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-   -   One biggest "surprise" in retirement (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f29/one-biggest-surprise-in-retirement-62897.html)

David1961 09-05-2012 12:25 PM

One biggest "surprise" in retirement
For the folks here who have already retired, what was the one (or more) thing that happened after you retired that surprised you the most or you did not expect? Can be related to any area of your life (finances, health, family, hobbies, personal growth, etc) and can be positive, negative, or neutral.

ducky911 09-05-2012 12:36 PM

positive...I don't know where I found the time to go to work.

negative ...I gained weight.....I have started to work on that now.

marko 09-05-2012 12:38 PM

After 30+ years of go-go-go 75 hour weeks and non-stop international travel, running a mega-corp, I was mostly surprised (as was DW and all our friends) that I didn't get 'itchy' after a few months. DW told me later that she was terrified that I'd go nuts, but...no.

Seven-plus years and counting. No itch!

Alan 09-05-2012 12:38 PM

I think the biggest surprise for us is that there were no surprises. Getting on for 3 years now and we are doing everything we hoped to do, and loving it. Life after w*rk is wonderful for us, so far.

Onward 09-05-2012 12:49 PM

The biggest suprise has been the difference between how I expected to spend my days, and how I am actually spending them. It's hard to anticipate what will come along and pique your interest.

ksr 09-05-2012 12:49 PM

I think the biggest surprise for me has been how low my federal and state income tax bill is now.

travelover 09-05-2012 01:02 PM

I was surprised at how little I missed working. Initially I thought that I'd work part time to "keep busy". Ha!

bbbamI 09-05-2012 01:03 PM

Positive....We've been pulling funds out of our portfolio since March, 2009 and the portfolio is higher now than it was when DH retired. Our financial plan is working.

Negative...DH was diagnosed with cancer in December, 2010..

Summary...We're grateful we were able to retire early. Life is fleeting.

W2R 09-05-2012 01:05 PM

Biggest surprise: that despite my preconceptions, I had no idea what time of day was most natural for me to sleep. I am still working on that.

Another surprise: how long it takes to completely de-stress and kick back.

marko 09-05-2012 01:13 PM


Originally Posted by W2R (Post 1228425)
Biggest surprise: that despite my preconceptions, I had no idea what time of day was most natural for me to sleep. I am still working on that.

Another surprise: how long it takes to completely de-stress and kick back.

Took me almost 2 years to 'come down' off of that Type A lifestyle. Used to sleep about four hours...now I can log in 8 (if I don't have to get up in the middle of the night! :laugh:)

omni550 09-05-2012 02:07 PM

Retired 5.5 years ago. It's all good.

Used to sleep 5.5 hrs (alarm went off at 4:30am) and was always tired. Now sleep until 7-7:30 am (and wake up whenever I open my eyes). Everyone always comments on how well-rested and stress-free I appear.

I have a very unstructured life but I find that I am never bored. I read, spend a lot of time online, meet friends for lunch or dinner, have joined a bunch of meetup.com groups (going dining, hiking, kayaking, etc. with them).

I make time for exercise (walk 4 miles at least 3 times a week, etc.) so I simply feel much better than when I was working.

I travel fairly frequently, sometimes for a few days and sometimes for 3 weeks or more. I love the time flexibility that retirement affords.

One slight negative: a long-term (16+ years) relationship ended a few years into retirement, so I've had to rediscover life as a singleton. It was a bit lonely early-on, but I actually love spending time alone now.


Mulligan 09-05-2012 03:39 PM

After a couple of years in ER, with occasional PT work, I noticed these surprises. 1) thought I would sleep better, but I don't, even though I am stress free. I guess the 8 hours (or even 5) of solid nonstop sleep are forever gone. 2) I enjoy a daily routine, unless traveling. I am not a happy camper if I cant start the day very slow with coffee and news on paper. 3) I save money better in retirement than I did working. I hope it doesn't degenerate into hoarding!

Ronstar 09-05-2012 04:38 PM

I'll be watching this thread. I'm pulling the plug jan 1, and I don't want surprises. My problem is that I find that when I'm away from home, I have a hard time keeping occupied all day. At home, woodworking and home projects keep me busy all day on my days off work. I need to find a way to avoid the need to keep busy. I don't want to be surprised by a void that work was filling

jebmke 09-05-2012 08:18 PM

I was surprised how easy it is to lose track of which day of the week it is. Friends gave me a day clock -- now I use it frequently because I can never remember what day it is.

ohyes 09-05-2012 08:19 PM

Only been retired a few months, but i thought (pre-retirement) that i wanted one planned activity for most days so i would not be idle. WRONG! WAY-WRONG. So many things come up, i cherish the days that are simply enjoying the day at home with no plans. I cannot fathom adding in anything else.

What should not have been un-expected, but still made me gasp: group health insurance is going up $200/month. That was a bit too soon for my liking. :(

RAE 09-05-2012 08:30 PM

I guess the only surprise for me is how easy it is to fill my days in retirement (I've been retired for 2 yrs, 8 months). I've always had a lot of hobbies and interests, so I knew I wouldn't be bored in retirement, but it seems like the days go by now and I don't even have enough time to accomplish what I planned to accomplish that day or that week. But hey, that's the great thing about retirement.........if you don't get to it today, you can always do it tomorrow. :)

freebird5825 09-05-2012 08:59 PM

5 yrs 5 months years FIREd

Positive...initially, I was surprised at how long it took me to chill out as a person. I always felt like I was supposed to be somewhere, doing something. This forum helped me get over that. :flowers: I laugh when some of the email calendar reminders (things to do) pop up, residues from the first few years of FIRE. DELETE key! :laugh:

Negative...emotional stuff. When I FIREd, I was 1.5 years into a start-over-again-after-widowhood relationship that did not pan out. My first 3 years of retirement were marred by all that nonsense. My voluntary unemployment caused some assumptions about external situations that I did not want to be subjected to.

Now it's smooth sailing. ;D

Speculator 09-05-2012 09:23 PM

What surprised me the most was discovering how my sense of self-esteem was tied to an awareness of my "doing" something, rather than having "done" something.

Milton 09-05-2012 09:46 PM

Interesting thread, thanks for starting it.

REattempt 09-05-2012 09:56 PM

How long it is taking to "relax." One year anniversary and I'm still only 50% relaxed or comfortable.

I know you only asked for THE most surprising aspect, but other thing that is equally surprising is how the time get sucked up with activities and there is so much more to do...

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