Author Topic: My FI Fears  (Read 16155 times)

NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
My FI Fears
« on: February 10, 2015, 05:08:15 AM »
I figured this would be a good place to query since there are so many FIRE'ers here, many of whom are really content and well-adjusted to their new (or not so new) lives.

Being in the military, I've had times where I'm working 12-15 hours 6-7 days/week and others where I'm putting in maybe 10 hours per week. Right now I'm in a low work cycle, although I'm technically studying to do international diplomacy. September-October of last year I had literally nothing to do for two months (nor did my wife), other than move out of the apartment and plan for the "deployment" and her corresponding move.

So, I know a little bit about how I react to having a bunch of free time.

What I've found is that during those times that I have lower responsibility, I'm far less happy. The only exception was a job I held for about a year where I worked my butt off to try to fix a broken organization and only my boss and deputy believed in what we were doing (the troops didn't, nor did the commander).

I basically find myself playing a bunch of video games, eating worse, exercising less, etc. Basically the opposite of what one would logically expect to happen (or maybe the increase in video games could be expected). The free time kind of drowns me and I even feel constrained by my reduced responsibilities. For example, I couldn't drive to LA to see a friend for a week because I had things to do on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. OR other people weren't on the same schedule.

It leads to borderline depression, arguments with the wife, lower sex drive (and thus more arguments), and general malaise/discontentment.

Does anyone have any experience with these emotions? Maybe you didn't have exactly the same problems, but perhaps they were similar? Can you tell me about what you went through? Do you have any advice?

People who haven't experienced this are welcome to chime in if you feel like you can help out.

PS It is totally possible that I didn't experience what I'd experience in FIRE because I still had the external constraint of the military. Obviously that affects my behavior and freedom. So, perhaps I didn't have truly "free time" and thus the emotions aren't directly applicable. Regardless, I can't create the completely free FIRE situation to test it out yet, so I must work with the emotions/experiences I've already had.

PPS I know FIRE doesn't mean I can't work. I don't know if I'd want to work or not, but if I did I'd want to give back somehow. Maybe teaching at a community college or something...I don't know.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 05:57:12 AM by NICE! »

the_gastropod

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 334
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2015, 05:44:24 AM »
This is a pretty common question I hear. Financial independence does not mean you have to do nothing. It means you are free to do as you please (which includes keeping a job). If you enjoy work, keep doing it! It will be so much more satasfying when you don't actually NEED the job. In that position, your employer relationship shifts dramatically.

NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2015, 05:58:36 AM »
This is a pretty common question I hear. Financial independence does not mean you have to do nothing. It means you are free to do as you please (which includes keeping a job). If you enjoy work, keep doing it! It will be so much more satasfying when you don't actually NEED the job. In that position, your employer relationship shifts dramatically.

Yes, I know. I'm sorry for not being clearer - what I'm demonstrating is what I actually end up doing when I have a bunch of free time...nothing, or perhaps it'd be better to say things that don't make me happy. As for work right now, I'm good with it because I'm transitioning to a different job within the military. I'll fulfill my committment from that and then see how we feel about things.

Gray Matter

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3633
  • Location: Midwest
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2015, 06:06:30 AM »
I don't have anything constructive to add, but I am following along with great interest, because I experience free time the exact same way.  I like the way you phrased it, that it kind of drowns you.  I keep hoping that I feel that way only because I'm so exhausted from times when I have to be highly productive, so collapsing into a state of torpor is the natural consequence of that, but I suspect it's a personality thing, that I need structure and external expectations in order to get my butt off the couch.

So, I fully expect early FIRE to be challenging for me and for there to be a period of time where I'm wasting a lot of time doing nothing and not feeling particularly happy about it.  But I'm also looking forward to the challenge of finding a new way of being, a way forward, and a way to put some self-imposed structure in my world and explore internal rewards instead of relying on external ones.

odput

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 419
  • Age: 36
  • "I reject your reality and substitute my own"
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2015, 07:11:51 AM »
I am experiencing something like this right now (slow work) and also a few summers ago was laid off and out of work for about 3 months.  I can say with great certainty that I am more miserable now than I was when I was completely unemployed.  The "occasional attachment" of slow work does in fact stop you from doing some of the things you want to do because you have a few things you have to do, which you touched on in your OP.  When I was completely free of commitment (unemployed) I found I did the things I wanted much more...I exercised more often, rode my bike to the library, did projects around the house, etc.  When your time is not completely free, you tend to use the things you have to do as an excuse to not do the things you want to do.

So in this particular situation, I wouldn't think a part time job would help you...in fact it may be the exact opposite!  Rather than waking up and saying "I want to do X today" every day, some (or most) days you will end up thinking "I have to go to work from XX:XX to XX:XX.  How will I fill in the hours before and after that?"  This "fill time" is when I find myself watching movies I have already seen, playing video games, and generally being unproductive.  When my schedule is completely empty is when I found myself doing the constructive things that I wanted to do.

This is my experience...YMMV of course


james2code

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2015, 07:49:39 AM »
Yes, I have been through that on and off.  I semi-retired last summer and sometimes find myself somewhat depressed with the extra time.  At the heart of it for me is that my motivation all these years has been to work because I felt like I had too.  It's basically a fear motivator that if you do not work you will not be able to provide for your family.  Once that motivator is removed or partially removed, it can be hard to get yourself motivated at times.  For me, I am trying to transition to being passion motivated.  However, I'm naturally lazy and a good procrastinator.  It's a work in process trying to be and feel productive.

NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2015, 01:46:27 PM »
I like the way you phrased it, that it kind of drowns you.

