly I did not enjoy it. I was elated to go back to w*rk where, although there were headache moments, I at least knew had a structure and felt somewhat in control of my time.

FIRE is still at least 25 years away for me, but I think I will need to learn how to relax. I didn't use to be this way...
We are cut from the same piece of cloth. There have been several threads going about having trouble adjusting from the schedule of w*rk to the non-schedule of FIRE (or time off in your case). Maybe next time you do a stay-cation, make up your own "schedule" full of home or fun items. I actually do this in my email calendar. I will be FIREd for 2 years in April. It keeps me from feeling "lost" or thinking too much about "what to do".
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:30 AM   #77
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We are cut from the same piece of cloth. There have been several threads going about having trouble adjusting from the schedule of w*rk to the non-schedule of FIRE (or time off in your case). Maybe next time you do a stay-cation, make up your own "schedule" full of home or fun items. I actually do this in my email calendar. I will be FIREd in 2 years in April. It keeps me from feeling "lost" or thinking too much about "what to do".
I always seem to enjoy "staycations", but even so I do have a plan to structure my time when I begin ER. I am thinking of (after coffee) simply going to the gym. This gets me out of the house and seeing people, gets my exercise done with, and by late morning I will be showered and changed and ready to share some lunch with Frank. Sounds like bliss to me. Then the afternoon activities together can be spontaneous, which is always fun.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:30 PM   #78
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Nords, excellent post. Unfortunately I think I am one of those who have (at least temporarily) lost the ability to truly sit down and just relax for a while. Perhaps I've trained myself to be this way --always on the run, always planning the next thing, etc.
FIRE is still at least 25 years away for me, but I think I will need to learn how to relax. I didn't use to be this way...
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We are cut from the same piece of cloth. There have been several threads going about having trouble adjusting from the schedule of w*rk to the non-schedule of FIRE (or time off in your case). Maybe next time you do a stay-cation, make up your own "schedule" full of home or fun items. I actually do this in my email calendar. I will be FIREd for 2 years in April. It keeps me from feeling "lost" or thinking too much about "what to do".
Anyone can learn to be a hyperactive overachiever. It takes real skill to master the challenge of just sitting there and doing absolutely nothing.

Our problem is overscheduling-- three projects will be perking along when suddenly one of them will take off, another will have an unexpected change requiring our attention, and the third will have a setback. Then our kid will storm home from school proclaiming that it's wasting her time and she's not going back...

As far as the other issue, not finding anything worth one's attention, I highly recommend Ernie Zelinski's "Get-A-Life Tree". My copy has been sitting on my desk for several years, waiting for me to find the quiet contemplative time to fill it out.

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I am thinking of (after coffee) simply going to the gym.
The main advantage of a morning workout is that it's easier to schedule the post-workout therapeutic massage...
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:55 PM   #79
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Anyone can learn to be a hyperactive overachiever. It takes real skill to master the challenge of just sitting there and doing absolutely nothing.
..As far as the other issue, not finding anything worth one's attention, I highly recommend Ernie Zelinski's "Get-A-Life Tree". My copy has been sitting on my desk for several years, waiting for me to find the quiet contemplative time to fill it out.
From the age of 15 to age 48, I was on the fast track to maximum, but never hyperactive (to me at least ) achiever status. I had a lot of fun doing that except for the last 10 years before FIRE. The personal pride I received for making a c*reer from virtually nothing but my brains and drive...I enjoyed that part. I wouldn't change a thing.
Believe it or not, I am actually getting closer to "just sitting there" status, after almost 2 years. I spent a lot of time here at home this winter, in self imposed solitary. My email "to-do" reminders came up, but I never said I hopped right to when they did.
I also need to do my "Get-A-Life" tree. But it just seems so much like w*rk, I blew it off. I do read Zelinski's lists of new activities to explore. Half credit is better than none.
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:55 PM   #80
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I think all of us could use a bit of Mokki from time to time in which we spend a day alternating between drinking beer, sitting in a sauna, and soaking in a cold lake. According to the author, it was the most relaxing day he's had in the last ten years.

Saunas and Silence - The Atlantic (April 2009)
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