Author Topic: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?  (Read 9447 times)

Sammie

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Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« on: April 08, 2014, 04:49:02 PM »
Hi all. Pardon me if I ramble on...have a million thoughts in my head constantly.

I've been reading ER topics since college. My motivation is that I don't like to fake it and deal with people I dislike or cannot respect, and don't like to take directions from authority. Always thought that I should have my own business, but a dabble here and there led to nowhere. Figured it's easier to FI and live off of investments.

Spouse (S for short) and I are DI(is and will stay)NKs in our late 30s. I've never had any dreams or aspirations for any career. Perhaps a passion in singing but my voice is not meant to be. ;) I get bored easily and hopped from job to job, until, somehow, I managed to fall into a niche field and became sort of an expert. I make low six-figures, and S makes twice as much. With high savings rate, although we've not budgeted our expenses and have spent on high end items (furniture, travel, food), I crunched the numbers recently and we're FI. Our only debt is mortgage.

S is a people person who likes and wants to work and interact with people in the office. He also likes having a high income that would cover what we spend naturally without a budget - not that the spending is high. I would like to travel and live in multiple places months at a time as FIREd, but I don't want to do it without him.

Not sure what reasons I could have but I've always dreaded waking up in the mornings - read in some forum that it shows having no courage to face the day. My job is dreamy by all account: my manager is nice, super flexible on scheduling, work is not busy or stressful, and, of course, good benefits and pay. But I'm bored, hated dealing with reviews/HR paperwork nonsense, and passive aggressive mean people who don't do their jobs then affect me.

So I'm FI and can walk away. My friends think I would be crazy to quit. I feel guilty thinking about leaving as I know family and friends who have no luck looking for jobs, not to mention such a cushy one. I keep playing a game of picking a month to quit, but shot each one down as there are different deadlines and projects due, or stock shares vesting.

S wants to keep working, likes having a spacious house (whereas I think it's too much for 2), does that mean that he can pay for it all by himself? The property taxes alone is half of MMM's family budget. I've got my savings but don't like being thought of as mooching on him (especially by the in-laws and relatives, but mostly my own pride). He sees how unhappy I am and thinks that I should quit, but I feel guilty and foolish thinking about walking away with so much resource/power that I could earn to help out family, charity, or towards more retirement cushion. I'm a bit lost thinking about meaning and purpose...(Don't say volunteer, as I'm anxious dealing with people and a bit lazy and unmotivated to move about - I just find it easier to donate money.)

I'd read a post that stated one should retire towards something...am not sure if I quit what I would be walking towards? I have many hobbies but often times just feel so "meh" about it all. Anyway, perhaps I overthink (I'm sure of it)...reading too many forums add fuel to the fire. I'd been told by the doctor as being depressed but I disagree most of the time. I mean, WHAT do I have to complain about with this life? I AM enjoying and have enjoyed life, just with constant question marks in my head. Is it possible to feel guilty about being unhappy when one seem to have it all? Have started taking up jogging to improve mood and health. In the meantime, no action (regarding employment) is my action. Wondering if anyone relate, or what advice you have - on anything, or specifically when your spouse doesn't want to ER and not limiting budgets?

CarDude

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2014, 04:54:46 PM »
Lead by example. The more you appear to enjoy your free time, the more she will want to create hers.

Cassie

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 04:59:34 PM »
If you do not retire to something I think within about 6 months you will be bored and that can lead to depression which you may already have. I would work on tackling the depression and then start thinking about what you really want to do with all your free time.  At age 58 I wanted to retire very badly but after about 6 months was bored to death even with moving during that time period. I was really surprised that I was bored and chose to do p.t. consulting work.  Now I work about 10 hours/week which is just right. I think it would be better to figure out what you want to do before leaving your job & make sure your hubby is really fine with it so you don't end up adding marital troubles to the mix.

mozar

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2014, 05:14:26 PM »
Don't feel bad about what other people are going through.
If you are doing a safe withdrawal you could pay your portion of the bills so as not to be a mooch. Or can you work part time? I too feel meh about my hobbies but I think if I was FI and I retired I would figure it out. I would need at least 6 months to recuperate then as it dawned on me that I didn't have to work anymore I would figure out what's next.

Pex

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2014, 05:34:26 PM »
Until you resolve your guilt issues, I would say don't quit.  If you do, you will project that guilt onto your partner.  Every minor criticism or question will feel like an accusation to you.

Work on your self confidence.  Find something that you enjoy, paid or not, that you can point to as the life/purpose you are moving towards.  This way you can tell the various in-laws and friends that you are leaving work to pursue your love of painting, volunteer work, writing, teaching Yorkies to weave baskets, or whatever.

