Author Topic: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom  (Read 11415 times)

CharChar

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The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« on: January 20, 2016, 04:11:03 PM »
You know, the whole "we(humans) weren't meant to work our whole lives, while giving half our earned income to someone else, and never having time for our own life interests because we have things to do and bills to pay". I have struggled with this my whole life, and more so lately. This probably stems from a combination of being in the middle of a very cold, dreary winter, and my favorite inspiration (David Bowie) having passed away - he was absolutely against being controlled with the masses and basically did what he wanted his whole life, encouraging others to creatively express themselves, live their lives & play a part in positive societal changes. If you know anything about him you know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I started reading this blog about 2 years ago (I think?) and for a while did really great, never became overly mustachian but I made a lot of positive changes, acquired some real estate, etc. I make 36k a year, which I truly believe is underpaid for my position (in property management), and although I do see my salary increasing over the years due to experience, I don't ever see myself making anywhere near 100k/yr. At 30 years old, there is little to no chance of me actually retiring early. But that's not what this is about for me. Its more about the fact that we are automatically born into a society that has no problem sucking the life out of you...send you to school for hours on end for years on end, then start the whole thing over with a job and a career, blah blah blah. So now I'm just ranting. But I guess I kind of feel an imbalance. I want to work hard to save for a good retirement, but feel that is clashes with my desire to live an alternate lifestyle altogether(though it shouldn't have to be considered an "alternate" lifestyle). Is this making any sense? I'm not saying I want to spend more money at all. I want more freedom though. I just can't stop waking up every morning thinking to myself, "there's got to be more"! Does anyone else ever feel this way and how do you deal with it? Or am I just being a big baby??

onlykelsey

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2016, 04:41:44 PM »
I think you have to find enjoyable (free/almost-free) ways to enrich your life on the way to retirement (whether that's in 10 or 40 years).  Ideally, something that you can make some money with on the side (to shorten the timeframe to retirement), that you might enjoy doing in retirement (or at least tolerate doing if you have unforeseen expenses).   It sounds like you want to retire FROM working, but don't have anything you want to retire TO.

faramund

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2016, 04:59:16 PM »
I've also felt the way you feel. I try to deal with it by enjoying weekends, evenings and leave from work, and generally trying not to let work shape or takeover my life.

Although, thinking more about this, I think I felt this way, much more strongly when my kids were young. Back then, it seemed like my life consisted of work or family obligations. Now that they are older and more independent, its much easier to enjoy the good things in life.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 05:04:40 PM by faramund »

BPA

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2016, 05:12:44 PM »
http://www.amazon.com/Un-Jobbing-Liberation-Handbook-Second-Edition/dp/096548341X

From the Inside Flap
Un-Jobbing: The Adult Liberation Handbok gives you the ideas, information, and inspiration to free your self from a life of merely earning a paycheck, in order to reclaim a liberated life in complete alignment with your personal values. Contained herein are real tools to achieve a life of what you reall want to do--and still make ends "...a useful how-to-do-it book...May the author reach many people with his cheery philosophy and directives for an un-jobbed life!" --Helen Nearing, author of Living the Good Life.



If I lost everything, I wouldn't go back to work full-time.  I would do something like this.

galliver

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2016, 05:13:58 PM »
How do you define your aspirational "alternate lifestyle"? Why is your current one soul-sucking?

cranilation

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2016, 05:48:01 PM »
I've spent a lot of time unemployed and employed.  When I have a job, I think like you do, and wish I could chase my own dreams and passions.  When I have no job... I just sit around.  For weeks/months, doing nothing.  Sometimes I take small steps towards a goal I have, but mostly they turn out to be a lot more difficult or tedious than I expected.

"Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life" is nice to hear, but the flip side of it is "No matter what you do, it's work."

okits

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2016, 06:00:37 PM »
Generally, each of us has the freedom to pursue whatever lifestyle we want, right now.  Depending on circumstances, we may not have financial security if we do this (if you are pre-FI) or we may be walking away from commitments or responsibilities (like dependents you have been looking after.) I suspect most people in this community aren't willing to forego the financial security or the honouring their commitments just to pursue their desired lifestyle right this moment.  They'll mostly postpone until FI is reached and they can still fulfill their responsibilities.

