Author Topic: Feeling Lost  (Read 9769 times)

Linea_Norway

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #50 on: February 29, 2020, 07:23:37 AM »
Most people will need a period of decompression.  I struggled after leaving my job because My husband hadnít left his yet and we were living in a location that was less than ideal for us.  Once we made some decisions together and moved to a new place our lives have become immeasurably better.  Sometimes itís not just about the job.  Itís about throwing the cloak off of everything that doesnít work for you.  It may have worked at one time, but no longer does.  This discernment can take some time.  And many of these things may have been more indirectly related to your jobó the friendships that were based at work or were based on a work based self image, all the creative pursuits you couldnít do when you were working, the issues you cared about but maybe felt the need to censor yourself on in your work culture, and old patterns that didnít serve your health or self interest. 

Today is the two year anniversary of me quitting my job and marks the eight month anniversary of us living in a new place.  These eight months have been so fulfilling and life enhancing; we are so much happier, socially connected, involved, and are working on getting healthier.  It was an uphill battle two years ago.  You will get there.


Good to hear that it worked out so well for you in your new location.

DH and I just FIREd in January this year. At home, it has been the most depressing winter ever. Often slippery, but no snow. Luckily we have a cabin in a place with snow, so we have spent several weeks there already.
We also have a home on sale, and don't know for sure where we are going to move to after. I feel very lost, because we don't know when the house shall be sold. It is so difficult to make plans when you don't know the date you can do it and where you will be at a given time.
Also, we were supposed to make lots of trips/hikes this year. But already, we have gotten back from the cabin several times because of (self chosen) obligations. And now we are back for the public viewing of the house, which is tomorrow. And now it started snowing... I feel mostly lost because I don't have the feeling I can do "my" things. Althoug I have been doing some of my hobbies, going to a symposium and a course on a subject I live, reading lots of books, cooking new dishes, baking sourdough bread. And CC skiing whenever we are at the cabin.
But I would like to start a vegetable garden, and there is no point to that when the house is for sale.

Miss Prim

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #51 on: March 09, 2020, 07:10:50 AM »
I kind of felt the same way you do when I first retired.  I left a very interesting job in microbiology where I felt very much "in the know" of what was happening in the infectious disease world.  Right now, I feel like going back for 'flu season to do some testing as I know that was our busiest time. 

But, you gradually will be replacing your routine with other things.  My husband retired at the same time and we spend 3 months in Florida in a senior park where there are a lot of activities.  I started quilting again and we also do some volunteer work in Florida.  I also volunteered with United Way doing tax returns for lower income people my first winter in Florida. 

Not sure where you are located, but there are quite a few women down here in our park whose husbands' haven't retired yet, and they spend a few months down here and the husbands' come down for a week or 2 during that time.  The wives are busy with all the activities and have friends down here to do stuff with.

Just some of what I have found to bridge the gap between working and retirement. YMMV

                                                       Miss Prim

P.S.  Just went back and reread your post and found out you are in your 30's.  My suggestions probably won't help you specifically, but the volunteer part may interest you.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2020, 07:13:36 AM by Miss Prim »

Bird In Hand

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #52 on: March 09, 2020, 10:07:07 AM »
It turns out that doing nothing (or not knowing what to do, lacking a purpose, etc.) really sucks.  The 17th century mathematician/philosopher Blaise Pascal was essentially FIRE'd (living off the residual income from his father's estate).  As his mind turned from mathematics to philosophy, he came up with some interesting observations about human nature as it related to purpose:

Quote from: Blaise Pascal's Pensťes, circa 1660
(#131) Nothing is so insufferable to man as to be completely at rest, without passions, without business, without diversion, without study. He then feels his nothingness, his forlornness, his insufficiency, his dependence, his weakness, his emptiness. There will immediately arise from the depth of his heart weariness, gloom, sadness, fretfulness, vexation, despair.

Right on, Blaise, right on.

Quote
(#139) People have a secret instinct which impels them to seek amusement and occupation abroad, and which arises from the sense of their constant unhappiness. They have another secret instinct, a remnant of the greatness of our original nature, which teaches them that happiness in reality consists only in rest, and not in stir. And of these two contrary instincts they form within themselves a confused idea, which hides itself from their view in the depths of their soul, inciting them to aim at rest through excitement, and always to fancy that the satisfaction which they have not will come to them, if, by surmounting whatever difficulties confront them, they can thereby open the door to rest.

