Author Topic: Feeling Lost  (Read 8129 times)

fireonmymind

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Feeling Lost
« on: February 14, 2020, 12:33:22 PM »
The last few years have been really good and I reached my FI goal this year, several years faster than planned. DH loves his job and doesn't look like he'd want to FIRE anytime soon. It's not ideal but I guess the good thing is his income will cover our living cost when I leave my job. I'm not quitting yet since there are still commitments to deliver and I don't mind the job (although I'm quite unmotivated to do any more than necessary these days).
 
The problem is, after I realized we can actually quit the rat race, I feel... sorta empty. It was quite anti climax. I worked so hard to get here and now I am here, is that it? What's next? What do I do now? What do I want to achieve after this? I feel a little lost and without direction.

Did any of you who reached FI or FIRE know what I'm talking about? It's hard for me to explain and I don't know anyone in real life who have reached FI or FIRE around our age (really late 30s) so I can't discuss this with anyone in real life. Most of my friends are struggling with their financials and the ones with higher paying jobs don't seem to care about FI or FIRE. I'm too scared opening up will ruin relationships. Any advice?

Maenad

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 03:15:13 PM »
I'm planning on my last day being in 4 weeks, and we hit FI last summer. It did feel a little anticlimactic, the mental change I expected has been slower and more gradual and not a sudden switch.

Usually, the advice when people are feeling lost is: What are you retiring to? Do you have plans for what to do when retired, especially since it sounds like your spouse is still working? Have you done the "Get a Life tree" from Ernie Zelinski's "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free"?

A lot of us who prep for FIRE are good at setting and achieving big goals. You may need another one now that FI is taken care of. I know I'm thinking a lot about my Next Big Thing, I'm going to start with getting rid of my work stress and getting into good physical shape!

IslandFiGirl

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2020, 04:07:18 PM »
I just FIRE'd about a week and a half ago.  I am definitely one of those who retired "from" something.  I was tired of dedicating my life to work while MY life flew by and my kids grew up without me around.  You could say I feel a little lost, but then again I don't.  I don't have a set plan of what I wanna do, really, and that's hard to justify to myself, much less to other people.  I will say that even though I also feel a bit lost, I also feel an intense amount of freedom.  I can go to the gym EVERYDAY and regain my health, heck, sometimes I even go TWICE a day!  I can meet friends whenever I want, I can go to ALL of my kids' events, no matter when they are.  I can stay up late, stay out late, it's great!  I cook more, eat better, and the best of all, is when I got the stomach flu for 3 whole days, I didn't have that extreme feeling of guilt about calling in sick.  I could stay up all night and puke and sleep all day the next day and no one cared!  The cool thing about FIRE is that you have choices and if you quit work and decide you feel weird about it or you miss it, you could always go back.  I might do that and I might not, but for me, for right now, lost is ok...I don't mind it at all, because at least I'm not developing ulcers from job stress!

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2020, 05:06:13 PM »
Yes, I am also lost and full of emptiness. I suggest Sartre's Age of Reason for a start.

ysette9

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 09:42:30 PM »
The last few years have been really good and I reached my FI goal this year, several years faster than planned. DH loves his job and doesn't look like he'd want to FIRE anytime soon. It's not ideal but I guess the good thing is his income will cover our living cost when I leave my job. I'm not quitting yet since there are still commitments to deliver and I don't mind the job (although I'm quite unmotivated to do any more than necessary these days).
 
The problem is, after I realized we can actually quit the rat race, I feel... sorta empty. It was quite anti climax. I worked so hard to get here and now I am here, is that it? What's next? What do I do now? What do I want to achieve after this? I feel a little lost and without direction.

Did any of you who reached FI or FIRE know what I'm talking about? It's hard for me to explain and I don't know anyone in real life who have reached FI or FIRE around our age (really late 30s) so I can't discuss this with anyone in real life. Most of my friends are struggling with their financials and the ones with higher paying jobs don't seem to care about FI or FIRE. I'm too scared opening up will ruin relationships. Any advice?

Have you discovered the Dr Doomís blog LivingAFI? It is pretty much dormant now but it is an absolute gem. Dr Doom went through a similar period of feeling down and listless and unmotivated when he reached his FI number. He talks though over a series of posts (The Quit Series) how he works with a counselor to figure out what his roadblocks are and how to deal with them.

In short he was told that he was so good at delayed gratification and when he finally reached this big financial goal he had been striving for for so long but then didnít finally reward himself with retirement, he got depressed from eternal delay without the accompanying gratification.

That isnít to say that is what is going on with you, but you may find it helpful to read through his thought process and how he got to a happy place of embracing actually quitting and moving on to the next stage in life.

https://livingafi.com/the-quit-series/

Malkynn

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2020, 06:08:44 AM »
We're not FI, but I don't need to work and I'm leaving my career.

DH is still working and will do so for another 12 years until he gets his full pension, which is more than enough for us to live comfortably, so what I've saved so far and may save in the future is just extra.

I'm only in my 30s but have had to medically retired from a career where I made over double what DH makes and where I could have made double or triple that had I stuck with it. I studied for 11 years to do it, and it's been a huge part of my identity.

I'm not feeling lost at all, nor am I feeling sad about it. I've had to work through a lot of disappointment, but that's because I truly, truly love my work and it's hard to walk away.

However, I know full well that the world is jam packed with amazing things to do. I'm actually suuuuper excited for all of the things that I would not have had the time and resources for otherwise. My biggest regret is that even now, even totally free in my 30s, I don't have enough lifetime left to do/try everything that I want to do.

If you are facing freedom, security, and comfort and not feeling overwhelmingly excited about the possibilities of life, then there's something not right.

That calls for some very strong reflection and perhaps a major shake up in your thinking and or routine.

Personally for me, the thing that has always kept my head on straight is a combo of working/volunteering with truly challenged populations and getting regular therapy.

I personally think everyone needs therapy. I'm a very happy person in general, but I'll never give up therapy. The human mind is a bit of an asshole and needs to be kept in check.

Meanwhile, working with populations who are deeply suffering not only gives my life purpose, but also gives me a solid kick to the head of perspective and gratitude. That listless ennui of existential angst just doesn't stand a chance of taking hold when helping a young woman learn to read because she never got the chance being born into child prostitution or helping the single working class mom who needs a break from caring for her nonverbal, tube fed, wheelchair bound kid or reading philosophy to the now blind nursing home senior who used to be a professor and has no remaining family.

If you can't find inspiration in what the world can provide for you, then reverse the thinking and try and find meaning and motivation in what you can do for the world.

I can only speak for myself, but when I look at all of my options for doing meaningful things, I see an endless and rich supply of purpose and challenge.

Not everyone is like me, not everyone gets a crazy high from reducing people's suffering, but if you are looking at your life where you have everything and are feeling empty, maybe it's worth it to try and totally different approach?

infromsea

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2020, 07:10:25 AM »
Perfectly normal, many/most of us go through this, in more ways than one.

You are experiencing what happens when you recognize the "hedonic treadmill" of goal achievement.