Assuming no dependents, are you a planner or more a free-spirited, day-by-day kind of person?  If you don't need to know how you're going to buy groceries and pay for accommodation next month/next year/beyond you could take the risk of pursuing your alternative lifestyle now and having faith you'll find a way to cover your living costs by doing this.  I am not wired this way, but if your commitment to freedom and living how you want is foremost, you can do it.  You just do not escape the mundane needs a boring job typically supports (food, shelter, medical care, etc.)

Ishmael

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2016, 05:41:56 AM »
I've spent a lot of time unemployed and employed.  When I have a job, I think like you do, and wish I could chase my own dreams and passions.  When I have no job... I just sit around.  For weeks/months, doing nothing.  Sometimes I take small steps towards a goal I have, but mostly they turn out to be a lot more difficult or tedious than I expected.

"Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life" is nice to hear, but the flip side of it is "No matter what you do, it's work."
I've found the quote, "If you want to learn to hate something you love to do, try earning a living at it" more apt in the real world.

I think the modern economy has sucked the satisfaction part out of pretty much every job that exists. Corporations control basically everything now, and have squeezed out small businesses, and I'll simply point to the movie "Office Space" to show how soul-sucking they are. Government bureaucracy is soul-sucking as well (speaking form personal experience).

I have grown to see that debt is the new modern chains of slavery - not as brutally oppressive, but more elegantly designed, as a person is more motivated and will work harder if they believe they are working for themselves. That allows the elite to harvest more wealth off their backs, more efficiently. So it is essential to stay out of debt.

I attempted to sidestep this by becoming a public servant, and seeing if I could derive satisfaction out of serving my fellow citizens, but that hasn't really worked. My work is too abstract, too removed from the front lines, and here in Canada we just endured a decade of Harper and his complete disdain for us - on me, it took an emotional toll.

Concerning freedom, absolutely. To me, pursuing FIRE is about purchasing my freedom from drudgery and this empty rat race. Unfortunately, every so often I need a little short-term pick me up and end up going on a small consumerism rampage, setting me back. However, I've read so many inspiring stories of people who retired early, and their life became renewed with purpose and excitement. I look forward to this as well.

Back to your original question, though - for me, this path is locked in because I have a young family, and their needs and security are overtaking my own right now. We need to be in a certain location, with a house, etc. So I must pursue FI in a not-so-radical way, but if I were single, my life would be very different - think living in a tiny cottage by a river.

Neustache

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2016, 06:39:19 AM »
You mentioned winter....could you be a wee bit depressed?  Unless Topeka has drastically different weather than we do (KC), it sounds like you aren't getting out when the weather is nice.  It was 55 in KC like two weeks ago, and it's going to be in the upper 40's this week.  Get appropriate clothes and get outside every day it's nice out, it will do you good!  It's actually been a wonderful winter, with just a few bad days.

I have experienced what you speak of, and the solution for me (as a SAHM) was to volunteer (I need scheduled things or else I don't do them) You may not have additional time if you work full time for that.  Is there a job that you could do that is more seasonal in nature (teaching, subbing, lawn care) that would give you more breaks?  Are you taking all of your allotted vacation time if you do get vacation time? 

The world can only suck the life out of you if you give it permission. 

Also, my husband works full-time, and he has a shit ton of hobbies.  Sitar, guitar, cooking, beer making, hunting, etc.  If you don't have time for what you want to do, I don't think you are making the time.  Depression can make this worse.  Again, I'm the kind of person who has to have stuff scheduled in order for me to do it.  Otherwise I just waste my time.

andy85

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2016, 06:52:20 AM »
you sound like a person who would do well in a part-time FIRE situation.

i.e. grow your stache to cover about half your expenses and work part-time 6-12 months out of the year to cover the other half. that way you have plenty of free time to 'live your life'. So instead of 750k to cover 30k of expenses, you only need 375k to cover 15k of expenses...idk...just food for thought. There are many ways to FIRE is all I'm trying to say...

