It's ironic that we all seem to be (or at least feel) so psychologically unprepared for an event and condition for which we have been endlessly preparing. I guess no amount of preparation (or rumination, or discourse) will completely mitigate the shock of experiencing a shift in our personal perception of financial independence and early retirement from abstraction to (impending) concrete reality.
We are unprepared because most of us have been preparing financially, but not preparing ourselves psychologically. I don't think that's something that cannot be done. We just don't acknowledge it as the problem/challenge it is. It also is not easily fit into a spreadsheet or calculated like investments are. It doesn't get covered in dozens of blog posts like the 4% Rule does.
It's like dealing with death. We can pretend it doesn't exist and shield ourselves from it as much as possible until one day it affects us in a way we can't avoid or we can put effort into connecting with our mortality so that it's not something alien to us when it does happen and we are less likely to lose our shit.
Personally I spend a fair bit of time thinking about my feelings towards money, working and the major change that's coming up. We are all affected by fear. It's a huge driver in our society and anytime you step outside the norm it's worse because you either face it on your own or in a smaller group like this cohort. I try and isolate what is a real risk or a real concern vs. what's just fear filling in any gaps in my plan. It's something that takes constant effort.
When you read the various 4% Rule Is Going To Fail threads the one thing that is very apparent to me is the myopic perspective a lot of people have around FIRE and equating success just to money. That discounts all the other important ways to fail or more importantly to succeed at FIRE. Being physically and mentally healthy would be top of that list to me and that includes a plan to deal with the transition between working full-time and FIRE.
We should all tally up how many hours we've spent on financial planning for FIRE and then how many hours we've spent on getting ourselves ready for the physiological process of making this major change in our lives.