You've "climbed a mountain" gotten to the peak and are looking around asking "what now?".

The trick is to realize that it's not the mountain top that matters, it's the journey UP the mountain, it's not the destination, it's the path.

Suggest speaking with a counselor/therapist and a few books: Wherever you go, there you are by Kabatt Zimm, Awareness by Anthony DeMello, Happy by Derren Brown, Taming your Gremlin (a great book for this process!) by Rick Carson and several others suggested on this board.

Other items (as folks will doubtless offer) is to volunteer, get OUT of your head and focus on others, work on realizing who YOU are without work/a JOB, relax, de-stress, revel if your new-found freedom/flexibility/next phase of life.

Best wishes!

« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 06:40:13 PM by infromsea »

Retire-Canada

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2020, 11:38:13 AM »
It was quite anti climax. I worked so hard to get here and now I am here, is that it? What's next? What do I do now? What do I want to achieve after this? I feel a little lost and without direction.

Did any of you who reached FI or FIRE know what I'm talking about? It's hard for me to explain and I don't know anyone in real life who have reached FI or FIRE around our age (really late 30s) so I can't discuss this with anyone in real life. Most of my friends are struggling with their financials and the ones with higher paying jobs don't seem to care about FI or FIRE. I'm too scared opening up will ruin relationships. Any advice?

I finally hit FI and will quit my FT gig end-May [giving loads of notice]. I have to admit it was anti-climatic. Not sure what I was expecting, but it was kind of a letdown after a few days of stoke. I think part of that is because I have very few real life friends I could tell and my GF will continue to work for 6 more years. So it's not like I can sell the house and #VANlife for a few years like I would do if we were both free.

That said I don't feel lost or without direction. On the financial front my new goal is to hit 3.5%WR as I was FI at 4%WR. I'm already down to 3.9%WR and have a few months left of high savings. On the personal front I have quite a few things I want to do with the new free time I'll have this summer. But, mostly I am just going to take the summer to relax, ride my bike, read some books and hang out with my cat. I also want to optimize our food budget/shopping/meal prep which is part -finance and part-lifestyle.

In the longer term I want to do some trips I've been thinking of, but didn't have the time for. I want to learn a number of things either self-directed at home or at the local university. I want to do some research around volunteering options and then get started helping other people out. My parents are in their 90's so I will fly home for longer periods and visit with them. My cat is old so I want some great last years with her as well.

When I think about the stuff I want to do I have more stuff than free time even without a FT job so I will still be busy, but just with things I really care about and really want to do.

Based on the limited information in your post I'd suggest not pressuring yourself to figure it all out ASAP. Give yourself 6-12 months to decompress/detox from your working life. It'll take a second. Then make your mission to figure out what to do with the next phase of your life. Once you are free during working hours you'll meet other people who are as well for a variety of reasons and you'll be able to chat with them about your new situation. FIRE is not about the money it's about the freedom.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 11:43:37 AM by Retire-Canada »

BTDretire

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2020, 02:44:31 PM »
Was it anticlimactic? yes, I completely agree with that.
Do I want to go back to work? Absolutely not.
Do I get bored?   I have plenty of interesting things I can do, a lot to do with an electronics/radio hobby. And I spend too much time on the internet reading things hobby related, science related, lately Keto related. I do walk, more inconstant lately (weather is better). I go out to breakfast with the boys twice a week. But, sometimes a little bored, but I'm not real motivated, so if I do get bored, it's out of laziness.

pecunia

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2020, 02:48:09 PM »

- SNIP -

Based on the limited information in your post I'd suggest not pressuring yourself to figure it all out ASAP. Give yourself 6-12 months to decompress/detox from your working life. It'll take a second. Then make your mission to figure out what to do with the next phase of your life. Once you are free during working hours you'll meet other people who are as well for a variety of reasons and you'll be able to chat with them about your new situation. FIRE is not about the money it's about the freedom.

I've read that quite a number of times on this site.  I'm thinking to go in April and one of the reasons is that I think it would be great to have this detox period in the Spring / Summer.  I kind of parallel it with a sense of newness in myself.  I figure days of doing nothing but walking the beach listening to the wind and waves ought to be very therapeutic.  I will watch the sun paint the water as it sets, smile and breathe sighs of contentment.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2020, 03:17:42 PM »
I've read that quite a number of times on this site.  I'm thinking to go in April and one of the reasons is that I think it would be great to have this detox period in the Spring / Summer.  I kind of parallel it with a sense of newness in myself.  I figure days of doing nothing but walking the beach listening to the wind and waves ought to be very therapeutic.  I will watch the sun paint the water as it sets, smile and breathe sighs of contentment.

Makes sense. My initial FIRE time was 1 Jan and then I realized being super free in the middle of winter when I couldn't head south for a few months [GF working] wasn't ideal. Whereas FIRE in June sound much better. Ride my bike to the beach on a weekday morning with a sandwich, thermos of tea and a kindle. Basically free. Basically awesome.

Good luck. Your new phase of life will be awesome. Have fun. :-)

spartana

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2020, 04:29:36 PM »
I've read that quite a number of times on this site.  I'm thinking to go in April and one of the reasons is that I think it would be great to have this detox period in the Spring / Summer.  I kind of parallel it with a sense of newness in myself.  I figure days of doing nothing but walking the beach listening to the wind and waves ought to be very therapeutic.  I will watch the sun paint the water as it sets, smile and breathe sighs of contentment.

Makes sense. My initial FIRE time was 1 Jan and then I realized being super free in the middle of winter when I couldn't head south for a few months [GF working] wasn't ideal. Whereas FIRE in June sound much better. Ride my bike to the beach on a weekday morning with a sandwich, thermos of tea and a kindle. Basically free. Basically awesome.

Good luck. Your new phase of life will be awesome. Have fun. :-)
This probably depends on where you live. I quit in beginning Sept (many moons ago) because I couldn't handle the SoCal fall weather any longer and wanted to be off to greener areas asap (and because I couldn't stand working one second longer even though I like my job).  It was not anti-climatic in any way and I just felt this huge sense of exhilaration and awe. I actually still feel like that almost everyday about FIRE and get giddy about it as soon as I wake up and realize I can do whatever I want that day. Apparently Im annoyingly happy ;-).

But for the OP I think what you're feeling seems to be normal for many here and hopefully once you have more time in ER you'll get the giddy feeling I have. I think for some people it just takes time for the reality of having all your time (all of your life!) free to spend it how you wish.

infromsea

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2020, 06:44:25 PM »
And I spend too much time on the internet reading things hobby related, science related, lately Keto related.

I can be quite guilty of that myself. When we went keto a few years ago I about drove the wife nuts, I read 3 books, bought 4 keto cookbooks, read hundreds of posts on reddit and other sites and nearly drove her insane with all my keto chatter. There are days I KNOW she wishes I was "back in the office" where I might have someone else to chat with about such things and "get it out of my system" before coming home. Now, I often use the boards and others for that purpose.

Good luck on your keto journey, it's worth the initial learning curve and potential blahs from the "keto flu", it's worth it.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2020, 06:48:28 PM »
This probably depends on where you live.