...I suspect it's a personality thing, that I need structure and external expectations in order to get my butt off the couch.

I absolutely need structure and external requirements/checks on my behavior. I'm in the same boat here.

I am experiencing something like this right now (slow work) and also a few summers ago was laid off and out of work for about 3 months.  I can say with great certainty that I am more miserable now than I was when I was completely unemployed.  The "occasional attachment" of slow work does in fact stop you from doing some of the things you want to do because you have a few things you have to do, which you touched on in your OP.  When I was completely free of commitment (unemployed) I found I did the things I wanted much more...I exercised more often, rode my bike to the library, did projects around the house, etc.  When your time is not completely free, you tend to use the things you have to do as an excuse to not do the things you want to do.

So in this particular situation, I wouldn't think a part time job would help you...in fact it may be the exact opposite!  Rather than waking up and saying "I want to do X today" every day, some (or most) days you will end up thinking "I have to go to work from XX:XX to XX:XX.  How will I fill in the hours before and after that?"  This "fill time" is when I find myself watching movies I have already seen, playing video games, and generally being unproductive.  When my schedule is completely empty is when I found myself doing the constructive things that I wanted to do.

I don't know if I agree on the completely empty point, but I am in total agreement on how the little work requirements provide just enough constraints to make me not do things I want to do or should do.

Does anyone else have any thoughts? It has been a bunch of people agreeing so far - is there anyone who can give use some advice based upon experience/psychology?

SCUBAstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1138
  • Age: 36
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2015, 07:54:18 PM »
I'm following this thread with interest as I have very similar fears, which helps motivate OMY syndrome as well which I think will be an issue for me.

I'm actually in the midst of a 3 week break from work right now, which is awesome, but I'm having similar issues with the vast amount of unstructured time. My leave was sort of short notice so I didn't make grand plans, but each day I vacillate between enjoying the relaxation to anxiety about not being productive enough! And, of course, the looming dread that I will be heading back to work before the month is over.  I imagine for real ER there is a several month adjustment period as you reclaim your life.

I really need to force some structure on myself, though this is easier said than done!  Perhaps a mandatory workout (outside the house) would help?  It improves my mood 100% and even then I STILL don't always do it. Going to the library helps me too. It's been a struggle to find activities that don't involve spending money, especially in the winter when I don't feel like biking or jogging in the cold every day.  I think some sort of volunteer activity will be central to my ER plan.

As much as I want to be out of the rat race losing that part of my identity and not having a place to go every day is still a bit scary to me. But it's becoming less so.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2204
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2015, 08:27:02 PM »
I don't have these fears about my time while FIRE'd. My fears would be more along the lines of not feeling a sense of purpose.

I love unstructured time and feel I can get more done with that type of lifestyle. Like others say, if I have a one hour appointment in the morning then something similar in the afternoon, well then I will just waste the time in between because I would feel it's not worth doing something knowing I'd have to end it soon. I hate having my time split up in spurts like that. I'd much rather get everything done in the morning, or afternoon, and then have a solid chunk of unstructured time.

If I had a part-time job during FIRE, I'd either like it to be to work during a season and have the rest of the time off, or work a few days a week and have the rest of the week off. If I worked 4 hours a day, then I might was well work full-time as far as getting other stuff done during the day.

I can see feeling a little aimless without a sense of purpose. Purpose could be getting myself healthy, training for a big athletic event, planning a fun trip, volunteering or working with children and other such noble things. But, while FIREd, I'd want them as a seasonal or whole day thing like I mentioned above. Then I can have some unstructured me time for tidying up around the house and for my creative pursuits or long walks, etc.

lizzie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 174
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2015, 04:53:39 AM »
I share many of the same fears. I think what it might come down to is cultivating new habits so you don't wind up just laying around all day. MMM touched a little on the psychology of this and mentioned a few books on it in this post: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/03/19/a-lifetime-of-riches-is-it-as-simple-as-a-few-habits/

Jon_Snow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4174
  • Location: An Island in the Salish Sea (or Baja)
  • I am no man’s chair.
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2015, 08:18:27 AM »
As hard as I've tried....I still cannot wrap my head around the "What will I do all day?" posts. This could not be any different from own experience. But I do realize it is a real "thing" for a lot of folks who are contemplating FIRE.

Spare time was always at a premium during my work career, but I was determined to develop my hobbies and interests AWAY from work. On weekend and holidays I would do my best enjoy these things - albeit in disappointingly short doses. Now with the work shackles removed, I am free to enjoy these things to their maximum potential - this is the culmination of a long term plan. It is simply WONDERFUL.

I think it's only sensible that potential FIRE'ees develop well rounded, activity filled lives separate from their jobs. I think it's probably better for many to keep working longer than to retire with no real idea of how they are going to fill their days...

NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2015, 10:20:49 AM »
Jon, thanks for your thoughts. I think that is good advice but I don't think it speaks to the psychology well. You have a hard time wrapping your head around ou problem and I have a hard time wrapping my head around how people live without external structures.

Part of it is the military thing, but I think that just displayed my psyche - it didn't develop it.

Mr.Chipper77

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2015, 11:53:17 AM »
I can relate to what the op is saying 100%. I for several years was not working by choice thinking it was the thing for me but everyday I seemed to say tomorrow I am going to start doing this this and this and spent most of the day on the couch. But I went back to work and though while I don't like it I like how I feel better than I did feeling guilty everyday on the couch! I think I will need to set up something with more structure when I go back to not working first. But all the symptoms op had/felt I was in the same boat. And one other caveat I was in the military as well, but along time ago.

pdxbator

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 229
  • Location: Portland, Oregon
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2015, 03:44:26 PM »
I'm very interested in replies to this as well. I think this is one reason why I keep on with OMY. My job is OK but it adds a lot of stress to my life. I know there are studies out there that people who work actually have an increased life span, but the stress from working with cancer patients (I'm in health care) is tough on my psyche.