Thus passes away all man's life. Men seek rest in a struggle against difficulties; and when they have conquered these, rest becomes insufferable. For we think either of the misfortunes we have or of those which threaten us. And even if we should see ourselves sufficiently sheltered on all sides, weariness of its own accord would not fail to arise from the depths of the heart wherein it has its natural roots, and to fill the mind with its poison.

Thus so wretched is man that he would weary even without any cause for weariness from the peculiar state of his disposition; and so frivolous is he, that, though full of a thousand reasons for weariness, the least thing, such as playing billiards or hitting a ball, is sufficient to amuse him.

Sigh.  Your purpose was FIRE, but now that you've achieved it?  Well, work on finding your next purpose, even that turns out to be a job (*gasp*).   Meanwhile, shoot some pool to keep your mind off the meaninglessness and emptiness of a life without purpose.  :D

blue_green_sparks

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #53 on: March 09, 2020, 01:02:09 PM »
I would wager that Pascal (pun intended, another miscue on his part) didn't have to lead a life of endless toil that 99% of the population had to live. That is what deprives so many of their passions, business, and study. So keep yourself busy with 'diversions' so one is unable to explore their own true nature. Really?

Bird In Hand

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #54 on: March 09, 2020, 02:36:39 PM »
I would wager that Pascal (pun intended, another miscue on his part) didn't have to lead a life of endless toil that 99% of the population had to live. That is what deprives so many of their passions, business, and study.

We're on a FIRE subforum; "endless toil" is a non sequitur here by definition.  After reviewing this thread and many others like it, I think it's fair to say that after toiling to achieve FIRE -- or really any all-encompasing, long-term goal -- it is a very common occurrence to encounter an unsettling empty feeling of "what now".  That is likely because of a lack of purpose, which any number of secular sources would agree with.  We needn't agree with Pascal's ultimate conclusion (the Wager) to judge whether or not his observations about purpose are valid.  I happen to think they are, regardless of Pascal's privileged station in life.

Quote
So keep yourself busy with 'diversions' so one is unable to explore their own true nature. Really?

I'm not sure if you're criticizing Pascal's discussion of diversions, or my tongue-in-cheek advice to OP to take up billiards as a stopgap while finding a new purpose.  Though I will note that universal answers to OP's concerns are to "find purpose" and "find hobbies (diversions)".  Because yes -- lacking both, there is (generally) not happiness but emptiness, and even misery.

blue_green_sparks

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #55 on: March 09, 2020, 03:55:24 PM »
I'm not sure if you're criticizing Pascal's discussion of diversions,..

Yes, I am criticizing Pascal's discussion of diversions. I agree it seems that many including myself do have difficulty with a lack-of-purpose dilemma once they have achieved financial freedom...precisely because we are so conditioned to be good worker bees (as Pascal advises) and we are constantly warned about "idle hands" and such. Then the day freedom comes we can no longer embrace the simple glorious pleasure of doing nothing without feeling guilty or taking a long observant walk in nature. 


Bird In Hand

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2020, 08:00:28 PM »
Yes, I am criticizing Pascal's discussion of diversions. I agree it seems that many including myself do have difficulty with a lack-of-purpose dilemma once they have achieved financial freedom...precisely because we are so conditioned to be good worker bees (as Pascal advises) and we are constantly warned about "idle hands" and such. Then the day freedom comes we can no longer embrace the simple glorious pleasure of doing nothing without feeling guilty or taking a long observant walk in nature.

We might have different understandings of what Pascal was talking about then.  I have not read an annotated version of his Pensťes nor have I studied it formally in a philosophy class. I've read through it and taken out parts that resonate with me, perhaps in ways that Pascal never intended.  So maybe you're more right than I am.  On diversions he also writes:

Quote
The only thing which consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and yet this it the greatest of our miseries. For it is this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves, and which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this we should be in a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us to seek a more solid means of escaping from it.

