Author Topic: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?  (Read 3003 times)

Hula Hoop

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I know that the whole point of FIRE for many people is to slack off more but I feel like an exceptionally lazy person who might lie around eating, sleeping and watching terrible TV all day in PJs if I ever manage to FIRE. 

Currently, I'm a FT working mom to two kids.  Our lives are crazy busy but whenever I have free time, I seem to end up vegging out completely. Today, for example, I came home from work early due to illness and I'm now feeling a bit better and lying in bed watching junk TV and surfing the web. Once the kids are in bed in the evening, my routine is to get a glass of (cheap) wine and watch Netflix or YouTube or, more rarely, read an easy to read book. I could see myself doing this every day all day if I were FIREd and it kind of scares me.  I guess after a while, I'd get sick of wearing PJs all day and watching bad TV and I'd start finding more structured and worthwhile activities but what if this doesn't happen?

LightTripper

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 07:45:37 AM »
I'm not RE, but I am a FT working mum to two kids and I think we are quite entitled to a good slab of PJ/TV/wine/detox time when we do RE!

In all seriousness though it's something I am a bit concerned about too as I need to feel productive to be happy, but I often find it hard to get motivated without an external deadline.  I think I will find ways to keep myself active after a bit of a detox, but hopping on to your thread to see answers from the folks who've actually done it!

LightTripper

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 07:49:15 AM »
This thread is almost on topic (you probably already found it!)
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/post-fire/do-you-plan-drift-or-something-in-between/

Hula Hoop

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2020, 07:54:25 AM »
thanks!  I guess I'll still have a lot of kid and house stuff to keep up with my taking 40 hours of work out of the equation sounds like it would free up so much vegging time.  I have SAHP friends, though, and they seem pretty busy so I guess that time could fill up pretty quickly.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2020, 09:17:55 AM »
I quit in June and found that summer and fall were really busy,  but then winter months came and with kids school and activity schedule I find myself being a super slacker.   Don't feel great about it but don't hate it either.  In addition to junk TV I find myself reading more and planning things for when the nice months return.   Clearly I am no longer a winter person. 

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2020, 11:08:52 AM »
I know that the whole point of FIRE for many people is to slack off more but I feel like an exceptionally lazy person who might lie around eating, sleeping and watching terrible TV all day in PJs if I ever manage to FIRE. 

Currently, I'm a FT working mom to two kids.  Our lives are crazy busy but whenever I have free time, I seem to end up vegging out completely. Today, for example, I came home from work early due to illness and I'm now feeling a bit better and lying in bed watching junk TV and surfing the web. Once the kids are in bed in the evening, my routine is to get a glass of (cheap) wine and watch Netflix or YouTube or, more rarely, read an easy to read book. I could see myself doing this every day all day if I were FIREd and it kind of scares me.  I guess after a while, I'd get sick of wearing PJs all day and watching bad TV and I'd start finding more structured and worthwhile activities but what if this doesn't happen?



OP, read "In Praise of Idleness" by Bertrand Russell.

An absence of hustle and bustle doesn't mean one is  a do-nothing slob.

While supine in a quiet and  darkened room one can do a lot of thinking that results in "problem solved."
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 11:11:25 AM by John Galt incarnate! »

spartana

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 01:52:21 PM »
I probably shouldn't respond because its past noon and I'm in my pjs doing nothing ;-). I've been VERY slackerish lately but need to be around the house for now as I'm finishing up a bunch of chores and things like taxes etc before heading out for a BIG trip of (hopefully) many months. So its the waiting to do stuff along with the actual doing of stuff that is leaving me a slacker.

However in normal times I do a lot of things and find I'm more motivated to do stuff in FIRE because I'm not having to squeeze it all in between working. If I feel to hemmed in (like with a job, commute,  chores or tasks) I kind of shut down and do none of the things I want to do. This might be what is happening to you - too many things on your plate leaves you just wanting to veg out. Been there done that pre-FIRE. However FIRE has ended that for me. That hemmed in feeling is gone and so I am actually doing more now then pre-FIRE. Well...not today maybe or this week but normally :).
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 01:58:22 PM by spartana »

herbgeek

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2020, 03:14:56 PM »
There were a lot of things I did while working to cope, that I no longer need to do now that I'm retired.  My life isn't stressful, so I don't need to veg or tune out.  I never was much of a TV watcher, and even less in retirement, but I probably spend a bit too much time on line when I'm not otherwise busy.  Even vacations don't have the same urgency, since I have nothing I really need to escape from.  We still go on trips, its just not the mental escape it used to be.


Malkynn

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2020, 07:56:54 PM »
Less hectic? Absolutely
Lazy? No

The more free time I get the bigger projects I tend to sink my teeth into. I'm a little afraid of what I'll get myself into once both DH and I are fully retired. Thankfully, that's over a decade away and I'm working one day a week, which is enough to keep myself minimally productive for now...I think.

If you do find yourself being lazy then either you will be enjoying it and discover that being lazy really works for you, or you won't enjoy it and you will feel driven to do something about it. 

Future you is going to do what future you wants, with total and utter disregard for whatever worries or opinions today you has on the matter.

You simply don't have any say in the matter if future you decides that being a slacker is awesome.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2020, 09:13:43 PM »
I was worried, but it didn't happen. For the first month of both of my FIREbatticals, I did nothing. I got energy back pretty quickly, though. I do need to schedule a lot of social activities so I have some external accountability.

