Author Topic: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?  (Read 12206 times)

Mr. McGibblets

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What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« on: June 30, 2015, 08:06:05 AM »
I enjoy reading about how different people react to early retirement. I think that this side of FIRE isn't commonly addressed - but it is a big deal to prepare for all of this free time you've never had before from a mentality standpoint. So - were your first few months of ER filled with keeping yourself busy to establish a new kind of work ethic / learning to adopt to this new lifestyle, or was it mostly relaxing? No right answer here :)

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 08:42:08 AM »
Six week video game and junk food bender.

DoubleDown

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 09:16:12 AM »
Pure f*ing glee!

It took me several weeks to get used to the idea that I didn't have to be somewhere at a prescribed time or didn't have to be doing something. There was a nagging feeling that I should be somewhere. It was a bit like when you wake up on a Saturday morning at 5:00 am and think to yourself, "Bummer, I have to get up in an hour," then you realize, "No I don't, it's Saturday!" and you happily go back to sleep. Every time I thought, "I'm supposed to be doing something," I could remind myself that I didn't have to be at the Tuesday 2pm meeting, and it was great.

And that is an even bigger realization, at least it was for me. It's not just control over your time or daily activities -- when you realize that you alone are in control of your life, that there is literally no one who can tell you what to do -- that is awesome (except the wife, who is still under the illusion she calls the shots).

For a few months I gave myself permission not to do anything particularly productive, although I did find myself being productive nonetheless. Lots of naps, lots of working out, lots of doing whatever I felt like. After about 6 months I had a stronger desire to "do" something bigger, and so I took on larger projects.

I'm still grateful on a daily basis for the freedom. There is not a single day that goes by where I don't wake up and realize just how good I have it, and several times during the day I'm reminded of that as well when I'm doing enjoyable things that are not in an office.

Mr. McGibblets

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 02:10:27 PM »
Pure f*ing glee!

It took me several weeks to get used to the idea that I didn't have to be somewhere at a prescribed time or didn't have to be doing something. There was a nagging feeling that I should be somewhere. It was a bit like when you wake up on a Saturday morning at 5:00 am and think to yourself, "Bummer, I have to get up in an hour," then you realize, "No I don't, it's Saturday!" and you happily go back to sleep. Every time I thought, "I'm supposed to be doing something," I could remind myself that I didn't have to be at the Tuesday 2pm meeting, and it was great.

And that is an even bigger realization, at least it was for me. It's not just control over your time or daily activities -- when you realize that you alone are in control of your life, that there is literally no one who can tell you what to do -- that is awesome (except the wife, who is still under the illusion she calls the shots).

For a few months I gave myself permission not to do anything particularly productive, although I did find myself being productive nonetheless. Lots of naps, lots of working out, lots of doing whatever I felt like. After about 6 months I had a stronger desire to "do" something bigger, and so I took on larger projects.

I'm still grateful on a daily basis for the freedom. There is not a single day that goes by where I don't wake up and realize just how good I have it, and several times during the day I'm reminded of that as well when I'm doing enjoyable things that are not in an office.

From what I've seen, 4-6 months seems to be the threshold for allowing yourself time to adjust to this new lifestyle and free time. I really enjoyed reading your response - I think that (whenever I'm able to RE), I will be in the same boat. Just focusing on getting completely healthy physically and mentally, and then from there tackle whatever projects you set your mind to.

Just curious, what sorts of projects have you been working on?

Frankies Girl

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 02:28:50 PM »
Lots of sleeping and couch surfing with bursts of activity involving long lists of household "to do" items I'd neglected over the last year.

First month or two, I was feeling disorientated and guilty that I wasn't working any more, so I had to do lots of stuff to prove to myself/husband that it was a good idea to quit. Which was funny as the husband was fine with me doing absolutely nothing most of the time (he'd seen first hand how stressed out I'd been and was much more sympathetic that I was to myself about all of this).

I'm coming up on 4 months out, and the list-making has slowed down considerably. I'm also choosing to do absolutely nothing some days and not feeling anxious about it any more.

Actually, the stress and anxiety levels have gone down significantly at this point, but it wasn't instant for me as soon as I left that last day. I had about a month of "did I make a mistake" feeling, even knowing 100% that I had not, and still am getting occasional work-based anxiety dreams. It's going to take a while with me I think.