But then if I had Sunday through Saturday completely free I think that I would be able to do some of the things that I have been wanting to do forever. I haven't done a driving trip in ages. I've never been to the Grand Canyon etc. Then I could finally get to the gym more than twice a week.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2204
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2015, 08:53:06 PM »
I can relate to what the op is saying 100%. I for several years was not working by choice thinking it was the thing for me but everyday I seemed to say tomorrow I am going to start doing this this and this and spent most of the day on the couch. But I went back to work and though while I don't like it I like how I feel better than I did feeling guilty everyday on the couch! I think I will need to set up something with more structure when I go back to not working first. But all the symptoms op had/felt I was in the same boat. And one other caveat I was in the military as well, but along time ago.
Just like any other pursuit in life, you need to find ways to motivate yourself to do them. Finding the disciple to get up, get out, go do, and achieve is just as important in ER as it is when working if you have things you want to accomplish in life. I have a highly structured (self structured) life and am even more driven to succeed in the ER things I do then when OI was working - mainly because I feel more impetus to want to achieve those things because I really really love them  and want to excel. So if there are things you really want to achieve, you just need to find the same drive and motivation to get off the couch and do them as you have all your working/schooling life.

It could be the difference between internally and externally focused people. Internally focused people don't need external factors to validate themselves.
http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/extraversion-or-introversion.htm

I'm a mix of both types. For my internally focused activities, I need ample amounts of unstructured time. This is something that's hard to do while working full time and spending most of the weekend catching up on chores, family responsibilities, and keeping the social life active. This is why I would like to FIRE so I can focus on these activities which take a back seat in my non-FIREd life.

For my externally focused needs, work may provide some of this, but I feel as I get older that the externally focused activities I'd like to get more involved with have little to do with work. I can get this plenty with my social circles, volunteer efforts, participating in sporting events, planning travel. So, again, my non-FIREd life forces me to spend too much time in externally focused activities I have less and less interest in as the years go on...plus lack of variety being forced in similar activities from Monday to Friday. So I am out of energy to do the stuff I really want to do.

I'm finding I have less and less motivation to get up in the morning to get myself to work. However, I'd happily get up early to go on a nice bike ride, catch a flight to go on a wonderful trip, etc. So I have the reverse fears from the OP and I keep sleeping past my alarm clock and rushing in to work. Being at work is what drains me.


NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2015, 01:45:01 AM »
It could be the difference between internally and externally focused people. Internally focused people don't need external factors to validate themselves.
http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/extraversion-or-introversion.htm

I'm a mix of both types. For my internally focused activities, I need ample amounts of unstructured time. This is something that's hard to do while working full time and spending most of the weekend catching up on chores, family responsibilities, and keeping the social life active. This is why I would like to FIRE so I can focus on these activities which take a back seat in my non-FIREd life.

For my externally focused needs, work may provide some of this, but I feel as I get older that the externally focused activities I'd like to get more involved with have little to do with work. I can get this plenty with my social circles, volunteer efforts, participating in sporting events, planning travel. So, again, my non-FIREd life forces me to spend too much time in externally focused activities I have less and less interest in as the years go on...plus lack of variety being forced in similar activities from Monday to Friday. So I am out of energy to do the stuff I really want to do.

I'm finding I have less and less motivation to get up in the morning to get myself to work. However, I'd happily get up early to go on a nice bike ride, catch a flight to go on a wonderful trip, etc. So I have the reverse fears from the OP and I keep sleeping past my alarm clock and rushing in to work. Being at work is what drains me.

Daisy...

YES!

I am an ENTJ...And I'm very extroverted (90% I think). Maybe what you and others are trying to say to me is that I need to find other external structures/systems of validation? I just don't know what those are since my social circle is pretty much based upon military friends and/or other people with 9-5 jobs. Is it just a matter of building a new circle when FIRE?

spartana...the lake analogy is a good one, but for me it would simply be a race of some kind that would motivate me. Anyone could just go run 26.1 miles, but why do so many run an official marathon race?

Gray Matter

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3633
  • Location: Midwest
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2015, 06:25:29 AM »
It could be the difference between internally and externally focused people. Internally focused people don't need external factors to validate themselves.
http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/extraversion-or-introversion.htm

I'm a mix of both types. For my internally focused activities, I need ample amounts of unstructured time. This is something that's hard to do while working full time and spending most of the weekend catching up on chores, family responsibilities, and keeping the social life active. This is why I would like to FIRE so I can focus on these activities which take a back seat in my non-FIREd life.

For my externally focused needs, work may provide some of this, but I feel as I get older that the externally focused activities I'd like to get more involved with have little to do with work. I can get this plenty with my social circles, volunteer efforts, participating in sporting events, planning travel. So, again, my non-FIREd life forces me to spend too much time in externally focused activities I have less and less interest in as the years go on...plus lack of variety being forced in similar activities from Monday to Friday. So I am out of energy to do the stuff I really want to do.

I'm finding I have less and less motivation to get up in the morning to get myself to work. However, I'd happily get up early to go on a nice bike ride, catch a flight to go on a wonderful trip, etc. So I have the reverse fears from the OP and I keep sleeping past my alarm clock and rushing in to work. Being at work is what drains me.

Daisy...

YES!

