Author Topic: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE  (Read 12380 times)

whywork

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How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« on: November 18, 2018, 05:44:13 PM »
Work life can be painful due to bad bosses, work politics, lack of freedom etc..

But work also has the benefits like financial, giving a sense of purpose (even if what you are doing is not ground breaking), social status and identity

FI takes care of the financial part. But when you retire, this sense of purpose is suddenly lost. How do you keep up this sense of purpose and a feeling of being productive once you retire? I see MMM kept it through his home renovation passion and some through his blog.

What are some ideas to keep this up post FIRE? Or is the lack of sense of purpose not a problem post FIRE?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 05:53:00 PM by whywork »

Greystache

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2018, 07:04:48 AM »
In my case, my identity was never attached to my work. Stated another way, my work was what I did, not who I was. Perhaps if I had a stronger attachment to my work I would not have hated my job so much and been in such a hurry to retire early.  I think the key to happiness in retirement is to find some way to be creative. It can be building things, writing, gardening, whatever. I always devote a certain amount of my time to making things or making things better.

dude

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2018, 07:15:33 AM »
I've never found my sense of purpose in my work, honestly. I find it in long hikes in the mountains, in challenging myself on technical rock and ice climbs, in pursuing a high level of fitness that allows me to move confidently in the mountains, in working towards mastery in Brazilian jiu jitsu, in getting better at surfing, in tinkering with and fixing things around the house, in cultivating a really good crop of tomatoes; things like that.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2018, 08:29:38 AM by dude »

Linea_Norway

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2018, 07:18:46 AM »
You will get the sense of purpose by finding the right hobby for you and maybe by volunteering of some kind.
Just look around, there are lots of things you could volunteer for, either in clubs, organizations, events or otherwise.
You could also try to publish your hobby results on social media and get followers there who might give you a feeling of purpose or pride.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2018, 10:52:43 PM »
Personally, I have found sense of purpose doesn't mean shit.  I am who I am.  By which I mean I know what my personal core values are and they don't entail anything corporate.  If anyone doesn't like who I am and what do or don't do, fuck them! 

FI is a fact.  RE is OPTIONAL.  The community doesn't get to define what is appropriate to you.   Do some personal exploration and do what is right for YOU.  I know you will get it right.  You are welcome to private message me if you want to talk privately. Gogogogogogogo~

pecunia

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2018, 11:24:39 PM »
What is a "sense of purpose?"

Is this a sense of moral and social responsibility to others?  Does this get into a sense of beliefs including those of religion?

I guess I'm just going to try to be a good person and not worry about it.

As for the job thing, let me tell you a little story.  I'm working with this guy who didn't do the college thing.  I did the college thing years ago and have been in 9 to 5 jobs playing the pecking order game and performing the BS work for years.  I've been like a horse chafing at the bit for the whole while.  When I was 17, I had other dreams.

Meantime, here's this guy I work with and he wanted a guitar.  He couldn't afford one.  So, he builds one.  After a time, he sees how it could be better.  So, he builds a better one.  he builds one after that getting even better.  So, now as a side gig, he builds professional musicians custom guitars.

So, as part of the conversation on this guitar building thing, I asked him, "How many lives have been ruined by 9 to 5 jobs?"  He replies without hesitation - "A lot."

I would think the artistic expression in the craft of building fine musical instruments would give one a much better "sense of purpose" than doing the bidding of corporate America.

One does not know where the road of life will take you, but I don't think it will be too hard to find a better "sense of purpose" than that posed by most of the jobs I've held.  I've vacated a lot of cubicles over the years and never missed any of them.

Dicey

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2018, 12:04:57 AM »
Huh, I hit FIRE and never looked back. I do stuff in my community. I started with volunteering at the library and ushering before I retired. If you're good at your volunteer gigs and approach them with enthusiasm, other things will present themselves. Now I have a waiting list for things to do in the future. I am never bored.

reeshau

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2018, 02:51:32 AM »
I think this question shows an irony of FI taking root in the US.  I expect that most Europeans wouldn't have any issue with this; as a German colleague told me, "We work to live, while you Americans live to work."  However, retirement savings in Europe is still pension or annuity based, one downside of which is that there is a set age for you to begin.  Defined benefit plans are being introduced, but they are a 21st century phenomenon in Europe, and generally run by insurance companies, with the expected costs.  So, my colleagues in Europe are still trying to get used to the FI side of things--how do they ramp up savings with 50% total taxation rates (or more)--while we struggle with the RE: now that we're here, we have to shift gears to enjoy it.

Humans.  Go figure.