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2020, 09:43:59 PM »
I was worried about the same thing.  I am by nature a very lazy person. I don't do big projects.  I FIREd about 9 months ago, and I've been much busier than I expected.  It does take a bit of effort for me, and I definitely have days when I don't accomplish very much, but those days are far fewer than I expected.  I volunteer as a math tutor once a week, and having that structure helps.  I play on a local rec league sports team twice a week.  I started to re-learn piano.  I exercise daily, and eat almost exclusively at home.  I still have plenty of time for reading and general laziness, and I know I'll never be one of those FIREes who accomplishes great things in retirement.  But I also find that for me it took less effort than expected to avoid turning into a total slug.
I will day that I think the best thing to do is to try to start some of your post-FIRE activities before quitting.  Few things that I tried to add in FIRE have stuck, but I have increased most of my pre-FIRE activities.  Around the time you reach FIRE maybe try to drop to part time work and try to add in hobbies to ease into it. I can imagine that the release of going from being super busy to not working could result in doing nothing at all for a while and having that become your new routine.  If you keep some activities as you transition that might help.

sui generis

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2020, 06:44:00 PM »
Well, I spent the first year and a half of my FIRE complaining (probably accurately) that I was busier than when I was working and I didn't think I was doing retirement right.  In the last 2 months, I've totally slacked off, as a couple of my 4 volunteer gigs are sort of seasonal, and it has changed my world 180 degrees.  When I probably needed like 90 degrees.

So yeah, I think I am the person you suspect yourself to be.  I'm very lazy and in the past 2 months (excepting when we were traveling or had company for the holidays), there were probably very few days that I was not in my pajamas well past noon.  There are very few days I've gotten more than like two things done (the bathroom needs to be cleaned and it's my day to grocery shop?  Don't even think about putting anything else on the to-do list today!).  Almost none of my aspirational stuff is getting done.  I still have a volunteer gig every Tuesday, so Wednesday is my laziness recovery day.  Like, it's sooooo terrible that I missed a day of laziness on Tuesdays that I can't even hope to accomplish 2 things on Wednesdays!

I was much better about getting stuff done when I was busy...like additional stuff to the stuff I was busy with. Why?  Momentum, maybe.  You've heard the phrase, "If you need something to get done, ask a busy person"?  I was like that.  But, with only a few things to do, I do even fewer of them, if any at all.  So I'm obviously now bouncing back and forth between two not-ideal situations.  And it's been a year and a half!  But also, it's only been a year and a half!  I hope I still have 4 or 5 decades to get my balance right.

People talk about that decompression stage, and I think it's a good idea to take that and not judge yourself.  That's sort of what I'm belatedly doing right now. But also, just the bigger picture that who you are right now is not who you will be in 4 years or 14 or 40!  Even if you do spend like 2 years being lazy, that doesn't mean that's what you'll do forever.  And it may take a while to really change habits, but I believe it will eventually come about. I mean, I hope so!  I'm still in that stage where I feel totally crappy from sleeping a bit too much and guilty for not doing the two things on my list for the day and that still not being enough motivation for me to change my ways tomorrow.  I know my volunteer gigs heating up will eventually take me out of that lifestyle if nothing else does, but I also have to believe that I could do it on my own.  We'll see which happens first.

I guess I don't have all the answers, but I do agree that some of us are a wholly different level of lazy than other FIREes. Maybe we should have a support group thread or some kind of collective goal in the Gauntlet section of the forums.

FatFI2025

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2020, 08:22:55 PM »
One thing I worry about is mental decline. Once my parents stopped working, they started to take forever to get stuff done and they lost the ability to focus, even though they're very busy. What I don't want to happen is that I'm just as busy as when working, but only 15% as productive.

But that concern isn't going to keep me from FIRE. I think after I RE I'll rent a beach house in Italy for a few months, spend the first week boozing and crying out 20 years of misery, then detox and workout for the remaining months. After that, on to the new life -- I do have a lot planned!

blue_green_sparks

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2020, 08:23:13 PM »
It's almost like the question presumes that the opportunity to be "a slacker" is a negative. If I wake to another sunrise I will have the chance to take a walk in the Southern woods. The robins are in. Yes by the hundreds. The chatter they make is unbelievable. The ancient softshell turtle waits for me near the well pipe. I always bring some breakfast for him. The fish always steal half of it, but he never bites at them.  I never knew one could befriend a pond turtle. The wildflowers are moving targets in the breeze but the bees manage. I lock eyes with a small doe. We both freeze. I let my body relax, eyes closed. When I open them the little deer has resumed chewing on the golden grass.

There will be no drama, insecurity-based mind games, multi-tasking, or interruptions this morning. This morning belongs to a slacker, one hundred percent.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 08:28:36 PM by blue_green_sparks »

sui generis

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2020, 09:30:43 PM »
It's almost like the question presumes that the opportunity to be "a slacker" is a negative. If I wake to another sunrise I will have the chance to take a walk in the Southern woods. The robins are in. Yes by the hundreds. The chatter they make is unbelievable. The ancient softshell turtle waits for me near the well pipe. I always bring some breakfast for him. The fish always steal half of it, but he never bites at them.  I never knew one could befriend a pond turtle. The wildflowers are moving targets in the breeze but the bees manage. I lock eyes with a small doe. We both freeze. I let my body relax, eyes closed. When I open them the little deer has resumed chewing on the golden grass.

There will be no drama, insecurity-based mind games, multi-tasking, or interruptions this morning. This morning belongs to a slacker, one hundred percent.

