Author Topic: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????  (Read 3811 times)

freeatlast

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Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« on: June 06, 2019, 10:32:59 AM »
I fully FIREd in fits and starts. I left well paying corporate America at 48 and pursued a two year degree in interior design. I then designed kitchen and baths for about a year after that for much lower pay. The work was kinda fun but the hours were all consuming for low pay and I decided to fully FIRE.  That was about four months ago.

I have taken up painting and really like it! I guess I'm ok at it because a friend asked me to paint her pet.  But now I am all stressed out that it won't be good enough, LOL! I even stress about painting!!!!

So, I guess my question to the FIRE crowd - how do you get rid of that type A, have to succeed mentality that got us all to FIRE in the first place? Do we ever really shed that, or is it innate? I exercise regularly for stress and I am truly grateful for all that I have had the privilege to attain. So I work out and practice gratitude. I'm happy - But still type A!!!!!

Thanks all!

ysette9

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2019, 10:56:28 AM »
Posting to follow. I wonder about this as well. The type of person who can achieve FIRE seems to be someone predisposed to working hard, being efficient, delaying gratification. These are the qualities I can see could make it hard to finally mentally ďbe thereĒ in retirement and accept the just rewards of years of hard work.

Maybe it just gets transferred to other activities around the house, side projects, hobbies, volunteering, or second careers. Maybe something clicks inside and we find a way to take the mind down a couple of gears and really live in the moment and enjoy what life has to offer.

My dear is that I am so busy go-go-going that life is passing me by without me enjoying it. I donít want to do that so I hope I can find a way to slow down and live in the moment.

Malkynn

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2019, 11:28:02 AM »
Patterns are hard to break and they take time.

Don't assume that because you are a way today that you will be that way tomorrow, even if you have always been that way.

If this pattern of thinking is something you want to change, then put that Type A personality to good use and research how to change it.

Psychstache

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2019, 01:29:00 PM »
Go spend a month or two in an Ashram.

spartana

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2019, 02:36:41 PM »
I just morphed it into different directions. I'm still a hard driven energizer bunny  but now my drive to succeed or "do" isn't job or employment focused. Lots to accomplish once RE if you want. However if you want to slow down I have no ideas :-).
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 02:38:27 PM by spartana »

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2019, 03:26:01 PM »
I got to FIRE because I was too lazy to buy things. Retirement suits me.

Mr. Green

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2019, 03:47:31 PM »
I don't think you do break those patterns, to a degree. I'm still driven when I choose to be, post-FIRE. In fact, I've become much more selective about projects I undertake because I dislike the stress that comes along with being so driven. When I was working full-time the stress was more constant so you Linda get used to it, but I've reached a point where my body really starts to react negatively to stress like that for sustained periods now.

Kay-Ell

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2019, 04:10:58 PM »
Donít underestimate the time it takes to decompress. Youíre 4 months in, and at 4 months I still felt the constant need to be achieving something. Crossing something off my list. And when I couldnít fulfill that need I had that constant shadow of feeling like I was forgetting something important. Iím getting close to two years in now and that feeling is gone.

I find now a bit of the opposite problem. Iím really hesitant to commit to anything because I know that if I do, itíll draw me in. Iím choosing to trust that will subside over time too. So to answer your question from my personal experience... it just takes time.

infromsea

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2019, 09:48:12 AM »
Lots of good advice here already but I'm surprised no one has mentioned meditation yet.

I'm type A myself, could give you many examples of how that did NOT serve me well BUT it did allow me to retire from the military on my own terms (at a large cost to family/friends/health etc.) and allow me to control my activities rather than be at the whim of society/debt/lifestyle etc.

I counsel other veterans weekly, many/most of them type A and we talk about the nuts and bolts of transition AND the emotional side, letting go of the ego, working to be at peace doing very little/earning much less income etc. (and I'm in no ways done with this work, as other said, it takes TIME).

Back to meditation. By sitting and taking some time (the calm app is good, Sam Harris MED app is great) it allows me to work through emotional issues, to clarify thinking, to come to terms with concepts/time/death etc.

Meditation and mindfulness is something that you can't "TYPE A" your way through. The harder you attempt to "win" at it, the further away you'll get.

I suggest Walden (I read a few paragraphs a day, no more, it's meaty in thoughts, I've been "working it" for over three months so not trying to virtue signal here...) and other books on mindfulness, stoicism, the TAO, etc. By focusing daily, maybe at a set time, change occurs over periods of months (while also focusing on diet/exercise/relationships etc.).