MasterStache

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2018, 05:31:33 AM »
Hmm, I actually feel more of what I guess you could describe as "a sense of purpose." Working in an office full of other engineers I never felt like I stood out. I always felt expendable. Now I work for myself doing what I want when I want. I am my own boss. And my carpentry skills are in high demand (apparently).

So perhaps the answer to your question is as others have said, find your passion and focus on it. It may not be any sort of "work." It could be rock climbing, hiking, furniture making, volunteering, or whatever.   

Dances With Fire

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2018, 06:25:39 AM »
Interests lead to "hobbies" and some hobbies lead to passions.

My "sense of purpose" is building on those passions and rediscovering some that I put on hold while I was *working* long hours and flying around the country to help start new businesses and train new employees. Deep down I knew what that sense of purpose was and it wasn't spending hours waiting for my next flight. It was spending time with family and/or friends in the outdoors, out on the lake, or in the hockey arena. It was studying finance and investing. Some days it was just me spending time in my organic vegetable garden something that I couldn't do while on the road.

Find YOUR interests, turn them into hobbies, and make a few your passion.

Moustachienne

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2018, 10:48:05 AM »
Some of us are more motivated by extrinsic factors; others by intrinsic factors.  I'm an "extrinsic" so work had many great features for me: structure, goals, rewards, consequences.  Mostly I was able to match my own values and priorities with these external prods so had a very good career.

But I always had the goal of deciding for myself what I'd spend my time and energy doing and FIRE delivers that!  But I know I still need external prods so I build them in, but now by my choice.  So I take classes and workshops, buy concert and play tickets in advance, commit to volunteer work for a couple of afternoons/week, create a very high level to do list weekly, etc.  Finding the optimum balance between external structures and my internal rebel who hates obligations is ongoing but fun. :)

Here's Mrs. MM on the same topic.  Excellent piece which also included a link to MMM's previous article.  tl;dr She's an "extrinsic"; he's an "intrinsic". http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/24/mrs-money-mustache-routine-will-oil-the-machine/

soccerluvof4

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2018, 03:32:10 AM »
I can relate to your question because for over 25 years I was a business owner and always had 10-50 employees. There was always that sense of being needed and decision maker and also a respect I received by people in my industry. It took me along time to adjust all of a sudden not "being needed" and all that goes with that. The flip side of that was all the stress and risk that went with the business. My industry what big ticket smaller profit percentage and a lot of lawsuits all the time. Employees were a pain in the ass and regulations seemed to be changing by the week. So I never missed leaving the place and to this day the best decision I made was to walk away.  I absolutely hated it the last 5-10 years but missed the income. So every once in awhile if that creeps into my mind I just focus on remembering that part of it. And whats transitioned over time is I have become more satisfied by the needs or better yet the desires to be more involved in my kids lives, doing a lot of things for myself vs paying people and helping people out. Also concentrate more on a healthy lifestyle etc.. I believe that is why people always say its better to have something to retire to. I really didn't have that luxury but I look back and it was the best decision I could have made. So my answer would be to if you can have something to retire to and you probably will limit feeling that way for at least an extended period of time like I did and as others mentioned focus on getting involved in other community type stuff or hobbies. I recently was helping my oldest son working on his transferring colleges in over this winter break as hes a college athlete and I was so damn busy helping him I was looking forward to being done with that project. Now I need a mental break again because it was to much like the work stress I had all those years!

Good Luck to ya

oblivo

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2018, 04:39:27 PM »
I don't think this is a bad question.

I FIREd with the intent to change careers, to work on art. I knew it would be a struggle.
There is something much easier about going to work because I will be useful there.
Now I have to do this art that nobody cares about because it was something I decided to do years ago.
Sometimes it's fun and satisfying and I get better, sometimes I don't. I find it much easier to do things that other people ask for.
The flip side of that: No matter how bad a day at work was, it was always someone else's fault. I didn't ask for that company to be created!
Now, I can't shift blame and it's difficult to seek external motivation.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2018, 05:13:07 AM »
I don't think this is a bad question.

I FIREd with the intent to change careers, to work on art. I knew it would be a struggle.
There is something much easier about going to work because I will be useful there.
Now I have to do this art that nobody cares about because it was something I decided to do years ago.
Sometimes it's fun and satisfying and I get better, sometimes I don't. I find it much easier to do things that other people ask for.
The flip side of that: No matter how bad a day at work was, it was always someone else's fault. I didn't ask for that company to be created!
Now, I can't shift blame and it's difficult to seek external motivation.

You sound like me!

I ask the 'sense of purpose' question a lot. I do find it very rewarding to be given a task by someone else, and to fulfil the task. I also like getting positive feedback for my work, and to feel like I'm contributing to something that is bigger than me.