I am an ENTJ...And I'm very extroverted (90% I think). Maybe what you and others are trying to say to me is that I need to find other external structures/systems of validation? I just don't know what those are since my social circle is pretty much based upon military friends and/or other people with 9-5 jobs. Is it just a matter of building a new circle when FIRE?

spartana...the lake analogy is a good one, but for me it would simply be a race of some kind that would motivate me. Anyone could just go run 26.1 miles, but why do so many run an official marathon race?

Such an interesting conversation!  I was an ENTJ for many, many years (now the T and the J sometimes show up as F or P).  I am extremely extroverted as well, but not very competitive (actually, I am competitive, but I hate the way it feels, so I don't compete).  For me, the only way to get me to row across that lake is for someone to come with me, so we can enjoy the journey together. 

I NEED structure, and internally-imposed structure doesn't work.  I am, apparently, not the boss of me.  So if I set a deadline, but it's mine, I know it's not real and it doesn't motivate me.  For me, it's all about other people, and that's where a job or some other external structure is helpful.

For example, when I was working on my Ph.D., I did pretty well through the coursework (and particularly well with professors who wouldn't accept late papers).  Got through exams fine by forming a study group--I didn't study at all on my own, but discussing concepts with other people was fun and was sufficient in terms of studying.  But the dissertation damn near killed me.  I just couldn't get traction, because it was a made up project that no one cared about but me (I wasn't working for any professors).  I procrastinated, made no progress, even dropped out because I just couldn't do it.

Then I did some contract work for a company and I saw an opportunity for a project, which I pitched to them and they accepted.  Now, because someone else cared, and they funded the work, I blew through it, wrote up a nice report, presented results to the executive committee...and still didn't write my dissertation.  Again, lack of external structure and expectations.

In order to actually get it done, I had to piggy-back on someone else's discipline.  A very good, very disciplined friend of mine was studying for her CFA.  We booked a room on the fourth floor of a women's club, a room with two card tables, two chairs, a lamp, and nothing else, not even internet access.  We met there at 8 am every Saturday for six months and worked silently until 4 pm, breaking only for lunch.  I never, ever in a million years would have left the house at 8 am every Saturday on my own, but because I was meeting her and didn't want to let her down, it worked.  And if she'd had a personality like mine, it never would have worked, because we would have chatted and jointly procrastinated the day away.  And if there had been any distraction at all in that room, internet access, an interesting and ever-changing street scene, a comfy couch, a magazine, anything at all, I wouldn't have finished.

And that is me--it seems almost pathological and very persistent.  It's why I've never had any interest in being a SAHM--I would be a disaster.  I piss away most weekends.  I have all kinds of ideas and projects that I want to do, but I don't.  I love scrapbooking, but only do it when I schedule time with a friend.  I never go on a walk by myself, but I will reliably meet a neighbor at 6 am every day.  That's why work works well for me, as long as there are some real deadlines and someone who cares about my productivity.  I don't need to be micromanaged, but I need that external accountability (in the case of my new job, it's the board and committees).

So why not just keep working forever?  The issue is, as I get older, I want to do my own stuff more and more.  And though the structure and external expectations work well for me, I'm tired of the majority of my energy and what discipline I do have going to work and not my personal stuff.  And, I want to see what would happen if I had long stretches of time in front of me...would I eventually find ways to take some of the energy and discipline that work requires and apply it to my own life?  Or would I just languish forever, unmotivated and depressed?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Gone Fishing

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2885
  • So Close went fishing on April 1, 2016
    • Journal
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2015, 02:52:06 PM »
I've certainly piddled away my fair share of free time when there were great things to be done.  Something about the looming "effort" to come makes me want to "rest up" when I would be better served by just doing what I want.   

AllieVaulter

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 304
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2015, 03:57:07 PM »
NICE! I find myself similarly bogged down when I get time off.  I'll spend 3 days straight in my pajamas and read all day long.  So when I get breaks, I try to impose some structure on them.  I'll give myself a day to read.  But I'll also make sure I have a list of things to do.  Fixing stuff up around the house, errands to run, hikes to take, etc. 

I would say you need a mission statement for your FIRE.  What places do you want to travel to?  What do you want to fix/build?  Where do you want to volunteer?  What physical activities do you want to do (ie climb Mt Hood, or run a marathon, or even something like take one hike a week)?  How do you want to better yourself (take classes, start gardening, learn to cook Thai food)?  Who do you want to catch up with (old friends from HS, college, military)? 

The goal isn't necessarily to pack your day full, but just to get a frame-work.  A balance between leisure and activity.  As I said, I'm a list person.  I've got a bucket list, a list of important things that need to happen over the next 6 months, and a list of things to do within the next few days.  I'm not FIRE, but I know I'll have to continue my lists at least somewhat if I'm to resist turning into a pajama monster when I do FIRE. 

RootofGood

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1361
  • Age: 41
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Retired at age 33. 5 years in, still loving it!
    • Root of Good
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2015, 05:01:34 PM »
My kids are your military 10 hrs/wk where you have to be there M, W, and Friday but are free 158 hours per week.  Even though I'm FIRE, I have to be awake at 7:30 every day and in bed by midnight if I want to be well rested the next day. 

I also have to pick the kids up at 2:45 to 3:15 every day (I walk to/from pickup).  And there are occasional after school fun events and playdates and dentist appointments, etc.  So I'm still tied down and somewhat inflexible about my schedule.  I can hang out with my buddies all day and work on our cars or go hiking or whatever, but I have to figure out what's going on with the 2 year old (drop off at Grandma's house?  let him tag along?).  And my "all day" is basically 8:30 to 2:45 since I have to drop off and pick up the older kids. 