If I could actually get up and go in FIRE Jan would be a fine time to start as the SW US and Baja are amazing that time of the year. Given that I am tied to the PNWet for another 6 years no matter what happens with my work/retirement paints a different picture. I'm technically FIRE, but don't get all the freedom that would normally come with that due to my GF continuing to work.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2020, 07:17:19 PM »
There is an old Zen parable.  I remember telling it in Grad School.  A young man stops a well known master on the road as he is carrying a heavy load of tiles.  "Master, what is the secret of enlightenment?"  The old Master carefully sets his tiles down, looks serenely to the south at the sea, takes  a deep breath, turns to the East and looks at the Mountains, takes another deep breath, turns to the North and looks at the forest, taking another deep breath, he turns again to the West and looks over the prairie and takes another deep breath.  He turns the young man and just smiles.

Now in my class, I just stopped there.  They were all, what is the rest of the story?  I was all, you've already heard the only part of the story that matters and I don't want to take up any more class time.  The guy next to me who spent time at a Buddhist monastery before coming to the states for grad school laughed uproariously.  "The Buddha would be impressed!"  I told him, "no the Buddha would find my irreverence in this moment to be completely unremarkable."  He laughed and said "Touche!"

They pressed me to tell the rest of the parable.  So I did.  The young man says "Thank you Master!"  "But what does One do with Enlightenment?!?"  The old master nods his head, raises a finger to indicate he will demonstrate, carefully re-assumes his heavy burden of tiles and continues on his way.

The class was kind of upset with me.  The former monk, I think nearly peed himself. 

Yes. It can be underwhelming.  What have you learned from that?

BigMoneyJim

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2020, 07:21:53 PM »
I have definitely used the word "lost" several times in the year or two leading to retirement and the (so far) first four months of it.

But it's a feature, not a bug. Well, feeling "lost" isn't the feature, it's that you're responsible for your own meaning/direction/goals in life and how you want to spend your time.

It's a new and different skillset from working (someone else's priorities, goals, schedule) interspersed with living your life and/or recovering for the next workday.

The working mindset is also a hard mindset to break.

For me, a big help as been somewhat unintentionally journaling my thoughts and plans on forums like this (see my MMM journal in sig). That way I can see what I've been thinking and doing, and I always approve.

Another thing I'm in the middle of discovering is to make a point to have memorable/joyful events. Doing what I want 24/7 has long been the vision of retirement, but after a month or three of that it's easy to feel empty and lost. I've been doing what I want and all is going well, but without the standout memories it feels like nothing happened after the fact. (On the other hand, part of my problem is wanting to avoid a lot of particular people and particular things so I've been in my house playing hermit for long stretches of time. I'm also working towards solutions for that.)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 07:23:46 PM by BigMoneyJim »

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2020, 07:54:57 PM »

 What do I do now? What do I want to achieve after this? I feel a little lost and without direction.



Think about "who" told you and when "who" told you  that now, having achieved  FIREtirement, you must do or achieve something else.

If you do  I think it likely   you will realize "who" is exogenous which I hope will relieve your feelings of being lost and adrift.



« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 07:59:41 PM by John Galt incarnate! »

Metta

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2020, 09:29:30 PM »
There is an old Zen parable.  I remember telling it in Grad School.  A young man stops a well known master on the road as he is carrying a heavy load of tiles.  "Master, what is the secret of enlightenment?"  The old Master carefully sets his tiles down, looks serenely to the south at the sea, takes  a deep breath, turns to the East and looks at the Mountains, takes another deep breath, turns to the North and looks at the forest, taking another deep breath, he turns again to the West and looks over the prairie and takes another deep breath.  He turns the young man and just smiles.

Now in my class, I just stopped there.  They were all, what is the rest of the story?  I was all, you've already heard the only part of the story that matters and I don't want to take up any more class time.  The guy next to me who spent time at a Buddhist monastery before coming to the states for grad school laughed uproariously.  "The Buddha would be impressed!"  I told him, "no the Buddha would find my irreverence in this moment to be completely unremarkable."  He laughed and said "Touche!"

They pressed me to tell the rest of the parable.  So I did.  The young man says "Thank you Master!"  "But what does One do with Enlightenment?!?"  The old master nods his head, raises a finger to indicate he will demonstrate, carefully re-assumes his heavy burden of tiles and continues on his way.

The class was kind of upset with me.  The former monk, I think nearly peed himself. 

Yes. It can be underwhelming.  What have you learned from that?

Great story! Makes me think I should return to Zen. Or at least start meditating again.

The thing about FIRE is that it rips away the lies. I thought my life was too filled with work and that this was my employer's fault. After I left my career three years ago, I've replicated some of my bad habits of overworking. It's on my own projects, but still.

keyvaluepair

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2020, 07:55:09 AM »
I'll offer up my personal experience on this:

Living just outside Seattle, we sold our software startup and fully achieved FI. After 5+ years of 60-80 hour weeks, it felt as if I'd had a plug pulled. I still maintained my cycling habits, though now my ride went in reverse (I'd do my old "office" commute as a loop). I'd get questions from other riders why I was going the "wrong way". When I explained that I was retired, the reactions were interesting. Some were a bit judgemental and the others were quite positive. It took me about 6 months before I stopped feeling a bit guilty about not "going to work".

This has passed. It is almost as if the rat only knows the treadmill. Stepping off the treadmill and looking at the sunrise can be disorienting at the beginning, but it will pass.

I'm now doing another startup but it is entirely because I wanted to work in an entirely different area. FI gave me the time to deeply study the new area - so depending on your field, FI liberates you from the past.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2020, 08:04:27 AM »
It is almost as if the rat only knows the treadmill. Stepping off the treadmill and looking at the sunrise can be disorienting at the beginning, but it will pass.

You can't know what FIRE will be like...really...while you are still chained to a desk. You have to walk through the door to your prison cell or jump off the hamster wheel and see for yourself. You've been conditioned/programmed by society to be a worker your whole life so the fact it feels weird to be free is no surprise. Nor is it a surprise that it takes some time to decompress and figure out how you really feel.

FWIW - by "you" I mean "we" as in all of us.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 08:52:24 AM by Retire-Canada »

keyvaluepair

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2020, 08:21:26 AM »

You can't know what FIRE will be like...really...while you are still chained to a desk. You have to walk through the door to your prison cell or jump off the hamster wheel and see for yourself. You've been conditioned/programmed by society to be a worker your whole life so the fact it feels weird to be free is no surprise. Nor is it a surprise that it takes some time to decompress and figure out how you really feel.


Agreed.  Having the freedom to explore new things is pretty critical for me from an intellectual and happiness point of view. Also having a post FI plan that enables you to do things you genuinely enjoy is important.

Malkynn

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2020, 09:17:50 AM »

You can't know what FIRE will be like...really...while you are still chained to a desk. You have to walk through the door to your prison cell or jump off the hamster wheel and see for yourself. You've been conditioned/programmed by society to be a worker your whole life so the fact it feels weird to be free is no surprise. Nor is it a surprise that it takes some time to decompress and figure out how you really feel.