I am no longer freaked out all the time and able to handle stuff easily when things go wrong, and I am back to being a more happy/positive personality in general. I'd veered into a very depressed and stressed out state for the last couple of years, and the personality change has been significant enough that it even surprises me.

Heath-wise, I've lost a significant amount of weight (husband as well) due to being able to cook more. We're both exercising more as well.




Cookie78

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 02:33:31 PM »
Lots of sleeping and couch surfing with bursts of activity involving long lists of household "to do" items I'd neglected over the last year.

First month or two, I was feeling disorientated and guilty that I wasn't working any more, so I had to do lots of stuff to prove to myself/husband that it was a good idea to quit. Which was funny as the husband was fine with me doing absolutely nothing most of the time (he'd seen first hand how stressed out I'd been and was much more sympathetic that I was to myself about all of this).

I'm coming up on 4 months out, and the list-making has slowed down considerably. I'm also choosing to do absolutely nothing some days and not feeling anxious about it any more.

Actually, the stress and anxiety levels have gone down significantly at this point, but it wasn't instant for me as soon as I left that last day. I had about a month of "did I make a mistake" feeling, even knowing 100% that I had not, and still am getting occasional work-based anxiety dreams. It's going to take a while with me I think.

I am no longer freaked out all the time and able to handle stuff easily when things go wrong, and I am back to being a more happy/positive personality in general. I'd veered into a very depressed and stressed out state for the last couple of years, and the personality change has been significant enough that it even surprises me.

Heath-wise, I've lost a significant amount of weight (husband as well) due to being able to cook more. We're both exercising more as well.

This sounds a lot like me. I hope I also have the same positive changes when I FIRE. I'm working on dealing with the anxiety now, but it seems so overwhelming some times (but not today). :)

regulator

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2015, 03:53:01 PM »
Very difficult, frankly.  Even though I knew it was coming, I found it hard to adjust to the new lifestyle.  It is tough to go from being a climbing overachiever to a bum.  I and the rest of my family also had to adjust to new roles for all of us as DW had been primary on day to day kid stuff while I climbed the ladder in demanding jobs and was primary breadwinner.  I would say it took a solid 3 or 4 months for me to make the adjustment.

steveo

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2015, 03:58:32 PM »
Six week video game and junk food bender.

I like this. I can't see myself doing it but its a healthy does of FU.

Mr. McGibblets

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2015, 06:38:11 AM »
How was the transition with you and your SOs? Regulator got me thinking about a shift in day to day responsibilities.

Mrs.LC

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2015, 07:12:31 AM »
We left on a couple week trip a few days after ER started. Don't think it really hit us until we were back home that we didn't have to go to work everyday. We both had side hustles that gave us a little sense of structure for those first couple weeks. There was a learning curve as to how to maximize pleasures of not working that took us about six months to master. Still, 18 months later, we sometimes still get the dreaded Sunday afternoon feeling of doom that we have a full work we ahead of us. It only lasts a few minutes until reality hits and then we go back to whatever fun project we were working on.

regulator

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2015, 07:45:53 AM »
How was the transition with you and your SOs? Regulator got me thinking about a shift in day to day responsibilities.

DW and I already shared most responsibilities, but the time devoted was skewed since work/career had been primary for me for a long, long time.  We had a few arguments before it all got settled, but nothing serious.  Then again, we have always enjoyed spending time together.  In a lot of other marriages the wife views the husband's retirement as "twice the husband, half the paycheck."

iris lily

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2015, 07:56:53 AM »
Yesterday marked the end of my first 3 months of FIRE.

I am working to find a balance between being productive and goofing off. I set a standard of doing 2 hours of pulling weeds a day, and sometimes that morphs into more hours if I am having fun at it. Really, I do like weeding. But then the rains come and I get no weeding done, and then the rains encourage more weed growth. My gardens demand so much of my attention from April through July that I've got automatic "to do" lists. I FINALLY have time to devote to them in the way I want to care for them, and I am playing catch up on years of neglect. So, that is fun and productive. One of my gardening goals is to grow crops of lilies for resale, so I am working on that. I will donate the lily bulbs to my local lily society for their annual sale.

FIRE gave me time to clean and organize outdoor furniture and now our patio looks great. We were on the garden tour for our neighborhood's annual house tour.