Sounds absolutely lovely! But also not what I'd call slacking. My slacking the last few months? I would have considered this a level of ambition that it would have taken me days to work up to, if I ever managed it at all.

Malkynn

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2020, 06:03:12 AM »
One thing I worry about is mental decline. Once my parents stopped working, they started to take forever to get stuff done and they lost the ability to focus, even though they're very busy. What I don't want to happen is that I'm just as busy as when working, but only 15% as productive.

But that concern isn't going to keep me from FIRE. I think after I RE I'll rent a beach house in Italy for a few months, spend the first week boozing and crying out 20 years of misery, then detox and workout for the remaining months. After that, on to the new life -- I do have a lot planned!

You won't have mental decline if you don't want to have mental decline. The seniors in my family are whip smart, and a lot sharper than the people exhausted by their day jobs.

If your parents are running slower, then that's because staying quick and sharp wasn't their priority in retirement. They might prefer the slower mental pace.

Whatever is a priority to you is what you will do, so if staying sharp is a priority, then that's what you will put your energy towards.

The people who tend to really flounder in retirement are people who did not execute a lot of autonomy in their own lives. They spent decades flowing with the river of life pressures, going to their jobs, managing to keep their families fed, etc, etc, but not really owning the power they had to craft their own lives.

That's not typical Mustachians. Mustachians grab life by the balls and decide how they want it to look. That same person is not about to just let a listless retirement happen to them because there's no boss dictating that they should use their brain today.

If after working your brain and body need to be lazy to decompress for awhile, then be lazy. Then when you start getting bored, figure out what your brain and body want from there and do it.

No one who is worried about this crap ever needs to worry about it, because by definition if you are worried about it, then it's already a priority.

Not working allows your top priorities to be the focus of your energy, it removes the barriers that working put in the way.

BECABECA

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2020, 11:37:52 AM »
Like @sui generis I was super productive at the very beginning of retirement, finally able to focus on all my life optimization to do list items that I never found time to do while working. DW would come home and ask how my day was and Iíd go on to complain about how stressful it was and how Iíd been working all day on these things and hadnít gotten everything done. This went on for a good 6 months. Then I got through all those to do items and the few that remained were massive house projects that Iíve continued to put off now a couple years later.

I vacillate between hyper productive for a week/month and then hyper lazy for an equivalent amount of time before my motivation charges back up. Iíve sort of been like this during my career, working around major deadlines, so it makes sense that I wouldnít be so different in retirement.

I find Iím quite lazy in winter, and now that Iím realizing this is a trend, I ought to plan travel for that time of year. Summer is extremely busy with visitors and house projects (both at my house and various family members).

Iím just going with the flow, and appreciating the lazy periods because I know thatís what I need in order to be ready for another productive period.


Linea_Norway

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2020, 02:13:22 AM »
I have been retired for a month now. I have noticed that when the circumstances are good, I am motivated to do something active, like skiing. But when the weather is depressing or when it is icy outside, I get very lazy and demotivated and stay home. During the first 1,5 week at home, I found that doing one errand a day was enough effort for that day. For the last two weeks we have stayed at our cabin with a lot of good snow and here we have a pretty basic life. Here we have been skiing almost every day. We always have small errands like shopping every other day, collecting drinking water, fetching firewood. It is about as much as I can tackle now. When we have done a ski trip in the morning, like two or three hours active skiing, I feel very good at not doing anything else the rest of the day. Just reading a book and watching some  TV in the evening. DH on the other hand has been sewing stuff in the afternoons.

In a few weeks, things will change. I have two weekends planned with full day activity. And after that we will start with our home sale preparations again.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2020, 12:41:41 PM »
It's almost like the question presumes that the opportunity to be "a slacker" is a negative. If I wake to another sunrise I will have the chance to take a walk in the Southern woods. The robins are in. Yes by the hundreds. The chatter they make is unbelievable. The ancient softshell turtle waits for me near the well pipe. I always bring some breakfast for him. The fish always steal half of it, but he never bites at them.  I never knew one could befriend a pond turtle. The wildflowers are moving targets in the breeze but the bees manage. I lock eyes with a small doe. We both freeze. I let my body relax, eyes closed. When I open them the little deer has resumed chewing on the golden grass.

There will be no drama, insecurity-based mind games, multi-tasking, or interruptions this morning. This morning belongs to a slacker, one hundred percent.

Watching animals is a relaxing pastime.

After it rains  dozens of robins alight on the trees in the woods behind my house.

A few days ago 4 deer were grazing in my front yard.

EDIT:  blue_green_sparks, your post inspired my latest entry in the Mu$tachian Dictionary.

reslackation

noun -
the carefree state of mind of Mu$tachian$ who are slackers

« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 07:34:22 AM by John Galt incarnate! »

BTDretire

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2020, 01:20:19 PM »
We retired a year ago, I have embraced slackerism.
 I'm on the internet much of the day, forums, usenet groups and Youtube videos.
 I walk regularly, but can't seem to make it daily.
Have breakfast with the boys twice a week.
 And I do a little in my electronics/radio hobby.
   My wife is just the opposite, she is working her garden, cleaning the ditch,
running here and there, walking every single day, setting in front of an exercise
tape doing exercise for 1/2 hr, cooking, and cleaning, her energy seems endless.
 I will add, I'm just as happy as she is, I thoroughly enjoy my groups, mostly technical,
science, or health related, I enjoy my podcasts or OTR while I walk or as I'm falling asleep.
 I see so many people asking how will I feel a sense of fulfillment.
I'm not sure that's necessary. (well at least for me) Or maybe I'm just easily fulfilled.

