Author Topic: How to slow down time  (Read 1555 times)

Imma

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How to slow down time
« on: February 12, 2019, 11:26:37 AM »
This was a blog post that really hit home for me, especially the part where MMM writes about the brain clumping together entire phases of life in one thought. My entire life seems to be like that and can be summarized in basically four phases: young child living in place A, happy memories (0-6) older child living in place B, struggling (6-12) highschool, struggling (12-18) adulthood, working while getting a degree parttime, struggling (18-now, 28)

I kind of feel like that so far, my life has mostly consisted of gritting my teeth and trying to survive another day. This is one reason why I want to FIRE, but realistically that's not going to happen until I'm about 40. I have struggled for a long time with the lack of joy in my life. Of course it's not black and white, I have had fun too, but it seems that most of my life has been work-eat-study-sleep-repeat so for. What doesn't help is that I was diagnosed with a chronic illness as a teen which in itself doesn't limit me, but the lack of energy does. There's not much energy left for fun. I'm looking forward to FIRE but it seems so far away.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Budgie

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2019, 09:54:40 PM »
Your experience sounds familiar to me from my work, which involves a lot of people who are worn down by their jobs or other factors and feel separated from enjoyment.

The good news is that it doesn't matter 'why' your brain is holding onto memories in clumps that seem like this grind:that grind: the next grind--no matter how that got started for you, you can change what your brain hangs onto and plays back for you.

If you look into gratitude journaling, mindfulness practice, or working with a therapist who uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, or even plain old behavioral activation therapy, you might find your perspective changes and you enjoy yourself more and are more aware of the enjoyments you are having every day.

The person who works every day in difficult conditions and remembers nothing positive about the day, and the person who works every day in difficult conditions but has collected a day's worth of enjoyments to look forward to and look back on can be living the exact same day, but experiencing it differently. You can turn from person A into person B using the above mentioned strategies.

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2019, 04:57:02 AM »
I agree, Budgie.  I had a serious health crisis and near-death experience several years ago and I remember that when I got out of the hospital and went back to work my whole perspective had changed.  I realized that although my work can be stressful and difficult, life is finite and I was just really grateful for every moment off being alive - even if that moment was spent at the office.  The things I missed while gravely ill in the hospital were not just the things you'd expect like my children, husband and friends but also just normal days at work and dealing with sick kids.

Imma

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2019, 01:04:10 PM »
I'm sorry that happened to you, Hula Hoop, I hope you're doing a lot better now. I agree about the whole perspective of life changing after a very serious health issue. I mentioned my chronic illness -  due to that illness I had a stroke aged 23. It changed a lot in my life, but apparantly, when I describe the phases of my life, I don't seem to define my life as pre/post illness or pre/post stroke, even though it's probably one of the most important and life-changing things that happened to me.

I had a difficult time recovering from it - although the physical recovery happened relatively fast, I lost my job during that period, depleted my savings due to medical costs and not having an income and also missed two semesters at college. All in all it took me a few years to get my life back on track and maybe it is one of the reasons why I feel like the current phase of my life was such a struggle. Thankfully I was already a mustachian back then and had some FU money to fall back on when I fell ill.

I did gratitute journalling for a long time and I do think I get a lot of joy from the small things in life. It just doesn't seem enough. Most of my entries were about having nice coffee and food from scratch and things along the lines of  "saw a stork / grey heron / great egret / etc on my way to work". I don't think I've ever written down anything that was remotely related to work, although I switched jobs a few times over the years and now actually have a job with "purpose" at a good company with nice coworkers and where I'm respected as a professional. Still it doesn't seem to bring me any kind of joy at all. 

I actually had a very happy day today. My partner and I were both off work on a weekday which rarely happens and as it was very sunny day we decided to get on our bikes and ride into the countryside. This is a day we'll remember for a long time and exactly the kind of thing I need to be doing to feel much happier. But we rarely get the chance to do these kind of things while we're still working.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2019, 10:03:45 AM »
The post tells us a lot about MMM's perspective.  Maybe it's easier to have a variety of experiences in ER, but you can use the same perspective to have more experiences in your current life.  You just have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone more often, meet new people, vary your routine, etc.  It's just as easy, in regular retirement at least, to have a repetitive life if you aren't careful...

Imma

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2019, 10:14:41 AM »
The post tells us a lot about MMM's perspective.  Maybe it's easier to have a variety of experiences in ER, but you can use the same perspective to have more experiences in your current life.  You just have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone more often, meet new people, vary your routine, etc.  It's just as easy, in regular retirement at least, to have a repetitive life if you aren't careful...