In my view 'diversions' includes work, play, hobbies, amusements, etc.  Without any diversion (or even a self-constructed purpose like "pursuing FIRE"), we are left to confront our own insignificance and mortality.  This can go in two directions: nihilism on one hand, or a search for and discovery of purpose on the other.  Now Pascal tried laying out a case for why that search for purpose would lead to God.  But IMO that's not a necessary part of his argument, and people can and do find a variety of other purposes.

What's interesting is that you seem to ascribe blame for post-work ennui to feelings of guilt about not working, presumably as a result of conditioning from years of toiling away at a meaningless job.  But Pascal arrived at the same feelings after a lifetime of relative comfort and self-directed research doing what he loved.

Malcat

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #57 on: March 10, 2020, 05:45:15 AM »
Wow...I relate to exactly none of that ^

Guilt about not working?
Conditioning to toil away at meaningless work?
Unable to enjoy a long reflective walk in nature?

Fucking hell, that sounds miserable.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #58 on: March 10, 2020, 07:21:08 AM »
Wow...I relate to exactly none of that ^

Guilt about not working?
Conditioning to toil away at meaningless work?
Unable to enjoy a long reflective walk in nature?

Fucking hell, that sounds miserable.

You used ^ when I think you meant ^^  -- I don't want credit for that stuff!

But I agree, that sounds like a very dark place indeed.

blue_green_sparks

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #59 on: March 10, 2020, 12:16:16 PM »
Wow...I relate to exactly none of that ^

Guilt about not working?
Conditioning to toil away at meaningless work?
Unable to enjoy a long reflective walk in nature?

Fucking hell, that sounds miserable.

As a US electrical engineer in the 80's and 90's you would have been very aware of 60-70 hour work weeks, working over holidays and midnight lab testing. Jobs were scarce and bosses were old school. Most never even used our vacations, some holding years worth of vacation days on the books. I was blown away when I found out our European counterparts would take August off. Towards the end of my career much of that changed, however the conditioning did not.

Sure we took pride in our work and honestly even with all the new computerized tools, I believe an electrical engineer in the 80's was way more efficient that today. It was white shirts, ties, smokes, and coffee. Tons of coffee. There was also belittling of any engineer who screwed up, sometimes in meetings. Even recall engineers getting 'executed' (fired) in a meeting. This is how aircraft went from concept to the sky in a matter of months sometimes.

Even though things are more relaxed today life/work balance) this insane 'work ethic' still goes on today, especially with medical doctors and other hi powered professionals, business owners, etc. Retiring after that sort of career is like hitting a wall at 90 MPH.

Malcat

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #60 on: March 11, 2020, 06:52:48 AM »
Wow...I relate to exactly none of that ^

Guilt about not working?
Conditioning to toil away at meaningless work?
Unable to enjoy a long reflective walk in nature?

Fucking hell, that sounds miserable.

As a US electrical engineer in the 80's and 90's you would have been very aware of 60-70 hour work weeks, working over holidays and midnight lab testing. Jobs were scarce and bosses were old school. Most never even used our vacations, some holding years worth of vacation days on the books. I was blown away when I found out our European counterparts would take August off. Towards the end of my career much of that changed, however the conditioning did not.

Sure we took pride in our work and honestly even with all the new computerized tools, I believe an electrical engineer in the 80's was way more efficient that today. It was white shirts, ties, smokes, and coffee. Tons of coffee. There was also belittling of any engineer who screwed up, sometimes in meetings. Even recall engineers getting 'executed' (fired) in a meeting. This is how aircraft went from concept to the sky in a matter of months sometimes.

Even though things are more relaxed today life/work balance) this insane 'work ethic' still goes on today, especially with medical doctors and other hi powered professionals, business owners, etc. Retiring after that sort of career is like hitting a wall at 90 MPH.

Oh my...

You may have picked the wrong person to preach to.
I *am* a hardcore medical professional who has done shit like perform surgery while having a punctured lung. My profession is affectionately referred to as a "meat grinder" that "eats it's young".

I used to call home "that lovely place I occasionally get to visit when I'm not at work". I watched my water consumption during a shift because I didn't have the luxury of time for going to the bathroom.

When I mention to colleagues that I probably have a certain type of cancer, they shrug and say, "well at least it's not a kind that will affect your work much"

I'm in the process of retiring right now.

I have exactly ZERO guilt about my days now consisting of long walks by the river with my dog, and learning how to make tortillas from scratch. Zero, none, nada.