I have done mini-FIREs (sabbaticals) where I tested out being an artist and working for myself. It's tough. Setting my own deadlines, working alone, setting my own goals, these are all important skills but they didn't seem as fulfilling as having a job where I'm working with others. Sometimes it felt like a pointless slog, other times it was a challenge that I enjoyed, but for the most part it was tough working alone 24-7.

Perhaps it's having a sense of community that helps with purpose.

I'm still working but when I think about downshifting again or FIREing permanently this is one of the big concerns I have.

whywork

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2018, 09:25:23 AM »
You sound like me!

I ask the 'sense of purpose' question a lot. I do find it very rewarding to be given a task by someone else, and to fulfil the task. I also like getting positive feedback for my work, and to feel like I'm contributing to something that is bigger than me.

I have done mini-FIREs (sabbaticals) where I tested out being an artist and working for myself. It's tough. Setting my own deadlines, working alone, setting my own goals, these are all important skills but they didn't seem as fulfilling as having a job where I'm working with others. Sometimes it felt like a pointless slog, other times it was a challenge that I enjoyed, but for the most part it was tough working alone 24-7.

Perhaps it's having a sense of community that helps with purpose.

I'm still working but when I think about downshifting again or FIREing permanently this is one of the big concerns I have.

That (one in bold) is what worries me too. I don't enjoy work for countless other reasons but completely stopping it seems to have other issues. I read a book yesterday called "The joy of not working". He says passive leisure activities (watching tv, browsing in bed etc..) don't give as much satisfaction as active leisure activities (taking a course, hiking, playing a sport etc..). So that's one tip to keep retirement happy. He says work gives the below three things which we need to find alternatives for in retirement to make it joyful

- structure
- sense of purpose
- community

pecunia

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2018, 03:06:07 PM »
You sound like me!

I ask the 'sense of purpose' question a lot. I do find it very rewarding to be given a task by someone else, and to fulfil the task. I also like getting positive feedback for my work, and to feel like I'm contributing to something that is bigger than me.

I have done mini-FIREs (sabbaticals) where I tested out being an artist and working for myself. It's tough. Setting my own deadlines, working alone, setting my own goals, these are all important skills but they didn't seem as fulfilling as having a job where I'm working with others. Sometimes it felt like a pointless slog, other times it was a challenge that I enjoyed, but for the most part it was tough working alone 24-7.

Perhaps it's having a sense of community that helps with purpose.

I'm still working but when I think about downshifting again or FIREing permanently this is one of the big concerns I have.

That (one in bold) is what worries me too. I don't enjoy work for countless other reasons but completely stopping it seems to have other issues. I read a book yesterday called "The joy of not working". He says passive leisure activities (watching tv, browsing in bed etc..) don't give as much satisfaction as active leisure activities (taking a course, hiking, playing a sport etc..). So that's one tip to keep retirement happy. He says work gives the below three things which we need to find alternatives for in retirement to make it joyful

- structure
- sense of purpose
- community

This looks like a good book to read:

http://www.thejoyofnotworking.com/

soccerluvof4

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2018, 05:10:27 AM »
You sound like me!

I ask the 'sense of purpose' question a lot. I do find it very rewarding to be given a task by someone else, and to fulfil the task. I also like getting positive feedback for my work, and to feel like I'm contributing to something that is bigger than me.

I have done mini-FIREs (sabbaticals) where I tested out being an artist and working for myself. It's tough. Setting my own deadlines, working alone, setting my own goals, these are all important skills but they didn't seem as fulfilling as having a job where I'm working with others. Sometimes it felt like a pointless slog, other times it was a challenge that I enjoyed, but for the most part it was tough working alone 24-7.

Perhaps it's having a sense of community that helps with purpose.

I'm still working but when I think about downshifting again or FIREing permanently this is one of the big concerns I have.

That (one in bold) is what worries me too. I don't enjoy work for countless other reasons but completely stopping it seems to have other issues. I read a book yesterday called "The joy of not working". He says passive leisure activities (watching tv, browsing in bed etc..) don't give as much satisfaction as active leisure activities (taking a course, hiking, playing a sport etc..). So that's one tip to keep retirement happy. He says work gives the below three things which we need to find alternatives for in retirement to make it joyful

- structure
- sense of purpose
- community

This looks like a good book to read:

http://www.thejoyofnotworking.com/



I agree, sound like a good book so going to see if my Library has it as well

Dicey

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2018, 08:57:34 AM »
Pretty sure the author, Ernie Zellinski, has an account here. Paging @ErnieZellinski. (<---That didn't seem to work. Anybody know his MMM handle?)

whywork

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2018, 07:19:00 PM »
The book wasn't that great. Just some basic commonsense stuff that can be figured out.