I can't just decide I want to drive to Alaska tomorrow and pack a bookbag tonight and head out as soon as the sun rises.  Maybe in 16 years. 

So I kind of get what you mean about having obligations.  You might still have them in FIRE but you make the most of life.  Adding in a full time work schedule certainly made my life more hectic and stressful compared to today, and I wouldn't go back without a strong financial need or unless I get really really really bored. 

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2204
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2015, 07:30:57 PM »
I am an ENTJ...And I'm very extroverted (90% I think). Maybe what you and others are trying to say to me is that I need to find other external structures/systems of validation? I just don't know what those are since my social circle is pretty much based upon military friends and/or other people with 9-5 jobs. Is it just a matter of building a new circle when FIRE?

I haven't taken the Myers-Briggs test in a long time, but from what I remember I ended up ENTP. My N and P were extremely strong. The I/E can go either way and the older I get I am getting more "F" than "T".

But man oh man, I read the description between J and P and I am most definitely a P! I just don't need all of the details or structure that the Js need. In fact, I'd find it a slow form of dying if I was forced into a J world. Thank goodness I never joined the military!

More info:
http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/judging-or-perceiving.htm

For example, using the rowing analogy, I'd be perfectly fine getting a kayak and getting on that hypothetical lake and just start paddling to see what I saw along the way. I would look at a map before to know what to expect and what kinds of turns I might want to take, but if the whole path from A to B was fixed on some kind of structure where I couldn't paddle this way or that....I might just throw myself into the water to be devoured by an alligator...(slight exaggeration on my part). And if I had to do the same route every time I went on the water, that would be torture too.

spartana...the lake analogy is a good one, but for me it would simply be a race of some kind that would motivate me. Anyone could just go run 26.1 miles, but why do so many run an official marathon race?

Ha ha...my sister has taken up running and keeps signing up for races. Once she did a half marathon in the morning and I just happened to skate about 13 miles that evening alone around my neighborhood. So when my parents called me that night and were congratulating her, I got a little sibling rivalry (even in my 40s) and said that even though I hadn't signed up for a race or anything, I also did the same distance...not withstanding the difference between running and skating and equivalent miles or anything...just the point that society seems to notice the "official race" accomplishment and not the "I did this casually on my own and no one noticed" accomplishment.

But I fall prey to this thinking too. I recently did a 7 day bike trip from one city to another which covered over 300 miles. It was hard and grueling. However, if I had done the same task riding 40-50 miles around my neighborhood for 7 days in a row...would I tell anyone about it or even think of it as a great accomplishment? It's all how you frame it in your mind.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2204
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2015, 07:36:56 PM »
NICE! I find myself similarly bogged down when I get time off.  I'll spend 3 days straight in my pajamas and read all day long.  So when I get breaks, I try to impose some structure on them.  I'll give myself a day to read.  But I'll also make sure I have a list of things to do.  Fixing stuff up around the house, errands to run, hikes to take, etc. 

I would say you need a mission statement for your FIRE.  What places do you want to travel to?  What do you want to fix/build?  Where do you want to volunteer?  What physical activities do you want to do (ie climb Mt Hood, or run a marathon, or even something like take one hike a week)?  How do you want to better yourself (take classes, start gardening, learn to cook Thai food)?  Who do you want to catch up with (old friends from HS, college, military)? 

The goal isn't necessarily to pack your day full, but just to get a frame-work.  A balance between leisure and activity.  As I said, I'm a list person.  I've got a bucket list, a list of important things that need to happen over the next 6 months, and a list of things to do within the next few days.  I'm not FIRE, but I know I'll have to continue my lists at least somewhat if I'm to resist turning into a pajama monster when I do FIRE.

Argh...what's wrong with spending 3 days in your pajamas and reading all day long?!?!? That would be heaven for me right now.

My biggest beef with "wasting time" is that I only have 2 free days on the weekends, so when I goof off I don't have time for the necessary chores in my life. It's not that I minded the goofing off, just that then the rest of my stuff piles up.

While FIREd, I wouldn't mind a few days of rest like that because I know I have the rest of the other days to do other activities.

I don't like reading in short spurts anyways, and probably one of the main reasons why I don't indulge in reading as much as I used to as a young child. I'd like to change that during FIRE.

I think the mind needs time for relaxation and these "down times" everyone seems to be complaining about here are very necessary...so think those into meditation, prayer, soul searching kinds of people.

But then I'm a P and not a J, so that's where I'm coming from...

EDIT: I just think we sometimes get too worked up about being super productive instead of just being. Maybe it's the old live-to-work vs work-to-live mentality. I guess always loafing around for your whole life is not a good thing, but a nice interspersing of productivity and reflective/lazy time is just fine by me. If anyone starts questioning my lazy ways early on in FIRE, I have a litany of accomplishments in my life I can list out to them....not the least of which was the ability to FIRE in the first place (education, work, planning, saving, extra work around the house due to frugality, etc.). No one better rain on my parade after earning it...
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 07:46:01 PM by Daisy »

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2204
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2015, 08:14:59 PM »
This exactly. My own desires to do things motivates  to...well... do them. I don't need much of an external impedus other than that. I kind of liken it to wanting to row across a lake. One person may be highly self-motivated just by the challenge to row across a lake and will make that happen. Another person may need external motivation - being chained to the gunwhales of a boat and whipped to "row, row, row" all day by a master (my lame attempt at a job analogy). If that's the case then maybe staying at a job longer is the way to go for some people.  They find satisfaction and motivation from their work and there's nothing wrong with that.