I wish I could see how I could do that while still working. I try to cram in something exciting every now and then, like I did this week when we went on a bike ride, but really that just means that I've shifted my workload from day A to day B - I spent most of my Sunday catching up on things that were planned for Thursday. I can do that every now and then but not too often. There's just so much to do in the 3 hours between coming home and bedtime and most of it is no fun.

I do meet up with friends one night every week and I try to spend a half-day doing something with my partner during the weekend. He works a schedule that's completely opposite to mine but we're both off on weekends so I feel I can't just spend all that precious time together chained to my desk like the rest of the week.

Linea_Norway

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2019, 06:03:25 AM »
The post tells us a lot about MMM's perspective.  Maybe it's easier to have a variety of experiences in ER, but you can use the same perspective to have more experiences in your current life.  You just have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone more often, meet new people, vary your routine, etc.  It's just as easy, in regular retirement at least, to have a repetitive life if you aren't careful...

I wish I could see how I could do that while still working. I try to cram in something exciting every now and then, like I did this week when we went on a bike ride, but really that just means that I've shifted my workload from day A to day B - I spent most of my Sunday catching up on things that were planned for Thursday. I can do that every now and then but not too often. There's just so much to do in the 3 hours between coming home and bedtime and most of it is no fun.

I do meet up with friends one night every week and I try to spend a half-day doing something with my partner during the weekend. He works a schedule that's completely opposite to mine but we're both off on weekends so I feel I can't just spend all that precious time together chained to my desk like the rest of the week.

It is indeed a bit difficult to get something done on a weekday evening. But maybe with some planning in advance, you could have dinner somewhere else? Either go there directly out of work and meet with a friend or your BF (on a beach or so). Or plan to do something after dinner at home. Again, if you plan in advance and make sure you can eat a quick meal, there is time to do something else. When DH and I were in a more active period in our lives, we often trained with a sports club or in a swimming pool after training, or just CC skiing after dinner. And when I trained for a marathon, I ran later in the evening. Nowadays my life feels like you describe it, working is in the way of getting something done. But I used to work during all years and I have been able to do it earlier. So it is a matter of prioritizing and good planning.

Currently where I live, the circumstances outside just suck. We have very ice snow. But when it becomes spring, I intend to do more outside. And even now, I can prepare to do some grilling outside someday soon. Maybe even tonight. That should be easy to organize, even with the large pile of snow on the terrace. Just preparing the grill, buying some sausages, making potato salad. It would be different than our normal routine, a bit positive and therefore more memorable. I will just do that.
Edit: rather tomorrow, as tonight it will be misty.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 06:26:45 AM by Linda_Norway »

Imma

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2019, 04:48:39 AM »
Yes, maybe you're right and I should make sure to do some simple, fun actvities every now and then. It's not impossible, I'm just so busy with obligations. Fun feels like an optional thing and while I barely get the necessities done. I always feel immensely guilty for doing fun things while there's work to do. Due to working different schedules my s/o and I don't really see each other during the week, but I could do things on my own or with friends.

This semester for the first time my grades have started to suffer: I just received 2 A-  (7) grades today. An 8/A average grade is a hard requirement for work. My gut reaction is to punish myself with even more hours behind my desk, but maybe I should go with the counterintuative option of giving myself another evening off every week. Maybe I can focus on work/studying better if I have more fun outside of work.


Linea_Norway

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2019, 04:56:06 AM »
Yes, maybe you're right and I should make sure to do some simple, fun actvities every now and then. It's not impossible, I'm just so busy with obligations. Fun feels like an optional thing and while I barely get the necessities done. I always feel immensely guilty for doing fun things while there's work to do. Due to working different schedules my s/o and I don't really see each other during the week, but I could do things on my own or with friends.

Very recognizable. But we should prioritize some fun activities as well. I often like to plan for the boring activities (such as Painting or cleaning) on weekday evenings, so that I can use the weekend for some fun stuff. That works partly, but often I use one of the weekend days for boring stuff as well, especially when it rains. We must look out for that we do not only do the obligation tasks.

This semester for the first time my grades have started to suffer: I just received 2 A-  (7) grades today. An 8/A average grade is a hard requirement for work. My gut reaction is to punish myself with even more hours behind my desk, but maybe I should go with the counterintuitive option of giving myself another evening off every week. Maybe I can focus on work/studying better if I have more fun outside of work.