Cassie

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2018, 07:55:37 PM »
I fully retired at 58 and 7 months later I was asked to teach a online college class. 6 years later I still love it. I also do a little consulting in my field. I did volunteer work but they mostly wanted you to do grunt work despite your skills. I did that for awhile and it got old. At one point a new place was opening for young single moms. I was excited when they wanted volunteers and wanted to provide free vocational testing and career counseling to the moms. I sent the director a email explaining my background in human services and how I could help. She sent me a email saying to come to the orientation and then they would assign me a job.  A retired friend of mine has run into the same thing when trying to volunteer. She now just consults for a fee.

Dicey

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2018, 12:12:59 AM »
I fully retired at 58 and 7 months later I was asked to teach a online college class. 6 years later I still love it. I also do a little consulting in my field. I did volunteer work but they mostly wanted you to do grunt work despite your skills. I did that for awhile and it got old. At one point a new place was opening for young single moms. I was excited when they wanted volunteers and wanted to provide free vocational testing and career counseling to the moms. I sent the director a email explaining my background in human services and how I could help. She sent me a email saying to come to the orientation and then they would assign me a job.  A retired friend of mine has run into the same thing when trying to volunteer. She now just consults for a fee.
This reminds me of a cool friend of my brother. He was a Military Pilot, with an outstanding record and extensive training experience. Upon retirement, he was hired by a major airline as an entry level pilot. When he showed up at the training facility (early, of course) he discovered there was a meeting of more senior pilots going on down the hall. He casually joined that group instead of the newbs, because he spoke their language. Somehow, everyone agreed that he should rightly be placed with the more experienced pilots and not have to start out as a milk run grunt. He went on to have a full and rewarding career with said major airline. When my brother asked him how he pulled off such a feat, his friend just shrugged and said he knew where he belonged, even if the airline hadn't figured it out yet.

To @Cassie's point: If I really wanted to contribute to a particular group, I wouldn't lead by telling them how wonderful "me" could improve their organization. I'd just join and then start looking for opportunities to do what I know I know how to do. Just like my brother's friend did.

Cassie

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2018, 11:24:16 AM »
I volunteered at one place for 2 years and did grunt work the entire time. I am not going to repeat that experience. What I was offering for free including the cost of the tests and my time was worth 500 per person.  Now I do it and get paid. I explained in great detail what I was willing to provide and how it would benefit them. Offered to have a private meeting to discuss. My friend had a similar experience with a different organization. 

Linea_Norway

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2018, 05:47:23 AM »
I volunteered at one place for 2 years and did grunt work the entire time. I am not going to repeat that experience. What I was offering for free including the cost of the tests and my time was worth 500 per person.  Now I do it and get paid. I explained in great detail what I was willing to provide and how it would benefit them. Offered to have a private meeting to discuss. My friend had a similar experience with a different organization.

Smart. DH has seen his father doing his original work as voluntary work after early retirement. I didn't give less hassle than a paid job would have done. DH himself intends to contribute to some things after RE, but do it as paid work.

meteor

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2018, 05:59:19 PM »
I think it's OK to live in a purposeless discomfort for awhile. It will help you observe the difference between the things you do that just keep you busy vs. the things you do that really matter to you deep down. I've been living in that grey area for about 5 years and only recently did I discover a direction that was right on target - and it came unexpected. You just have to be willing to hold still and not mind being uncomfortable.

TartanTallulah

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2018, 02:22:58 AM »
I'm old enough to take the view that it doesn't matter whether or not I have a sense of purpose. I've spent my entire life in roles that have defined me, both as a doctor and as the parent of an unwise number of children. As the children have left home I've retired from parenting and developed relationships with them as adults, and I've had time to prepare myself for losing the sense of identity that comes with my occupation, because retired doctors who can't let go and keeping doling out well-intentioned medical advice are just a nuisance.

Although I still do a few hours of freelance work, when faced with a form that asks for my occupation I'm making a point of writing "retired". And when asked what I do, I say, "Nothing."


Dicey

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2018, 07:24:57 AM »
I'm old enough to take the view that it doesn't matter whether or not I have a sense of purpose. I've spent my entire life in roles that have defined me, both as a doctor and as the parent of an unwise number of children. As the children have left home I've retired from parenting and developed relationships with them as adults, and I've had time to prepare myself for losing the sense of identity that comes with my occupation, because retired doctors who can't let go and keeping doling out well-intentioned medical advice are just a nuisance.