Louisville

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2016, 07:02:15 AM »
Birth.
School.
Work.
Death.

You need a hobby. No, really. You can't just keep your head down and wait for retirement, whether it's 5 years away or 50 years away.

ender

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2016, 07:12:24 AM »
I think the modern economy has sucked the satisfaction part out of pretty much every job that exists. Corporations control basically everything now, and have squeezed out small businesses, and I'll simply point to the movie "Office Space" to show how soul-sucking they are. Government bureaucracy is soul-sucking as well (speaking form personal experience).

I'd rather be a working person now than at nearly any point in the history of the world.

It's nice to idealize about how great work used to be "back in the day" but with the potential exception of the baby boomer period (maybe?), pretty much every time period in history has been much worse for work than what we have.. oh and for much of history you might literally starve to death if your work didn't pan out, if the weather was bad, or many other things. Corporations controlling everything is probably a lesser factor now than most of history, because at least now you can have upward mobility. For most of history that has been completely impossible. It might still be hard, but try being a serf in the middle ages.

If anything, our problem is that we have too many choices today. If you were born in 1800 or 1000 or 1900 you didn't really have too much for choice in your life and so you were more accepting of a crappy job.

Neustache

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2016, 07:29:23 AM »
^Seriously.

Some of my jobs were boring, some were a bit stressful, but I walked away each month with a paycheck and I was safe and secure in those office jobs.  I'm actually really looking forward to getting a paycheck again to teach in a few years, and if the hours worked as well with having kids I wouldn't mind an office job again (I want to have all the time off I can have with them).

But, my perspective is that of someone who has been out of the workforce in a full-time capacity for the past 8 years.  I have worked part-time here and there, but I'm really looking forward to work again.  I also only plan to work 10 years full-time (max) once I start again. 



cerat0n1a

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2016, 08:44:55 AM »
'd rather be a working person now than at nearly any point in the history of the world.

It's nice to idealize about how great work used to be "back in the day" but with the potential exception of the baby boomer period (maybe?), pretty much every time period in history has been much worse for work than what we have.. oh and for much of history you might literally starve to death if your work didn't pan out, if the weather was bad, or many other things. Corporations controlling everything is probably a lesser factor now than most of history, because at least now you can have upward mobility. For most of history that has been completely impossible. It might still be hard, but try being a serf in the middle ages.

If anything, our problem is that we have too many choices today. If you were born in 1800 or 1000 or 1900 you didn't really have too much for choice in your life and so you were more accepting of a crappy job.

Totally agree. I'd also recommend a read of some texts on stoicism to the OP.

One of my formative experiences in my early twenties was meeting people in Indonesia, younger than me, who were happily leaving their parents' villages and opting out of a lifetime working in a ricefield, to come and live in an urban shantytown and work 12+ hours per day in what we would call a sweatshop. Happy because they were avoiding backbreaking days in the hot sun, joining the money economy and being relatively sure of having enough to eat year round.

That said, those jobs working in the fields potentially have some things that corporate life is lacking. There is the sense that your job is worthwhile and has some impact/effect on your life, there is the working with your family, friends, community, being outdoors rather than in a cubicle, general lack of soul-sucking...

dinkhelpneeded

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2016, 08:50:21 AM »
I have been thinking about the "theres more to life" but in the exact OPPOSITE way!

I am HIGHLY INSPIRED and motivated by people who are doing amazing things - creating new products(Tesla, SpaceX, Occulus, Stitch Fix, Facebook), new services (Uber, defence contractors), creating businesses (TJ's, whole foods, successful IPO companies) and basically anything that makes peoples lives better! I don't want to be cushioned by my money, I want to be more than "just a millionaire".