I have set a standard that DH (who semi-retired at the same time) and I will go on one "field trip" each week, going some place close by that we've not seen before or that we've not visited in a long time. Recently we went to Mastadon State Park, a 30 minute drive away. In my region there are easily 100 things to do and see, so that will keep us busy for a couple of  years.

Most of my friends are retired or non-working. It's amazing to be able to say to plan things to do with friends on a Tuesday or a Friday. I like going to movies in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week.

« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 08:00:07 AM by iris lily »

iris lily

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2015, 08:02:22 AM »
How was the transition with you and your SOs? Regulator got me thinking about a shift in day to day responsibilities.

We had to define space. At 11:30 am DH gets the kitchen and I have to be out of it. That's when he makes his lunch. Otherwise, we check with the other person if one of us plans to take up the kitchen for a long term. DH is a baker and he also cans and prepares foods from his giant garden, so he is in the kitchen a lot.

AlwaysBeenASaver

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2015, 07:10:21 AM »
I'm in my 4th week of FIRE now. I started in on a home repair project immediately after FIRE, and it's kept me pretty busy. I have a long list of projects lined up after this one is finished too. I've also been working through clutter in the house, garage, shed, and my email and computer files. And I'm spending more time cooking, something I love to do and rarely had time while working. And I'm seeing friends more often now that I have some time. I'm also volunteering a few hours a week;  I have plans for a lot more volunteer work, but now that I'm seeing how much there is to do at home, I'm not going to jump into that right away.

Mrs.LC

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2015, 08:52:53 AM »
I'm in my 4th week of FIRE now. I started in on a home repair project immediately after FIRE, and it's kept me pretty busy. I have a long list of projects lined up after this one is finished too. I've also been working through clutter in the house, garage, shed, and my email and computer files. And I'm spending more time cooking, something I love to do and rarely had time while working. And I'm seeing friends more often now that I have some time. I'm also volunteering a few hours a week;  I have plans for a lot more volunteer work, but now that I'm seeing how much there is to do at home, I'm not going to jump into that right away.
Isn't FIRE great! Be sure to pace yourself and allow some down time. We found that making a to do list of the projects we want to complete in and out of the house has really helped us organize our time. We prioritized the list and make a big deal out of being able to cross off an item. It takes a few months to really settle in and learn the balance between work and play.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 06:34:28 PM by Mrs.LC »

stuckinmn

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2015, 11:39:46 AM »
Been 6 weeks for me and truthfully I can barely recall the memories of the rat race.  I miss nothing about it.

my typical day is wake up early, take son fishing, come back home by 11:00, eat lunch, take nap, do some chores, work out, then go to son's baseball or daughter's softball.  I've done a few short camping trips up north with my son, too. Some days I sleep in and do nothing but read.

 Maybe in a few months I'll get bored and need a project but right now I'm slipping into Big Lebowski mode and I'm kind of liking it.

Mr. McGibblets

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2015, 11:03:28 AM »
Maybe in a few months I'll get bored and need a project but right now I'm slipping into Big Lebowski mode and I'm kind of liking it.

"Big Lebowski" mode should undoubtedly be a part of early retirement :)

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2015, 11:28:25 AM »
I don't think, dream or reminisce about my previous working life.

Most importantly, Sunday dread is becoming a distant memory. Was that REALLY my reality for 24 years previous? That stuff is already becoming fuzzy - which is WONDERFUL.

No "Lebowski" FIRE for me - I tend to sneer at lazy, slothful versions of FIRE.

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2015, 06:31:15 AM »
Actually, the stress and anxiety levels have gone down significantly at this point, but it wasn't instant for me as soon as I left that last day. I had about a month of "did I make a mistake" feeling, even knowing 100% that I had not, and still am getting occasional work-based anxiety dreams. It's going to take a while with me I think.

I am no longer freaked out all the time and able to handle stuff easily when things go wrong, and I am back to being a more happy/positive personality in general. I'd veered into a very depressed and stressed out state for the last couple of years, and the personality change has been significant enough that it even surprises me.

I'm looking forward to that so much. I knew I've been depressed lately, but it really hit home when my husband blatantly told me the other day that I was scaring and worrying him.