It is know from music students that practising for an exam through the night does not give them as good a performance as practising less and having a good night of sleep. Your sleep will help you to remember stuff. In case of a music performance, it will help you perform. Whether this is relevant for your case, I don't know. But at least, try to get enough sleep. And I also think that staring for more hours at the same stuff might not be that helpful. I rather study more often for shorter times, but I don't know whether you have that option.

Malkynn

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2019, 06:19:23 AM »
OP, you sound exhausted.

Working takes energy, doing work you don't enjoy takes orders of magnitude more energy, studying takes energy, studying while tired takes energy you don't even have, basic adulting takes energy, having fun takes energy, and dealing with a chronic illness takes an ENORMOUS amount of energy.

Something has to give before you will have the capacity to really enjoy life. You need a surplus of psychological and/or physical energy in order to be mentally healthy and happy.
Living in survival mode/ "reserve mode' just isn't fun, and there's really no way to make it fun either. Being physically and emotionally perpetually overdrawn is simply toxic.

A balanced life involves a combination of activities that simultaneously drain and generate energy. A long hard day of challenging work partially drains physical and focus energy, but fuels the satisfaction and excitement energies. However, if you enter into a long and hard work day with too little physical and focus energy, you can't recharge anything and operate only on "reserve mode".

In "reserve mode" you never recharge any energy. This makes all "down time" reserved for sitting the fuck down and doing nothing, which replenishes the baseline energy reserves just enough to maintain "reserve mode", but never lets you reenergize enough to get back up to full capacity. It's why hobbies and socializing are draining and feel like work.

It's like always using your phone in "power save" mode where you never actually get to use your phone's best features. Sure, you can make a call, but what's a smart phone without the capacity to stream cat videos??

As a result, you are living a hollow shell of a life never getting to experience the world in its full colour. You are living perpetually in grey-scale. You can't even know what would make you happy because you've never experienced having enough capacity to ever be overall happy.

We have this bizarre martyr culture where when we start failing due to lack of internal and external resources, we instinctively push ourselves harder, as if a lack of resources is a personal failing and not just a reality of our personal limitations.

It's like someone who runs a marathon being disappointed with their time because they weren't rested enough, so they immediately start running it again right then and there under the premise that if they just try harder that they will go faster, even though they're infinitely more exhausted than when they woke up.

It's illogical. Yet, it's what most people instinctively do.

You look at your lower grades and think of how you should "punish" yourself with harsher study practices. Meanwhile, knowing that you are perfectly capable of performing better, you could look at those grades as a warning sign that you are using up too much of your available resources, and that pushing yourself harder is actually the least efficient option available.

If a shortage of resources is the problem, then aiming to drain even more of those precious resources without cutting back somewhere else is probably the worst move.

You're not wrong, you really aren't living and you can feel it. You are surviving. Survival mode is not living, it's the psychological equivalent of eating only meal replacement shakes. Sure, you will survive, but you aren't eating and enjoying food the way others do. It's not the same experience.

Personally, I consider living in survival mode to be a state of emergency. I think knuckling-down is the worst possible response in that state unless it's absolutely necessary for your literal survival.

Just like financial debt is a hair-on-fire situation, energy debt is an even bigger HAIR-ON-FUCKING-FIRE situation.

Practicing gratitude is one thing, but being complicit in your own self torture is another. If you have any other options available to you to start living a better life, then being grateful for a suboptimal life is nonsense.

Aiming to maintain this state for 12 long years until you can FIRE at 40 sounds insane and self destructive to me. I recommend looking at your life right now and seeing where you can make more space for yourself.

Realistically evaluate your own capacity and try to operate within it. Could you reduce your work load while studying?
Could you quit working altogether and finish school full time?

I'm not actually asking you these questions to answer, I'm posing them as the types of questions you can ask yourself to push yourself out of the parameters that you have likely set for yourself as givens in this current situation. Meanwhile almost nothing is ever actually a given.

Life is a series of trade offs and if your current trades aren't producing happiness, they might be bad deals for YOU.

Just because you *can* do everything, doesn't mean you should and doesn't mean it's the smart or right thing to do. A radical change in plans might be worth considering.

I guarantee you, life will never put external pressure on you to be happy and healthy, so the only pressure to defend your own well being will only ever come from yourself. So if you aren't putting pressure on yourself to protect your own health and happiness, no one will. The only way you can ever truly fail yourself is to not care enough about your own well being.

