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Finding Purpose in Retirement
Old 10-13-2020, 04:25 PM   #101
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Finding Purpose in Retirement

I still have a year to go before this becomes a reality for me, but I intend for my purpose to be fairly simple: to just be. I am tired of years of corporate objectives and goals and strategies.
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Old 10-13-2020, 05:03 PM   #102
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This guy appears to have found his purpose.

https://news.yahoo.com/man-lives-alo...190800152.html
Honestly, that sounds great.
I especially liked this part:
Quote:
The "airport" was not much more than a runway when he bought it. He had a 100-by-50-feet steel hangar built and moved in shortly after. The hangar, one giant open space with no walls or windows, is his workshop, garage, and home in one. He calls it Lucin International Airport, and that's what shows up on my screen when I call him.
Reminds me of a remote airfield in Iceland I visited about 50 years ago. It's paved today, but back then it was a gravel strip called Hornafjörður International Airport. The story went that some time in the 1950s, a Norwegian plane had been blown off course from the Faroe Islands during a storm and landed there. That automatically qualified it as an international airport.
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Old 10-13-2020, 08:57 PM   #103
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What a great thread, something I have always had interest in, now, more than ever (3.5 years retired). My observations, bulletized....

One person's purpose, will NEVER be the same as another's. Ever. Period.


I find it interesting how people's "purpose" has has changed after retiring, and how for other's it has not.


I will not judge.


Since retiring, I have never been busier, and "un-bored", doing what I want to do, than ever before. But I relish the fact that at every turn, I get to decide.

I wonder if those who retire, and then are "bored", ever gave thought to not just the financial aspects of retiring, but the "purpose" part of it....

.. and I may not have. I have more interests/hobbies/activities than I know what to do with.... but that "purpose" concept is kind of an enigma. But then again, so what?


To me, continued health, to be able to do what I want, may be my "purpose". Among that, figuring out what I want my legacy/impact to be, all the while fullfilling my need to be doing things that propel me forward, to make the most of my life.

... all the while, mindful that maybe it isn't (and it isn't) just about me. What is that fine line between keeping yourself healthy, engaged, fullfilled, at the same time. leaving a positive impact, impression and example of the best way to move forward.






.... if you stayed with me in this rant this far, congrats.
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Old 10-13-2020, 09:09 PM   #104
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Thanks for posting this. It hit home with me.

I think I am coming to an end of my main after hours love of restoring classic (and other) cars. After my two year "campaign" of restoring a rather simple, but worn out and trashed 1971 VW Beetle, I felt like I was "glad to get over the work".

I have to comment on this one. In 1980, upon graduation from High School, I bought a 1968 VW Beetle for $500. It was my college car, I became infected. Over the years, I had many VWs, each being older than the last. I was hooked. In 1992, I finally found my "ultimate" (so I thought, I Have since owned older ones) VW, a 1957 "oval window" VW. I bought it and almost 8 years later in late 1999, I finished restoring it. In May 2000, it was featured in "Hot VWs" magazine.


In the last 20 years, I have put 20,000 miles on it, with it having a 1959 (36hp) engine in it that I got when I bought it.

TODAY (13 Oct 2020) I installed it's original, from the factory, 1957 engine in it, fully restored, and after doing some quick brake checkup/adjustments tomorrow, will take it for a spin on what should be a spectacular New England Fall day....

Never seems like "work" to me...... but it does take FOREVER!!!!
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:39 AM   #105
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There is a lot of research with hard data on what really makes people happy in life. The longest running study on happiness found the number one factor is social connections. Other common factors include getting out in nature, bonding with a pet, eating healthy, meditating, scenic surroundings, being near water, mindfulness, art and culture appreciation, good health, volunteer work, community involvement, exercise, music and keeping a gratitude journal. For most jobs, work and commuting take up a lot of time, maybe 50+ hours a week, that isn't being spent on research based happiness factors. If you retire and spend those 50 hours sitting on your rear watching news shows designed to make viewers fearful and angry, sure maybe working is better. But if you spend those 50 hours with family and friends, taking an art class, museum visits, joining a hiking group, going to farmers' markets and cooking fresh food, gong out dancing, gardening and meditating, I can't see how any of the jobs I had in the past would be more enjoyable than spending an extra 50+ hours a week on happiness promoting activities.

I ran across this website, which has an interesting take on happiness:

https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/

I think it explains some of the diversity of answers in this thread about what people are doing in retirement. Basically it says that happiness research is focused on positive emotions and how people answer life satisfaction questions is largely a function of their mood at the moment they answer. Moreover, our day to day mood ( happiness set point) is mainly determined by genetic factors and early life experiences, so we have little control Over it. Dr. Seligman suggests we focus on well being instead. This consists of:

Positive emotions- typical happiness research stuff. We only have control over 20 - 30% of our relative level of positive emotions

Engagement - doing activities one finds absorbing

Positive relationships - having close personal friendships and casual friends, feeling connected and supported by at least some other people

Meaning - being part of something bigger than yourself

Accomplishment - doing well in what matters to you, even if is not in something that is earth shattering
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Old 10-14-2020, 11:08 AM   #106
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After reading the rest of this thread, maybe we all need to take our purpose in life a little less seriously and stop seeking to optimize every waking moment.