I will be FIRE'd 59 days from today. It's not going to be all cupcakes and sunshine because FIRE is simultaneous with an international move. Of the type where I will have no home to go to and will have to live in a hotel room while I look for a place to rent (plan to rent for about a year while looking for a good place to buy). My depression is not going to immediately go away because there's going to be that moving stress. But work has just been a huge detriment to my health (physical and mental), and I really need that gone. I have no idea how much detoxing I'm going to need. Quite a bit, I imagine.

crazycatlady

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2015, 04:21:31 PM »
Actually, the stress and anxiety levels have gone down significantly at this point, but it wasn't instant for me as soon as I left that last day. I had about a month of "did I make a mistake" feeling, even knowing 100% that I had not, and still am getting occasional work-based anxiety dreams. It's going to take a while with me I think.

I am no longer freaked out all the time and able to handle stuff easily when things go wrong, and I am back to being a more happy/positive personality in general. I'd veered into a very depressed and stressed out state for the last couple of years, and the personality change has been significant enough that it even surprises me.

I'm looking forward to that so much. I knew I've been depressed lately, but it really hit home when my husband blatantly told me the other day that I was scaring and worrying him.

I will be FIRE'd 59 days from today. It's not going to be all cupcakes and sunshine because FIRE is simultaneous with an international move. Of the type where I will have no home to go to and will have to live in a hotel room while I look for a place to rent (plan to rent for about a year while looking for a good place to buy). My depression is not going to immediately go away because there's going to be that moving stress. But work has just been a huge detriment to my health (physical and mental), and I really need that gone. I have no idea how much detoxing I'm going to need. Quite a bit, I imagine.

I am 10 months into FIRE.  Like the above posters I was under a huge amount of stress and I was also having lots of physical symptoms (insomnia, anxiety, daily migraines, etc).  The final straw was when I had 2 anxiety episodes that were close to panic attacks and that pushed me to quit the toxic environment because I physically couldn't do it anymore.  We had been FI for about 7 years at that point.

The physical symptoms improved immediately.  I was taking meds to help with the anxiety and I had to cut those way back because without the high stress level they were too much.  I have weaned myself off them.  I was able to sleep at night and have enjoyed 10 months of good sleep.  I had some work related bad dreams for a few months, but those seem to have dropped off.  I have also cut my blood pressure medicine in half and can probably work myself off that as well.

It has taken me longer to come to peace with my decision.  I wish it had been easier for me, but I am by nature a worrier.  DH who FIRED in January didn't seem to need any time to detox.  I feel like I am almost done detoxing, I have felt a big improvement over the past month.

DoubleDown

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2015, 11:27:04 AM »
Pure f*ing glee!

It took me several weeks to get used to the idea that I didn't have to be somewhere at a prescribed time or didn't have to be doing something. There was a nagging feeling that I should be somewhere. It was a bit like when you wake up on a Saturday morning at 5:00 am and think to yourself, "Bummer, I have to get up in an hour," then you realize, "No I don't, it's Saturday!" and you happily go back to sleep. Every time I thought, "I'm supposed to be doing something," I could remind myself that I didn't have to be at the Tuesday 2pm meeting, and it was great.

And that is an even bigger realization, at least it was for me. It's not just control over your time or daily activities -- when you realize that you alone are in control of your life, that there is literally no one who can tell you what to do -- that is awesome (except the wife, who is still under the illusion she calls the shots).

For a few months I gave myself permission not to do anything particularly productive, although I did find myself being productive nonetheless. Lots of naps, lots of working out, lots of doing whatever I felt like. After about 6 months I had a stronger desire to "do" something bigger, and so I took on larger projects.

I'm still grateful on a daily basis for the freedom. There is not a single day that goes by where I don't wake up and realize just how good I have it, and several times during the day I'm reminded of that as well when I'm doing enjoyable things that are not in an office.

From what I've seen, 4-6 months seems to be the threshold for allowing yourself time to adjust to this new lifestyle and free time. I really enjoyed reading your response - I think that (whenever I'm able to RE), I will be in the same boat. Just focusing on getting completely healthy physically and mentally, and then from there tackle whatever projects you set your mind to.

Just curious, what sorts of projects have you been working on?