The most powerful question anyone has ever asked me is : "whose job do you think it is to make sure that your life is a good one?


EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2019, 06:35:46 AM »
Nicely said Malkynn!

Another way I like to put it is that people are really bad at figuring out what will make them happy.  Lots of folks just default to things they don't have or a linear progression (more money, more time, better physical health) which becomes a moving goalpost, or maybe it's a 'nothing goal' that is just vaguely that other people are enjoying a better life than you.  You might be surprised just how rich and satisfactory your life already is if you slow down and find peace.  Sometimes you have to go outside yourself for new ideas. 

@Imma, have you ever tried mindfulness?  https://www.10percenthappier.com/mindfulness-meditation-the-basics or maybe you can borrow the book (10% Happier) from the library?  Just an idea.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 06:40:30 AM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

Linea_Norway

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2019, 06:40:56 AM »
Nicely said Malkynn!

Another way I like to put it is that people are really bad at figuring out what will make them happy.  Lots of folks just default to things they don't have or a linear progression (more money, more time, better physical health) which becomes a moving goalpost, or maybe it's a 'nothing goal' that is just vaguely that other people are enjoying a better life than you. 

Agree.

When I mentioned "fun" above, I just meant something that you enjoy to do. Not necessarily having fun with others and being social. More like having some "me"-time which you can spend any way you like. For me personally I prefer to spend that hiking or skiing in a forest, which I consider fun. But sometimes it is just relaxing at home.

Malkynn

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2019, 07:11:45 AM »
Nicely said Malkynn!

Another way I like to put it is that people are really bad at figuring out what will make them happy.  Lots of folks just default to things they don't have or a linear progression (more money, more time, better physical health) which becomes a moving goalpost, or maybe it's a 'nothing goal' that is just vaguely that other people are enjoying a better life than you. 

Agree.

When I mentioned "fun" above, I just meant something that you enjoy to do. Not necessarily having fun with others and being social. More like having some "me"-time which you can spend any way you like. For me personally I prefer to spend that hiking or skiing in a forest, which I consider fun. But sometimes it is just relaxing at home.

When people are depleted, almost nothing is fun, and certainly nothing recharges them enough to be able to fully enjoy anything.

Relaxing at home feels like a reasonable facsimile of "fun" when you are exhausted because of the absence of obligation for a period of time, but it's really just a basic recharge of the batteries.

The absence of suffering is not happiness. Happiness, joy, having fun, doing activities, self care, they all take energy.

Everyone has a different capacity and different resources. For someone who has some remaining energy on top of work, adding self care activities is rejuvenating because it uses a small amount of a certain type of energy while intensely recharging other types.

It's the same way that exercise is energizing even though it takes energy to do.

Someone on empty doesn't have the energy to invest in energizing activities, so adding them just feels like more work. Everything feels like work. Existing feels like work, sleeping feels like work, just feeling exhausted feels like work.

Once someone hits that level of empty, there's literally nothing that can be added to their life to add energy, everything is a net energy drain. Even therapy tends to require way too much energy.

The only answer in that state is to take something away reduce the demands on the grid and let it recover from the perpetual brown-out that it's been stuck in.

People can be so deep in energy debt that offering them a free all inclusive beach vacation would be a burden to them and they would only be able to accept if they were allowed an addition week off after returning in order to recover from the demands on traveling.

I only know what OP has shared, but their grim view of their life up to this point as being a vague collection of hard work spells out a pretty clear picture of someone who's energy stores have not been full, possibly ever in their life.

Imma

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2019, 08:26:13 AM »
Grim is maybe a bit strong, but it's true it was a struggle. I grew up in a pretty dysfunctional household with parents who dealt with all kinds of issues and had little time to care for their kids. Looking back, as the oldest child, I took over a lot of my parents' responsabilities from a young age. Me getting a chronic illness as a teen worked out pretty well for them as I didn't go to school much and could take care of the house and my siblings.

I started having to earn my own money at a pretty young age and I dropped out of fulltime university pretty quickly as I couldn't make it work financially. My partner comes from a similar background. Before we met we were basically on our own. I've come a long way since then. I changed jobs every few years, to a job with better pay and benefits. I actually work in a pretty nice environment now. My coworkers are nice, I am well respected, definitely the best job so far. I'm not making $$$ but I'm doing ok.
A few years back we bought a small cheap house (much cheaper than renting because the rental market is insane in here) so we're always going to have a stable roof over our heads, which was a big relief that we're still so happy about. I didn't know how much stress renting caused me until we bought the house. I've always been a saver and currently have about 1 year of barebones expenses stashed. Enough to not be in trouble if my health suddenly declines, not enough to make any radical changes right now.

