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FIRED and depressed
Old 11-04-2016, 09:26 PM   #1
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FIRED and depressed

Hi everyone,

I FIRED in 2013 at age 46. I have a wife and two daughters age 10 and 13. I have more than enough money by any calculation (tens of millions). But I still live in the same 3/2 bungalow that I have lived in for the past 10 years, have the same friends, and life hasn't changed that much, except of course that I do not go into work.

At first this was wonderful. I puttered around the house fixing things and building things. I made a swing for my girls, and a raised garden bed, just as two examples. I play golf a lot, and take guitar lessons. I bought some real estate, and read lots of books. I go on daily hikes with my dog. I cook dinners, try new recipes, etc. In short, I did (and still do) all of the low key things that I always dreamed of doing while chained to a desk for 25 years. But I'm sorry to say that I am sad.

I am sad because looming large over all of these things is a sort of emptiness. Retiring early has brought into focus the fact that life is essentially without meaning or ultimate purpose. The things I do are enjoyable, but this is different than being meaningful. I guess the thought of just filling my days with activities, enjoyable as they may be, until I die, just seems absurd. Of course, it was always absurd, but earlier in my life I was too busy to notice. Early retirement forced me to look at the absurdity of existence, and I still have not come to terms with it. All of the money in the world would not fill this space. Sorry to be such a bummer, but I am keeping it real, as they say.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:39 PM   #2
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Were you happier when working? If so, can you go back to work now?
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:41 PM   #3
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Sounds like time for some new hobbies. volunteering at a food bank? sky diving? both?
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:41 PM   #4
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Bummer dude.

I never had any goals, ambitions or desire to "change the world". Just wanted to have fun and enjoy life and do whatever I wanted.

I'm only a little over 2 years retired. I hope I don't feel like you after 3.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:49 PM   #5
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Bummer dude.

I never had any goals, ambitions or desire to "change the world". Just wanted to have fun and enjoy life and do whatever I wanted.

I'm only a little over 2 years retired. I hope I don't feel like you after 3.
+1

I'm going next year, and figure relearning golf will take up at least two years.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:51 PM   #6
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Retiring early has brought into focus the fact that life is essentially without meaning or ultimate purpose.
Well, not to go down a contentious road, but I'm among those who believe (as you apparently do) that there's no cosmic purpose or "meaning" to our existence, at least not one that is part of any "plan." And I can see where you are coming from--a well written post.
The only thing any of us leave behind is the impact we've made on others. I know you feel good when you help somebody in either a big or little way, we all do. So, you've got time now, you've got resources now, and you can make a plan. If you want to add meaning, ease someone else's struggle a little bit. Find a way to make a difference that increases the amount of happiness out there. And you get to hatch this plan yourself and do it just like you want to. Join with others when it suits you, otherwise you can do things just as you please. That's freedom, with a purpose.
I think.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:57 PM   #7
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...Retiring early has brought into focus the fact that life is essentially without meaning or ultimate purpose. The things I do are enjoyable, but this is different than being meaningful. I guess the thought of just filling my days with activities, enjoyable as they may be, until I die, just seems absurd...
You did not say what your job was, or if you enjoyed it.

I enjoyed my work, and I was good at it. I am doing some of it as a hobby, but there's something missing. When you work for pay, you promise people a certain outcome, you have a schedule, a more concrete goal. And you feel proud when you deliver it. When I do the same work for myself, I slack off, do half-assed job, and just do not have the discipline.

In short, I still miss work some time. But I am older, and more tired. And I know it is just green grass over the fence. If I went back to work, the negative aspects of it would overwhelm me again, to more than cancel out the good things.

So, I don't know what to tell you. It can be difficult to understand one's emotion, to know what one really wants. If you don't know what you want, you can never get it.
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:01 PM   #8
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:05 PM   #9
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I retired in 2013 as well, and have 2 daughters about the same age as yours.

I also have a hyperactive 4 year old so I might still be in the "too tired to notice my life has no bigger purpose" phase.

But I find the joy in the small things. Sitting on the back deck watching the herons and egrets circle the lake. Watching the steam from my morning coffee waft into the air. Finishing the book I've been trying to get around to reading for the past month.

Watching my kids grow up and being there for them is immensely rewarding, and probably my most lasting contribution to this world. They will probably be here in 60-70 years but not much else of mine will be!
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:42 PM   #10
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If your life is without meaning, go to work finding meaning. Generally, it is found by doing something that benefits other people in an area that you care about. This doesn't have to be something as altruistic as feeding the hungry (though it could be), it could be something related to something as simple as golf. I just read a book by Arnold Palmer and he found great joy in advancing the game of golf (The First Tee). Get to work. Make something happen for someone. You'll feel better.

https://thefirsttee.org/2016/09/26/a...FZSMaQodnvkB8w
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:11 PM   #11
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The world is full of problems, you could make a difference by solving one or two of them, there is always the need to cure cancer if you can't think of any other issues in the world.