My plan today is to read a book and maybe trim the dog's nails.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2020, 08:30:39 AM by Malkynn »

blue_green_sparks

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #61 on: March 11, 2020, 08:52:32 AM »
Wow...I relate to exactly none of that ^

Guilt about not working?
Conditioning to toil away at meaningless work?
Unable to enjoy a long reflective walk in nature?

Fucking hell, that sounds miserable.

As a US electrical engineer in the 80's and 90's you would have been very aware of 60-70 hour work weeks, working over holidays and midnight lab testing. Jobs were scarce and bosses were old school. Most never even used our vacations, some holding years worth of vacation days on the books. I was blown away when I found out our European counterparts would take August off. Towards the end of my career much of that changed, however the conditioning did not.

Sure we took pride in our work and honestly even with all the new computerized tools, I believe an electrical engineer in the 80's was way more efficient that today. It was white shirts, ties, smokes, and coffee. Tons of coffee. There was also belittling of any engineer who screwed up, sometimes in meetings. Even recall engineers getting 'executed' (fired) in a meeting. This is how aircraft went from concept to the sky in a matter of months sometimes.

Even though things are more relaxed today life/work balance) this insane 'work ethic' still goes on today, especially with medical doctors and other hi powered professionals, business owners, etc. Retiring after that sort of career is like hitting a wall at 90 MPH.

Oh my...

You may have picked the wrong person to preach to.
I *am* a hardcore medical professional who has done shit like perform surgery while having a punctured lung. My profession is affectionately referred to as a "meat grinder" that "eats it's young".

I used to call home "that lovely place I occasionally get to visit when I'm not at work". I watched my water consumption during a shift because I didn't have the luxury of time for going to the bathroom.

When I mention to colleagues that I probably have a certain type of cancer, they shrug and say, "well at least it's not a kind that will affect your work much"

I'm in the process of retiring right now.

I have exactly ZERO guilt about my days now consisting of long walks by the river with my dog, and learning how to make tortillas from scratch. Zero, none, nada.

My plan today is to read a book and maybe trim the dog's nails.

I don't preach to anybody nor I presume to know you. Since there is absolutely no validity to my point even though I myself have had to learn how to "let go" I must be the only person in the universe like that. Yeah, that's it. I am the only one who over the years started to associate my self worth with my career success. Nothing to see here. Over and out.

Malcat

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #62 on: March 11, 2020, 09:20:20 AM »
Wow...I relate to exactly none of that ^

Guilt about not working?
Conditioning to toil away at meaningless work?
Unable to enjoy a long reflective walk in nature?

Fucking hell, that sounds miserable.

As a US electrical engineer in the 80's and 90's you would have been very aware of 60-70 hour work weeks, working over holidays and midnight lab testing. Jobs were scarce and bosses were old school. Most never even used our vacations, some holding years worth of vacation days on the books. I was blown away when I found out our European counterparts would take August off. Towards the end of my career much of that changed, however the conditioning did not.

Sure we took pride in our work and honestly even with all the new computerized tools, I believe an electrical engineer in the 80's was way more efficient that today. It was white shirts, ties, smokes, and coffee. Tons of coffee. There was also belittling of any engineer who screwed up, sometimes in meetings. Even recall engineers getting 'executed' (fired) in a meeting. This is how aircraft went from concept to the sky in a matter of months sometimes.

Even though things are more relaxed today life/work balance) this insane 'work ethic' still goes on today, especially with medical doctors and other hi powered professionals, business owners, etc. Retiring after that sort of career is like hitting a wall at 90 MPH.

Oh my...

You may have picked the wrong person to preach to.
I *am* a hardcore medical professional who has done shit like perform surgery while having a punctured lung. My profession is affectionately referred to as a "meat grinder" that "eats it's young".

I used to call home "that lovely place I occasionally get to visit when I'm not at work". I watched my water consumption during a shift because I didn't have the luxury of time for going to the bathroom.

When I mention to colleagues that I probably have a certain type of cancer, they shrug and say, "well at least it's not a kind that will affect your work much"

I'm in the process of retiring right now.

I have exactly ZERO guilt about my days now consisting of long walks by the river with my dog, and learning how to make tortillas from scratch. Zero, none, nada.