I started my own business a while back which I enjoy a lot, but it doesn't bring in enough money to live off yet. In the future this is supposed to replace my job. I need the degree for both my job and my own business. It's not my dream career but due to my health a more physical job is just not possible. It's a lot more fun to work for myself as I only work with nice customers.

We already have a cleaner every other week and we outsource some of the home maintenance. I am considering learning to drive and buying a car as it would save me about an hour a day in travel time, but the license + car would pretty much deplete my savings (a license is easily 2000 in here). I'm going to talk to my employer if they can make it easier by providing a company car when I get my permanent contract this summer. I just wish I could outsource the things I need my brain for and do my own DIY instead. :)

JanetJackson

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2019, 08:55:39 AM »
Nicely said Malkynn!

Another way I like to put it is that people are really bad at figuring out what will make them happy.  Lots of folks just default to things they don't have or a linear progression (more money, more time, better physical health) which becomes a moving goalpost, or maybe it's a 'nothing goal' that is just vaguely that other people are enjoying a better life than you. 

Agree.

When I mentioned "fun" above, I just meant something that you enjoy to do. Not necessarily having fun with others and being social. More like having some "me"-time which you can spend any way you like. For me personally I prefer to spend that hiking or skiing in a forest, which I consider fun. But sometimes it is just relaxing at home.

When people are depleted, almost nothing is fun, and certainly nothing recharges them enough to be able to fully enjoy anything.

Relaxing at home feels like a reasonable facsimile of "fun" when you are exhausted because of the absence of obligation for a period of time, but it's really just a basic recharge of the batteries.

The absence of suffering is not happiness. Happiness, joy, having fun, doing activities, self care, they all take energy.

Everyone has a different capacity and different resources. For someone who has some remaining energy on top of work, adding self care activities is rejuvenating because it uses a small amount of a certain type of energy while intensely recharging other types.

It's the same way that exercise is energizing even though it takes energy to do.

Someone on empty doesn't have the energy to invest in energizing activities, so adding them just feels like more work. Everything feels like work. Existing feels like work, sleeping feels like work, just feeling exhausted feels like work.

Once someone hits that level of empty, there's literally nothing that can be added to their life to add energy, everything is a net energy drain. Even therapy tends to require way too much energy.

The only answer in that state is to take something away reduce the demands on the grid and let it recover from the perpetual brown-out that it's been stuck in.


People can be so deep in energy debt that offering them a free all inclusive beach vacation would be a burden to them and they would only be able to accept if they were allowed an addition week off after returning in order to recover from the demands on traveling.

I only know what OP has shared, but their grim view of their life up to this point as being a vague collection of hard work spells out a pretty clear picture of someone who's energy stores have not been full, possibly ever in their life.

I don't want to sidetrack the discussion, but that is probably the most relevant thing I have ever read on this forum.  At least to my life.  I am working toward a level of downshift that will allow some recovery time and then eventually allow for some recharge and hopefully a better outlook on life.  I don't know if I have had 'fun' since I was a young child.

It's hard work to slow down, and I am in the thick of it right now.

But the prospect of the unfulfilling life I was chugging along in prior being my entire existence is more terrifying than the work.
I do think you have to unlearn overworking, and that lived experience matters.  But I also think that taking control and forming your life, however slowly is necessary, into something good is worthwhile. 

For me, I have not been able to lower my income or workload per say in order to start to recover, BUT I am learning to give less of a crap about some of the things I do that don't really matter to me.  I am accepting a level of "coast" at some of my jobs that I simply wouldn't have allowed myself previously, I am learning about "good enough", and I am saying "no" when the workload isn't as valuable as a few hours of down time (for me that's $20/hr, I won't do anything for less value than that). 
I am not putting pressure on myself to "learn to have fun" right now. 
Literally when I have down time right now I take a nap, I sit and read, I walk my dog, or I simply just veg out.  Sometimes I quite literally sit down on the floor and just stare for 20 minutes, lol.
I struggle with enormous guilt about being "lazy" in this way, but... over time... I am starting to feel small bites of recovery happening.
If there's not much you can CHANGE right now, is there something you can dial your energy back on?
Are there studies you can accept a lower grade point for and still feel ok?  Can you pay someone to do outlines for you for written work so that you only have to fill it in and exert less brainpower?  Is there a day per week you can "coast" at your Day Job?
I like your idea about checking with your employer about a car before you purchase one.  Def do that.