Lastly, it may simply take age. I've found that it's been easier to "slow down" and be less type A as I've aged BUT, at the same time, I've been working on those things above so maybe it's both factors... who knows.

Continuing to think on your post, I'll add a few specific ideas that might help...
1. Control caffeine. I've found that my usual daily "second cup" makes me more jittery/anxious, less patient. How much Joe do you drink a day? Are you "burning it off" vai the frenetic/type A activity/behavior?
2. Focus on others. Volunteering/interacting with others/elderly/those less fortunate will remind us how blessed we are and help us relax and stop striving so hard.
3. Focus on blessings and realize how much you already have. Ask yourself those "deep" questions like "why am I striving? What is the goal? Is there a finish line (hint.. it's death)? What am I really trying to achieve? What I am trying to avoid by staying busy/strive so hard?". These kind of focused questions have helped me developed answers that I often don't like BUT, allow me to "give myself permission" to chill out from time to time.

Best of luck!
« Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 10:20:14 AM by infromsea »

SotI

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2019, 12:10:13 PM »
I am not FIREd but I had recently been thinking about my personality change over time, so I can comment on that.
I used to be type A until way into my 40s. I have, however, since mellowed into Type B.
In my case it was the realization that I have achieved everything that was important for me (note that I didn't have FIRE goals at the time). Others have mentioned Ashram or meditation: That's pretty much it, at the risk of sounding too esoteric or "new age-y".

I now work to reach FI earlier than regular retirement, but I also practice meditation (the Buddhist kind). So, over time, I have let go of my type A habits. And it has definitely improved my personal satisfaction and also my ease to let go of material things.

So, yes, you can change personality type. It requires developing new mental patterns and habit building. The challenge may be to figure out the right trigger for you - if you  are comfortable with such a change.

happy

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2019, 06:51:24 AM »
I would say, know your why (why do you want to work less/do less/be less driven- whatever it is for you), set some limits on what you are tying to achieve, and then practice.

Personally I downshifted and worked part-time for 24 years.  I did this for work-life balances reasons, to be with my family more and because although my ambition gene drew me into achievement I was also more stressed than I should be or liked to be. It was hard in the beginning and I frequently had to hit myself around the head  with a 4x2 to come to my senses : I would get drawn into the game and commit to more than I could do in my part-time job. I got better with time and practice but from time to time the ambition gene as I call it still bites.

I've been retired for around 7 months now and find  I oscillate between doing not too much and decompressing and then needing to get stuff done. I'm ok with this...I think I'll always need to get stuff done, but now its the things that I want to do, not what my job/boss says I should do.

FIREby35

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2019, 08:42:44 AM »
Lots of good advice here already but I'm surprised no one has mentioned meditation yet.

I'm type A myself, could give you many examples of how that did NOT serve me well BUT it did allow me to retire from the military on my own terms (at a large cost to family/friends/health etc.) and allow me to control my activities rather than be at the whim of society/debt/lifestyle etc.

I counsel other veterans weekly, many/most of them type A and we talk about the nuts and bolts of transition AND the emotional side, letting go of the ego, working to be at peace doing very little/earning much less income etc. (and I'm in no ways done with this work, as other said, it takes TIME).

Back to meditation. By sitting and taking some time (the calm app is good, Sam Harris MED app is great) it allows me to work through emotional issues, to clarify thinking, to come to terms with concepts/time/death etc.

Meditation and mindfulness is something that you can't "TYPE A" your way through. The harder you attempt to "win" at it, the further away you'll get.

I suggest Walden (I read a few paragraphs a day, no more, it's meaty in thoughts, I've been "working it" for over three months so not trying to virtue signal here...) and other books on mindfulness, stoicism, the TAO, etc. By focusing daily, maybe at a set time, change occurs over periods of months (while also focusing on diet/exercise/relationships etc.).

Lastly, it may simply take age. I've found that it's been easier to "slow down" and be less type A as I've aged BUT, at the same time, I've been working on those things above so maybe it's both factors... who knows.

Continuing to think on your post, I'll add a few specific ideas that might help...
1. Control caffeine. I've found that my usual daily "second cup" makes me more jittery/anxious, less patient. How much Joe do you drink a day? Are you "burning it off" vai the frenetic/type A activity/behavior?
2. Focus on others. Volunteering/interacting with others/elderly/those less fortunate will remind us how blessed we are and help us relax and stop striving so hard.
3. Focus on blessings and realize how much you already have. Ask yourself those "deep" questions like "why am I striving? What is the goal? Is there a finish line (hint.. it's death)? What am I really trying to achieve? What I am trying to avoid by staying busy/strive so hard?". These kind of focused questions have helped me developed answers that I often don't like BUT, allow me to "give myself permission" to chill out from time to time.