I feel the need to be "unique" and be known for what I do, and I want to be up there in the top 0.1% in that sense MMM's principles have been great so far, in that its got me the minimum, but I have been disilluisioned by "is there all there is to life?" type questions, now that the motivation for money is diminishing.

I also question what I would like to be at 50, I might want more than just self satisfaction and money, I would want some "fame"/"validation" of my success in society at large.

Just wanted to offer an alternate perspective!

MLKnits

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2016, 09:02:51 AM »
"Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life" is nice to hear, but the flip side of it is "No matter what you do, it's work."
I've found the quote, "If you want to learn to hate something you love to do, try earning a living at it" more apt in the real world.

Agreed. My hobbies would lose all of their joy if I HAD to do them in order to eat. Arts-field workaholics may seem to have it made, but IMO aren't so different from Wall Street workaholics or any other kind: some people just enjoy working much more than I do. Living to work is fine for many, but I'm strictly work-to-live.

If you aren't going to or can't retire early, that's even better motivation to live your best life NOW. Not buying things that give you a short-lived rush, but meeting people, trying new things, failing at some stuff!, laughing and chatting and relaxing. Say "fuck, no" to some responsibilities you don't need; say "fuck, yes" to some challenges that scare you.

(Also, agreed that it's too easy to get very sad in winter. Some Canadian advice: make a change! Perfect time to rearrange your living space, take up a new hobby, make a new friend. Also, bright colours! Wear your neons with pride.)

AZDude

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2016, 10:39:59 AM »
Sounds like you want ER, but don't want to work for it. Most people who retire early on modest incomes did so through incredible hard work. If that path truly is not for you, then you need to get your expenses as low as possible, allowing you to do minimal work to pay the bills. Or find work that is less soul-sucking.

Maybe look at the 50 jobs to make $50K without a degree thread. Plenty of ideas how to make good money.


frompa

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2016, 10:42:20 AM »
You raise an interesting question, that calls to mind that MMM is only one approach among many of more suitable ways to live a life.  There are plenty of people who, rather than working diligently and setting aside sufficient funds to move out of the rat race entirely, never enter the rat race at all, or choose to live low enough on the lifestyle scale that the burden of work isn't overwhelming and leaves plenty of time for pleasurable activities.  There's no one right way, so travel by your own lights. 

For my part, I've followed various approaches at various times -- when my kids were small, time was so precious that I voluntarily lived on little to have the freedom and flexibility to spend lots of time with them; since they are grown, I've sometimes worked very little, choosing to write instead; another time, for about three years, I had such a series of overwhelming life events that I found myself unable to work, as survival took all my resources; and still other times I've worked like a dog with the single-minded goal of gaining a huge stash.  This flexible approach has served me well.  If you look at your goals long and hard, you'll likely figure out your own way.  Best of luck!

arebelspy

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2016, 10:53:24 AM »
Sigh.  I'm having trouble responding without ranting.  I'll put this as nicely as possible.

You realize there's an imbalance.  You realize you can do something about it.

So... why aren't you?

You don't want to read the 8 other versions I typed of this, each getting less aggressive, with less swearing, and less references to face punches, and shorter and shorter, until it was down to the above 3 sentences.  ;)  Or maybe you do, I don't know.  But my point, in every version is the same: You are in charge of your life.  Take control.
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Mr. McGibblets

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2016, 10:57:36 AM »
  Again, I'm the kind of person who has to have stuff scheduled in order for me to do it.  Otherwise I just waste my time.

This is EXACTLY how I am too. I'm in the process of trying new hobbies to have something to look forward to outside of work. How do you schedule this free time and keep yourself accountable, so that you do not waste your time watching tv passively, or something else?

Neustache

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2016, 11:01:56 AM »
Well, I volunteer at a set time twice a week (once at a school and once at church).  Plus I started serving on a board of a non-profit where there's meetings and fundraising deadlines.  So for me, it's that sort of stuff.

For my home hobby, baking, usually I'm making something for dinner, so I have to do my part so my husband can do his part (the main meal).  So I guess that's what I mean by scheduling!