My wife has retired as of this year. I am still working.  She feels absolutely fine about it- zero guilt or embarrassment.  As far as she's concerned, she's earned it, and she's right.  A few people have commented that "she'll go back to work, she's too young to stop.  What will she do with her time?"  She just looks them dead in the eye and says "whatever I want."

When you can feel that much confidence in your decision, retire.   That is your goal and finish line.  You owe it to your partner.

crazyworld

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2014, 06:02:04 PM »
I have nothing to add, but my brain works the same as yours.  I don't feel ready to RE financially, but I kind of know even if I did, I would not actually quit. Part of the issue is that I have much freedom and autonomy in my work. Rather different from the cubicle farm, over worked, spread thin careers some others report. I'm interested in other viewpoints on this.

Sammie

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2014, 06:09:23 PM »
Thanks for the replies. The hard part has always been figuring out what to move toward. Also can't get rid of feeling the guilt. Question that I "earned" it, but, rather, lucked into opportunities that led to being in a good financial situation.

2527

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2014, 06:18:55 PM »
You could stop working now and it would be OK, and you would have nothing to feel guilty about.  But as I read your post, it sounds to me like there is something lacking in your mental approach to life around you.  I used to feel much like you describe.  I worked on my attitude and depression (It wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible, either.), and I have a much better outlook on what I experience, I handle life better, and I enjoy it more.  I would try these things before I walk away from what sounds like a good job.  Also, avoid walking away from something until you are ready to walk toward something. As it stands now, quitting your job will make your life different, but will it make it better?

ch12

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2014, 06:25:56 PM »
A few people have commented that "she'll go back to work, she's too young to stop.  What will she do with her time?"  She just looks them dead in the eye and says "whatever I want."

When you can feel that much confidence in your decision, retire.   That is your goal and finish line.  You owe it to your partner.

+1

If work makes you unhappy, then make a plan for happiness (shoot for contentment, not joy) that includes your husband continuing to work. You don't want to come to a full standstill, I think, and that's what's holding you back. But if I were FIRE, then I could think of a handful of things to do right off the bat. The classic question in lifestyle design is "What do you do on Saturdays?" It's a good starting point.

Sammie

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2014, 06:44:59 PM »
S thinks I'm unhappy, and sometimes I am, but usually I'm just, what's the word, "flat?" Not vibrant or excited. Not sure starting when I have less and less want for things and doing things. Trips/traveling seems appealing, but am not sure if it's as if I'm escaping. From what, I couldn't pinpoint. Monotony? I used to have a goal of FIRE, but once I am at FI am not sure on RE. I suppose it's hard to choose when too many choices are possible.

I don't want to sound like such a downer. Many people I'd met have commented that I must be in Sales since I was so upbeat and outgoing. If I fake it long enough then I'll become it?

Why do I have so much guilt? I feel guilty even posting this if I seem to be complaining when I know many are still working toward being FI (I'm taking it for granted? I'm ungrateful?).

Gray Matter

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2014, 06:50:36 PM »
You can let go of the guilt (as if it's that easy).  Everybody who earns money also has an element of luck--be it being in the right place at the right time, having a particular skill or talent, being capable of learning a particular skill, etc.  Hard work ALONE cannot account for success.  (Nor can luck, by the way.  You've obviously got something that the market values--no need to feel guilty about that.)  Another way of looking at it:  leaving your job could open up a job for someone who really needs it and who would appreciate it.

As for retiring while your husband works...whatever the two of you agree upon is fair, so if he's for it, go for it!

Your "meh" approach to life seems like a bigger challenge.  This will likely come across as judgmental and I don't mean it that way, but being so lethargic about life seems like a waste of a life.  Not that we need to be all energy/sunshine/roses all the time, and I do not subscribe to the "be all you can be" approach to life (the mere thought exhausts me), but having no passion/drive seems like a difficult way to live.  Is there nothing that excites you?  Nothing that you long to do or be?  No way in which you'd like to make the world a better place?  Nothing you'd like to be remembered for?  To try?  Explore?  What about pleasure--what do you enjoy?

It's likely your current job is taking a lot out of you, and if it wasn't in your way, you would find you care about some things that you currently don't have the energy to care about right now.  It would certainly be an interesting journey of discovery!  Please let us know what you decide.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2014, 07:08:29 PM »
You clearly don't need to work. Quit yesterday. Try things. You'll fail at a lot of them, but keep trying.

The prisoners in the cave didn't free themselves.

That's about as non-snarky as I can be tonight. DW and I both hate our jobs but have struggled to find ones which pay as much or more to keep the kids feed and lights on. The instant the last penny needed for FIRE hits our account, we are done working for others.

AJ

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2014, 07:28:56 PM »
I've always dreaded waking up in the mornings...