I certainly don't have the answers, and my solutions/attempts may not be a good fit for you at all... but just know that I wish the best for you and am holding space for you.  Thanks for sharing with us.

Malkynn

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2019, 09:12:27 AM »
Nicely said Malkynn!

Another way I like to put it is that people are really bad at figuring out what will make them happy.  Lots of folks just default to things they don't have or a linear progression (more money, more time, better physical health) which becomes a moving goalpost, or maybe it's a 'nothing goal' that is just vaguely that other people are enjoying a better life than you. 

Agree.

When I mentioned "fun" above, I just meant something that you enjoy to do. Not necessarily having fun with others and being social. More like having some "me"-time which you can spend any way you like. For me personally I prefer to spend that hiking or skiing in a forest, which I consider fun. But sometimes it is just relaxing at home.

When people are depleted, almost nothing is fun, and certainly nothing recharges them enough to be able to fully enjoy anything.

Relaxing at home feels like a reasonable facsimile of "fun" when you are exhausted because of the absence of obligation for a period of time, but it's really just a basic recharge of the batteries.

The absence of suffering is not happiness. Happiness, joy, having fun, doing activities, self care, they all take energy.

Everyone has a different capacity and different resources. For someone who has some remaining energy on top of work, adding self care activities is rejuvenating because it uses a small amount of a certain type of energy while intensely recharging other types.

It's the same way that exercise is energizing even though it takes energy to do.

Someone on empty doesn't have the energy to invest in energizing activities, so adding them just feels like more work. Everything feels like work. Existing feels like work, sleeping feels like work, just feeling exhausted feels like work.

Once someone hits that level of empty, there's literally nothing that can be added to their life to add energy, everything is a net energy drain. Even therapy tends to require way too much energy.

The only answer in that state is to take something away reduce the demands on the grid and let it recover from the perpetual brown-out that it's been stuck in.


People can be so deep in energy debt that offering them a free all inclusive beach vacation would be a burden to them and they would only be able to accept if they were allowed an addition week off after returning in order to recover from the demands on traveling.

I only know what OP has shared, but their grim view of their life up to this point as being a vague collection of hard work spells out a pretty clear picture of someone who's energy stores have not been full, possibly ever in their life.

I don't want to sidetrack the discussion, but that is probably the most relevant thing I have ever read on this forum.  At least to my life.  I am working toward a level of downshift that will allow some recovery time and then eventually allow for some recharge and hopefully a better outlook on life.  I don't know if I have had 'fun' since I was a young child.

It's hard work to slow down, and I am in the thick of it right now.

But the prospect of the unfulfilling life I was chugging along in prior being my entire existence is more terrifying than the work.
I do think you have to unlearn overworking, and that lived experience matters.  But I also think that taking control and forming your life, however slowly is necessary, into something good is worthwhile. 

For me, I have not been able to lower my income or workload per say in order to start to recover, BUT I am learning to give less of a crap about some of the things I do that don't really matter to me.  I am accepting a level of "coast" at some of my jobs that I simply wouldn't have allowed myself previously, I am learning about "good enough", and I am saying "no" when the workload isn't as valuable as a few hours of down time (for me that's $20/hr, I won't do anything for less value than that). 
I am not putting pressure on myself to "learn to have fun" right now. 
Literally when I have down time right now I take a nap, I sit and read, I walk my dog, or I simply just veg out.  Sometimes I quite literally sit down on the floor and just stare for 20 minutes, lol.
I struggle with enormous guilt about being "lazy" in this way, but... over time... I am starting to feel small bites of recovery happening.
If there's not much you can CHANGE right now, is there something you can dial your energy back on?
Are there studies you can accept a lower grade point for and still feel ok?  Can you pay someone to do outlines for you for written work so that you only have to fill it in and exert less brainpower?  Is there a day per week you can "coast" at your Day Job?
I like your idea about checking with your employer about a car before you purchase one.  Def do that.

I certainly don't have the answers, and my solutions/attempts may not be a good fit for you at all... but just know that I wish the best for you and am holding space for you.  Thanks for sharing with us.