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2016, 11:04:36 AM »
It's a bit like 'lifestyle inflation'.  People get addicted to 'progress'.  As long as you are progressing forward, it feels good, but even if things just come to a stop then it seems like everything sucks.  As far as I can tell, you are less 'enslaved' than you feel and probably have more opportunities to try new things than you used to (and certainly more freedom than 90% of people, since you are even thinking along these lines and trying to do something about it). 

Don't artificially limit yourself or be down if progress isn't coming fast enough.  You can either go stoic and decide that you are content with things being better than they were, or take some risks and shake things up.  Try some online or community college courses, hop on a plane to a part of the world that is sunny and cheap, join some new groups IRL so you can be their fresh ideas.  All this stuff has worked wonders for me to break out of my slump and deal with what looks to be a pretty crappy year for the Houston Oil & Gas folks.  Even going camping recently in crappy conditions has given me a new appreciation that 1.  I can still hack it and 2.  I'm really thankful for my day-to-day life!!     

SeanMC

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2016, 12:51:50 PM »
ER or FI does not solve the (age old) quest for finding meaning in life.

FLBiker

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2016, 01:17:05 PM »
you sound like a person who would do well in a part-time FIRE situation.

i.e. grow your stache to cover about half your expenses and work part-time 6-12 months out of the year to cover the other half. that way you have plenty of free time to 'live your life'. So instead of 750k to cover 30k of expenses, you only need 375k to cover 15k of expenses...idk...just food for thought. There are many ways to FIRE is all I'm trying to say...

Thanks for this.  I keep thinking along these lines, but seeing the numbers made it pretty stark.  My FIRE number has been 1.2M (for $40K of expenses).  It's too conservative (meaning we don't really need that much) but far enough away I haven't looked at it too closely.  We've got $400K, though, so the reality is PT work is already an option.  That puts a bit of a spring in my step.

And to the OP, I've had similar thoughts / feelings at different times in my life.  For years, my goal was maximizing my freetime (so I could do more "meaningful" things).  I worked 20-25 hours per week, then got a MA degree that enabled me to have summer's off.  Turns out, large swaths of unstructured freetime were terrible for my mood.  I'm in a healthier place today, but I also think I benefit from have a bit of a schedule.  Maybe I really should reframe this into finding  PT work I enjoy, rather than just aiming for my FIRE number.  I do enjoy my current work (like, not love) but I can't really do it PT. 

And there have been times where I was paid to do things I love (like write or play music) and while some of those experiences were great, it was not the unending bed of roses I'd imagined.

CharChar

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2016, 04:17:40 PM »
Thank you everyone for some really great advice. Let me be clear that I am well aware that there are others who are less fortunate than me. I obviously want more positive changes for their sake as well! That's kinda what this is all about. Looking at the bigger picture. I tend to do better with figuring things out when I talk it out with people that can help, which is why I turned to you fine folks! I guess I'm just thinking out loud and spinning off of what y'all say. That's what your here for right?!

So I actually like my job. We were recently purchased by a large corporation, which has led me to like it a lot less, but the work itself is enjoyable to me. Just having an enjoyable job is not what I'm getting at though. Some of you really understand and ya, its up to me to make something happen. I get that. I think I am the kind of person who usually has things planned, but doesn't necessarily want to be that way. Maybe I've been too "planned" my whole life and need to try things with a different approach.

And I'm not saying that I have a strong desire to retire early but am not willing to work for it. If I could do something I enjoyed enough to never retire, I'd be ok with that. If I could never have a job again, I'd be ok with that too. But this is about much more than jobs. I don't have any kids (don't want any) and I think there is definitely something within myself that is holding me back from making the changes I desire. Honestly, I don't think I actually know what I want. But thinking about that is what brought me here. I find that even when I think I know what I want, at some point I realize that I tend to "want" things that I feel are within my reach, which tends to hold me back from acknowledging what I really want in life and being challenged in more positive ways. This is partially my own damn fault but largely due to feeling constricted by a lot of things that are beyond my control, which is the barrier I am trying to get past.