I have many hobbies but often times just feel so "meh" about it all...

I'd been told by the doctor as being depressed but I disagree most of the time.

Is it possible to feel guilty about being unhappy when one seem to have it all?

S thinks I'm unhappy, and sometimes I am, but usually I'm just, what's the word, "flat?" Not vibrant or excited.

Why do I have so much guilt?

Depression doesn't mean you're unhappy all of the time, or even most of the time. Depression often feels like "meh", like "flat" affect, just like you describe. You probably think getting help will make you feel more guilty (the whole 'what right do I have to be depressed' thing...) but you owe it to your partner to get treatment. Depression isn't based on logic, you can't convince it you "shouldn't" feel this way. Go back to the doctor, tell her what you've told us, and see what she thinks. You can't rationalize your way out of depression - try the treatment your doctor suggests.

TreeTired

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2014, 09:05:03 PM »
My wife had our 2 boys when she was 34 and 37. She  worked for 3 years after the first one, then took a break before going back for 5 more years and that was it. No regular job for 13 years.  Kids give you something to look forward to. They certainly give you plenty to do, but that's not the point.  My kids and their (potential future) kids motivate me to make this world a better place.  Otherwise not sure I would really give a shit. So now they are out of the house and grandchildren nowhere in sight; that's ok, but it is something to look forward to and a reason for me to try to stay alive for a long time.  It's in our DNA too, so no kids is not always an easy thing to rationalize even if everyone on an internet forum tells you they are fine with no children.  I do a lot of volunteer work with kids.   I look for organizations that need help, as opposed to what I want to do and beg an organization to let me help them.  My wife and I are trying to relax after 6 months of an incredibly difficult but rewarding volunteer effort.  Helping others really keeps my mind off of what new toy I could waste my money on. 

btmarquis

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2014, 10:31:01 AM »
Quote

Depression doesn't mean you're unhappy all of the time, or even most of the time. Depression often feels like "meh", like "flat" affect, just like you describe. You probably think getting help will make you feel more guilty (the whole 'what right do I have to be depressed' thing...) but you owe it to your partner to get treatment. Depression isn't based on logic, you can't convince it you "shouldn't" feel this way. Go back to the doctor, tell her what you've told us, and see what she thinks. You can't rationalize your way out of depression - try the treatment your doctor suggests.

+1

Frankies Girl

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2014, 10:49:22 AM »
I agree that it sounds like you might be depressed, so it wouldn't be out of line to see a counselor just to work through some stuff and see if that helps.

The other thing that jumps out at me is that you don't appear to have any hobbies or things you're passionate about. That may be a side effect of being depressed, but if you want to RE, then you should have other things in mind to do other than "sleep late/not work" or you'd go crazy. You did mention your voice (singing?) so I'd not rule out the idea of taking voice lessons or joining up with other like-minded people that can help you explore something you enjoy doing. Just because you're not going to be the next big pop star doesn't mean you can't have fun with it. Maybe also think about how you're letting go of something you like just because you think you can't be great at it - it's a self-fulfilling prophesy if you never even try.

So maybe spend some time thinking about things/hobbies you used to enjoy. Are you planning on stepping up to being a stay at home spouse?  Learning/perfecting cooking techniques, keeping things tidy, planting and maintaining a garden - all can be pretty rewarding since it's going to make your house and home life much better. It doesn't have to fill your days, but it would mean you'd be doing something useful for your family as a whole if you took on some of that, and might assuage the guilt you're feeling at the idea of just quitting.

And also realize that it doesn't matter at all what friends or family think about you quitting. Don't worry about what other people think - they aren't you, and they have no say in how you live your life. At the most, I'd make sure to have some serious talks with the spouse to discuss how they feel about it, and make plans accordingly.


ZiziPB

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2014, 11:40:01 AM »
A lot of feelings you described resonated with me, especially the "meh" feeling ;-)  I am technically FI and planning to FIRE in about 4 years and sometimes have a hard time with the concept of not working (unlike you, though, I really enjoy my job).  My main fear about retirement is what am I going to do with myself?  I usually struggle to find enough to do to fill my weekends, let alone a long retirement... 

My suggestion would be to continue working until you find something to "retire to".  Otherwise you run the risk of slipping into serious depression or some type of addiction if you find yourself with all that free time on your hands.  Working gives you structure which I get the impression you need in order to function.  Quit working only if and when you are comfortable that you have a good plan for what do with yourself.