I'm with Gumby: "Not all those who wander are lost."

And from the submarine force I learned the motto "Boring is good."
Yes!
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Old 10-14-2020, 05:54 PM   #107
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I have to comment on this one. In 1980, upon graduation from High School, I bought a 1968 VW Beetle for $500. It was my college car, I became infected. Over the years, I had many VWs, each being older than the last. I was hooked. In 1992, I finally found my "ultimate" (so I thought, I Have since owned older ones) VW, a 1957 "oval window" VW. I bought it and almost 8 years later in late 1999, I finished restoring it. In May 2000, it was featured in "Hot VWs" magazine.


In the last 20 years, I have put 20,000 miles on it, with it having a 1959 (36hp) engine in it that I got when I bought it.

TODAY (13 Oct 2020) I installed it's original, from the factory, 1957 engine in it, fully restored, and after doing some quick brake checkup/adjustments tomorrow, will take it for a spin on what should be a spectacular New England Fall day....

Never seems like "work" to me...... but it does take FOREVER!!!!
I saw your 57 engine in another thread. Excellent work!

I have had so many early VW's I can't remember them all. When I was in college, I was buying them, usually needing an engine and some paint work, fixing them up and flipping them. I've had an early bus too! That helped me pay for college after I got out of the military in 1968.

I graduated high school in 1961 to put things into perspective! While I still have the skills and tools to do almost anything on a vehicle, I just find my recovery time getting longer and the satisfaction of the accomplishment means less to me anymore. Now if I could get my 1965 Vette back in this garage, I would change my tune.....LOL
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Old 10-14-2020, 06:48 PM   #108
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In 1992, I finally found my "ultimate" (so I thought, I Have since owned older ones) VW, a 1957 "oval window" VW. I bought it and almost 8 years later in late 1999, I finished restoring it. In May 2000, it was featured in "Hot VWs" magazine.

In the last 20 years, I have put 20,000 miles on it, with it having a 1959 (36hp) engine in it that I got when I bought it.

TODAY (13 Oct 2020) I installed it's original, from the factory, 1957 engine in it, fully restored, and after doing some quick brake checkup/adjustments tomorrow, will take it for a spin on what should be a spectacular New England Fall day....
"Oval window"...? I think I saw one of those in Amsterdam last year.

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=...53982811330721
https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=...53982811330721
https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=...53982811330721
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Old 10-14-2020, 07:49 PM   #109
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That artist has done a few of those "Sphere" VW pieces. The ones in the links you provided are of a red "split" VW (1953 and earlier). Very cool.

"Ovals" are 1953-1957 VWs that had oval shaped rear windows.

Sorry to hijack this thread to a car obsession!!!
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Old 10-15-2020, 12:16 AM   #110
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I actually gave up on Fusion360 as they just changed the "free" version to be less useful and only usable on line. I went with Solidworks instead after dabbling with FreeCAD which was a very frustrating experience. Solidworks has worked much better for me and is "easier" to learn (I at least got one complex design finished more or less). What I have learned is that engineers have very different ways of looking at problems than I do. I have always been a right brain thinker but I know my wife who has a PhD in physics is also an engineer in her thought processes. So, I have gained a new perspective as to how she approaches problems which always baffled me before. Usually I go for seat of the pants fast solutions which are approximately correct and then makes changes as necessary. The old shift and adjust fire solution has always worked for me but not in designing precise things. I now have a firm grasp on how to break down a problem into small parts which have to inter-connect. It has been fascinating.

I have always been socially isolated and am not a social type of person. But, I think this is because in the military you move so often and make and break many relationships you become sensitized to only have casual friends. I spent my entire adult life in the military from age 18 until my retirement at age 56. So made lots of "friends" but not close friends. I am also very cantankerous and always out of the box, what people called a "weird" thinker. That always went against the grain in the military environment but it also endowed me with the ability to see things in a different perspective than "normal". That led to my success as a scientist but failure as a subordinate to flat thinking leadership who are always afraid to go outside the box. I have a similar personality to the character Doc Martin. So, not too many friends at all. But, I am not particularly sad about it either.

I do commune with nature a lot and I really enjoy sailing almost always alone. Three hours sailing is like spending a week on vacation. But, I also love riding trails out in the forests alone. I miss flying but the drone stuff approximates this experience for me.
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Old 10-15-2020, 11:37 PM   #111
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I agree with the article, having purpose is important.