Honestly, weather you agree with me or not, here's my stance: I think it is very discouraging at times to think of the wrong turns that humans/governments/societies might have made to get us where we are now. Ya we have "freedom" but as someone said, some things that are disguised as freedoms are quite the opposite. Its like they're saying, "here, you have all the freedom you could ask to be able to do whatever you want". But then they put you at the starting line with a large brick wall in front of you that you must first disassemble one brick at a time. And by the time your done, most of life has passed you by. And there's really not a damn thing you can do about it.

I'm not a doomsday-er by any means, but I see that the general population is controlled more than even some very educated people will admit. I'm sure I'll get a lot of backlash for some of the things I said. I'm not depressed or anything. I just want to know, for those who feel the same way at times, (to those who don't, no offense, but your comments are unnecessary) what lifts you up and motivates you. I will absolutely check out the book one of you mentioned. (Sorry to not use quotes, there's just so many things I wanted to address and not much time).

Got to get back to work now... :)


lhamo

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2016, 08:54:50 PM »
You are focusing too much on things that are outside your locus of control.  Being passive and saying "society sucks and life is unfair" isn't going to get you anywhere or improve your mental health/overall outlook on life.

Find a problem you want to solve, a cause you believe in, and start getting engaged.

Are you at all interested in politics?  Get involved in the upcoming election cycle as a campaign volunteer, or a voter registrar, or gathering signatures for an initiative you believe in.

Care about social justice issues?  Volunteer in a food bank or other community service agency.

Like kids?  Become a mentor or a big brother/big sister, or volunteer to coach a kids sports team.

Love animals?  Consider fostering rescue animals, or volunteering with a catch/neuter/release group.

Love the outdoors?  Join a trail maintenance or garbage pickup crew.

If you feel like life is passing you by, it is because you are sitting on your butt.  Get up and move.  Do something. Anything.  It can't hurt and most likely will help.  A lot.

arebelspy

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2016, 12:15:26 AM »
Ya we have "freedom" but as someone said, some things that are disguised as freedoms are quite the opposite. Its like they're saying, "here, you have all the freedom you could ask to be able to do whatever you want". But then they put you at the starting line with a large brick wall in front of you that you must first disassemble one brick at a time. And by the time your done, most of life has passed you by. And there's really not a damn thing you can do about it.

It's a good analogy, I disagree with the last sentence.

The slow, traditional route is to scrape away at the wall until you die, or the door in it swings open when you hit your late 60s, and you (often feebly) move through it.  You're choosing the MMM route of "disassemble it quickly," whereby you tear down the wall with frenzy and get through it early.

But you've ignored many other options.   You can hurdle over it.  You can pick the lock on the door.  Or you can simply step around the wall, for example.

You are the one limiting yourself.  Not anyone else.

You mentioned checking out a book.  Here's one for you: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, by Harry Browne.  Right now you're caught in a trap.  But it's one you're voluntarily in, and can step out of any time.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
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BPA

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2016, 06:43:54 AM »
Society pisses me off sometimes.  I'm a labour and social justice activist.  I suppose my optimism that humankind is essentially good counterbalances the anger I sometimes feel at the injustices in the world.  I really believe that at heart most people mean well most of the time.

You can't solve all the world's problems, but you can help in some of the ways lhamo listed.

I'm FIREd now which kind of removes me somewhat from the labour activism.  I'm no longer walking the walk in that case, but I'm happy.  The world sometimes pisses me off but I am happy.  Maybe I'm delusional.  But I still feel I can make a difference and I have to tell you, having the ability to walk away from an unpleasant work situation has been the best thing I've done in years.

little_brown_dog

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2016, 07:18:19 AM »
OP - look into the book Radical Homemakers. It's very "hippie" and environmentally oriented (lots of talk of organic food, chickens, off the grid cabins, no cars), but it is filled with examples of people out there who do forgo the typical rat-race life and just choose to focus their minimal resources on what is most important to them (in this case, it's home and family). Some of the things they do are pretty extreme - such as forgoing retirement contributions or health insurance - but it's interesting to see a perspective that is almost unheard of in today's society.