Misstachian

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2014, 11:47:08 AM »
Others have talked about the emotional side quite well, but your post has me wondering if you are also worried about the logistics. I may be mis-reading, but it sounds like you don’t have enough in your savings to contribute “your portion” to the bills without changing your lifestyle quite a bit, which it sounds like your spouse is not ready to do. Then it could become a bit of a dance: will he pay more because he is working and wants this house/etc? If your marriage faltered or he ended up resentful, would you have enough to continue independently, or feel confident that you could easily return to a situation that would allow you to get back to enough? I understand your hesitancy about retiring when you may feel like you are mooching. How much would you need to have saved in order to not feel that way, and are you close? Might he be willing to adjust your lifestyle now?

Jogging seems good, and I agree with others about trying things out while looking for a passion, treating the diagnosed depression, etc. If you love singing, maybe take lessons, join a choir, or learn an instrument to accompany yourself?

Regarding guilt from “lucking in” to a good situation, would you feel guilty about FIRE if you won the lottery? (I am thinking not!)

Sammie

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2014, 02:29:41 PM »
I've been a crier all my life - not that I do it all the time, but cannot stop it if I'm frustrated or sad. But I just don't believe a 10 minute doctor's visit could result in accurate diagnosis. And such quick prescription of Prozac! Did not and do not want to take drugs unless it's the absolute last resort. Talked to a counselor once but I could not open up in person, it's different sharing anonymously I guess. More exercises was also discussed, which I am trying to do.

Years ago I did wonder if I'm wasting my life and it was not a pleasant period of time. But I've since come to peace and thought that life is just for me to "be." This question coming from others would offend me as it's a judgment, as they are putting their standards on me on how I should live my life. I see and appreciate the beauty and good things in life. But there's just that question: Is this it?

Really appreciate the concerns. I am much more content than I am not most of the time. Just have an unsettling feeling thinking about the big questions like purpose and meaning. With work I'm justifying that I'm contributing to the society somewhat, although I feel what I do is arbitrary sometimes.

S is 100% supportive no matter what I choose to do, and even pointed out that I shouldn't care about others' perception on whether or not I'm "mooching." I need to get over it myself, but it's hard coming from being one who lived by oneself since 18 until marriage.

The lottery analogy makes me think, and true, I won't feel guilty. I do have many hobbies and interests. For now I will not make any move as I fear the unknown, fear to make a huge change. Until I manage to change my thinking...

Anyway, wanted to see if there're others who feel similarly. Tried talking to some friends but they are busy worrying about their career or kids, no one has these questions! I probably am not busy enough. :)

deborah

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2014, 03:55:15 PM »
I had a problem with crying. I didn't think I was unhappy with work, but once I stopped, I realised I had been.

I have been listening to some mindfulness dvds from the library recently, and one thing that really resonated with me was the "two fingered smile". First thing in the morning (when you get up and go to the bathroom), look at yourself in the mirror and smile. If you cannot smile, put your two index fingers in either side of your mouth and lift your mouth into a smile. It is so dorky that I cannot help laughing at myself. The Buddhist abbot who said this (Ajahn Brahm) says he does this every day.

If you can take 6 months off work, do it and use it as a trial of retirement. I also feared that I wouldn't find retirement to my taste, and enrolled in a part time degree course during my trial period.


FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2014, 09:11:56 AM »
Sammie - How are you doing?
Some thoughts of mine:
"Busy-ness" can be a religion, and a drug, if nothing else at least a pacifier. Just look at America.
I like that you're the one asking these tough questions, and willing to wrestle with them, while others (i.e your friends, and all of ours) are too busy with their careers and their kids. (which most likely translates into them being "busy" with buying things. What a silly thing to be busy with)

Maybe you should start writing. I think people who ask these types of questions are the true thinkers of our day, trying to find meaning, philosophize etc. When you find your answers, others can probably glean from them. That can help shape your culture, our society, our history.

Sorry. That got all world-changy, but perhaps it's motivating. You should write.

Somebody else mentioned a "problem with crying." I don't think crying is a problem. Just let it happen. Maybe start writing or singing when you're crying and you'll probably come up with some good shit. From the heart.

If you do write already, or if you start to, people enjoy vulnerability in writing. They enjoy people being real. One example is how people identify and enjoy reading autobiographies, or MMM's blog. If you can't be vulnerable in a counseling/one-on-one type setting, maybe you can be with a piece of paper. So share! Start from the beginning, start with the questions, and don't have the answers yet.

Lastly, you're question of "is this it?" leads me to just have to say I want so badly for you to find that this is not "just it." There's more to life, more to see, and more purpose in being here.

Raay

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2014, 04:50:52 PM »
Quote
Is it possible to feel guilty about being unhappy when one seem to have it all?

Of course!