We are still "finding our groove" in FIRE...and enjoying it. Being spontaneous, sleeping in, getting household projects done. I have tons of hobbies so don't get bored easily.

But, DW and I have talked...and probably in another year or so we're going to start a "cause" of some kind...helping others, volunteering, maybe set up a scholarship fund as part of our estate planning, etc. The hard part is honing in on what that cause will be....but we will find it.
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:52 AM   #112
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Looking for purpose in retirement is like searching for a meaning in life or trying to chase happiness. These are all big philosophical dilemmas that we all have to tackle ourselves and find individual answers that work just for us. Which this thread illustrates well: there are as many opinions on what the purpose in retirement is as there are posters.

While I believe that asking this sort of questions is in itself important and worth the time - ability to think and reason is a great gift humanity received form nature - getting boggled down down by them doesn't necessarily lead to finding that purpose.

As someone else stated here already: my purpose (not just in retirement) and the meaning of life is experiencing it as it unfolds; good, bad, purposeful, boring, painful, happy, rich, poor, thoughtful or mindlessly pleasurable. I figured that I won a lottery when I was born and I claim my winning ticket every day just by opening my eyes every morning.
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Old 10-18-2020, 03:31 AM   #113
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This guy appears to have found his purpose.

https://news.yahoo.com/man-lives-alo...190800152.html
I think I have just found my role model
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Old 10-18-2020, 08:25 AM   #114
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Engagement - doing activities one finds absorbing



For me, this. I’m only 4 months into RE and the only rare times I’ve questioned it are when I find myself without something to do. Simply getting up and making a meal or running an errand seems to reset the satisfaction level, other times just reading a great book.

I also find that the “work to earn” muscle is still pretty strong, so I’m consciously letting it atrophy. I may earn something in the future as I’m only 54 but, whatever it is, I want it to be due to a “Hell Yeah!” motivation, not just a habit of lack of creativity.
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Old 10-18-2020, 12:31 PM   #115
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After reading the rest of this thread, maybe we all need to take our purpose in life a little less seriously and stop seeking to optimize every waking moment.

I'm with Gumby: "Not all those who wander are lost."

And from the submarine force I learned the motto "Boring is good."
Hopefully plagiarism is not a sin in ER as I will definely use 'Boring is good' in the future.

Heh heh heh - I like it.
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Old 11-13-2020, 05:54 AM   #116
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In the past I derived a sense of purpose from both religion and work. Work was more practical - people depended on me, required my presence. In that way the 'sense' of purpose was similar to people depending on you for a ride or babysitting. Nothing to do with one's long-term legacy, just a 'sense.'

Religion was more esoterical. My purpose was to follow the rules and conform to whatever the latest concept of a 'righteous' person was, usually involving roles at church and as a husband and father.

When I left religion behind I definitely noticed this absence of a sense of purpose. Not right away, but within a year or two. Since I was raised in a fundamentalist home and generally followed that mentality for four decades, this was a big deal!

When I left work I felt the loss of that secondary sense of purpose, but it was offset by not having to deal with stupid people all day. LOL I never felt that my role at work was special or meaningful in the big picture.

So yeah, after having spent three decades or so spending most of my waking hours doing jobs for the end result of just having money to pay the bills, I definitely would prefer not to get to the end of my life and look back and see that I spent my retirement years just existing, doing nothing of any importance. Sure, that beats having to be at work every day, but I feel a sense of needing to do something more. I'm not looking for sainthood, just a fleeting sense of significance.

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Originally Posted by eroscott View Post
I follow Wes Moss and have read his book. Below is a brief article on what I've mentioned to friends. There is also a related youtube video here (skip 1st minute):


Title: Why It’s Critical To Find Your Core Pursuits Before Retirement
https://www.wesmoss.com/news/why-its...re-retirement/
I like the concept of 'core pursuits' - it is probably what most people mean when they refer to the bigger philosophical concept of 'purpose.'

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Yes. You are correct.

I think that a retirement is to retire from pursuing any serious purpose.
If you equate purpose with work, then yes.

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right?

this whole idea of "what's your purpose" is a bit much I might add. All these articles and books on "what are your goals in life". That's like corporate America narrative BS in my view. I'm done with that part of my life! Enough already lol.

I like to do things via volunteer work that help animals and people and I'm immensely grateful to be in this position. That's enough for me. I don't want or need to have some grand plan to "change the world" or have to put undue pressure on myself to "do something". And yes, nothing beats the option to sleep late, especially on a Monday morning!
I might agree to the extent that I definitely avoid getting caught in the 'productivity' hamster wheel. But I do want to *progress* - to grow and change, not become stagnant. But you *do* seem to have found a 'sense' of purpose in your volunteer work. I'm pretty sure that is *exactly* what the OP was talking about. Having a sense of purpose has nothing to do with changing the world, at least not the entire world.