Some of the more involved projects have been building wood furniture, I wrote a book (now looking into printing/publishing/marketing), and remodeling and selling a rental home.

lhamo

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2015, 05:59:13 PM »
I'm just about 4 weeks in.  My situation is a bit atypical as about 10 days after my last workday DS and I jumped on a plane to relocate to the US (after 13+ years in China), so much of the last four weeks has been consumed with preparation for the move/settling in on this end, including apartment hunting and fitting out.  To be honest, it has been busier than I would have liked, but part of that was my drive to settle in as quickly as possible (and ditch the horrible long commute to DS's summer program in my mom's un-airconditioned car with a clunky stick shift).

I think what I have noticed the most is the reduced level of stress/improved sleep.  Like crazycatlady, I had been suffering from major stress at work just prior to leaving, including increasingly frequent bouts of panic attacks.  Those actually ended once I resigned.  But it was still pretty stressful right up to a few days before my last day (details in my journal if anyone is interested).  I had several nights of very little sleep leading up to my last day.  That has all ended.  Aside from a bit of jetlag, my sleep has been great since I stopped working.  And I feel much better physically and mentally as a result.

Our furniture gets delivered on Sunday and I'm hoping that my current post-surgical issues will resolve in the next few days as I take it easier.  Spent most of today lounging in bed reading/napping, which was lovely.  DS and I will head up the street to Safeway in a minute to get some stuff for dinner.  It has been great spending time with him and we seem to be in a good place, in spite of having DH and DD still in China.  They will come for a visit in a couple of weeks and it will sure be nice to be able to focus on that (though by that time my consulting job may have started).


Ozstache

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2015, 08:47:30 PM »
The first weeks of ER felt a little strange, almost like I was throwing a sickie when I should have otherwise been at work. I was also very concerned that I wouldn't have enough to do to keep me entertained and that I may end up wanting to go back to work.

I fixed this by treating this phase like I did when on annual holidays where, if you ask my wife, I am quite expert at doing nothing! I soon found a good balance between this nothingness (I call it relaxation) and doing at least one item a day on my to do list. Fast forward 21 months and this routine is still serving me well.

In terms of stress, it took me a good 12 months before I could have a conversation with someone about my former work (not) life without getting worked up about all of the stupidities that were going on at the time I left. Now I use those memories to stomp out any desires I have of an idyllic return to the work force - the BS would still be there but just be of another variety. People now tell me how relaxed I look compared to when I working and I certainly feel it!

Livingthedream2015

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2015, 12:22:49 AM »
After working my 4 weeks notice, I flew the next day to Thailand, I have been here 8 weeks so far, living on a tropical island. My days are spent working out, snorkelling, reading, kite boarding and drinking beer...as my title states..."living the dream"..don't get me wrong, it took serious discipline and hard work to get here, but I always knew what I wanted, and as the saying goes.."good things come to those who wait". Few more weeks here, then off to Bali for a month...then...well who knows..so far so good.

flyingaway

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2015, 10:05:06 AM »
After working my 4 weeks notice, I flew the next day to Thailand, I have been here 8 weeks so far, living on a tropical island. My days are spent working out, snorkelling, reading, kite boarding and drinking beer...as my title states..."living the dream"..don't get me wrong, it took serious discipline and hard work to get here, but I always knew what I wanted, and as the saying goes.."good things come to those who wait". Few more weeks here, then off to Bali for a month...then...well who knows..so far so good.

That is so wonderful.

Sojourner

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2015, 01:04:01 PM »
After working my 4 weeks notice, I flew the next day to Thailand, I have been here 8 weeks so far, living on a tropical island. My days are spent working out, snorkelling, reading, kite boarding and drinking beer...as my title states..."living the dream"..don't get me wrong, it took serious discipline and hard work to get here, but I always knew what I wanted, and as the saying goes.."good things come to those who wait". Few more weeks here, then off to Bali for a month...then...well who knows..so far so good.

Yeah, that sounds awesome.  Let us know if you've posted more details about your story anywhere.

Static Void

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2015, 01:36:35 PM »
No change whatsoever. Well, a little, I changed my startup script to remind me:

==
Last login: Thu Jul  9 13:31:26 on ttys000
(.bash_aliases)
Day 153
In week 22 of freedom.
==

Oh, just came back from a 3 week road trip camping at state & national parks in Kansas & Utah*. And cooking more. And dealing with a lot of household inventory reduction (understatement). Daily bike rides, we live in a beautiful part of the world. And sleeping better. And frequently looking at partner with wide eyes: How lucky we are, to have our health, freedom, and friends, is this real? You know, that sort of thing.