I gather you're not proud of your accomplishments, and that there's not enough variety in your life. That's maybe because you lack or perhaps even learned to evade big challenges (hence the mention of "mooching"?). Being smart about picking your battles can get you to FI all right, given a good enough income, but it is by itself not terribly fulfilling. So no wonder. Also, the more free time we have, the more philosophical we get about things. However, consider that people have been ruminating about sense of everything for thousands of years with not so many results to report (in the end they all died and were more or less forgotten).

How about trying to accomplish some praiseworthy "badass" things, not so much for the sake of praise, but for the sake of praiseworthiness. For example, I suppose you could tackle some more difficult tasks at your workplace, regardless of compensation.

In the long term we'll all be dead and in the grand scheme of things we're specks of dust. So don't fret too much about your emotions (or other people), gain some distance. There is slight consolation in fatalism, but it's boring in the long term. Recognize that it can be liberating to acknowledge that the world doesn't care about you and even so to test yourself. Put some extra strain onto yourself instead of worrying about being worried or listening to cranks. Realize that guilt is a human invention and usually something induced externally, a tool to control people. Do animals feel guilt? Nor do you need to (most probably).

That said, I don't think you don't need any kind of make-it-or-break-it life revolution. Rather, there's plenty of small tricks you can try. Improving your physical condition is a good start. Laughing at yourself as suggested is another. Take cold showers, turn off the heating, change some little habits. These things will make you feel "struggle" artificiall and by the same token feel more alive.

There's nothing bad about having a good cry from time to time either. It's nice and comforting, as long as you realize it's just one of those silly quirks of the biological entity you are. There's also nothing strange about feeling unmotivated and flat. I'd say it's a sign of a certain level of life wisdom. But in the end we just casually acknowledge these feelings and then do things despite of them. If you can't do it and also feel physically exhausted all the time, then may be you are in fact depressed and need some medication, but I would apply this term to the "can't get out of bed, have suicidal thoughts" state, not the usual "what's my purpose" blues.

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2014, 07:37:03 PM »
You so sound like me! I just turned 30, so a bit younger, but really, I totally get what you are saying. I have had these questions about meaning and purpose for the last few years and it's really eating me up. I am technically FI too (if I reallocated my assets a bit, but again, I am not willing to change the status quo), but I will keep working for another 3 years to get to be really FI (without that asset reallocation that would be necessary otherwise). I used to hate my job and I used to work 60-80 a week, so I quit, went traveling, thought that would provide some kind of cosmic insight (it didn't) and then even got my dream job which I am doing right now...but somehow it's not that fulfilling either. I didn't used to be lazy, I worked really hard to get to where I am, I grew up quite poor...but somehow 2 years after I started working, I have turned into a lazy person. Nothing seems to challenge me sufficiently and the corporate world is just so...bland...intellectually unstimulating. I can sit at my desk doing absolutely nothing until 4pm and then start working and I know that I can still finish everything. I have really looked for jobs that would give me that kind of fulfillment, but I just can't find them (I thought this one would, but nope). And another thing which maybe you can relate to: once I achieve something (like getting my dream job), I always look around and after a short while I go "meh, is that it?" I honestly don't think I am depressed and I don't think you are either. I have been around depressed people, I am very sure I am not depressed and from what you tell me about yourself, you also don't seem depressed to me. I liked what one of the other posters said...about all this questioning showing a certain kind of intellect and saying that writing might be a good profession for people like us. I have actually thought about this. And I really think that most people don't get us because most people just don't ask themselves such deep questions. Most people just, you know, "live life" and don't ask questions of meaning or purpose. Or they just get very "busy" or whatever so that they don't get into a situation where they ask such questions. Trust me, there is almost nobody who I can have a meaningful conversation with about the kinds of things I am thinking to myself all the time.

I used to really struggle with the idea of why I am even earning as much as I am earning...what's the point, I don't even spend any of it! Then I found the whole FI concept and for a while I was like "yes, THAT'S the point, let's get to FI and life will be great". But then I realized that getting to FI is really just a matter of sitting in my office for a little longer, not screwing up too badly at anything and voila...there I am. And then what? Like you, I do have interests, but my recent 6 month sabbatical has also shown me that I don't do too well with idleness. Right now at least I have to get up at a certain time and show up at an office while looking presentable. Yes, while I am there I am still goofing off most of the time, but at least I am doing it in a business suit as opposed to in my pajamas on the couch. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe if I actually get to FI and quit my finance job then naturally some sort of creativity will creep in. I am a very active person, not at all the couch potato kind, but still...part of me just can't picture what I would be doing.