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Once when I was in a meeting like that this down to earth guy from the South got tired of people arguing over whether the mission statement should be "completely customize principle-centered vortals" or "principle focused vortals synergized by operational excellence" (or something like that). He just spoke up and said "It don't matter. Neither one means a dam* thing."

Yes, you are right. I, too, do have a purpose now. It is to never have to waste a minute of my life sitting through meetings like that again.
This is a most worthy purpose! LOL

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I have no purpose other than to try and stay healthy, entertain my mind a bit each day, be a good person and have fun. Right now, work is in the way of all that. When it is not, I don't intend to have much greater purpose and I feel that is OK.

Too much emphasis on thinking about meaning and purpose I always come up empty and people just disappoint. Most of us are here, then we are not, and the world goes on. For me acceptance of that was the most liberating thing ever.
Interestingly, my acceptance of the finite nature of life had the opposite effect! Most of us think in chunks of five years or less in the future, usually planning no more than a week or two out. But when I contemplate our brief existence, I desire to be remembered by more than a few family members. I desire to leave some trace that I was here. I think of so many people, some very famous, some not-so-famous, who we still speak of, centuries or even millennia after they are gone. This mostly involves the written word, either their words or others writing about them. Thus my interest in writing, and genealogy.

This may come across as grandiosity, or an inflated sense of self, but it is my response to this fleeting life. I desire to be remembered.

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After reading the rest of this thread, maybe we all need to take our purpose in life a little less seriously and stop seeking to optimize every waking moment.

I'm with Gumby: "Not all those who wander are lost."

And from the submarine force I learned the motto "Boring is good."
I don't think any person in this thread talked of optimization of every minute. That's completely different from having a sense of purpose.
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Old 11-13-2020, 06:39 AM   #117
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I was raised in a fundamentalist home and generally followed that mentality for four decades, this was a big deal!
A big deal indeed. An important theme of my father’s life was breaking from Bretheran Mennonitism and then living with that backslider guilt.

I suppose it left him with an uncertainty about life, which was considered by Socrates to be a constructive awakeness.

After studying other religions a pattern emerges. Each religion discovers three flavours of world view, structure, compassion, zen/tantra.

Jesus was centered on a message of compassion for the Jews to hear. Paul created a more rule following, believist, sometimes ego flattering teaching, for the less evolved gentiles of the time, which served a necessary purpose.

People eventually outgrow the form of fundamentalism and graduate to learning what Jesus actually taught, a collection of life attitudes, or sometimes despair in nihilism if the transition goes badly.

The best way to accomplish this is to read the gospels without interpretation. I think the strongest representation of authentic applied organized gospelism is Opus Dei.

On that foundation tantra/zen emerges. Discipline and compassion are automatic and you start to experience the poetry of life in all things.

Beyond this is a fourth category which delves into bleeding edge consciousness science and the paranormal. Suddenly some of the weird **** the mystics talked about starts to make sense.
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Old 11-13-2020, 08:49 AM   #118
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I've never been passionate enough to have a purpose in life. I worked and then retired as soon as I could make the numbers work (age 53). Now that I'm retired I have more hours in the day to do the things that I enjoy, and luckily there are enough of them so that I'm not bored. Among other things:

- I'm a very competent DIYer and did a major reno on my house, saving $30k - $40k over retail. I also help friends and family on their projects.

- I have more time to play music and have greatly improved over the last few years.

- I have more time to work out and am in pretty good shape.

- I enjoy reading and average 2 novels a week.
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Old 11-13-2020, 09:35 AM   #119
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As a kid, I used to enjoy lying on my back on the lawn in the summer and looking at the sky. I'd half-close my eyes, and line up one of the clouds with a fixed object, such as a tree, to see if I could detect the clouds moving, and how fast they were moving.

This was both purposeful and rewarding.
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Old 11-13-2020, 09:44 AM   #120
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So yeah, after having spent three decades or so spending most of my waking hours doing jobs for the end result of just having money to pay the bills, I definitely would prefer not to get to the end of my life and look back and see that I spent my retirement years just existing, doing nothing of any importance. Sure, that beats having to be at work every day, but I feel a sense of needing to do something more. I'm not looking for sainthood, just a fleeting sense of significance.
Thank you for your well thought out post, dixonge. I find I agree with everything you said, something that is rare for me. I must admit, I was surprised by how many people dislike the idea of having a purpose or even equated that with weekly goals from corporate life. However, taking each day as it comes seems to work well for many people.

As for me, I would like to better understand the mysteries of the universe and perhaps even leave the world a little better for my having been here. I don’t equate that with corporate goals, which I hated during the brief time I was in industry.

For some reason your post reminds me of the epitaph on an ancient Roman tombstone that read, “I was not, I was, I was not again.” I think it would be nice to be remembered for something after I am gone.
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