Best of luck!

What a thoughtful post.

I was thinking about some other books you might read. For "Novel's that make you think" try The Razor's Edge, By William Somerset; The Island by Aldous Huxley; The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera; Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castenda.

The Ashram advice up-thread sounds cool. I've never been, but I do practice Satyananda Yoga - A traditional Yoga Ashram/school that published books in English. For OP, Googling "Satyananda Yoga" and looking at the books/publications could help with some time tested ideas on Yoga/Meditation.

I think we can transcend any quality in our being. But, after we transcend it, we have to determine what we will replace it with and learn to live in the new quality daily.  We might choose to keep some positive part of "Type A" in the end. It is useful to be organized and efficient in our daily tasks. After we make this mental leap, we can be Type A and calm at the same time.


ender

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2019, 09:05:22 AM »
Retiring early doesn't mean losing your personality.

It means you can choose to apply it however you want. Some people like leisure or travel. You like painting? Find your local habitat for humanity and offer to volunteer. Etc.


Sustainable Happiness

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2019, 10:38:37 AM »
As a fan of embodied cognition as a theory. When you clue into your body at random moments, try physically slowing down your movements. Literally, walk slower, do dishes at half speed, stand up slower, drink tea slower, drink coffee slower. Fast moving mind tend to produce fast moving bodies, fast moving bodies tend to produce fast moving minds...Realize fast in this case doesn't equate to intelligence, just speed.

You'll forget to do this all the time. Now try that every day, every time you think of it and I think your mind just slows down in order to keep up (or down?). I think that's why yoga/meditation/whateva is so hot right meow, it is a moment of forced slowness.

In a similar vein, if you don't like meditation as prescribed, just try to do one thing at a time. That includes just sitting in a chair outside looking at stuff. Looking at stuff can be an activity in itself.

Sustainable Happiness

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2019, 11:08:14 AM »
Another thing to consider, do you view Productivity as inherently good (as much of MMM espouses)? If you hold the deep belief that production and "moving forward" are the best way to live, then it's a tough sell to expect your production focused behaviour patterns to go away? And if you do hold that deep belief, why do you want them to?

There is also something related to this that makes Production (in terms of making and saving money) for the sake of just "the number" potentially dangerous, which is why I think there has been a shift on post-FIRE bloggers to discussing how they cope with losing that motivator. It's kinda like a shift to dealing with nihilistic thoughts. Interesting to note, that a lot of the conversation comes up with similar abstract ways to deal with it, but everyone has a different tactical way of dealing with it (i.e. building shit, meditating, exercising more, community building, fill in the blanks).

Sorry to go all wacky philosophical yo.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2019, 11:10:16 AM by Sustainable Happiness »

Linea_Norway

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2019, 11:30:43 AM »
I have taken up painting and really like it! I guess I'm ok at it because a friend asked me to paint her pet.  But now I am all stressed out that it won't be good enough, LOL! I even stress about painting!!!!

If it is your hobby to paint, then why do you start doing it for others. This gives pressure for achievement. You are just FIREd and need to stress down. Try to do things for yourself, not to serve others.

infromsea

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2019, 06:52:23 AM »
I should have added this in my previous post, the book "Wherever you go, there you are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn is on my stack of books I read a little from each day, it speaks so loudly to the ideas we are discussing in this post, it may add a lot of value to your journey.

Regards!

Tim

Serendip

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2019, 10:07:37 AM »
I should have added this in my previous post, the book "Wherever you go, there you are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn is on my stack of books I read a little from each day, it speaks so loudly to the ideas we are discussing in this post, it may add a lot of value to your journey.

Regards!

Tim

I also love this book--it's definitely one to read in small chunks, wisdom to reflect upon :)

Sun Hat

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2019, 07:34:46 AM »
I FIRE'd earlier than planned because I burnt out at work and got quite ill because I couldn't downshift from the frenetic pace I had been living. I don't want to scare you, but it took me about two years to adjust to a life of living at my own pace without others measuring my performance outcome.