Another motivation to row across the lake is because you enjoy the scenery, want to stop in the middle of the lake in the middle of the day and enjoy the silence and hearing the sounds of nature, taking pictures because you like to take pictures not because you're going to go home and post it all over Facebook or try to sell them...you know, just being one with nature and all of that.

I think it was Jon_Snow I quoted in my intro post on this forum (not realizing at the time that he'd turn into a FIRE god and all) that he wanted to experience the little things in nature that are happening all around us all of the time but we are too busy doing other stuff to notice. Like filling out that TPS report is more rewarding than a breathtaking view, or two dolphins playing in the water, etc. I think Jon_Snow's story involved orcas...but that's not a stretch since most of his stories involve orcas.

AllieVaulter

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 304
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2015, 08:28:40 PM »
NICE! I find myself similarly bogged down when I get time off.  I'll spend 3 days straight in my pajamas and read all day long.  So when I get breaks, I try to impose some structure on them.  I'll give myself a day to read.  But I'll also make sure I have a list of things to do.  Fixing stuff up around the house, errands to run, hikes to take, etc. 

Argh...what's wrong with spending 3 days in your pajamas and reading all day long?!?!? That would be heaven for me right now.

My biggest beef with "wasting time" is that I only have 2 free days on the weekends, so when I goof off I don't have time for the necessary chores in my life. It's not that I minded the goofing off, just that then the rest of my stuff piles up.

Nothing is wrong with me spending the day in my pajamas reading!  Unless that's all I do.  Pajama days are my favorite, but I also have things that need to get done.  When I said "bogged down", it wasn't so much an emotional description as a physical.  If I'm not careful to motivate myself I'll get stuck in the inertia of reading all day because I DO enjoy it. 

For myself, I just have to be careful to find the balance of pajama days and productive days.  Otherwise, the only thing that happens is the pages of my books wearing out.  Seriously.  I've skipped meals because I didn't want to stop reading.  Or because I didn't want to go to the store to buy food for dinner. 

Jon_Snow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4174
  • Location: An Island in the Salish Sea (or Baja)
  • I am no man’s chair.
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2015, 08:52:33 PM »

I think it was Jon_Snow I quoted in my intro post on this forum (not realizing at the time that he'd turn into a FIRE god and all) that he wanted to experience the little things in nature that are happening all around us all of the time but we are too busy doing other stuff to notice. Like filling out that TPS report is more rewarding than a breathtaking view, or two dolphins playing in the water, etc. I think Jon_Snow's story involved orcas...but that's not a stretch since most of his stories involve orcas.

I plead guilty. My life is a bit orca-centric. :)

Financial.Velociraptor

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1751
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Houston TX
  • Devour your prey raptors!
    • Financial Velociraptor
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2015, 08:53:58 PM »
Except for a period a couple years ago around Christmas when I was so sick I lost 40 pounds, I have gotten dressed every morning since going FIRE.  It hasn't even been a matter of willpower.  It just feels like the 'thing to do.'   Sometimes there is "structure without structure" if you are an accounting type like me.

RootofGood

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1361
  • Age: 41
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Retired at age 33. 5 years in, still loving it!
    • Root of Good
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2015, 09:02:33 PM »
You guys wear pajamas?  So much structure in FIRE...

Sign me up for the good books though. 

KD

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • "Waste is a resource out of place."-Coors Mfg.
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2015, 05:41:22 AM »
Ha ha...my sister has taken up running and keeps signing up for races. Once she did a half marathon in the morning and I just happened to skate about 13 miles that evening alone around my neighborhood. So when my parents called me that night and were congratulating her, I got a little sibling rivalry (even in my 40s) and said that even though I hadn't signed up for a race or anything, I also did the same distance...not withstanding the difference between running and skating and equivalent miles or anything...just the point that society seems to notice the "official race" accomplishment and not the "I did this casually on my own and no one noticed" accomplishment.[/b]

YES!!!  My sister (an extrovert) who is in the same profession as both my parents were and she is 'so busy' that all family events are scheduled around her life.  GAAAAAAAAAHHHH!! ...to the point of it being nauseous making.   I'm equally as busy as a caretaker yet as an INFJ I am more silent & private about mine and my immediate family's activities and I do get more than irked about it at times.  To the point of making Hubs answer the phone all the time these days and telling them "Oh she's so busy, she's XXX right now, can she call you back later?"  I'm 'busy, busy, busy' now whenever anyone asks & even when they don't.  I still don't tell them all that I do or have on my plate, but it is totally disrespectful to only assume those whom 'chat/bemoan' their schedules all the time are the only one with things going on.  My sister is in a place financially where she could cut back her schedule and the majority of the things she has going on are voluntary.  Ummm, your crap is no more important than mine, you just blather on about it more.  ;)

mak1277

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 788
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2015, 08:42:45 AM »

Argh...what's wrong with spending 3 days in your pajamas and reading all day long?!?!? That would be heaven for me right now.

My biggest beef with "wasting time" is that I only have 2 free days on the weekends, so when I goof off I don't have time for the necessary chores in my life. It's not that I minded the goofing off, just that then the rest of my stuff piles up.


I used to have this problem in a big time way ("wasting" weekend time).  I knew I had chores to do, but it only made me bitter, because the weekend is the only time I can really do fun things that I love (hiking/backpacking, mainly).  So I have been trying really hard to do all my chores after work during the week, even if I'm tired and would normally not want to do it.  Grocery shopping, haircuts, chores around the house...all of these are now done primarily during the week instead of on weekends.  I feel MUCH less guilt/pressure to be "productive" on the weekends, and I'm now free to do exactly what I want, and little else.  I'm also lucky to be blessed with a huge dose of "I don't give a shit"...so many things people do as "chores" on a daily/weekly basis I have no problem putting off for months or years (e.g., dusting, vacuuming, yard work, etc.).