Volunteering 4 hours a week at our local "maker space". (Folks pay a monthly fee for access to shop tools and laser cutters and stuff. Volunteers pay a little less.)

And I spend a day or two each week at various libraries (my own city, or an hour bus&bike ride away, depending on my mood). And finding which cafe's are best for wi-fi reliability and ergonomic seating. Because mostly, now that I'm not a slave to the software industry, making a lot more progress on my software project.

But, oddly enough, not all that different. I might just work again, but I'll be picky about doing what for whom. In a year or two. Or not.

(*) Oh my goodness: when you have a chance, visit Goblin Valley state park in Utah. Surreal magic made of rocks.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 01:38:20 PM by Static Void »

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2015, 06:00:47 AM »
There was a sense of fear and what should i do today mixed in with a little did I do the right thing BUT we did it in spring and as soon as the kids got out of school and our schedule was so full we were thankful we did. I dont know how we could of/or would be doing this summer if we were working.

Mr. McGibblets

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2015, 07:46:41 AM »
Pure f*ing glee!

It took me several weeks to get used to the idea that I didn't have to be somewhere at a prescribed time or didn't have to be doing something. There was a nagging feeling that I should be somewhere. It was a bit like when you wake up on a Saturday morning at 5:00 am and think to yourself, "Bummer, I have to get up in an hour," then you realize, "No I don't, it's Saturday!" and you happily go back to sleep. Every time I thought, "I'm supposed to be doing something," I could remind myself that I didn't have to be at the Tuesday 2pm meeting, and it was great.

And that is an even bigger realization, at least it was for me. It's not just control over your time or daily activities -- when you realize that you alone are in control of your life, that there is literally no one who can tell you what to do -- that is awesome (except the wife, who is still under the illusion she calls the shots).

For a few months I gave myself permission not to do anything particularly productive, although I did find myself being productive nonetheless. Lots of naps, lots of working out, lots of doing whatever I felt like. After about 6 months I had a stronger desire to "do" something bigger, and so I took on larger projects.

I'm still grateful on a daily basis for the freedom. There is not a single day that goes by where I don't wake up and realize just how good I have it, and several times during the day I'm reminded of that as well when I'm doing enjoyable things that are not in an office.

From what I've seen, 4-6 months seems to be the threshold for allowing yourself time to adjust to this new lifestyle and free time. I really enjoyed reading your response - I think that (whenever I'm able to RE), I will be in the same boat. Just focusing on getting completely healthy physically and mentally, and then from there tackle whatever projects you set your mind to.

Just curious, what sorts of projects have you been working on?

Some of the more involved projects have been building wood furniture, I wrote a book (now looking into printing/publishing/marketing), and remodeling and selling a rental home.

That's great! I am an amateur woodworker but am hoping to get better at it. I started making a coffee table at a local class and need to finish it soon. I hope to learn more about basic home remodeling over the next few years as well.

Hamster

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2015, 08:07:56 AM »
After working my 4 weeks notice, I flew the next day to Thailand, I have been here 8 weeks so far, living on a tropical island. My days are spent working out, snorkelling, reading, kite boarding and drinking beer...as my title states..."living the dream"..don't get me wrong, it took serious discipline and hard work to get here, but I always knew what I wanted, and as the saying goes.."good things come to those who wait". Few more weeks here, then off to Bali for a month...then...well who knows..so far so good.

Sounds great. I am not FIREd, but I am finishing up a 6 month 'sabbatical'. I just spent the last 5 weeks volunteering in Luang Prabang, Laos, and absolutely loved it, even though I did have to set my alarm and be at 'work' for the first time in over 4 months. Working for no pay is so much more fulfilling than getting paid. Heh.

I was in Bali about 15 years ago, but it was the most idyllic place I have ever been, aside from the hawkers selling stuff. An island paradise with a unique and intact culture.

I would also love to hear more about your experiences if you ever feel moved to start a journal.

StockBeard

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2015, 02:08:28 PM »
Six week video game and junk food bender.
This will be me, I can picture it already. All those years of accumulated Free Playstation Plus games will finally be played!

ruhig

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #31 on: October 25, 2019, 08:23:40 AM »
Remember Christmas school vacations when you were a child? That's what not working felt like to me. It still feels great, doing what I plan or choose every day, and it's been almost 5 years, now. It's so nice to be able to really enjoy Sunday evening!