sui generis

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2020, 03:18:54 PM »
We retired a year ago, I have embraced slackerism.
 I'm on the internet much of the day, forums, usenet groups and Youtube videos.
 I walk regularly, but can't seem to make it daily.
Have breakfast with the boys twice a week.
 And I do a little in my electronics/radio hobby.
   My wife is just the opposite, she is working her garden, cleaning the ditch,
running here and there, walking every single day, setting in front of an exercise
tape doing exercise for 1/2 hr, cooking, and cleaning, her energy seems endless.
 I will add, I'm just as happy as she is, I thoroughly enjoy my groups, mostly technical,
science, or health related, I enjoy my podcasts or OTR while I walk or as I'm falling asleep.
 I see so many people asking how will I feel a sense of fulfillment.
I'm not sure that's necessary. (well at least for me) Or maybe I'm just easily fulfilled.

Is there ever any tension between you two, like you worry she'll feel like you aren't contributing enough to the cooking or cleaning, or that she has expressed disbelief/discomfort that you are so inactive?

I have a slight worry about this with my husband.  He hasn't retired yet, and part of me hopes he never does, because it will be exhausting just watching him be retired.  And then I'll be able to do even less than I already do, having vicariously exhausted myself through his activities!

Dee

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2020, 07:18:48 PM »
Yup, I've been worried about this, too, lately. Much more so than before. I think what has prompted it is that in my current job, I feel what I do is important and meaningful...but nonetheless that I wouldn't do it if it wasn't my job to do it because it's often either hard or boring. So I worry that in retirement, I won't be able to follow through on projects I find meaningful because seeing meaningful project through it usually hard and/or boring. In particular, I am acknowledging to myself that I've always wanted to be a writer and I'd have plenty of time to be a writer in retirement but... I'm not sure I'll have the drive to actually do anything about it in retirement (since it is likely to be hard and/or boring to write). Because I may become a complete slacker.

FatFI2025

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2020, 07:10:16 AM »
One thing I worry about is mental decline. Once my parents stopped working, they started to take forever to get stuff done and they lost the ability to focus, even though they're very busy. What I don't want to happen is that I'm just as busy as when working, but only 15% as productive.

But that concern isn't going to keep me from FIRE. I think after I RE I'll rent a beach house in Italy for a few months, spend the first week boozing and crying out 20 years of misery, then detox and workout for the remaining months. After that, on to the new life -- I do have a lot planned!


You won't have mental decline if you don't want to have mental decline. The seniors in my family are whip smart, and a lot sharper than the people exhausted by their day jobs.

If your parents are running slower, then that's because staying quick and sharp wasn't their priority in retirement. They might prefer the slower mental pace.

Whatever is a priority to you is what you will do, so if staying sharp is a priority, then that's what you will put your energy towards.

The people who tend to really flounder in retirement are people who did not execute a lot of autonomy in their own lives. They spent decades flowing with the river of life pressures, going to their jobs, managing to keep their families fed, etc, etc, but not really owning the power they had to craft their own lives.

That's not typical Mustachians. Mustachians grab life by the balls and decide how they want it to look. That same person is not about to just let a listless retirement happen to them because there's no boss dictating that they should use their brain today.

If after working your brain and body need to be lazy to decompress for awhile, then be lazy. Then when you start getting bored, figure out what your brain and body want from there and do it.

No one who is worried about this crap ever needs to worry about it, because by definition if you are worried about it, then it's already a priority.

Not working allows your top priorities to be the focus of your energy, it removes the barriers that working put in the way.

No, just because you worry about something doesn't mean that you will address it successfully. My parents are successful in business and finance, but not physical fitness. I worry about physical fitness quite a bit, yet right now I'm overweight (working on it) but I'm otherwise successful just like them.

So its very possible to be cognizant of being lazy or experiencing mental decline during retirement and still suffer those things.

BTDretire

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2020, 09:11:17 AM »
We retired a year ago, I have embraced slackerism.
 I'm on the internet much of the day, forums, usenet groups and Youtube videos.
 I walk regularly, but can't seem to make it daily.
Have breakfast with the boys twice a week.
 And I do a little in my electronics/radio hobby.
   My wife is just the opposite, she is working her garden, cleaning the ditch,
running here and there, walking every single day, setting in front of an exercise
tape doing exercise for 1/2 hr, cooking, and cleaning, her energy seems endless.
 I will add, I'm just as happy as she is, I thoroughly enjoy my groups, mostly technical,
science, or health related, I enjoy my podcasts or OTR while I walk or as I'm falling asleep.
 I see so many people asking how will I feel a sense of fulfillment.
I'm not sure that's necessary. (well at least for me) Or maybe I'm just easily fulfilled.

Is there ever any tension between you two, like you worry she'll feel like you aren't contributing enough to the cooking or cleaning, or that she has expressed disbelief/discomfort that you are so inactive?

I have a slight worry about this with my husband.  He hasn't retired yet, and part of me hopes he never does, because it will be exhausting just watching him be retired.  And then I'll be able to do even less than I already do, having vicariously exhausted myself through his activities!