I don't believe you need to be retired to do the things you love....but if you aren't making time for them while you're working, you're going to find FIRE harder to handle.

To the OP - What do you love to do?  Answer that question and then go do it.

CowboyAndIndian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1742
  • Location: NJ, USA
    • KOWines: Deep discount wine/spirits store.
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2015, 08:46:03 AM »

I don't believe you need to be retired to do the things you love....but if you aren't making time for them while you're working, you're going to find FIRE harder to handle.


+1

EscapeVelocity2020

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3578
  • Age: 47
  • Location: Houston
    • EscapeVelocity2020
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2015, 10:15:29 AM »
The whole being fulfilled in ER, to me, is a personality, family situation, and age-based issue (and probably others, like Myer-Briggs, if you have work/life balance, multiple/security of FI, and on and on...) - so there will be no right or wrong answer, but there is plenty to discuss about it. 

Some people are perfectly content, at any age, to pursue their interests without any expectation that it will 'matter'.  Like reading books and going to book clubs, just the process of reading and discussing is enough, they don't need to write a book.  Some of us have family situations that just make our lives busy (such as required to be a caregiver, being a good SAHP, etc.). 

One thing I don't often hear discussed - I think that there is also some age-related bias.  Most folks in their 20/30's feel compelled to 'do something' meaningful, and this is where the ER crowd has it tougher than the retirement-age crowd.  Personally, having settled into my 40's, I am dropping out of this 'have to live up to expectations of my parents, peers, myself' business.  I'm not going to be an astronaut or CEO, but I'm pretty satisfied with what I am.  And to pursue the thought further, I am nowhere near as far along as our 70's parents that are pretty much at the 'I've been on this planet long enough to know how I like it, and everyone that doesn't like what I think can just take a hike'.

NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2015, 01:46:44 AM »
To the OP - What do you love to do?  Answer that question and then go do it.

That's a tough question. I have some interests, I just don't know if they can constitute a "9-5" type life. Maybe the problem is that I'm looking at it that way. Maybe it is my ENTJ-ness and relative youth (31 years old).

I like to play Xbox, I like to travel, I'd like to volunteer more (particularly if I could be a member of the board of a local charity), and I'm interested in mountaineering but haven't really done it at all. I'd also like to get through one of those "100 books you must read" lists while I'm still young-ish because I think people can learn a ton from classic fiction. I don't just want to do it when I'm old, which is why I'm starting to do it now (currently reading East of Eden).

Am I just scared? Have I let my previous 'break times' feel too pressured due to having to go back to work later and/or realizing that I'm still in the military thus I should just mess around until I have to get back to 10-14 hour days?

happy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7194
  • Location: NSW Australia
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2015, 04:21:14 AM »
ENTJs are the "field marshals" and directors….I'm guessing you'll need to find some sort of project that involves organising/leading people….once retired maybe you could find a niche volunteering in a leadership role e.g. president of a club.

My guess is that idle time for ENTJs is frustrating/disappointing - its an energetic personality that likes engaging people and getting things done. So "free time" thats actually enforced idling would not suit.

I am an INF/TJ and work part-time. As my kids have grown I've had a bit more free time and have spent the last few years flopping around, de-motivated. Well probably not totally, but not my usual J self. Even though I'm not retired fully, its like I've been "un-working" as retirees talk about. I wondered about needing structure like Gray Matter says, but really still just piddled around and didn't seem able to organise myself into anything. Unlike Gray Matter, as an I without enough alone time,  making dates with others to get things done sounds like torture!  Anyway, in recent months I'm feeling more motivated and organised: its almost like a phase thats past and now I'm regaining focus and not having so much trouble setting my own structure for my own stuff. Its taken a while, but I thought maybe because I am still working part-time, its taken longer to decompress.

NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2015, 04:34:53 AM »
ENTJs are the "field marshals" and directors….I'm guessing you'll need to find some sort of project that involves organising/leading people….once retired maybe you could find a niche volunteering in a leadership role e.g. president of a club.

My guess is that idle time for ENTJs is frustrating/disappointing - its an energetic personality that likes engaging people and getting things done. So "free time" thats actually enforced idling would not suit.

I am an INF/TJ and work part-time. As my kids have grown I've had a bit more free time and have spent the last few years flopping around, de-motivated. Well probably not totally, but not my usual J self. Even though I'm not retired fully, its like I've been "un-working" as retirees talk about. I wondered about needing structure like Gray Matter says, but really still just piddled around and didn't seem able to organise myself into anything. Unlike Gray Matter, as an I without enough alone time,  making dates with others to get things done sounds like torture!  Anyway, in recent months I'm feeling more motivated and organised: its almost like a phase thats past and now I'm regaining focus and not having so much trouble setting my own structure for my own stuff. Its taken a while, but I thought maybe because I am still working part-time, its taken longer to decompress.

Yep, I think you're on point with me. I also think your reflections on yourself are accurate for me as well, save the introversion. I need interaction far more than I need alone time (though I need that as well, just a lot less than you).

I too think I'll have to do some type of leading or organizing, which is why I mentioned being on the board of a charitable organization, but perhaps club President or something like that would work, too. I could run the local alumni chapter or do its fundraising. All good ideas. Maybe being a SAHD would fulfill this role as well? My worry in that case would be lacking adult interaction. I can't exactly discuss the categorical imperative with a 3 year old. Trust me, I'm going to try, but I know full well that the kid will probably listen for a minute before going back to making a sand castle.