Agreed.  Having the freedom to explore new things is pretty critical for me from an intellectual and happiness point of view. Also having a post FI plan that enables you to do things you genuinely enjoy is important.

On the flip side, I had zero capacity to actually know what I wanted to do with freedom until I had it. When I was overworked, it was extremely difficult to imagine what I would do with free time to feel fulfilled. Then I had free time and it was an absolute non issue.

infromsea

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2020, 01:13:05 PM »
Some GREAT comments on here up to this point, I want to add one thing/point of view.

I've been working through the "be happy where you are/WHEN you are" process and trying to be content with a slower life and less stress (post-work life).

What I did was go TOO far into "low stress-low adventure" mode, thinking that was the "right answer for me". Now, looking back, I recognize that I LOVE adventure, which can be as simple as going to a new part/store/restaurant in town and doesn't have to be extreme (sky-diving/rock-climbing/travel to exotic locations, though I want to do all of these things...).

So, be sure and interject some adventure and excitement into life. It can be simple/small things like going to an ethnic section in your city and trying a new dish etc. Excitement/challenge = growth; too little stimulation = atrophy; atrophy = death (albeit a slow one at times).

Enjoy the path!

fireonmymind

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2020, 12:15:02 PM »
Thank you for all the responses and advice. Some of the advice really hit close to the actual issues I'm having. I'm glad I posted this thread (I was going back and forth about it). We went for a weekend getaway and I did unplugged for a day to allow some down time to really think about this.

Usually, the advice when people are feeling lost is: What are you retiring to? Do you have plans for what to do when retired, especially since it sounds like your spouse is still working? Have you done the "Get a Life tree" from Ernie Zelinski's "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free"?

A lot of us who prep for FIRE are good at setting and achieving big goals. You may need another one now that FI is taken care of. I know I'm thinking a lot about my Next Big Thing, I'm going to start with getting rid of my work stress and getting into good physical shape!

That's probably one of the issues here. I'm retiring from my busy and stressful work but don't really have anything to retire to. Having an SO who will still be working doesn't help either since I feel like I can't really take off to the sunset anytime since I need to schedule that around his work.
But you're right, I'm very good at setting and achieving big goals. I tend to get obsessed with one goal and move on to the next one after achieving it. Now my lifetime goal is done, I feel I need another goal to achieve but I didn't set anything, hence feeling lost. Very good insight, thank you so much!


I just FIRE'd about a week and a half ago.  I am definitely one of those who retired "from" something.  I was tired of dedicating my life to work while MY life flew by and my kids grew up without me around.  You could say I feel a little lost, but then again I don't.  I don't have a set plan of what I wanna do, really, and that's hard to justify to myself, much less to other people.  I will say that even though I also feel a bit lost, I also feel an intense amount of freedom.  I can go to the gym EVERYDAY and regain my health, heck, sometimes I even go TWICE a day!  I can meet friends whenever I want, I can go to ALL of my kids' events, no matter when they are.  I can stay up late, stay out late, it's great!  I cook more, eat better, and the best of all, is when I got the stomach flu for 3 whole days, I didn't have that extreme feeling of guilt about calling in sick.  I could stay up all night and puke and sleep all day the next day and no one cared!  The cool thing about FIRE is that you have choices and if you quit work and decide you feel weird about it or you miss it, you could always go back.  I might do that and I might not, but for me, for right now, lost is ok...I don't mind it at all, because at least I'm not developing ulcers from job stress!

Congrats on your new life journey! I hope I can be okay with feeling lost like you can soon :)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2020, 12:30:34 PM by fireonmymind »

fireonmymind

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2020, 12:27:56 PM »
Have you discovered the Dr Doomís blog LivingAFI? It is pretty much dormant now but it is an absolute gem. Dr Doom went through a similar period of feeling down and listless and unmotivated when he reached his FI number. He talks though over a series of posts (The Quit Series) how he works with a counselor to figure out what his roadblocks are and how to deal with them.

I actually read his blog years ago when I just first found MMM. However, I was not anywhere near FI so couldn't really relate to his situation. Thanks for the reminder, I'll re-read it again for inspiration!


If you can't find inspiration in what the world can provide for you, then reverse the thinking and try and find meaning and motivation in what you can do for the world.

I don't think finding inspiration in what the world can provide for me is the issue here. I have enough hobbies and interests that'll keep me busy forever. However, since I will have a working spouse, I feel that the freedom that I so wanted to achieve through FIRE will somehow be capped by his work schedule. Typing this out, it's probably in my own head but this is good and now I need to work this out. Thanks for saying what you said!


Perfectly normal, many/most of us go through this, in more ways than one.

You are experiencing what happens when you recognize the "hedonic treadmill" of goal achievement.

You've "climbed a mountain" gotten to the peak and are looking around asking "what now?".

The trick is to realize that it's not the mountain top that matters, it's the journey UP the mountain, it's not the destination, it's the path.

Thank you for being kind. I do have a tendency to focus on the destination and not the journey :)

fireonmymind

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2020, 12:49:23 PM »
I finally hit FI and will quit my FT gig end-May [giving loads of notice]. I have to admit it was anti-climatic. Not sure what I was expecting, but it was kind of a letdown after a few days of stoke. I think part of that is because I have very few real life friends I could tell and my GF will continue to work for 6 more years. So it's not like I can sell the house and #VANlife for a few years like I would do if we were both free.

That said I don't feel lost or without direction. On the financial front my new goal is to hit 3.5%WR as I was FI at 4%WR. I'm already down to 3.9%WR and have a few months left of high savings. On the personal front I have quite a few things I want to do with the new free time I'll have this summer. But, mostly I am just going to take the summer to relax, ride my bike, read some books and hang out with my cat. I also want to optimize our food budget/shopping/meal prep which is part -finance and part-lifestyle.

In the longer term I want to do some trips I've been thinking of, but didn't have the time for. I want to learn a number of things either self-directed at home or at the local university. I want to do some research around volunteering options and then get started helping other people out. My parents are in their 90's so I will fly home for longer periods and visit with them. My cat is old so I want some great last years with her as well.

When I think about the stuff I want to do I have more stuff than free time even without a FT job so I will still be busy, but just with things I really care about and really want to do.

Based on the limited information in your post I'd suggest not pressuring yourself to figure it all out ASAP. Give yourself 6-12 months to decompress/detox from your working life. It'll take a second. Then make your mission to figure out what to do with the next phase of your life. Once you are free during working hours you'll meet other people who are as well for a variety of reasons and you'll be able to chat with them about your new situation. FIRE is not about the money it's about the freedom.

Congrats on your FI and soon to be RE! LOL, that #VANlife is exactly the same thing I'm experiencing with my SO. With him still tied to his job, I can't just take off any time. Although, it's probably just my own fear and imagination. I think we can probably work something out that keep both of us happy in the end.
Lowering the WR doesn't sound bad either although, I'm quite conservative and risk averse already. We don't even take into account any inheritance from our parents and we'll most likely die first before running out of money (I'm very frugal and resourceful). But I do like your advice to give myself more time to adjust and not pressure myself to figure it out ASAP. I'm hardest on myself than anybody else so I really need to hear this. Thank you so much!