Although I still do a few hours of freelance work, when faced with a form that asks for my occupation I'm making a point of writing "retired". And when asked what I do, I say, "Nothing."
I am the treasurer for a friend's political campaign. There is a lot of reporting to do, even post-election. All donors must be listed, including their address, occupation and employer. My favorite are those who are "Retired" and "N/A". Note that "N/A" is even shorter than "Nothing". In my mind, N/A translates to "None of your fucking business", which makes me smile inside every time I fill in the blanks. Kind of subversive of me, no?

As to your first paragraph, as long as you have the ability and willingness to save a life, you will never be a nuisance.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 07:04:27 PM by Dicey »

chrisgermany

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2018, 08:53:32 AM »
My purpose is to be my best self for myself, my DH, family and friends.
Other than that, I live each day in purposeless comfort.
Good enough for me, not missing anything.

Candace

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2018, 10:12:26 AM »
I'm old enough to take the view that it doesn't matter whether or not I have a sense of purpose. I've spent my entire life in roles that have defined me, both as a doctor and as the parent of an unwise number of children. As the children have left home I've retired from parenting and developed relationships with them as adults, and I've had time to prepare myself for losing the sense of identity that comes with my occupation, because retired doctors who can't let go and keeping doling out well-intentioned medical advice are just a nuisance.

Although I still do a few hours of freelance work, when faced with a form that asks for my occupation I'm making a point of writing "retired". And when asked what I do, I say, "Nothing."
I am the treasurer for a friend's political campaign. There is a lot of reporting to do, even post-election. All donors must be listed, including their address, occupation and employer. My favorite are those who are "Retired" and "N/A". Note that "N/A" is even shorter than "Nothing". In my mind, N/A translates to "None of your fucking business", which makes me smile inside every time I fill in the blanks. Kind of subversive of me, no?

As to your first paragraph, as long as you have the ability and willingness to save a life, you will never be a nuisance.

Hey, me too, @Dicey! The reporting won't end until my friend decides not to run for re-election, which is doubtful. It makes me feel good to help my friend, who's one of the good ones.

Kay-Ell

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2018, 07:59:36 AM »
I think it's OK to live in a purposeless discomfort for awhile. It will help you observe the difference between the things you do that just keep you busy vs. the things you do that really matter to you deep down. I've been living in that grey area for about 5 years and only recently did I discover a direction that was right on target - and it came unexpected. You just have to be willing to hold still and not mind being uncomfortable.

I love what @meteor wrote above. I think our society has conditioned us to believe that our jobs give us a purpose in life. Some jobs, probably do rise to that level. The ones where the person has a high level of autonomy and is doing important work. But I am guessing that most jobs in corporate America give us a sense of institutionalization which we mistake for purpose. FIRE (both in preparation and actual retirement) can sometimes make us uncomfortably aware that we’ve spent half (or more) of our waking hours without a purpose at all - and that without the structure of a job and interaction with colleagues we have very little in our life, and in our own self, that amounts to actual purpose or identity.

I am personally of the opinion that there is no master plan and thus no individual purpose that we need to discover and execute. I do, however, believe that we can love with purpose in life if we choose to set out intentions and aspirations and put effort toward those. In most jobs, someone else sets those goals for us and tells us how to execute them. In FIRE we either have to do it ourselves or not do it at all. Either way should be okay. I think most people will gravitate toward having goals eventually, but that it will take time for some of us to learn how to motivate ourselves or structure our efforts without the corporate environment we’ve been accustom to. That said, you’re not going to mess up the cosmic plan if you don’t find and pursue the right purpose. And you’re not going to waste your life if you don’t know what “your purpose” is. Most of that is just bullshit that has been drilled into us so that we will be good students and employees.

Dicey

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2018, 02:10:45 AM »
I'm old enough to take the view that it doesn't matter whether or not I have a sense of purpose. I've spent my entire life in roles that have defined me, both as a doctor and as the parent of an unwise number of children. As the children have left home I've retired from parenting and developed relationships with them as adults, and I've had time to prepare myself for losing the sense of identity that comes with my occupation, because retired doctors who can't let go and keeping doling out well-intentioned medical advice are just a nuisance.

Although I still do a few hours of freelance work, when faced with a form that asks for my occupation I'm making a point of writing "retired". And when asked what I do, I say, "Nothing."
I am the treasurer for a friend's political campaign. There is a lot of reporting to do, even post-election. All donors must be listed, including their address, occupation and employer. My favorite are those who are "Retired" and "N/A". Note that "N/A" is even shorter than "Nothing". In my mind, N/A translates to "None of your fucking business", which makes me smile inside every time I fill in the blanks. Kind of subversive of me, no?