The posters above have all provided good advice: meditation, deliberately choosing not to turn your hobbies into service (even for a little while, as you get used to learning the value of just being). I've also found a lot of benefit in reading Jon Kabat-Zin's books, both Everywhere You Go, There You Are, and Full Catastrophe Living. The latter has an 8 week meditation program that I highly recommend to help you downshift and learn to just be in the moment.

All in all, give it time, and try to live in the moment rather than plan for how you can make the future better. A few months or year of this, and you'll shed your Type A hyperdrive. Eventually, you'll be ready to resume acts of service at your own pace and in a form that suits you rather than a form that will garner you the most (money, praise, esteem - whatever drove your Type A).

It'll come if you stop chasing it.

LibrarianFuzz

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2019, 09:43:28 PM »
I hope that you don't think this is morbid, but I have been reading: "The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life" by Katy Butler. (No, I'm not dying, I just read everything.)

To sum it up: she says that there is the morning, afternoon, and evening of life.

In the afternoon of life (middle aged and beyond) you must spend some time every day just practicing BEING, not DOING. Sit with a cup of coffee on your porch for a while. Meditate. Watch the grass grow. Whatever.

This is pretty hard for type-A personalities, no? We're always running around. We're always accomplishing things, and stressing out about things. We want to do things and do things WELL. Perfectly, even! We have a hard time relaxing, doing nothing, and accepting anything as less than perfect. We measure ourselves by the things we do and our accomplishments. If we can, we want to be the best at everything!

But if you don't practice spending some time just BEING and relaxing and letting things go every day, then you will have a miserable "evening" of life. Because as you approach the end of your life, there is no longer anything to DO. You just have to BE.

So I would suggest trying to spend some time every day just relaxing and trying to let these sort of obsessions and desire for perfectionism go.

Easier said than done, I know.

LoanShark

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2019, 02:49:07 PM »
Good stuff in this thread. Thanks, all.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2019, 10:24:10 AM »
Ironically I came to the Post-Fire category to see what people were doing Post-Fire and saw this thread which totally fits me. 48 recently between jobs and sort of decided to FIRE.

I say sort of because I wasn't sure if I could, I was pretty sure, even posted a case study but more so I am also Type-A and wasn't sure what I'd do with myself. I am still not sure and still debating with myself on if I am truly FIRE'd.

So I haven't meditated which might work. I am planning to travel in the Fall for a few months but what I decide to do to try and break the Type-A was NOTHING. I haven't worked in about 6 weeks and outside of two short weekend trips I've spent time with friends going out here and there, enjoying myself and doing a whole lot of nothing. Sitting in my yard for morning coffee, walking in the afternoon, reading, doing some research for the trip etc.

Starting next week I plan to start clearing my home of things I don't need and start selling some things of value. I thought I'd be really bored and there are times during the day I miss the idea of speaking to colleagues but I don't miss the politics and BS.

With all that said, I know it's hard, trust me, try doing NOTHING for a week or two and you might surprise yourself.

Dances With Fire

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2019, 07:06:20 AM »
Posting to follow. I wonder about this as well. The type of person who can achieve FIRE seems to be someone predisposed to working hard, being efficient, delaying gratification. These are the qualities I can see could make it hard to finally mentally ďbe thereĒ in retirement and accept the just rewards of years of hard work.

Maybe it just gets transferred to other activities around the house, side projects, hobbies, volunteering, or second careers. Maybe something clicks inside and we find a way to take the mind down a couple of gears and really live in the moment and enjoy what life has to offer.

My dear is that I am so busy go-go-going that life is passing me by without me enjoying it. I donít want to do that so I hope I can find a way to slow down and live in the moment.

+1

I believe it was Odette Pollar (Simplify your Life) who suggests we slow down, take time to enjoy the moment, meditate, and focus what brings us joy.

It took me sometime to "step aside" in the corporate world. I now try to focus that energy on family, friends, hobbies that keep me engaged, and nature.

Can we truly change our type "A"? I don't really think so, however we can channel that energy to those activities that gives us a reason to get up in the morning and still challenges us to "make the day count." Not wanting to "waste the day" is who we are. It is what has carried me this far and probably will continue to some degree in the future.