The working mindset is also a hard mindset to break.

For me, a big help as been somewhat unintentionally journaling my thoughts and plans on forums like this (see my MMM journal in sig). That way I can see what I've been thinking and doing, and I always approve.

Another thing I'm in the middle of discovering is to make a point to have memorable/joyful events. Doing what I want 24/7 has long been the vision of retirement, but after a month or three of that it's easy to feel empty and lost. I've been doing what I want and all is going well, but without the standout memories it feels like nothing happened after the fact. (On the other hand, part of my problem is wanting to avoid a lot of particular people and particular things so I've been in my house playing hermit for long stretches of time. I'm also working towards solutions for that.)

Thank you for sharing. I think I will try that more often. I tried journaling but I always stopped doing it after some time. Typing seems to work better for me. I'll definitely try to post and share my thoughts more here and see how that works for me.

Love your point about purposely making memorable events. I decided to go unplug for our last trip and I can't tell you how much happier that made me. Being there in the moment and just absorbing all the small things was really relaxing and detoxing. I've been pretty good in letting only quality people in my life and that has helped a lot too. If you haven't already, search youtube for TedTalk by Sarah Knight, The Magic of Not Giving a F***.

fireonmymind

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2020, 12:52:08 PM »

Think about "who" told you and when "who" told you  that now, having achieved  FIREtirement, you must do or achieve something else.

If you do  I think it likely   you will realize "who" is exogenous which I hope will relieve your feelings of being lost and adrift.

This is really deep! I really like the question and will spend some time to find out. I have a guess but I'll need to dig deeper and do more soul searching to really get to the root cause. Thank you!

Missy B

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2020, 04:24:08 PM »

Think about "who" told you and when "who" told you  that now, having achieved  FIREtirement, you must do or achieve something else.

If you do  I think it likely   you will realize "who" is exogenous which I hope will relieve your feelings of being lost and adrift.

This is really deep! I really like the question and will spend some time to find out. I have a guess but I'll need to dig deeper and do more soul searching to really get to the root cause. Thank you!

It's a pretty major transition to go from being external goal oriented (saving for retirement) to having direction from your own internal sense of what is important. You have innate purpose; the revealing of that may be slow or you may already have a sense of what that is. Malkynn's earlier post where she names her high from reducing suffering and how grounding that is for her in her own life is a good example.  This priority would have played a role in her choice of career, and though she's left that career her purpose still informs how she lives. It just expresses differently.
You'll probably run into people that tell you the answer is to Plan things! and Set Goals!
But goal-setting is an empty practise, unless it is deeply informed by purpose. No one can really tell you what      your purpose is, and it may take some quiet listening for a time to get other people's shit out of your head so you can hear your own heart.

Malkynn

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2020, 05:35:51 AM »
If you can't find inspiration in what the world can provide for you, then reverse the thinking and try and find meaning and motivation in what you can do for the world.

I don't think finding inspiration in what the world can provide for me is the issue here. I have enough hobbies and interests that'll keep me busy forever. However, since I will have a working spouse, I feel that the freedom that I so wanted to achieve through FIRE will somehow be capped by his work schedule. Typing this out, it's probably in my own head but this is good and now I need to work this out. Thanks for saying what you said!

It is in your head and you don't need to work anything out right now. In fact, it's impossible to make future decisions today, we all think we can, but we can't.

If after some decompression, your future self suddenly gets inspiration about what she wants to do, that's what she'll do. You actually have zero say in the matter.

I have a full time working spouse who will continue to work for the next 12 years at least. Sure, that rules out living like a nomad, or moving to another country, but I don't put much energy into focusing on what I can't do. I can't become a professional ballet dancer either, but I don't stress too much about that.

Re: freedom
This is the concerning part for me. Retiring doesn't free you from anything other than having to work. If there's more in your life that you want freedom from, then that points to a bigger issue in terms of your happiness and life satisfaction.

Also, having enough hobbies to fill your time is not the same as having a rich and full life.

Instead of fixating on what you are going to do, I recommend introspecting on your present and working on why it isn't fulfilling you.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2020, 05:41:04 AM by Malkynn »

BigMoneyJim

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2020, 07:54:47 AM »
This is the concerning part for me. Retiring doesn't free you from anything other than having to work. If there's more in your life that you want freedom from, then that points to a bigger issue in terms of your happiness and life satisfaction.

Fantastic point! It's one of those things that seem like it should be obvious, but I hadn't thought of it that way until you so succinctly stated it. That pretty much encapsulates much of the adjustment challenges of FIRE for me.

And that has unforeseen results. Other problems I had but were in the background are now more prominent simply because there's more time to think about them and more time-opportunity for them to come calling and appearing to need immediate attention.

On the other hand, while I haven't solved (yet) these other problems, I am identifying them and making progress on at least how I deal with them.

@fireonmymind Thanks, I'll tech out that TED talk now.

fireonmymind

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2020, 12:47:04 PM »
But goal-setting is an empty practise, unless it is deeply informed by purpose. No one can really tell you what      your purpose is, and it may take some quiet listening for a time to get other people's shit out of your head so you can hear your own heart.

Agree, goal setting is just a tool to train your discipline. What we're trying to achieve is the main thing. But yes, I have a lot of other people's shit in my head and I definitely look forward to having more time to work it out once I downshift/RE.


This is the concerning part for me. Retiring doesn't free you from anything other than having to work. If there's more in your life that you want freedom from, then that points to a bigger issue in terms of your happiness and life satisfaction.

Fantastic point! It's one of those things that seem like it should be obvious, but I hadn't thought of it that way until you so succinctly stated it. That pretty much encapsulates much of the adjustment challenges of FIRE for me.

And that has unforeseen results. Other problems I had but were in the background are now more prominent simply because there's more time to think about them and more time-opportunity for them to come calling and appearing to need immediate attention.

On the other hand, while I haven't solved (yet) these other problems, I am identifying them and making progress on at least how I deal with them.

@fireonmymind Thanks, I'll tech out that TED talk now.

Hope you get something out of the TED talk. Btw, thank you for sharing your experience. I would love to learn more about the problems and how you're working on them (or worked it out if already).

fireonmymind

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #31 on: February 18, 2020, 01:27:45 PM »
It is in your head and you don't need to work anything out right now. In fact, it's impossible to make future decisions today, we all think we can, but we can't.

If after some decompression, your future self suddenly gets inspiration about what she wants to do, that's what she'll do. You actually have zero say in the matter.

I have a full time working spouse who will continue to work for the next 12 years at least. Sure, that rules out living like a nomad, or moving to another country, but I don't put much energy into focusing on what I can't do. I can't become a professional ballet dancer either, but I don't stress too much about that.

Re: freedom
This is the concerning part for me. Retiring doesn't free you from anything other than having to work. If there's more in your life that you want freedom from, then that points to a bigger issue in terms of your happiness and life satisfaction.