Part of me also feels guilty about this. I have this very great life which I worked very hard for to get to. There are surely so many people who would love to be in my position. But for whatever reason I don't seem to get any fulfillment out of it anymore. I know that I am capable of pretty much anything and I also have the means to do whatever I want...but that doesn't help...the paradox of choice I guess. Part of me feels like I will be wasting my potential (whatever that really means) if I just opt out and FIRE...but then part of me thinks well what's the point of staying in it? It's not like I find it fulfilling. The first time I got promoted and got a big bonus etc. it was was kinda cool. By  the second time I already couldn't care less. I used to be a very competitive person, but now I am just kinda indifferent...I just don't see the point.

Anyways, this turned into a way longer post than I intended, really just wanted to say that I can totally relate but unfortunately don't have the answers. But for sure I don't think you are depressed.

mozar

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2014, 09:15:32 PM »
I used to cry a lot and had trouble opening up to people. It turned out not to be depression but anxiety. Having guilty thoughts is a form of anxiety. I read "Feeling Good" which is about how to apply cognitive behavioral methods. After reading it and applying the methods I feel a lot better. The book also talks about medication and exactly what it does.

I'm a nihilist so the idea of "this is it" is a relief to me. Experts say that people like us who ask big questions, feel everything intensely, need intellectual stimulation are geniuses. But I realized that I don't need to "fulfill my potential" or "save the world" or do anything except improve my sleeping skills. Improving my sleeping skills are my number one goal in life. I'm OK with not having a "purpose." What I really want is to be there for my family members who need it in 15-20 years once they start getting sick. I also want to spend to be able to spend time with my parents when they retire.

I do find the corporate world to be dull and bland. The longer I work the lazier I feel. When I am taking a break from work, the sunlight is brighter, the grass is greener, I feel better. For me FIRE is the answer. After I retire, I will go outside on a weekday morning, feel the sunlight on my face, and that will be enough.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 09:30:54 PM by mozar »

anisotropy

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2014, 09:01:08 AM »
Sammie,

Most of what you said apply to us as well; like you, we often think about quitting, even though our jobs are alright. And yes, we are probably both depressed but that's just life.

We are both in the oil industry and the recent drop in oil prices has made our lives somewhat harder. Aside from the moderate investment loss, in the last 4 months between the two of us we've witnessed over 20 co-workers being let go and it made us worry about our jobs.

It's really funny that we worry about our jobs even though we are "FI". The truth is, we wish we had more, a lot more, like 5x more. Which means we gotta keep working for at least 10 or 15 years to reach the goal. Maybe this is what you are feeling to, the desire for more.

Dr. Doom

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2014, 10:20:57 AM »
I relate to much of what you're going through, Sammie, as I've been FI for a while and am hanging on to my job anyway.  I justify it in all sorts of ways, but the simple truth is I could leave but I don't.  There's something stopping me.  I have set multiple dates and they pass.  (Currently I'm set for April of 2015 and I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to follow through this time.  Things have happened at work that have made leaving feel more urgent and I'm not interested in finding another job just to pass time and pad my stash.)

But back to you:  I'm interested in how much of how you feel (which seems to be lousy most of the time?) is your job, and how much is internal to you, or caused by other variables.

For example, have you taken a long vacation recently?  Does time away from work make you feel any differently, or do you still feel 'meh'?  Any change to the way you approach getting out of bed, or do you still dread it?  I don't love getting up on weekdays myself, but damn, take my job away and I'm suddenly pretty damned happy overall.

So, along those lines: Do you remember feeling crappy about getting up even before your full-time employment or is it directly related to this job?

Also: what else is going on in your life that might be related to the way you're feeling?  As other people have noticed, there seems to be some tension between you and your SO re: finances and goal differentiation.

When's the last time you felt excited about something?  I'm assuming that the idea of FIRE did, at some point, feel thrilling, which is why you've worked so diligently to achieve this goal.  Now that you're there, what's changed?

We all get cases of the blahs, but if you're working through something more serious than just a temporary period of feeling low, I'd suggest journaling, and self-examination.  Maybe even therapy.  Sounds like there's value in poking around yourself for a while to figure it out.  This journey could be expanded to include your SO, especially if you're feeling disconnected from him.

Some people would call this 'navel-gazing' but I think that phrase and its implicit negativity is sometimes misused by stoics -- there is a difference between being
a) self-absorbed and egotistical [bad!] and
b) exploring your actual wants and needs, getting to know yourself, and using that information to construct an environment and life that makes you happier  [good!]

>>specifically when your spouse doesn't want to ER and not limiting budgets?

My DW and I are a bit different here too.  She will be leaving her job around the same time as me but, unlike me, she will start exploring alternate options for employment immediately.  She wants a low-stress job that gives her some structure and purpose built into her life, maybe 20 hours a week.  And she also wants just a bit more money so that she feels freer to spend here and there without feeling like she has to micromanage her activity.