 No, I think it's just understood, she is clearly type A+, has to always be doing. It was the same in our business of 18 years, she could never stop thinking about business, we both put in our hours, I did the man things (ya that will get some attention, but it is more likely that I would do the maintenance, heavy lifting, etc) and things that she didn't have knowledge about and she really took care of running the business.
 Early in our marriage it was a point of contention that she spent so much time cooking, I was happy with a peanut butter sandwich. She won, she still spends a lot of time cooking 30 years later. I can't say I do nothing, I clear the table, clean the dishes and load the dishwasher, empty the dishwasher and vacuum the house. And again, heavy lifting around the house, we are in the process of covering the greenhouse,
we have a large greenhouse 25ft x 40ft. Darn, I thought we would get through this year without covering it, but a freeze is expected on Monday night so we need to protect the tropical and sub tropical trees.

Malkynn

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2020, 11:05:03 AM »
One thing I worry about is mental decline. Once my parents stopped working, they started to take forever to get stuff done and they lost the ability to focus, even though they're very busy. What I don't want to happen is that I'm just as busy as when working, but only 15% as productive.

But that concern isn't going to keep me from FIRE. I think after I RE I'll rent a beach house in Italy for a few months, spend the first week boozing and crying out 20 years of misery, then detox and workout for the remaining months. After that, on to the new life -- I do have a lot planned!


You won't have mental decline if you don't want to have mental decline. The seniors in my family are whip smart, and a lot sharper than the people exhausted by their day jobs.

If your parents are running slower, then that's because staying quick and sharp wasn't their priority in retirement. They might prefer the slower mental pace.

Whatever is a priority to you is what you will do, so if staying sharp is a priority, then that's what you will put your energy towards.

The people who tend to really flounder in retirement are people who did not execute a lot of autonomy in their own lives. They spent decades flowing with the river of life pressures, going to their jobs, managing to keep their families fed, etc, etc, but not really owning the power they had to craft their own lives.

That's not typical Mustachians. Mustachians grab life by the balls and decide how they want it to look. That same person is not about to just let a listless retirement happen to them because there's no boss dictating that they should use their brain today.

If after working your brain and body need to be lazy to decompress for awhile, then be lazy. Then when you start getting bored, figure out what your brain and body want from there and do it.

No one who is worried about this crap ever needs to worry about it, because by definition if you are worried about it, then it's already a priority.

Not working allows your top priorities to be the focus of your energy, it removes the barriers that working put in the way.

No, just because you worry about something doesn't mean that you will address it successfully. My parents are successful in business and finance, but not physical fitness. I worry about physical fitness quite a bit, yet right now I'm overweight (working on it) but I'm otherwise successful just like them.

So its very possible to be cognizant of being lazy or experiencing mental decline during retirement and still suffer those things.

People tend to not do things when they have barriers in the way of succeeding. If there are no barriers to success, then they will naturally succeed at whatever their priority is.

For the vast majority of people, work is their main barrier.

eyesonthehorizon

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2020, 02:29:23 PM »
There were a lot of things I did while working to cope, that I no longer need to do now that I'm retired.  My life isn't stressful, so I don't need to veg or tune out.
This pretty well sums up my hopes/working theory of how I'll operate in RE vs while employed - right now instead I spend much of my time outside work sitting in a lump and wishing I had the energy to get up and do the things I love, because it takes me about three days away from the office to feel like a person again (and working an ordinary weekday schedule, that means it rarely happens.)

Intellectually I know the quoted above is likely for me. Most of my hobbies in the past have been productive & healthy. But emotionally, since my recent, work-depleted experiences are of spending most my free time in vicarious pursuits from a couch, I'm often very much afraid that that's all I'm running towards with my FI journey. I've lost touch with the skills of living, and it leaves me uncertain about what I might actually be capable of anymore.

The fact that my life is outwardly perceived by those around me as "successful," even when I confess the zombie-like state of my off-time, is horrifying (and tells me I need to add some different influences into my real-life community.)

And I'm personally tempted to say that the trouble assessing who we might become under other circumstances - the fear that we aren't strong enough to choose productivity freely - is proof we're living very much the wrong way in the present, because it certainly is true for me... but I also think that it's easy to assume others are very much like us, and I don't want to err too far in that direction. I am quite sure that Malkynn above is right in that first-generation Mustachians tend inherently to be the sort to execute autonomy with a high sense of personal agency - MMM's can-do-isms have tended to piss anyone else off by the comments section and they didn't make it to the forum, so those who've historically hung around here will not end up at risk of sitting passively in circumstances that dissatisfy them. It's just not in our nature. We're happy to be black sheep, and we don't want to be herded.

That said, the community's growing and thus going to be diversified. I don't want to slip into the fundamental attribution error of assuming everyone's behaviors are intrinsic rather than situational; if the future goes right, there will be plenty of FIRE-ees who won't fit the Mustachian mold of rebels with iron spines and no need of extrinsic reinforcement. A society where check-to-check shortsighted living isn't the norm is healthier, so I'd like FIRE to grow beyond a counterculture.

But BECAUSE financial independence is atypical, there aren't a lot of community efforts that go out of their way to be pleasant enough to be worth doing without remuneration - society's decided that if it's worthwhile, it should be paid, and that if it's paid, it needn't be pleasant (because someone will be desperate enough to do it anyway.) So I definitely see a gap there for people who aren't wired to be satisfied without community direction & accountability in their lives, but also neither feel good about "slacking", nor want to hang out with unthinking consumerist worker-bees to avoid it. If you thrive on external structure, but you want to step away from the working world that prizes money-for-stuff above all, what resources are out there for a productive, happy post-FIRE life?