As to your first paragraph, as long as you have the ability and willingness to save a life, you will never be a nuisance.

Hey, me too, @Dicey! The reporting won't end until my friend decides not to run for re-election, which is doubtful. It makes me feel good to help my friend, who's one of the good ones.
Mine's on her fourth term. Last time was easy, because she was unopposed, so she was appointed, not elected. This time was an all-out brawl. Now we're auditing our reports with a fine-tooth comb, which is a complete pain in the ass. We'd have to do it either way, but it's much more bearable since she won. Good for you, @Candace!

Linea_Norway

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2018, 01:00:32 PM »
Just talk to FIL about Fire. He knew several people who couldn't stop working because of feeling their purpose. He himself is very happy being at home working on his DIY projects.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 02:18:38 AM by Linda_Norway »

Libertea

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #31 on: January 01, 2019, 01:32:36 PM »
Most jobs are not 100% bad or 100% good.  There are probably some things you like about your current job even though there are lots of things you don't like about it.  My suggestion is that you try to figure out what it is that drew you to that job in the first place (besides the money), and then look for something else you can do that holds on to those same values, even if it pays less (or maybe not at all). 

For me, the issue is not that I don't like to work in my field at all, but rather some of the specifics of that job and work environment.  I'm doing something else now that is related, but much more intellectually interesting to me and that still allows me to be of service and teach others, which I enjoy doing.  However, I'm still working on figuring out how to continue to decrease the downsides and improve the upsides of working.  It has dawned on me that the amount by which this can be done may be limited if I remain someone else's employee.  So I guess the next big decision I have to make is whether I might want to start a business of my own, which is not something I have ever seriously considered before.  I am not especially keen on managing other people, which makes me hesitant.  But I'm going to keep an open mind about it for the time being, and we'll see what happens.

TheShinyHorse

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2019, 08:33:53 AM »
I did a sabbatical a while ago and struggled with that as well. For me it's a mix of 'sense of purpose' and 'identity'. I guess I also want to feel and be seen as a motivated, contributing, exciting, productive person...
There are a lot of things I like about my job. I enjoy being an expert in my field, solving problems, contact with colleagues etc.
The lack of freedom is the major downside...

In a couple of months I'll be FIRING so I think I'll do some freelancing, or maybe some other projects to keep myself stimulated.
I think "working" 3-4 days a week for 6 months a year would be a good target while I transition mentally to a more leisurely life.

BPA

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2019, 12:13:55 PM »
The "sense of purpose" was what burned me out in my old career. Frankly, I've had enough purposing other people to do me for the rest of my life.

I remember trying desperately to get my report cards done during the one lunch period where they offered us tech support because they'd moved to a new system. During that 75 minute period, I was interrupted four times by people who needed me: three students and a parent. I was so frustrated. I just needed 75 minutes, not even to myself, but to get report cards done.

After the phone call from the parent who was worried that her teenage daughter was abusing her own baby son (turns out the bruises were from leukemia and that poor teenage mom had a hell of a lot more to deal with than her mom thinking she was abusing her baby), I sat down at the computer and called out, "I need me! I need me!!!!!"

I feel like I've given enough to other people, so the help I give to family and friends now is all the purpose I need in life.

I guess that sounds selfish and that's okay with me. Because it's glorious to not have so much "purpose."

jim555

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2019, 02:15:57 PM »
What is this "purpose" you speak of?

Versatile

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #35 on: March 12, 2019, 06:18:35 PM »
Everybody needs to develop interests besides what they do for a living, with an emphasis on the plural. One hobby or interest isn't sufficient to keep yourself from burning out unless you are one of those rare people that can stay fixated on something forever. How many games of golf can you play before it's enough?

I volunteer, try to maintain my fitness, do a lot of work around the house including almost all of the cooking and take classes in the community. I'm working on developing a permaculture project at the moment and will possibly be getting some bees in the near future. I'm also going to try to start growing mushrooms soon. What's fun is that one interest often leads to others that are similar and if the goal is to provide yourself with worthy achievements, then open curiosity will provide you with many examples.

But I can't emphasis enough everybody needs several interests that you enjoy and can drop and pick up relatively easily. That way everything stays fresh.

moneytaichi

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2019, 09:59:10 PM »
Great discussion on meta-analysis of "sense of purpose". In my 18-year working career, I have attached my purpose with my jobs. Now after 11 months off from any paid work, my sense of purpose has changed several times: downsizing our life style (e.g. selling our big house and moving to an apartment thousands of miles away), figuring out our FI/insurance plans, traveling (to China and Taiwan), writing a memoir, and starting a new business... Whenever I have something that takes up my time and energy, I don't ask purpose question. It's only when I am idle, a profound sense of restlessness and anxiety creep up. That makes me wonder if I have been institutionalized to believe that my self-worth equals my achievements and actions.