DeltaBond

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2016, 07:45:42 AM »
You need a hobby. No, really. You can't just keep your head down and wait for retirement, whether it's 5 years away or 50 years away.

When I was in college, I was at first focusing on graduation... counting classes till the end, planning, re-planning, and I was miserable every day.  Then I decided to forget about that and just enjoy today, since today is all I know, all that exists.  I became so much happier and my grades even improved.  Focusing on retirement is like focusing on an olympic gold medal - once you get it, then what?  If you don't have passions and interests now, you won't then, either.  I'd just try to experience as many new things as you can until you can't remember what you're feeling like right now, and eventually, you will find something you really like... or what you end up doing is just living to try new things.  New food, new movies, new people, new religions, new books, new classes, new tv shows, new fashion... just keep going, keep going, and you will leave this mindset in the past.  Its not about your job, its about you.

CharChar

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2016, 10:39:23 AM »
I definitely take responsibility for my self limitations regarding this issue. I am a generally happy person so its not like this is completely taking over my life. But these thoughts do weigh on me sometimes and i never really knew where to start to get away from it.

Thank you for the book recommendations. I cant wait to check them out! I also read about someone choosing one thing to learn about each month and i am thinking about trying that. And as i was pondering about this last night, i realized that apart from holidays and one wedding, i have not actually had a weekend off in almost a year. My family has a house that we are slowly remodeling and i spend a little bit of every weekend over there. Not always full days, but i think even though i somewhat enjoy the work, it is still work and that has probably contributed to my thoughts on this more than i think. Im going to spend a little less time there and maybe pick up an instrument that has been sitting collecting dust or something. I think variety is key for me at this point!

But thank you all again for your understanding in this matter. I know there is no point in getting upset about this sort of thing. Its just great to get some solid advice from those who get it :)

DeltaBond

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2016, 12:15:32 PM »
CharChar, I love your monthly idea - I might take that on myself!!!

DeltaBond

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2016, 03:52:23 PM »
Also, just to point this out... not saying you have depression, necessarily, but I DO feel that a lot of people spend money to combat some aspects of depression.  Its so easy to make life seem like its worth living, like your job is worth doing, to buy some treat for yourself today.  The real transformation for me with this whole MMM thing was understanding that buying THINGS, and sometimes buying experiences, was not really helping me with much other than instant gratification.  I wanted to want (if that makes sense) more out of life than what money could buy... so instead my money can buy me a good life in old age.  That is what my money is for.  What my MIND is for is keeping me from crossing that money line and instead finding interesting distractions and appreciations throughout my days.

I really hope that makes sense.

mozar

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2016, 04:16:27 PM »
Yeah society sucks. What helps me is that although it sucks now it was so much worse 50 years ago, or even 25 years ago. I am so lucky to be alive at this period of history and not earlier. I like to tell people I was born a week after my due date because the world wasn't ready for me. I used to get down about racism and sexism, but from this forum I learned there is a lot I can do to get around the limitations I have to deal with. There are somethings as a black person I simply should not do. I don't wear hoodies anymore or knock on strangers doors (I might get shot).
But there is so much I can do. A bought a house in a neighborhood that used to be segregated. I negotiated the hell out of my last job offer and I now make more money than I ever thought possible.
Michelle Obama was at Target recently and someone assumed she was a worker. That doesn't take away from the fact that she is the wife of the President. Dolly Parton is still made fun of all the time. People assume she is not very intelligent or that her husband did all the work to make her famous. She's a self made woman and worth around 250m. So beat the elitist, racist, sexist, sizest etc. patriarchy by being a bad ass and live your best life!
One thing I liked about "How I found freedom in an unfree world" is how the author backtracks in the afterword. He talks about how he was kind of depressed when he wrote that book, and he found happiness and meaning through getting married again. I thought that was sweet.
I like this web series:
https://www.youtube.com/user/schooloflifechannel/videos

EconDiva

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2016, 07:41:53 PM »
ER or FI does not solve the (age old) quest for finding meaning in life.