Malkynn

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2020, 03:50:07 PM »
There were a lot of things I did while working to cope, that I no longer need to do now that I'm retired.  My life isn't stressful, so I don't need to veg or tune out.
This pretty well sums up my hopes/working theory of how I'll operate in RE vs while employed - right now instead I spend much of my time outside work sitting in a lump and wishing I had the energy to get up and do the things I love, because it takes me about three days away from the office to feel like a person again (and working an ordinary weekday schedule, that means it rarely happens.)

Intellectually I know the quoted above is likely for me. Most of my hobbies in the past have been productive & healthy. But emotionally, since my recent, work-depleted experiences are of spending most my free time in vicarious pursuits from a couch, I'm often very much afraid that that's all I'm running towards with my FI journey. I've lost touch with the skills of living, and it leaves me uncertain about what I might actually be capable of anymore.

The fact that my life is outwardly perceived by those around me as "successful," even when I confess the zombie-like state of my off-time, is horrifying (and tells me I need to add some different influences into my real-life community.)

And I'm personally tempted to say that the trouble assessing who we might become under other circumstances - the fear that we aren't strong enough to choose productivity freely - is proof we're living very much the wrong way in the present, because it certainly is true for me... but I also think that it's easy to assume others are very much like us, and I don't want to err too far in that direction. I am quite sure that Malkynn above is right in that first-generation Mustachians tend inherently to be the sort to execute autonomy with a high sense of personal agency - MMM's can-do-isms have tended to piss anyone else off by the comments section and they didn't make it to the forum, so those who've historically hung around here will not end up at risk of sitting passively in circumstances that dissatisfy them. It's just not in our nature. We're happy to be black sheep, and we don't want to be herded.

That said, the community's growing and thus going to be diversified. I don't want to slip into the fundamental attribution error of assuming everyone's behaviors are intrinsic rather than situational; if the future goes right, there will be plenty of FIRE-ees who won't fit the Mustachian mold of rebels with iron spines and no need of extrinsic reinforcement. A society where check-to-check shortsighted living isn't the norm is healthier, so I'd like FIRE to grow beyond a counterculture.

But BECAUSE financial independence is atypical, there aren't a lot of community efforts that go out of their way to be pleasant enough to be worth doing without remuneration - society's decided that if it's worthwhile, it should be paid, and that if it's paid, it needn't be pleasant (because someone will be desperate enough to do it anyway.) So I definitely see a gap there for people who aren't wired to be satisfied without community direction & accountability in their lives, but also neither feel good about "slacking", nor want to hang out with unthinking consumerist worker-bees to avoid it. If you thrive on external structure, but you want to step away from the working world that prizes money-for-stuff above all, what resources are out there for a productive, happy post-FIRE life?

K.

So simple fact: you cannot equate downtime during burnout with free time during retirement. That's not just apples and oranges, that's donkeys and calculators, it's so not the same thing.

I've been there, super successful and exhausted. I used to have 3 day weekends because I worked very, very long days. People would ask me what I did on my Fridays off and I would freely admit that I rarely left bed. People seemed to think this sounded reasonable or even desirable.

I now have 6 days off per week and not a single one of those days looks like my previous Fridays. That existence now feels so incredibly foreign to me.

Also, when I was overworked and being very very successful, lol, I never saw any opportunities other than work. Not only did I have no energy, but all of my work hours were, well, at work (or in bed on Fridays).

You have no idea how many opportunities are buzzing around you at all times when you don't have free work hours.

All I had to do was cut one more day from my schedule and then suddenly the world exploded with possibility. I was no longer over worked, so my two days off during the week weren't spent in bed, and I could do lunches, and meetings, etc.

Within a year and a half, I had 4 side hustles, was on the executive of an elite non profit, was writing articles for a national publication, etc, etc.

Because I wanted projects, every chance I got to speak to anyone was an opportunity to perhaps find a new project.

As for work only being worthwhile if it's paid, and paid work being miserable, well, my personal experience couldn't be further from that. Some of my projects are very well paid, some are very poorly paid, some are volunteer, some make a lot of money for others, and all of them are extremely interesting and deeply satisfying.

I'm on medical leave right now, well, sort of, I'm working one day a week, and my biggest challenge right now is trying to avoid getting sucked into too many amazing projects.

I'm writing a damn book for Christ's sake, which I've been trying to avoid for years, but my sister asked for help on a project and now we're writing a damn book together.
I'm doing it just because my sister is overloaded and this book is part of her workload, if I do this, I get to see her regularly, otherwise she'll sink into work and I won't see her until this project is done.

My sister is too fun, I can't say no to this.
So yeah, I'm writing a damn book. I actually love writing, it's just such a cliche in my family to write a book.

Also, now I'm the president of the elite non profit, I'm hosting a bunch of networking events, plus a series of lectures on burnout for medical professionals, plus helping a colleague broker a massive industry shaking deal, plus I've started a mentorship group for new grad medical professionals, plus I'm helping develop resources for a friend's women's shelter in Africa, plus I'm helping two small charities connect with major industry dollars, plus I'm helping another more established charity with their rebranding, plus I've been asked to join the executive of an even bigger non profit, plus a national agency wants me to start a podcast, plus friends are running several children's shelters in India and have asked me to come out and help, plus a family member would like me to join her in the volunteer work she's doing in the Arctic...

These are the small projects I'm letting myself consider. That doesn't even include the 3 major side hustles that I've put on hold, or the additional graduate degree I'm seriously considering in 2021.