I want to try an experiment: instead of using more actions to fill the hole of purpose, I want to get in the flow more, e.g. biking, walking, meditating, painting. While I am doing that, I will periodically gently ask myself what is my life purpose. I suspect that the question of purpose will not even surface when I am lost in the flow. That's the paradox of the purpose. When we are fully present in here and now, the purpose question goes to the background. Only when we are out of this moment, the rational mind demands a perfect answer on the purpose, often with a nasty and belittling tone, because it's another chance that ego can show he/she knows better by asking an question that is impossible to answer, and can only be realized through being. A tricky business ;-)

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2019, 09:31:17 AM »
Great discussion on meta-analysis of "sense of purpose". In my 18-year working career, I have attached my purpose with my jobs. Now after 11 months off from any paid work, my sense of purpose has changed several times: downsizing our life style (e.g. selling our big house and moving to an apartment thousands of miles away), figuring out our FI/insurance plans, traveling (to China and Taiwan), writing a memoir, and starting a new business... Whenever I have something that takes up my time and energy, I don't ask purpose question. It's only when I am idle, a profound sense of restlessness and anxiety creep up. That makes me wonder if I have been institutionalized to believe that my self-worth equals my achievements and actions.

I want to try an experiment: instead of using more actions to fill the hole of purpose, I want to get in the flow more, e.g. biking, walking, meditating, painting. While I am doing that, I will periodically gently ask myself what is my life purpose. I suspect that the question of purpose will not even surface when I am lost in the flow. That's the paradox of the purpose. When we are fully present in here and now, the purpose question goes to the background. Only when we are out of this moment, the rational mind demands a perfect answer on the purpose, often with a nasty and belittling tone, because it's another chance that ego can show he/she knows better by asking an question that is impossible to answer, and can only be realized through being. A tricky business ;-)

^^ such an excellent post. Thank you.

This applies to non-FIREd life as well - so often I've put pressure on myself to do something epic with my life, or achieve more and more. Is this something that's been 'institutionalized' into my thinking from grade school onwards? Probably!

It leads to a general dissatisfaction with life, since there will always be instances where I could've done better at my job, or my peers have achieved more than me. In the day to day work that I do, so often I've looked for a more meaningful career, which leads to dissatisfaction as well. No job is ever perfect or 100% meaningful or purposeful. The meaning and purpose come from the micro level, the focus and flow that happens moment to moment. Not via the job or work itself.

Perhaps not coincidentally - I've found that 99% of consumer desires in life come from that general sense of dissatisfaction with present circumstance. Could the feeling of lack of purpose be just another culturally-designed push to buy more stuff to fill the void?

moneytaichi

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2019, 11:41:30 PM »
Perhaps not coincidentally - I've found that 99% of consumer desires in life come from that general sense of dissatisfaction with present circumstance. Could the feeling of lack of purpose be just another culturally-designed push to buy more stuff to fill the void?
Marketing is selling on promises of dreams (including purpose, fulfillment, love, happiness - you name it). When we feel a general sense of dissatisfaction, we are wired and encouraged to consume to fill that void, even just for a fleeting moment.

@Mmm_Donuts, I was in the boat to pressure myself to get a perfect GPA and be a A+ employee. Looking for a perfect job is like looking for a perfect lover... It always leads to disappointments :) If I ever go back to work again (missing a little bit on mental stimulations and perks), I will aim for looking for a good-enough job that allows me flourish in my life. What does that picture look like? I am still experimenting.

Moustachienne

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2019, 02:59:22 PM »
I really liked David Allen's take on the question of "what to do with my life?" set out in the article below.  I've found the same thing, that is, if I focus on completing (or at least progressing on) the things already in from of me "the conveyor belt of life" does indeed serve me up the next natural thing.

I could see that if you're very young or very unhappy with your current life and want or need to make a big change it would make sense to look hard at what the conveyor belt is serving up but if you're basically humming along in a good direction, no need to stress too much about "purpose" or other abstract things.  Each day will unfold; the next thing will emerge.

David’s Food for Thought
Completing and Creating

Seems that we’re here on the planet to learn about and do two things—complete and create. We are responsible for what we have put into motion on all levels, and we must manage the process of what we are putting into motion every moment.