My plan today is to read a book and maybe trim the dog's nails.

I don't preach to anybody nor I presume to know you. Since there is absolutely no validity to my point even though I myself have had to learn how to "let go" I must be the only person in the universe like that. Yeah, that's it. I am the only one who over the years started to associate my self worth with my career success. Nothing to see here. Over and out.

I didn't mean to offend.
I said that I personally don't relate to guilt about not working, and then you said that people who work incredibly hard and under insane pressure have a hard time of letting go and gave your personal experience as an example. It sounded to me like you were assuming that my personal experience of letting go easily was because I hadn't experienced that type of work scenario, so I clarified that I absolutely had.

No judgement from me, all I'm saying is that I really can't personally relate and it's not because I've had a nice easy work-life balance.

I'm not saying that your personal experience is less generalizable than mine, in fact, yours probably is a lot more generalizable than mine based on the things I see people say here. I don't assume my reactions to things are the norm.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #63 on: March 14, 2020, 05:56:35 AM »
@Malkynn Thank you for all your calm, insightful writing on this forum. You have really influenced me lately and even though I don't know you I feel like you are somehow offering me some emotional support as I go through the process of quitting / downsizing a stressful career. I am feeling quite crazy for doing so at the moment - giving up the stability of a full time job for the precarious life of a freelancer but I just need a break from work. I'm really looking forward to days of simple activities like reading, going for walks, making meals, gardening. In a workaholic, money-driven culture it seems like people like us are really the odd ones out. ESPECIALLY in times of crisis - the job is a lifeboat for most, how could I possibly leave that during a pandemic? Sometimes I do question, what the hell am I doing? So, here's a tip of the hat to you from a stranger. Thanks for the supportive voice of reason.

Malcat

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #64 on: March 14, 2020, 07:12:31 AM »
@Malkynn Thank you for all your calm, insightful writing on this forum. You have really influenced me lately and even though I don't know you I feel like you are somehow offering me some emotional support as I go through the process of quitting / downsizing a stressful career. I am feeling quite crazy for doing so at the moment - giving up the stability of a full time job for the precarious life of a freelancer but I just need a break from work. I'm really looking forward to days of simple activities like reading, going for walks, making meals, gardening. In a workaholic, money-driven culture it seems like people like us are really the odd ones out. ESPECIALLY in times of crisis - the job is a lifeboat for most, how could I possibly leave that during a pandemic? Sometimes I do question, what the hell am I doing? So, here's a tip of the hat to you from a stranger. Thanks for the supportive voice of reason.

Lol, I'm walking around on sunshine right now saying "man, it's a good time to be leaving my job!" A job isn't a life boat during a crisis, it's an albatross and a burden. It's only a life boat if you have other financial burdens that require the cash flow of a job. Otherwise, it's a real luxury to be able to just sit this shit out and contemplate learning how to make croissants.

If you weren't questioning it though, you would be insane.
It's not that the decisions you are making are insane, it's just that it's not normal to be able to make choices that go against the grain without having doubts and questions.

I seem so decisive about my decisions, not because I've never questioned them, but because I've questioned them to death before deciding.

Doubt is normal and healthy, and the process of learning to make solid decisions while feeling doubt and even fear is what gives someone a sureness in their convictions.

The only decisions that are really easy to make that feel automatic are the ones that you were already programmed to make, so you can never be as sure that they represent your true motivations or if you are just socially conditioned to make those choices.

The decisions you can trust most are the ones you struggled to make, that were uncomfortable, and that you still felt the need to follow through on.

That's not to say that everything turns out well, it doesn't, but learning to trust your own instincts in the face of self doubt is incredibly empowering.

pecunia

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #65 on: March 15, 2020, 08:32:38 AM »
For a skinny ugly black alley cat, that is very good advice.

I'm looking outside at the late Winter sunshine and thinking the same thing.  Give it a bit more than one more month and then unshackled.

Malcat

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #66 on: March 15, 2020, 09:38:27 AM »
For a skinny ugly black alley cat, that is very good advice.

I'm looking outside at the late Winter sunshine and thinking the same thing.  Give it a bit more than one more month and then unshackled.

Shows what you know about fancy-as-fuck cats ;)