The world is absolutely packed to the god damn rafters with really, really interesting, challenging, and satisfying work. You just can't see it if you don't think it's there.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 04:07:04 PM by Malkynn »

Cassie

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2020, 04:00:53 PM »
When I was a SAHM with 3 little kids I was busy. Once they went to school I was anxious to get back to work. Then at 58 was done and retired. Some days I accomplish a lot and some nothing. For the past 7 years I have been teaching a online college class thatís fun and doing a little consulting. Some of my friends are now retiring and we do things together during the day.  My husband picks up consulting work occasionally and has volunteer work. We like the freedom to choose.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2020, 06:04:04 PM »
I could see myself doing this every day all day if I were FIREd and it kind of scares me.  I guess after a while, I'd get sick of wearing PJs all day and watching bad TV and I'd start finding more structured and worthwhile activities but what if this doesn't happen?

I've been thinking about this. I really like doing nothing (and do so guilt-free most evenings and weekends while I'm working FT). AND I tend to worry a lot.

But I've decided not to worry about it because I trust that future me will be able to figure it out. If when I retire I really need time to do nothing and decompress, then that's OK. If / when I start to feel restless, then I'll no doubt get into a hobby or find something to do that interests me. I have a long list of hobbies and activities Id like to try in retirement. Therefore, nothing to worry about. Nothing is irreversible and laziness isn't necessarily addictive (in my experience). It usually has its own built in time limit.

If you're worried that lack of structure of having a job may be jarring and you won't be able to find projects for yourself, then that's a different issue. It might take some getting used to becoming de-institutionalized and figuring out activities for yourself.

okonumiyaki

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2020, 07:41:40 AM »
Eh - why worry about being a slacker?  Shaggy and the Dude are to be admired/ emulated, not feared!

Iíve been RE for about six months now.  Typical day - go to the beach for a swim/ walk.  Breakfast, meditate. Go to the market to see what is fresh for lunch/ dinner.  Catch up on news, read a book.  Have a coffee with neighbours.  Play video games.  Do some chores with my wife.  Go for a run.  Cook dinner with my wife for friends coming round.  Basically, I live in the present, after 25 years of always living with future deadlines of varying magnitude and my time measured and planned out to meet them.

My sister in law tells me I look five years younger.  My wife is doing quite a lot of volunteering (meditation meet up groups on line and face to face) which is her choice.  Iím happy to chauffeur her around for those.

Embrace the slack!   In answer to Yodaís ĎDo, or do not, there is no tryí do not is also a correct answer. 



LaineyAZ

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2020, 09:25:05 AM »
After about 2 1/2 years into retirement, I've also realized that your overall energy level remains the same - meaning, if you were a high-level energy person all of your life you won't suddenly become a couch potato just because you can.
Likewise, a normal energy person won't be sustaining a high-level of energy just because their time has opened up.

I consider myself an average energy level person - that hasn't changed in retirement.   Like others, I have days where I focus more on getting stuff done, and other days of downtime.  My guess is that's how lots of retired people are, so I don't beat myself up if it's a "lazy" day.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2020, 06:22:20 AM »
There were a lot of things I did while working to cope, that I no longer need to do now that I'm retired.  My life isn't stressful, so I don't need to veg or tune out.
This pretty well sums up my hopes/working theory of how I'll operate in RE vs while employed - right now instead I spend much of my time outside work sitting in a lump and wishing I had the energy to get up and do the things I love, because it takes me about three days away from the office to feel like a person again (and working an ordinary weekday schedule, that means it rarely happens.)

Intellectually I know the quoted above is likely for me. Most of my hobbies in the past have been productive & healthy. But emotionally, since my recent, work-depleted experiences are of spending most my free time in vicarious pursuits from a couch, I'm often very much afraid that that's all I'm running towards with my FI journey. I've lost touch with the skills of living, and it leaves me uncertain about what I might actually be capable of anymore.

The fact that my life is outwardly perceived by those around me as "successful," even when I confess the zombie-like state of my off-time, is horrifying (and tells me I need to add some different influences into my real-life community.)

And I'm personally tempted to say that the trouble assessing who we might become under other circumstances - the fear that we aren't strong enough to choose productivity freely - is proof we're living very much the wrong way in the present, because it certainly is true for me... but I also think that it's easy to assume others are very much like us, and I don't want to err too far in that direction. I am quite sure that Malkynn above is right in that first-generation Mustachians tend inherently to be the sort to execute autonomy with a high sense of personal agency - MMM's can-do-isms have tended to piss anyone else off by the comments section and they didn't make it to the forum, so those who've historically hung around here will not end up at risk of sitting passively in circumstances that dissatisfy them. It's just not in our nature. We're happy to be black sheep, and we don't want to be herded.

That said, the community's growing and thus going to be diversified. I don't want to slip into the fundamental attribution error of assuming everyone's behaviors are intrinsic rather than situational; if the future goes right, there will be plenty of FIRE-ees who won't fit the Mustachian mold of rebels with iron spines and no need of extrinsic reinforcement. A society where check-to-check shortsighted living isn't the norm is healthier, so I'd like FIRE to grow beyond a counterculture.

But BECAUSE financial independence is atypical, there aren't a lot of community efforts that go out of their way to be pleasant enough to be worth doing without remuneration - society's decided that if it's worthwhile, it should be paid, and that if it's paid, it needn't be pleasant (because someone will be desperate enough to do it anyway.) So I definitely see a gap there for people who aren't wired to be satisfied without community direction & accountability in their lives, but also neither feel good about "slacking", nor want to hang out with unthinking consumerist worker-bees to avoid it. If you thrive on external structure, but you want to step away from the working world that prizes money-for-stuff above all, what resources are out there for a productive, happy post-FIRE life?