On the FI, side: I was afraid we'd run out of funds because I'm drawing from my IRA for our income, and waiting to take Social Security at 70.  The market has been good enough to keep us even, and the worry is starting to go away as age 70 approaches. Time flies when you're enjoying the journey.

We were afraid the ACA would run out before my wife reached eligibility at 65, but next year will be the last year we'll need it.

nancyfrank232

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2019, 08:29:10 AM »
I enjoy reading about how different people react to early retirement. I think that this side of FIRE isn't commonly addressed - but it is a big deal to prepare for all of this free time you've never had before from a mentality standpoint. So - were your first few months of ER filled with keeping yourself busy to establish a new kind of work ethic / learning to adopt to this new lifestyle, or was it mostly relaxing? No right answer here :)

The first few months were easy for me. It was the next couple of years that taught me a lot about myself! Lol

http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f26/hello-from-canada-99808.html

jim555

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2019, 07:45:35 PM »
It is like being 4 yo again, before school or work started.  No more Sunday dread.  At first I had a hard time believing the money math, no paycheck is a big adjustment.  Getting used to the new life of no work actually took a few years.

bacchi

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #34 on: October 25, 2019, 08:28:41 PM »
Or like a never ending summer vacation where you don't have to go home when the street lights come on.

I'm dating myself there.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #35 on: October 25, 2019, 08:54:49 PM »
One thing that surprised me after firing was that once I could take naps (ie I had all the time in the world) - I didn't need to any more.  It's amazing how tiring working is....and how NOT tiring doing what you want to do isn't!
It's been almost 4 years and it just doesn't get old.  Very grateful and lucky that I get to live my dream life.

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2019, 08:02:16 AM »
My spouse was still working for 6 months after I retired. So I did some deferred maintenance on the house. I installed new windows and painted the exterior trim on the house.  The cool thing about DYI when you are retired is that you can do it at a slower pace if you want to. When I was working, I felt like I had to rush through a project so I could get it done in a weekend. Now I just work until I'm tired and go take a nap. While DW was still working, I took over 100% of the household duties. As soon as she retired we went on a very long road trip.

EndlessJourney

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2019, 12:58:19 PM »
We have a bit of a different experience to all the "kick back and relax" stories above.

Last official day at work was April 30th, 2012. We spent about a month and a half finalizing the sale of our home then in June, we hit the road running and never looked back.

We had been planning this never-ending road trip since 2005. When it finally happened, it was a like a dog breaking free of its leash. We just ran and ran and ran.

It was perpetual motion all the way to the eastern Maritime provinces in Canada, and over to the western shores of BC, a straight march north to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska, and then a cannonball run southbound to escape the impending winter.

We rarely stayed in once place for more than a three days straight. The first week-long break we took from traveling was in Baja, Mexico at Christmastime. Over six months of constant travel. It was glorious!

We finally did take a longer break, we rented an apartment for a whole month in Antigua, Guatemala in March 2013. After nine months of being on the road, that was a very welcome respite.

So those were our first steps - our first few months after leaving our jobs.

Still on the road.

BigMoneyJim

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2019, 11:56:08 AM »
It took me several weeks to get used to the idea that I didn't have to be somewhere at a prescribed time or didn't have to be doing something. There was a nagging feeling that I should be somewhere.

[...]

And that is an even bigger realization, at least it was for me. It's not just control over your time or daily activities -- when you realize that you alone are in control of your life, that there is literally no one who can tell you what to do --

[...]

For a few months I gave myself permission not to do anything particularly productive, although I did find myself being productive nonetheless.

I'm 2Ĺ weeks into retirement, and I'm adjusting in similar ways.

The mental inertia of working on others' schedules is surprisingly hard to get past. I don't have problems entertaining or occupying myself, but I find myself having some of the same 'restricted' feelings I had when I was working, but out of habit not reality.

I'm also getting into weird debates with myself ... well on everything. I'm single with no kids, so I'm absolutely completely in charge of my own time and 'retirement productivity'. Do I follow every whim? Do I constrain myself? How much, and why?