Or go back to work part-time, even in a different field.
Join a cult, they all seem happy.

sky-diving can end your happiness very quickly as soon as something goes wrong.
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Old 11-05-2016, 01:03 AM   #12
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I have found that volunteering for organizations such as AARP Taxaide (volunteer tax preparation) and volunteer event planning (I run registration for an annual conference of a couple hundred people) have gone a long way towards warding off boredom/depression. If you have good leaders then they will really appreciate the talents that you bring to the table. The cool thing about volunteering vs work is that you can control your intake. IE decline to take on more than you are comfortable with.

I have one rental property that actually produces income that I spent some time getting ready and getting the business of the ground.

I also do all the repairs at home on my own fleet of aging cars and many household repairs (appliances furnace etc etc.)

I also have a group of friends that are willing to meet out for drinks/dinner on a regular basis.

I live near a large metro area there is no shortage of cultural events, lectures, etc etc.

Sure beats working outright IMHO if the finances will allow.

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Old 11-05-2016, 04:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogaigh View Post
I am sad because looming large over all of these things is a sort of emptiness.

Retiring early has brought into focus the fact that life is essentially without meaning or ultimate purpose.

Early retirement forced me to look at the absurdity of existence, and I still have not come to terms with it.
Sounds like classic depression to me, and not a retirement issue. Time for professional help to treat depression - seriously! You have a family to think of let alone yourself.

Reading posters here, few are feeling emptiness or are depressed because life is absurd.

If might "feel real" but it doesn't mean it is.

Sometimes happiness is a decision.
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Old 11-05-2016, 05:56 AM   #14
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Old 11-05-2016, 06:02 AM   #15
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Retiring early has brought into focus the fact that life is essentially without meaning or ultimate purpose.

Early retirement forced me to look at the absurdity of existence, and I still have not come to terms with it.
Please seek and find some professional help.
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Old 11-05-2016, 06:07 AM   #16
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I'm with Audrey. Sounds like classic depression. Seek treatment now rather than later. I don't believe there is anything inherently depressing from a existential view. I know many people, including myself, who believe the same thing yet still thoroughly enjoy life.
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Old 11-05-2016, 06:22 AM   #17
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I agree with others - seek professional help.

But in my unprofessional opinion, you need to put something back in your life that fulfills you like your former job did. Maybe a little consulting or part time work.
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Old 11-05-2016, 07:24 AM   #18
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Depressing post because I can see where you are coming from. I think we would be in the same boat if we were not engineers and always looking for a project or problem to solve.

A drastic change in location (moving from South Bumville to Uzbeckibeckistanstan) might be just the ticket. Overload with new experiences and you won't have time to think about the meaning of life.
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Old 11-05-2016, 07:27 AM   #19
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Agree.....seek help. My brother retired at 50. His wife still worked leaving him with a lot of free time. Many might like this arrangement but he became depressed. He didn't have any passionate hobbies and just became a couch potato. He got fat and later died of cancer at 56. The cancer may have not been a result of becoming over weight and inactive, but I've often wondered if things would have been different if he had stayed active and healthy.

Retirement is not for everyone. Perhaps a working career is the right thing for you. There is a man working at my old company who is 91. He loves his job(salesman) and firmly believes his longevity and happiness is due to his working lifestyle.
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Old 11-05-2016, 07:44 AM   #20
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Hi everyone,

I FIRED in 2013

....I'm sorry to say that I am sad.

I am sad because looming large over all of these things is a sort of emptiness. Retiring early has brought into focus the fact that life is essentially without meaning or ultimate purpose. The things I do are enjoyable, but this is different than being meaningful. I guess the thought of just filling my days with activities, enjoyable as they may be, until I die, just seems absurd. Of course, it was always absurd, but earlier in my life I was too busy to notice. Early retirement forced me to look at the absurdity of existence, and I still have not come to terms with it. All of the money in the world would not fill this space. Sorry to be such a bummer, but I am keeping it real, as they say.
I agree with other to seek counseling. You mght be in the throes of midlife crisis (the classic "is this all there is?" feeling about life) which can destroy a lot of your life. Life actually is absurd and we don't get out alive, but we can find things in it that make us happy along the way. You might find those things for yourself but as your outlook seems to be pervasive, a good counselor can be very helpful to start you thinking about finding meaning.

Also, do you have friends to share things with? I know many people who even reached way back to the friends they had in college or high school and reconnected and it made all the difference in their lives.
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