Dances With Fire

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2019, 06:43:28 AM »
Alot of good info here but I will echo that at least for me it was allowing myself time to decompress and being now into my fifth year of being Fire'd from running my own business it took me nearly 3 years to do so. I looked at it as being type A is kinda a habit and to change it replace it with things that you will find enjoyable that fulfill that drive that are healthier. For myself it was mostly the racing of the mind constantly questioning and doubting things so I started walking every morning listening to Enigma or just repeating a daily affirmation. Being outside and exercise has been a great help for me. First couple years I also read a book a week it seemed. I probably read most books twice loosing focus and having to read many pages twice. I also agree its probably to early to paint for other people. I loved landscaping and people started to ask me to do there stuff for cash so I obliged and after 6 weeks the calls and questions just irritated the crap out of me so I backed off on jobs and set strong limits and if need cash will go work for a friend who can deal with the customers. Another thing that I found really works is sit in a room in a regular straight back chair , feet firm on the ground with the lights dim or out and close your eyes and speak something you know word for word and anytime another though comes in your mind go back to the beginning and start over. I used a Psalm from the Bible and in a couple of weeks its amazing how you can slow down your mind and focus more on one thing. In fact I need to get back to doing that.

So its a work in progress and just taking the time to look for things to occupy your mind and time will help in itself. But allow this to take time! Good Luck

Linea_Norway

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2019, 11:58:27 AM »
Alot of good info here but I will echo that at least for me it was allowing myself time to decompress and being now into my fifth year of being Fire'd from running my own business it took me nearly 3 years to do so. I looked at it as being type A is kinda a habit and to change it replace it with things that you will find enjoyable that fulfill that drive that are healthier. For myself it was mostly the racing of the mind constantly questioning and doubting things so I started walking every morning listening to Enigma or just repeating a daily affirmation. Being outside and exercise has been a great help for me. First couple years I also read a book a week it seemed. I probably read most books twice loosing focus and having to read many pages twice. I also agree its probably to early to paint for other people. I loved landscaping and people started to ask me to do there stuff for cash so I obliged and after 6 weeks the calls and questions just irritated the crap out of me so I backed off on jobs and set strong limits and if need cash will go work for a friend who can deal with the customers. Another thing that I found really works is sit in a room in a regular straight back chair , feet firm on the ground with the lights dim or out and close your eyes and speak something you know word for word and anytime another though comes in your mind go back to the beginning and start over. I used a Psalm from the Bible and in a couple of weeks its amazing how you can slow down your mind and focus more on one thing. In fact I need to get back to doing that.

So its a work in progress and just taking the time to look for things to occupy your mind and time will help in itself. But allow this to take time! Good Luck

Is that last habit your self invented type of meditation? I now use spoken meditations and they typically let you focus on your breath or imagine that you are a mountain or a lake. But otherwise the process is similar, by letting distracted thought pass away and return to the object in focus.

FreeBear

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Re: Once type A, always Type A - even in FIRE?????
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2019, 10:15:21 PM »
Alot of good info here but I will echo that at least for me it was allowing myself time to decompress and being now into my fifth year of being Fire'd from running my own business it took me nearly 3 years to do so. I looked at it as being type A is kinda a habit and to change it replace it with things that you will find enjoyable that fulfill that drive that are healthier. For myself it was mostly the racing of the mind constantly questioning and doubting things so I started walking every morning listening to Enigma or just repeating a daily affirmation. Being outside and exercise has been a great help for me. First couple years I also read a book a week it seemed. I probably read most books twice loosing focus and having to read many pages twice. I also agree its probably to early to paint for other people. I loved landscaping and people started to ask me to do there stuff for cash so I obliged and after 6 weeks the calls and questions just irritated the crap out of me so I backed off on jobs and set strong limits and if need cash will go work for a friend who can deal with the customers. Another thing that I found really works is sit in a room in a regular straight back chair , feet firm on the ground with the lights dim or out and close your eyes and speak something you know word for word and anytime another though comes in your mind go back to the beginning and start over. I used a Psalm from the Bible and in a couple of weeks its amazing how you can slow down your mind and focus more on one thing. In fact I need to get back to doing that.

So its a work in progress and just taking the time to look for things to occupy your mind and time will help in itself. But allow this to take time! Good Luck

Another type A w*rkaholic here.  It took me about 3 years to ease up.  Had w*rk nightmares for years after retiring.  Getting away from the rat race has helped me grow much healthier physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I didn't anticipate how much it has help spiritually.  I have the time to read, thing, and feel.  Finally!

I have a specific method of relaxation except for doing stuff I like with people I enjoy.  I also have a daily devotional time with the Bible or another spiritual read or video.  The adjustment has been slow, but the results wonderful.  I've been FIRE'd almost 5 years and it has been getting better each year!