I spent the first week bingeing an audiobook series, then have slowly gotten more 'productive' over the next week (renewed drivers license, started tinkering with some retirement projects, etc.). I had semi-planned to leave on a long (4000+ miles) road trip today or yesterday, but with no set schedule I'm arguing with myself on whether my not feeling like leaving is just lazy inertia preventing me from having fun that should be overridden or if I should go with what I feel like in the moment, because in the moment the emotional urgency to get away from home is past.

Definite first-world problem.

Even though I've been planning on early retirement for 20 years and know I won't get bored, it's still an astoundingly jarring adjustment to be completely responsible for my own time, goals, enforcement, and judgement. I've had months off of work before, but I knew that full-time work was in my future. It's really different this time. As challenging as it is so far, it's what I wanted and definitely what I still want. It's just surprising how disorienting it is.

I'm planning to keep up the progress in my MMM journal here on the forum.

spartana

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2019, 03:05:15 PM »
We have a bit of a different experience to all the "kick back and relax" stories above.

Last official day at work was April 30th, 2012. We spent about a month and a half finalizing the sale of our home then in June, we hit the road running and never looked back.

We had been planning this never-ending road trip since 2005. When it finally happened, it was a like a dog breaking free of its leash. We just ran and ran and ran.

It was perpetual motion all the way to the eastern Maritime provinces in Canada, and over to the western shores of BC, a straight march north to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska, and then a cannonball run southbound to escape the impending winter.

We rarely stayed in once place for more than a three days straight. The first week-long break we took from traveling was in Baja, Mexico at Christmastime. Over six months of constant travel. It was glorious!

We finally did take a longer break, we rented an apartment for a whole month in Antigua, Guatemala in March 2013. After nine months of being on the road, that was a very welcome respite.

So those were our first steps - our first few months after leaving our jobs.

Still on the road.
Me too. I was massively rearing to go and do all sorts of adventures I could barely contain myself.  I had a lot of irrational fear in the weeks leading up to me leaving my job that I'd die or get injured or disabled before I was free that kind of fed my "GTFO NOW" frenzy. I occasionally glanced skyward in case a random meteorite was gonna strike me down. I survived THE FEAR, left my job on a Friday and by Sat morning I was off on a 2 month trip to climb and hike with my dog. It took me a couple of years to chill and relax a bit and enjoy my down time, but the first couple of years I was pretty much going at full throttle.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #40 on: October 30, 2019, 03:11:03 PM »
I'm in my first few weeks right now......a lot of taking advantage of autumn in NY. Training for a MTB race, and a 10 mile running race. Reading tons, long walks, video games, waking up to daylight vs. an alarm, saying yes to hanging out with friends on weeknights, going to the gym when I feel like it, and definitely not thinking about all of the missed income from quitting a high paying job at the age of 32 =D

GreenSheep

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Re: What Were Your First Few Weeks/Months of ER Like?
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2019, 01:48:35 PM »
How about the first few hours? :-) Today is Day 1 of FIRE for me, after nearly a year of working less and less and less. My job allowed me to taper, so I don't feel like I'm jumping off a cliff... but I think the cliff jump feeling would have been more exciting. It doesn't quite feel real yet, and I still have some fears about no longer having a paycheck, but as someone said above, I'm also a worrier, and I know I'm over-worrying.

In 3 days I'll leave for a week and a half in Costa Rica, part of which will be backpacking through the jungle. It wasn't planned as a retirement celebration, but it's nice that it worked out that way. And I'll feel a little bit productive because I can work on my Spanish.

Then back home for a month or so to enjoy Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas preparations with my husband. Then a 2.5 week visit with my parents; that's more time than I've spent with them all at once in decades. Husband (who still works) will join us for a week of that. I'm looking forward to helping my mom decorate, doing some last-minute shopping for stocking stuffers, etc. I've only been able to go home for Christmas at all for the past 2-3 years, and then only for a week at a time, so it all felt like a very rushed blur. Now there will be time to sit by the fire and stare at the tree while sipping hot chocolate.

I think RE will still feel rather surreal until I get home again in January. I have a list of projects (mostly fun, some just necessary) to dive into when I have time! I worked a very irregular schedule, so it doesn't seem odd to me yet that today is Monday and I'm not at work. My work involved a ton of travel, so I haven't been home for more than 3 weeks at a time in many years. I think RE will finally sink in when I get to the point where it's been a couple of months since I was last on a plane.