Also, having enough hobbies to fill your time is not the same as having a rich and full life.

Instead of fixating on what you are going to do, I recommend introspecting on your present and working on why it isn't fulfilling you.

I might not be fully understanding your comment here (non-native English speaker). Are you saying, ignore it and let time figure it out?

The freedom I was referring to has a lot to do with our work. Our jobs allow some flexibility but we work with team members around the globe with different time zones and at times, require jumping to things asap. This creates anxiety for me. I've been working on it and I've gotten a lot better compared to years ago but I really don't like having to be on call. It is one of the reasons I wanted to get FI asap (not necessarily RE). We also have senior dog I would love to spend more time with but work often times get in the way (meetings, calls, etc). Just like BigMoneyJim, I'm sure I have other underlying issues that are buried under all those work related issues and stress I'm dealing with and working on and they might surface later on but right now, my main issues are my work. You seem to get the impression that I don't have a fulfilled life. Can you elaborate which part of what I said gives you the impression? (serious question).

Malkynn

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #32 on: February 19, 2020, 04:39:42 AM »
It is in your head and you don't need to work anything out right now. In fact, it's impossible to make future decisions today, we all think we can, but we can't.

If after some decompression, your future self suddenly gets inspiration about what she wants to do, that's what she'll do. You actually have zero say in the matter.

I have a full time working spouse who will continue to work for the next 12 years at least. Sure, that rules out living like a nomad, or moving to another country, but I don't put much energy into focusing on what I can't do. I can't become a professional ballet dancer either, but I don't stress too much about that.

Re: freedom
This is the concerning part for me. Retiring doesn't free you from anything other than having to work. If there's more in your life that you want freedom from, then that points to a bigger issue in terms of your happiness and life satisfaction.

Also, having enough hobbies to fill your time is not the same as having a rich and full life.

Instead of fixating on what you are going to do, I recommend introspecting on your present and working on why it isn't fulfilling you.

I might not be fully understanding your comment here (non-native English speaker). Are you saying, ignore it and let time figure it out?

The freedom I was referring to has a lot to do with our work. Our jobs allow some flexibility but we work with team members around the globe with different time zones and at times, require jumping to things asap. This creates anxiety for me. I've been working on it and I've gotten a lot better compared to years ago but I really don't like having to be on call. It is one of the reasons I wanted to get FI asap (not necessarily RE). We also have senior dog I would love to spend more time with but work often times get in the way (meetings, calls, etc). Just like BigMoneyJim, I'm sure I have other underlying issues that are buried under all those work related issues and stress I'm dealing with and working on and they might surface later on but right now, my main issues are my work. You seem to get the impression that I don't have a fulfilled life. Can you elaborate which part of what I said gives you the impression? (serious question).

"The problem is, after I realized we can actually quit the rat race, I feel... sorta empty. It was quite anti climax. I worked so hard to get here and now I am here, is that it? What's next? What do I do now? What do I want to achieve after this? I feel a little lost and without direction."

Fulfillment doesn't mean sense of accomplishment or anything along those lines, it means being happy and at peace with your current life, which you clearly aren't.

From your OP and your statements about your job, to me, these are not the sentiments of someone who is truly getting the most out of their life, this sounds to me like something is missing, especially paired with a larger pull towards some vague sense of constrained future freedom.

I'm not suggesting your life isn't full and rich, I don't know you at all, but I am rather confident that you do not sound like the people I know who would describe themselves as living their best lives.

Your work definitely seems to be a barrier to living your best life, but it's very very important to distinguish the difference between removing barriers to happiness and actually building happiness.

Having a barrier in the way of your best life is like having a broken leg in the way of exercising. Getting rid of the cast doesn't suddenly make you fit, it just allows you to start doing the work of becoming fit.

I'm not saying to ignore anything, but I am saying that you cannot know what it will feel like to have all of these obligation barriers out of your way, so don't try to micro manage your future self.

What you may need to do is take some time to get to know who you are without all of these pressures in the way. If you can't anticipate what a jobless version of yourself would thrive doing, then you don't actually really know that version of yourself very well. Give her some space to develop into what and who she is and don't try to pre-strangle her with expectations.

I can firmly say that who we are while living lives that aren't right for us is very different from who we are when we are living our best lives.

Only unmet needs are motivating, and when you have enormous external pressures creating endless unmet needs, it's impossible to even hear what your own internal priorities are above the roar of priorities thrust upon you.

Basically, you can't even hear your own core needs while other louder needs are in the way.

Without all of these external pressures, you may stay more or less the same, but you may end up like some of us, wildly different from who you thought you were once you finally have the psychological quiet to hear your own core needs.



infromsea

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #33 on: February 19, 2020, 10:51:44 AM »
This conversation/thread has been on my mind a lot lately.

Interestingly enough, I'm reading a autobiography of Andre Aggasi, like him or not (I'm agnostic to him/tennis) he really spills his guts and inner dialog in the book.

He writes about becoming the number one ranked tennis player in the world and what he felt... nothing, he says he felt nothing. He knew he was SUPPOSED to feel something, but he didn't, he felt no different from the day before (sound familiar?). I'm not finished with the book, will finish it up later today, but it's a great read so far, the contrast between what was going on in his head (A STORMY love hate relationship with tennis) and what the public saw going on, several life lessons in a fairly straight-forward tale.

Omy

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2020, 02:35:17 PM »
I was also concerned about what I would do with my newly found freedom. I wanted answers before we took the leap...but it doesn't work that way. It's only been 6 months, and I still don't have all the answers.

Every day I try to accomplish something (organize, optimize, clean, create). I try to do something fun (read, play, socialize, travel). Every day I try to do something healthy (walk, work out, hike, kayak, swim). And every day I try to eat well.

This creates a basic framework for my day. When I'm at a loss, I go to my list of options and pick one.

This has worked well (so far) and I feel like we've decompressed pretty well. Our days are getting fuller and I feel content most of the time.

It really is the journey and not the destination that counts here.

Life in Balance

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #35 on: February 19, 2020, 03:37:51 PM »
Every day I try to accomplish something (organize, optimize, clean, create). I try to do something fun (read, play, socialize, travel). Every day I try to do something healthy (walk, work out, hike, kayak, swim). And every day I try to eat well.

Thanks for sharing this!  I really like this way of setting a "schedule" during the first months of decompression. 

fireonmymind

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2020, 09:41:09 PM »
"The problem is, after I realized we can actually quit the rat race, I feel... sorta empty. It was quite anti climax. I worked so hard to get here and now I am here, is that it? What's next? What do I do now? What do I want to achieve after this? I feel a little lost and without direction."

Fulfillment doesn't mean sense of accomplishment or anything along those lines, it means being happy and at peace with your current life, which you clearly aren't.

From your OP and your statements about your job, to me, these are not the sentiments of someone who is truly getting the most out of their life, this sounds to me like something is missing, especially paired with a larger pull towards some vague sense of constrained future freedom.

I'm not suggesting your life isn't full and rich, I don't know you at all, but I am rather confident that you do not sound like the people I know who would describe themselves as living their best lives.