We've since accepted our alternate goals:  she can work and I won't.  For a while this difference of mindset caused friction between us, but we eventually worked it out, through an extended process of (surprise!) talking to one another.  And when I say extended, I mean 6+ months, weekly conversations, lots and lots of talking.  Not all of it was pleasant (we found it difficult to talk about these sorts of things in the beginning) but it WAS all meaningful and constructive.

This post is getting too long so I'll wrap it with a final comment on the from v. to question.  I'm also 50% of a DINK couple and don't have anything specific I'm retiring to other than hobbies and freedom.  But I'm genuinely excited about the idea of constructing a somewhat different life.  If my hobbies fail to provide sufficient satisfaction, I can always find another job - any risk in leaving is purely imagined.  I'm now completely comfortable with the idea that I'll "figure it out."

Chances are that you will, too.

madgeylou

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2014, 10:39:51 AM »
you've gotten a lot of good advice on this thread. i just wanted to add one thing, which i heard from elizabeth gilbert when i got to go see her speak a few weeks ago. she said that we often hear the message to "follow your passion" and if you are a person with a known passion burning inside you, that's great. but that the rest of us who maybe don't have one grand burning passion could do better with a slightly less grandiose goal to simply "follow your curiosity."

what are you curious about? what would you like to learn more about? sometimes, for me, just taking steps to fulfill my curiosity sparks a whole chain reaction of exciting new friendships between new synapses and cascades of happiness chemicals and more. learning can be its own reward, not just a means to an end.

and one more thing, too, i guess -- about singing ... singing from who you actually are is much more important than "having a voice." some of the very best singers, in fact, are technically not that great. i'm thinking about people like neil young, nina simone, janis joplin, kurt cobain. none of them sing like angels. they just sing like themselves, like they mean it, and that is 100% of why they are awesome.

tl;dr -- if you want to sing, you should sing! it's the best feeling in the whole world right? why should you deny yourself that experience?

iris lily

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2014, 11:00:15 AM »
you've gotten a lot of good advice on this thread. i just wanted to add one thing, which i heard from elizabeth gilbert when i got to go see her speak a few weeks ago. she said that we often hear the message to "follow your passion" and if you are a person with a known passion burning inside you, that's great. but that the rest of us who maybe don't have one grand burning passion could do better with a slightly less grandiose goal to simply "follow your curiosity."


One of the things I am most grateful for is an actual passion for my work. I loved it for three decades. Now, I am bored by it, so I'm getting out. I'm a one trick pony, there is only 1 thing that interested me enough to keep at it professionally.

DH, on the other hand, never seem to have a passion. When we got married 25 years ago he said "I can do anything" and I was skeptical of that. We moved with my job, not his, he is the trailing spouse. But 25 years later I see that he is right--he really CAN do a lot of things well. Because he's not a specialist he has not earned high salaries, but he's always been busy and has had a job. He's got an advanced degree and good life skills from growing up on a farm, so he is well rounded.

But back to the passion: I sort of felt sorry for DH because he didn't have The Passion for his work, although he is cheerfully and happily employed in his own business for 12 years now. But I know that he will make a good transition to retirement because his day is already full of gardening and fixing things. He'll continue to do that--we own 4 Victorian houses, constant fixing is a reality. And if he runs out of work there is always a neighborhood project where someone wants him to build or repair something. This week he is renovating picnic tables from one area of our neighborhood and moving them to the community garden and he is being paid for that little job, but when he retires, he won't charge the 'nabe for things like that.

I'm pretty sure that I have enough passion to explore several things to fill most of my days during April - OCtober. I'm a little worried about the winter months when no gardening is available. We shall see what happens.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 11:05:31 AM by iris lily »

tardis

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2014, 11:14:31 AM »
I just want to say that so much of this conversation resonates with me.  I think it may be a feeling that is very hard to understand if you do not have a tendency toward it yourself.  I care about my life, I enjoy learning and experiencing things, have tons of hobbies, love exercise and so on, but work is always meh, and there's that overarching question of "why?" behind all of it.  I had a prof that stated that asking "why" is never a legitimate question in a conversation because you can just keep asking it over and over and never reach an end or purpose which seems fitting here.  I also think that this may be the place that religion fills for some people, but that has never felt right for me.

I also feel like I'm kind of like what your past selves may have been like.  I really don't think I'm depressed but there's lots of meh especially at work, no matter what the work is, and I've been doing a lot of soul searching at this point in life as I try to make career and life decisions that will affect my future self significantly.  It's some combination of the two quotes below:

Quote
Years ago I did wonder if I'm wasting my life and it was not a pleasant period of time. But I've since come to peace and thought that life is just for me to "be." This question coming from others would offend me as it's a judgment, as they are putting their standards on me on how I should live my life. I see and appreciate the beauty and good things in life. But there's just that question: Is this it?