Why don't you try to work parttime? It is not worth it working fulltime, rushing towards FIRE, while having the feeling you don't live. I felt like that too, especially during my last year or two. But taking Fridays off helped enormously. As you say, it has a three days weekend. One day to do all the errands, and two whole days to enjoy your free time things. DH and I didn't expect our employers to agree on parttime work, but they both did without discussion. I think they were afraid to loose good employees from burnout. Choosing to work parttime shows them you are taking care of your health. Thag is positive. You'll probably be quite productive on the days thag you do work.

HenryDavid

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Re: Anyone else worried they will become a complete slacker after FIRE?
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2020, 08:20:34 AM »
Slack away! The world needs more slackers. A lot more.

Without any kind of Type-A competitive urge to "make the most of" your time, yourself, your life etc., you can just wake up slowly, read a book, walk around looking at stuff and talking to people, ride bikes, cook dinner slowly, read a book again . . . play a music instrument, even badly. Sing in a choir, even badly. Help your neighbours. Cultivate your garden.

Less-driven living can mean consuming a lot less, which = harm reduction, in many senses.

Mr. Green

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I suppose it could become problematic but I would say I've become a pretty serious slacker without any ill effects, other than I'm not particularly motivated to do anything serious at the moment. I've been free of a full-time job for almost 3 years now and I find that it hasn't really changed much, though we've had periods where we've been completely occupied. Last year we traveled for 3 months and then my Dad died and we spent 3 months dealing with the aftermath basically full time. So that was half my year right there. I think eventually some personal interests will come emerge that I'll want to spend more serious time one but right now I'm just happy to spend my time in the gym and enjoying the rest of my day in a relaxing fashion. We expect to have our first kid here some time soon so I'm sure that will change. Perhaps that's why I'm not so concerned about it, knowing things will change and simply enjoying the moment.

soccerluvof4

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I'll be fire'd 5 years in April and the last 6 months +/- I started back working for fun , extra cash and plan on turning back to being a slacker. The good thing about being Fire'd is you have the choice when or not to slack. But I also found because of your freedom that it gets filled up overtime with other things and finding time to slack might not be as easy as you think.

eyesonthehorizon

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So simple fact: you cannot equate downtime during burnout with free time during retirement. That's not just apples and oranges, that's donkeys and calculators, it's so not the same thing.
...
The world is absolutely packed to the god damn rafters with really, really interesting, challenging, and satisfying work. You just can't see it if you don't think it's there.
On the analogy: thank you so much for this. It was a much-needed laugh, as well as being a nice memorable image to carry with me.

On time & its uses: I think I'm very likely to fill up my time past capacity once I actually own it, and will then have to cut back. I also suspect I'll be starting slower than you've described due to building networks from scratch, unrelated to my prior professional life, as the things I enjoy doing and the things I've been paid for are at nearly opposite ends of the spectrum. (Whence comes my severe OMY/ TMY syndrome: my odds of getting back into my current professional sphere at anything like my current level once I have left are not good, and would be at high upfront cost even if I succeeded.)

I know my SO and several friends thrive on structure, though, hence the latter half of my post; while I've got my SO leaning into FIRE with a notional future of dilettante leisure, I have friends who like the idea conceptually, yet can't feel motivated when they also feel the yawning terror of a void with nobody to tell them what to do all day. I'd love to see them get out for reasons HenryDavid summed up well:
Less-driven living can mean consuming a lot less, which = harm reduction, in many senses.

Why don't you try to work parttime? It is not worth it working fulltime, rushing towards FIRE, while having the feeling you don't live.
This!! I actually did negotiate parttime in my last position, which was socially toxic, and felt vaguely opposed to my values. The time off helped, but because the job was bad, it was still like being slowly poisoned. I gave that up to to take a new job that was socially beneficial and promoted my values (plus a raise) - the new job doesn't have the redundancy the old one did, though, so they can't cut my hours (we did discuss it on hiring; I know the answer is genuine). What I'm doing now is at least worthy of being done, though still exhausting, & I'm still in burnout.

Returning to part time within my field would require a much lower-ranked position with a paycut far steeper than the proportional 20-40%, as well as hits to both prestige (whatever) and autonomy (the real problem: to return to having my performance measured by conformity, and not quality, would probably lead me to walk out in short order, and thus singe bridges.)

The other issue is circular, as it relates again to burnout: I've had to laser-focus on success in my profession to the point of lacking the life experiences to know what else I would or could do if I did leave the field while still working. The handcuffs are more silver-plate than golden, and not so hard to replace, but I don't know where I would go. For now the working draft is to stay a year, then argue for time off to reassess. I recognize that I'm dancing over the line from sacrifice for future gain into self-harm, at least if all I'm looking at is my individual picture... but then, the SO's FI date is most of a decade off, we're still early-thirties with a long life expectancy (hopefully), I don't own a dwelling & COL in our area is rising sharply, family are likely to come knocking for help & EOC down the line/ we're among the best-off in our social circles with nobody to really fall back on, and while child-free-dom is planned it's not totally final, so a lot could happen to rock the boat. (...Much of which is probably just socially-acceptable justification for old recession-era unemployment trauma. Aargh.)