Your work definitely seems to be a barrier to living your best life, but it's very very important to distinguish the difference between removing barriers to happiness and actually building happiness.

Having a barrier in the way of your best life is like having a broken leg in the way of exercising. Getting rid of the cast doesn't suddenly make you fit, it just allows you to start doing the work of becoming fit.

I'm not saying to ignore anything, but I am saying that you cannot know what it will feel like to have all of these obligation barriers out of your way, so don't try to micro manage your future self.

What you may need to do is take some time to get to know who you are without all of these pressures in the way. If you can't anticipate what a jobless version of yourself would thrive doing, then you don't actually really know that version of yourself very well. Give her some space to develop into what and who she is and don't try to pre-strangle her with expectations.

I can firmly say that who we are while living lives that aren't right for us is very different from who we are when we are living our best lives.

Only unmet needs are motivating, and when you have enormous external pressures creating endless unmet needs, it's impossible to even hear what your own internal priorities are above the roar of priorities thrust upon you.

Basically, you can't even hear your own core needs while other louder needs are in the way.

Without all of these external pressures, you may stay more or less the same, but you may end up like some of us, wildly different from who you thought you were once you finally have the psychological quiet to hear your own core needs.

Perhaps it's the poor choice of words, but I really meant career/financial wise when I said sorta empty and a little lost. Regarding being happy and at peace, well it really depends. If you ask me on a weekend, the answer is generally yes. If you ask me during weekdays, then the answer would vary. But I tend to push my limits often and see how much more I can go. I suppose that is the same as being unhappy and not at peace.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2020, 12:04:27 AM by fireonmymind »

fireonmymind

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2020, 10:13:08 PM »
This conversation/thread has been on my mind a lot lately.

Interestingly enough, I'm reading a autobiography of Andre Aggasi, like him or not (I'm agnostic to him/tennis) he really spills his guts and inner dialog in the book.

He writes about becoming the number one ranked tennis player in the world and what he felt... nothing, he says he felt nothing. He knew he was SUPPOSED to feel something, but he didn't, he felt no different from the day before (sound familiar?).

That sounds like a very interesting read. I would love to hear more about his thoughts on the bolded part above if you don't mind.


I was also concerned about what I would do with my newly found freedom. I wanted answers before we took the leap...but it doesn't work that way. It's only been 6 months, and I still don't have all the answers.

Every day I try to accomplish something (organize, optimize, clean, create). I try to do something fun (read, play, socialize, travel). Every day I try to do something healthy (walk, work out, hike, kayak, swim). And every day I try to eat well.

This creates a basic framework for my day. When I'm at a loss, I go to my list of options and pick one.

This has worked well (so far) and I feel like we've decompressed pretty well. Our days are getting fuller and I feel content most of the time.

It really is the journey and not the destination that counts here.

That's awesome to hear. Since your DH is also retired (if I'm not mistaken), do you do the activities together or separate?
I might have more questions for you but I'll post them on your thread.

Regarding getting all the answers before taking the leap, it's a habit I've been keeping all these time. I've successfully made other people's expectation of me become my expectation of me. Still working on reversing this programming but it's a work in progress and I starting to understand that it's okay to not have everything figured out right away. But I enjoy exploring the possible outcomes though.

xbdb

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #38 on: February 19, 2020, 10:23:38 PM »
This conversation/thread has been on my mind a lot lately.

Interestingly enough, I'm reading a autobiography of Andre Aggasi, like him or not (I'm agnostic to him/tennis) he really spills his guts and inner dialog in the book.

He writes about becoming the number one ranked tennis player in the world and what he felt... nothing, he says he felt nothing. He knew he was SUPPOSED to feel something, but he didn't, he felt no different from the day before (sound familiar?). I'm not finished with the book, will finish it up later today, but it's a great read so far, the contrast between what was going on in his head (A STORMY love hate relationship with tennis) and what the public saw going on, several life lessons in a fairly straight-forward tale.

There is a great video by the Southpark guys on a talk by Alan Watts that addresses this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERbvKrH-GC4

The secret of happiness is living in the NOW and being content and appreciative of what you have. The famous Chinese Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu said it best: He who knows enough is enough will always have enough.

infromsea

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #39 on: February 20, 2020, 07:01:55 AM »
Great link, thanks xbdb!

I often enjoy the work of Alan Watts others and the TAO is well worth the time one spends studying it.

Brother Esau

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #40 on: February 20, 2020, 07:56:45 AM »
After reading this thread, i am now looking forward to being "lost" after reaching FIRE. Kind of like when i'm on my bike and i find some new trails that I've never been on. Maybe not totally lost but exciting to not really know where I'm heading.

SugarMountain

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #41 on: February 20, 2020, 10:07:07 AM »
The problem is, after I realized we can actually quit the rat race, I feel... sorta empty. It was quite anti climax. I worked so hard to get here and now I am here, is that it? What's next? What do I do now? What do I want to achieve after this? I feel a little lost and without direction.

Totally can relate.  I definitely felt this when I hit FI and realized could walk away.  Eventually, I did.  But they talked me into staying.  18 months later I'm still here and wondering why, but I haven't pulled the trigger again.

I'll second (or third or fifth) the Dr. Doom blog recommendation, especially https://livingafi.com/2015/01/20/midlife-fi-sis/.  I should go re-read it myself.  This section especially hit home.  It's like he was in my head:
Quote
I havenít done anything with my life.  And Iím too old to do much else.  Iíve done what I needed to do, no more, no less.  I havenít reached for anything other than becoming financially stable.  Iím a goddamned coward. 

A long time ago I thought maybe Iíd be something special.  Maybe Iíd create something that made other people happy.  But Iím not.  Just another aging drone in IT/Software Engineering. 

And I donít know how to transition from my current life to the next one. I know I donít have to work anymore, but I havenít done anything to create the new reality.

The logistics are fuzzy.  Sure, Iím worth a lot, but I donít know how to convert my current asset sheet into income that I can live on.

And even if I figure out how to do that, I just donít know what comes next.  Sometimes I think itíd be easier just to sleepwalk through the next twenty or thirty years, working, doing what everyone else is doing, and just saying fuck it to this whole dream.

I can just retire at 65, when itís not a surprise for anyone.  When my story has already been written.  When expectations for the rest of my existence are low, and nobody ó including me ó gives a flying fuck about what the hell Iím doing. 

Then I can just retire and wait to die, like normal people do.

keyvaluepair

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #42 on: February 20, 2020, 10:11:43 AM »
I'll leave you with a poem by Kurt Vonnegut about Joseph Heller (Catch 22) that was published in the New Yorker:
==
Joe Heller
True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.
I said, ďJoe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel ĎCatch-22í
has earned in its entire history?Ē
And Joe said, ďIíve got something he can never have.Ē
And I said, ďWhat on earth could that be, Joe?Ē
And Joe said, ďThe knowledge that Iíve got enough.Ē
Not bad! Rest in peace!Ē
ó Kurt Vonnegut


This poem was quoted by John Bogle in his book: "Enough". Like Brother Esau, I'm a cyclist and the journey is the destination. 

lutorm

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #43 on: February 20, 2020, 11:50:02 AM »
"The problem is, after I realized we can actually quit the rat race, I feel... sorta empty. It was quite anti climax. I worked so hard to get here and now I am here, is that it? What's next? What do I do now? What do I want to achieve after this? I feel a little lost and without direction."