I'm past most of the "am I wasting my life" part, though it lingers at times and have mostly reached the logical/selfish/relieving answer of "for me", but it's a bit wiggly.

Quote
I used to really struggle with the idea of why I am even earning as much as I am earning...what's the point, I don't even spend any of it! Then I found the whole FI concept and for a while I was like "yes, THAT'S the point, let's get to FI and life will be great". But then I realized that getting to FI is really just a matter of sitting in my office for a little longer, not screwing up too badly at anything and voila...there I am. And then what?

I've been thinking of this idea a lot too in regards to careen, and feeling like even if I pick a path that leads to good pay etc. etc., does it matter if I actively dislike the 10 year lead up to FI?  Then I have the rest of my life to enjoy after that, right?  But what if I choose a lower income path that lets me enjoy what I do for the 20 years I have to work, and then I don't even have to stop?  And I end up being meh about that too?  I can't really know that now, and then I have to re-establish in a different field, at which point the years of unenjoyment are up to 15 or 20 until FI.... and so on.  Now that I'm typing this out, perhaps this is more anxiety than anything.  Anyway, I'll stop hijacking this thread now.  :)

civil

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2014, 12:12:23 PM »
But back to you:  I'm interested in how much of how you feel (which seems to be lousy most of the time?) is your job, and how much is internal to you, or caused by other variables.

For example, have you taken a long vacation recently?  Does time away from work make you feel any differently, or do you still feel 'meh'?  Any change to the way you approach getting out of bed, or do you still dread it?  I don't love getting up on weekdays myself, but damn, take my job away and I'm suddenly pretty damned happy overall.

So, along those lines: Do you remember feeling crappy about getting up even before your full-time employment or is it directly related to this job?


+1

I don't know why so many people here say you have to retire "to" something. If your job brings you down, and you can afford to leave, GO. I have no idea what I'll do when I leave this job, but I know I need to go ASAP. I vaguely remember that I used to have hobbies and interests, but the rat race has squashed them. One could reasonably suspect I am depressed.

The thing is, my job isn't terrible. At least, it doesn't seem so, on the surface. I got out from under years of crappy management to land in my current office, where the work is challenging, I have increasing responsibility, and the skill set is somewhat transferable for when SO's military job moves. But my job is very draining. While it's intellectually challenging, I have zero interest in my work. The years of crappy management have taught me to watch my back and keep a lawyer on retainer. I can't get enough time away from certain co-workers.

Vacations are heaven. A semi-annual week off isn't enough time to develop hobbies or anything, but it's enough to remind me that, when free of the job, I "live" instead of "persist."

So I don't think it matters that I don't have anything to quit "for" or retire "to". Quit/retire "from" is enough. If you need to go - then go. Figure the rest out in due time.

Cassie

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2014, 12:22:17 PM »
I think the reason that many of us say you need something to "retire to" is because many of us have retired "from" & found out that in about 6 months we didn't have enough hobbies/interests to fill our time.  This is not true for everyone but for many people. Luckily for me some interesting p.t. professional opportunities fell into my lap when needed.

Exflyboy

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Re: Anyone FI but not motivated to change the status quo?
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2014, 02:20:27 PM »
Ok maybe a slightly controversial perspective... Disclaimer I am FI and "retired" and after 7 months of RE did some contract work.. have taken a few weeks off (doing about 2 to 3 paid hours per week) and the next full time project for work is coming up probably in the next few weeks. so lets say retired with occasional work..

First off, are you really FI?.. You you and your spouse make $300k+ which is fantastic.. But you only hint at what your spend rate is and you don't tell us how big your stash is. So are you really FI, i.e you can BOTH quit work and never work again?.. Or only FI if your spouse keeps working?.. This of course is not being FI in the true sense of the word.

If your not truly FI then one approach is to say, "Ok how much do we need to sustain the lifestyle we want at SWR of 4%?"... Then figure out how short you are then choose to view your job as part of the solution. Maybe you need to work say 2 years to reach true FI, so plan to quit in 2 years. Maybe you can even become more enthusiastic about your job now that it has a purpose so to speak.

Remember, $200k+ jobs are very few and far between, if something happens (firm closes, spouse made redundant etc) you could very well be in a very difficult position if you and your Spouse are not working.. My boss was on $250k as an engineering manager, if he lost his job there is no way he is currently qualified to be a senior engineer at say $120k.

So if you are really at FI then what either of you do is not particularly relevant. Give up your 6 figure job and look for something where you feel as though you make a difference.. Go work for free at a charity shop.. or don't work at all.

You may have other problems such as depression etc and I'm not qualified to guide you there, but I don't want to miminise any issues you may have either.

Good luck

Frank