Good points.

It's also worth noting that the longer you spend in survival mode, the more of an instinct it is to continue on in survival mode and the harder it is to see where you can and should cut back.

Everything you do today trains yourself to do that same thing tomorrow, and the more today's you spend doing things a certain way, the harder it is to change your patterns.

People who knuckle down for too long tend to find themselves perpetually in situations where they need to knuckle down to succeed, it's because that's what they are accustom to and it's their automatic go-to when challenges arise.

If your answer to challenges had always been "just work harder" then your response will always be to just work harder, which can be a disaster because life will always throw situations at you that benefit from working harder.

Meanwhile, when you remove the option of working harder, that's when you are forced to stop, re evaluate, and find creative solutions that produce better results with less draining work.

As long as "just work harder" regardless of what it does to you is an option, you will always instinctively choose that option because it's ironically comfortable.

Imma

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2019, 09:25:56 AM »
I know from the Low income group journal you're in a similar situation @JanetJackson . We're making progress, very slowly.

I think I also need to talk to my partner about the division of work at home. He does a lot, but maybe he should be doing a bit more. I already feel guilty about asking him to do a few of my chores, but the truth is that it's a bit easier for him than for me.

Imma

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2019, 02:39:56 PM »
Thanks again everyone for the kind messages. I have been slow in responding but I've been thinking a lot. Some things happened over the past few weeks:
- I had the flu and I was really sick and I'm taking quite a lot of time to recover. I still have hardly any appetite
- I'm super tired but sometimes I can't sleep from stress
- I had a performance review at work and they're still happy with my work but they are concerned about me coming in and looking like shit every morning

And basically, you guys are right. I need to change some major things, I can't exist like this until I'm FIRE'd.

There are a lot of things in my life that cannot be changed in the short term, only in the long term, but for now we have decided on the very unmustachian thing of outsourcing some DIY. We bought a fixer upper 4 years ago and we're very happy with that decision and so far we've done a lot on a very low budget, but it takes a LOT of time and energy we don't have. Some stuff is half finished or a big nuisance and needs to be completed asap. I'm not talking about major things but small things that we just don't have the time for - like replacing that rotted old fence that keeps falling down every time there's a bit of wind so we have to prop it up again. Having a door repaired and painted. Those kind of things. Even on our low-ish income we can afford a bit of help here and there. Other people might call their dads for this kind of support, but that's not something that's available to us, we shouldn't feel ashamed of hiring someone.

I am also not planning to take any classes over the summer and I've also taken 3 weeks off from work in July. I'm planning on doing a lot of social actvities over the summer as I've let my social life go over the last couple of years / especially last year. I also need to connect with some new people.

I did take on a new customer for my side hustle and I wasn't sure whether that was a smart decision because I'm tired already, but it was. I work on location at my customer's and spent 7 hours in their workplace and I didn't feel tired afterwards. I really enjoy this type of work and the customers they have. They have a casual work environment where all kinds of people are welcomed, they cook vegan food together for lunch and listen to nice music. I'm already looking forward to next month :)

Linea_Norway

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2019, 12:57:21 AM »
It sounds like you should rather reduce your hours at your current company and work more on your side-hustle. If that gives your more positive energy, that should be the work to bet on.

Good idea to get rid of the small, daily irritations. Could you do without a fence and just have it removed? Or are there deer/dogs that would enter your garden?

Imma

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2019, 08:05:48 AM »
The neighbours have a feral dangerous dog that they keep the backyard so no fence isn't an option. I'll be very happy to have a sturdy fence again by summer when we spend more time outside. The dog kicked over part of the fence once... I love dogs, but I'm pretty scared of this one. We live in a very traditional Dutch neighbourhood with houses in rows and we are already unpopular because we don't keep up with all the strict social rules. My neighbours would kill me if I wanted no fence, they already hate me for having the wrong curtains :)

There are several reasons why I'll likely stay in my office job for at least a few more year, but eventually I'm planning to be completely self employed. I can't work less hours than I do now, but I just heard we'll likely move in a few months which would reduce my travel time by 30 minutes a day, so that's a small win. And of course I'll have plenty of time when I have my degree.

Hirondelle

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Re: How to slow down time
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2019, 10:39:00 AM »
Great update Imma. I hadn't chimed in before but I'm glad to hear that you have made some steps to take rest and make life more bearable. Is there an option to take a few days off from work earlier or will that mean the work will just pile up until later?