**************************************^^^^^THIS^^^^^************************************************

.....is quite possibly the single most concise, meaningful and valid post I've read in like forever.  I can relate to the OP.  At the end of the day I don't have the answer for myself and my own life hence the daily struggle to find meaning...."more".  Sometimes I wish I just didn't care to "figure it out"...I'd be way less stressed out I think :P

mozar

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2016, 09:03:41 PM »

tobitonic

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2016, 09:10:39 PM »
ER or FI does not solve the (age old) quest for finding meaning in life.

Post of the thread. If you can't find ways to be happy now, you're not going to find them when you no longer have a need to get up in the morning in an ER life.

arebelspy

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2016, 02:53:28 AM »
ER or FI does not solve the (age old) quest for finding meaning in life.

Post of the thread. If you can't find ways to be happy now, you're not going to find them when you no longer have a need to get up in the morning in an ER life.

Does being happy have something to do with it, unequivocally?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

BPA

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2016, 08:20:05 AM »
ER or FI does not solve the (age old) quest for finding meaning in life.

Post of the thread. If you can't find ways to be happy now, you're not going to find them when you no longer have a need to get up in the morning in an ER life.

I don't know.  I am way happier now in FIRE than I was in my working life.  But my life did have meaning (almost too much meaning) during my working life.  I have more time to myself now which is what I needed.  I some people can be happy in FIRE even if they weren't while they were working. 

tobitonic

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2016, 10:32:01 AM »
ER or FI does not solve the (age old) quest for finding meaning in life.

Post of the thread. If you can't find ways to be happy now, you're not going to find them when you no longer have a need to get up in the morning in an ER life.

Does being happy have something to do with it, unequivocally?

There's very little in this world that's unequivocal. But whether you call it happiness, meaning, satisfaction, purpose, peace of mind, or something else, you're not going to find it simply by being FI.

tobitonic

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #40 on: January 24, 2016, 10:46:38 AM »
ER or FI does not solve the (age old) quest for finding meaning in life.

Post of the thread. If you can't find ways to be happy now, you're not going to find them when you no longer have a need to get up in the morning in an ER life.

I don't know.  I am way happier now in FIRE than I was in my working life.  But my life did have meaning (almost too much meaning) during my working life.  I have more time to myself now which is what I needed.  I some people can be happy in FIRE even if they weren't while they were working.

Oh, I don't disagree that you can be happier FI than while working; I doubt, though, that if you're unhappy every day of your working life, 24/7, you're suddenly going to be happy in a lasting way once you're not working. Or as many a hippie has said, it's about the journey, not the destination.

MsSindy

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Re: The "There's More to Life" Syndrom
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2016, 11:52:29 AM »
I actually think it's pretty normal to have these kind of thoughts - is there more to life than working?  I'm in my late 40s and I've had this conversation with myself lots of times.  I've always had a good job (read: good pay, stable, but it's just work), but was always thinking that I should be doing something "more".  Something that would actually "change things".  I would read books and make plans...then I would realistically ask myself if I would do the things necessary to make that plan happen?   Um, no, I wasn't.

At some point in my life, I realized that despite by risk-adverse tendencies, I'm a dreamer!  I love to plan, and think about what-ifs.  Andy my plans were always big and life changing!  But when it comes right down to it, I am doing what I want to be doing...establishing a stable life for myself and DH.  Now, I try to make life meaningful on a smaller scale, by volunteering when I can/feel like it, donating regularly, being a good friend, etc.  I've found a happy peace between my lofty ideals and the reality of my personality/motivation.  The "there's got to be more" bug still hits and now I embrace the planning/researching and dreaming process with glee!   Who knows, maybe some time in the future, I'll actually do one of them....and then again, maybe not....and that's okay.

Not sure that helps you any, but hey, it helped me to write it out!!  :)