I think the problem is in the implementation. I'm worried I'll drown in free time like before. Maybe I just have to make my way through that problem myself? Kind of like you're saying - maybe it will take me some time to decompress, "unwork," and then finally create some structures. Or, like many FIRE people say, opportunities will come to me. Once I can settle down somewhere (hard when in the military), I will try to do things & make connections that can yield such results once I'm FIRE.

Gray Matter

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3633
  • Location: Midwest
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2015, 05:39:23 AM »
The more I read of your responses and some of your other threads, I think you'll be fine.  One, the fact that you're even considering it in advance show a level of self-awareness that will be helpful when the time comes.  Two, ENTJs live in the world of possibilities and are great at solving problems/challenges.  I think you'll find this particular "problem" very interesting to solve!

I'm guessing that being a SAHD will not give you the adult interactions/stimulation you need, but there are other SAHPs out there who need that as well, and ways to get it.  I did a ton of play dates with friends/adults I found interesting when my kids were young (and I was a working parent, but I needed that adult interaction during the weekends as well an especially if DH was traveling).  It was good for me and good for the kids to get out, too.

I agree with happy and others, you'll need real projects, things that have an idea phase and a beginning, middle, and an end.  But you'll find them, I have no doubt.

happy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7194
  • Location: NSW Australia
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2015, 12:41:52 PM »
As an I, I find home duties fine, but the NTJ in me means I like to have it organised as a complex system…didn't work well when the kids were young because you can't run kids on a schedule - you need to be able to go with the flow at least a bit. So now they are older teens, its better.

ZiziPB

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3339
  • Location: The Other Side
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2015, 01:26:10 PM »
What an interesting discussion!  I'm wondering how much of our personality types affect the way we fill our free time.  My biggest fear for retirement is not having enough to do and being bored.  My personality is ISTJ.   When I have free time, I first make sure all my chores are done (house cleaned, dishes and laundry done, bills paid, closets organized, etc.) and then I sit down and wonder what to do next ;-) 

I am hoping to spend the next 3 years figuring out how I'm going to fill my days in retirement but so far I haven't really come up with anything concrete.  I know for sure I won't be writing the great American novel or painting a masterpiece in retirement because I don't have a shred of creativity in me :-)



NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #37 on: February 16, 2015, 02:30:43 PM »
The more I read of your responses and some of your other threads, I think you'll be fine.  One, the fact that you're even considering it in advance show a level of self-awareness that will be helpful when the time comes.  Two, ENTJs live in the world of possibilities and are great at solving problems/challenges.  I think you'll find this particular "problem" very interesting to solve!

I'm guessing that being a SAHD will not give you the adult interactions/stimulation you need, but there are other SAHPs out there who need that as well, and ways to get it.  I did a ton of play dates with friends/adults I found interesting when my kids were young (and I was a working parent, but I needed that adult interaction during the weekends as well an especially if DH was traveling).  It was good for me and good for the kids to get out, too.

I agree with happy and others, you'll need real projects, things that have an idea phase and a beginning, middle, and an end.  But you'll find them, I have no doubt.

Thanks a ton, Gray Matter! What other threads/responses gave you this impression? What was it specifically that formed your opinion?

I agree with you that I'll need adult interaction if I go SAHD - play dates sound cool. I hope I can find some cool SAHDs to talk about dude stuff. I will absolutely try to figure out how to create the real projects you and others have mentioned.

As an I, I find home duties fine, but the NTJ in me means I like to have it organised as a complex system…didn't work well when the kids were young because you can't run kids on a schedule - you need to be able to go with the flow at least a bit. So now they are older teens, its better.

You know what, you might be 100% on point for me here. Perhaps this causes some of the cleanliness tension between DW and I. I need to create that complex system (with her agreement & with some compromise on my end) for us to use.

What an interesting discussion!  I'm wondering how much of our personality types affect the way we fill our free time.  My biggest fear for retirement is not having enough to do and being bored.  My personality is ISTJ.   When I have free time, I first make sure all my chores are done (house cleaned, dishes and laundry done, bills paid, closets organized, etc.) and then I sit down and wonder what to do next ;-) 

I am hoping to spend the next 3 years figuring out how I'm going to fill my days in retirement but so far I haven't really come up with anything concrete.  I know for sure I won't be writing the great American novel or painting a masterpiece in retirement because I don't have a shred of creativity in me :-)

You are the exact opposite of me with chores. I'm a procrastinator. So is DW. Luckily both of us are ENTJs (is that a weird pairing?), so we both feed off of each other. If we "help" the other person by 'following' them to the library, we do really well. Basically, I had a 25 page paper I had to research and write in a week and DW, God bless her, spent at least 30 hours in the library with me that week...And she really only had 10 hours worth of work to do. I've done the opposite thing for her.

I think we need to find a way to incorporate this into other areas of our life. When one person can let the other lead, we do really, really well.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 02:35:26 PM by NICE! »

Ozstache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 863
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Oztralia
Re: My FI Fears
« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2015, 05:48:11 PM »
It is totally possible that I didn't experience what I'd experience in FIRE because I still had the external constraint of the military. Obviously that affects my behavior and freedom. So, perhaps I didn't have truly "free time" and thus the emotions aren't directly applicable.
I reckon there's your answer. IMO, there is a vast difference between having to fill in idle time within the constraints of the work environment and free time to manage entirely to your own satisfaction when FIREd. I am ex-military and I too hated the former but now love the latter.