Fulfillment doesn't mean sense of accomplishment or anything along those lines, it means being happy and at peace with your current life, which you clearly aren't.
This is a really good point. To me, it echoes the Stoic thinking that your situation in life can't prevent you from achieving tranquility, because it only depends on your values.

Being FIRE would be a "preferred indifferent" in that it's better than having to work. But in and of itself it can't bring you happiness because that comes from within. Thinking that "if only I was FIRE, then my life would be great" is really no different than thinking "if only I had a fancier house..." or other Hedonic treadmill traps.

Malkynn

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #44 on: February 21, 2020, 10:20:03 AM »
"The problem is, after I realized we can actually quit the rat race, I feel... sorta empty. It was quite anti climax. I worked so hard to get here and now I am here, is that it? What's next? What do I do now? What do I want to achieve after this? I feel a little lost and without direction."

Fulfillment doesn't mean sense of accomplishment or anything along those lines, it means being happy and at peace with your current life, which you clearly aren't.
This is a really good point. To me, it echoes the Stoic thinking that your situation in life can't prevent you from achieving tranquility, because it only depends on your values.

Being FIRE would be a "preferred indifferent" in that it's better than having to work. But in and of itself it can't bring you happiness because that comes from within. Thinking that "if only I was FIRE, then my life would be great" is really no different than thinking "if only I had a fancier house..." or other Hedonic treadmill traps.

Hmm...

That's not quite my point, I'm really very very pro removing the things from your life that are a barrier to contentment.

However, my point is that if there are barriers to contentment, it's very difficult to know what a life of content actually will feel like and what the motivations of that life will be.

It can be very dramatic how priorities and motivations change once the powerful need to remove those barriers is satisfied.

Think of it this way, a person who has always had easy access to drinking water rarely thinks about getting water, and it's never been their top priority. Meanwhile someone who has never had easy access to water may have a hard time even imagining what life is like not thinking about it every day.

lutorm

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #45 on: February 21, 2020, 01:11:05 PM »
That's not quite my point, I'm really very very pro removing the things from your life that are a barrier to contentment.

However, my point is that if there are barriers to contentment, it's very difficult to know what a life of content actually will feel like and what the motivations of that life will be.

It can be very dramatic how priorities and motivations change once the powerful need to remove those barriers is satisfied.

Think of it this way, a person who has always had easy access to drinking water rarely thinks about getting water, and it's never been their top priority. Meanwhile someone who has never had easy access to water may have a hard time even imagining what life is like not thinking about it every day.
I'm absolutely not saying you shouldn't change things in life that are bad. In your example, the person without access to water should obviously work to change that. But that's not the same as going around thinking your life is miserable and only if you had water would it be good. That will only make you more miserable, because now, in addition to not having water, you're also focusing on how bad your life is because you don't have it. There's no contradiction between working to change things that are objectively bad and simultaneously refusing to let them interrupt your tranquility. Negative visualization absolutely works as a means of learning to focus on the good things in your life rather than the bad.

I firmly believe people living in caves 50,000 years ago were not constantly miserable, even though their material standards, life expectancy, etc, were by our standards absolutely terrible. This should be a clear sign that happiness is not dependent on some threshold of external circumstances.

pecunia

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #46 on: February 21, 2020, 05:34:45 PM »
Would putting yourself under deliberate hardship cause a greater appreciation of what you have?

Would that, in turn, lead to a greater possibility of being content?

BigMoneyJim

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #47 on: February 21, 2020, 05:52:35 PM »
Would putting yourself under deliberate hardship cause a greater appreciation of what you have?

Would that, in turn, lead to a greater possibility of being content?

Maybe?

I had no idea how good I had it as a kid until my parents divorced and other events severely asked my lifestyle.

Stretching the idea a bit, I made it a priority in 2001-2005 to become debt free, so I was in a slight relative"hardship" those years. It was hard to adjust back to spending more at first.

I'm lost more in my own experiences than the thread right now, but maybe it's a matter of learning what is lastingly important to you and what is fleeting interest without long term value.

infromsea

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #48 on: February 21, 2020, 06:28:15 PM »
This conversation/thread has been on my mind a lot lately.

Interestingly enough, I'm reading a autobiography of Andre Aggasi, like him or not (I'm agnostic to him/tennis) he really spills his guts and inner dialog in the book.

He writes about becoming the number one ranked tennis player in the world and what he felt... nothing, he says he felt nothing. He knew he was SUPPOSED to feel something, but he didn't, he felt no different from the day before (sound familiar?).

That sounds like a very interesting read. I would love to hear more about his thoughts on the bolded part above if you don't mind.

Sorry I'm just getting back to responding to you.

Andre initially hated tennis. His father forced it upon him (like Tiger Woods and MANY other big sports names).

He played his best and eventually it became clear that he was headed for a #1 ranking, but that was never his personal goal, it wasn't why he was playing tennis. From what I could gather, he didn't know WHY he was playing tennis after a certain point, he started out playing because his father made him but once he got old enough to walk away, he couldn't because he dropped out of school (I think in the 9th grade) and didn't have many skills other than tennis.

So, he put his head down and played his best and enjoyed the benefits (including drugs/alcohol etc.). BUT, when the rankings came out, showing him as #1, it didn't impact him, he was empty and didn't "get" anything from the ranking. He was lost and searching at the time, the number one ranking was big for his dad, his coach, his entourage and he felt like it was supposed to mean something to him but it didn't, it didn't full-fill him, he felt no different from the day prior, he wasn't excited/pleased/nothing. It wasn't until later in life when he started a school in a poor neighborhood in LA, and began playing to make money to support that school and his charity, that tennis began to mean anything to him.

The lesson I took away was that if YOU are not invested in a goal, if it REALLY doesn't speak to you, achieving it may not lead to a sense of accomplishment. Example, where did each of us "get" our desire to FIRE? I got mine from reading "Your money or your life" 15 years ago. MMM and others have helped me along the path but the drive, the desire, etc. came from inside. Now, paying off the mortgage, that wasn't really "from" me, so I eventually decided to chill out on that goal, had I reached it, I am sure that I would not have felt anything AND, even if it had been due to an internal goal etc. even then, the day after we pay off our mortgage, it won't be much different. I think the same goes for the day you reach a 100,000, the day you reach 1MIL, the day you become debt free etc. If it's not YOUR goal, and you've taken it on as a result of society, a blog post, a website, a neighbor, a parent, etc. etc. etc. then "reaching it" is going to leave you feeling less fulfilled than you might think.

I'm rambling (red wine with dinner) so I'll shut up now. Feel free to ask questions or point out areas I can clarify.

Regards,

Tim

Trudie

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Re: Feeling Lost
« Reply #49 on: February 24, 2020, 09:57:28 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.