I work with people and organizations about both aspects. Complete means getting control of all those things into which we have invested our attention and commitments. The create part is the proactive process of focusing our energies toward more expanded and positive expressions and outcomes.

Though both aspects are primary, I think a lot of people could use a good bit more emphasis on the complete part. Our cultural personality seems bent on limitless expansion and not necessarily cleaning up after itself. Consider on a macro scale how we’re dealing (or more critically, not) with climate change and our roles in that.

In one of my more sublime enlightenment moments many years ago, I got a message loud and clear that I needn’t be so concerned about “what to do with my life.” I had already created so much that all I had to do was deal with what was present in front of me to the best of my ability, resolving it as quickly and cleanly as possible. The conveyor belt of life would just deliver the next experience in the queue, as soon as I had dispensed with the last one. It’s been good advice.

When I work with people to get closure and completion on all their “stuff” lying around their desk, in their email, and on their mind, without exception I’ve watched significant creative energy burst forth in them. It seems to be a natural state for us, when we clean up the kelp on the keel.

Out of the strain of the doing, into the peace of the done.
—Julia Louis Woodruff

bacchi

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2019, 01:00:38 PM »
Perhaps not coincidentally - I've found that 99% of consumer desires in life come from that general sense of dissatisfaction with present circumstance. Could the feeling of lack of purpose be just another culturally-designed push to buy more stuff to fill the void?
Marketing is selling on promises of dreams (including purpose, fulfillment, love, happiness - you name it). When we feel a general sense of dissatisfaction, we are wired and encouraged to consume to fill that void, even just for a fleeting moment.

(Attribution fixed.)

Well written and very true.

meteor

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #41 on: April 05, 2019, 04:13:52 PM »
You are in a perfect situation.  Right on the edge of a razor blade where you can decide to go inward and explore, or fall into just being busy.

Perhaps you need to take a class to pursue this question further and find out what really matters to you in life.  It's OK to be confused for awhile.

Things I ended up doing (that I would have never predicted): Learned a musical instrument, took classes at a local graduate theology school and ended up being asked by the Dean to be a part of outreach program to attract audit students. 

I wrote/write booklets and sell them on Amazon (never knew I was a writer) and the income covers part of my health insurance.

I found that one of the most important things I learned to do to help the world was to learn how to actively listen. I took a class on how to do this (it truly is a skill). Surprisingly, it's something few people have access to (having someone "hear" them) - and it is very healing to people.

eco mom

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #42 on: April 08, 2019, 11:45:48 PM »
I think it's ok to not have it all figured out at first. I'm in that boat. My main sense of purpose at the moment comes from raising two small kids (though I have hired help with that). I do a little volunteering, and I'm challenging myself to seek out meaningful next steps. I'm also spending time learning a new language and taking an online class about Community Involvement. I think one's sense of purpose can be to just keep improving and having positive impacts on those around you, be it your kids, your community, yourself, your eco-footprint (so an impact that spans to future generations), etc.

sol

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2019, 09:01:16 AM »
Keep?  FIRE is what helps you find purpose.

I liked my job.  I thought it was important and meaningful and mattered in the world, but there was also a lot of corporate style BS that got in the way of that.  Now that I'm retired, I get to do what I want and when I want, and that means keeping (and expanding) all of the meaningful parts that matter, and letting go of all of the corporate constraints that were holding me back.

Letting go of my 9-5 has been freeing.  At least in my case, it was my employment contract that was keeping me from reaching my potential, not propping up a false sense of purpose.

We're all going to retire, eventually, and so we all have to find our own path in life independent of a boss's directives.  I feel kind of bad for people who need that power dynamic over them in order to find meaning in their lives.

SwordGuy

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2019, 06:36:41 PM »
Sense of purpose?

Live each day at a time, have fun alone or with family and/or friends, have some personal growth, and help other people along the way.

Pretty simple.

SotI

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #45 on: April 10, 2019, 02:27:47 AM »
Sense of purpose?

Live each day at a time, have fun alone or with family and/or friends, have some personal growth, and help other people along the way.

Pretty simple.
Thank you, this I can relate to.

It will still be years until retirement for me, so things may change.

Still, my retirement goal is literally not "to do", but just "to be" ... with minor things like tending the garden, looking after our animals, roaming the fields with dog and DH, a few camping events (to keep DH happy who is generally quite out-doorsy).

Otherwise a quiet hermit life sounds good enough for me: minimizing my ecological footprint and be helpful to those around me, but looking more to the inside, not the outside.
Well, ofc one never knows how things will turn out, but I doubt I will be looking for any other purpose.

Parizade

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #46 on: April 12, 2019, 07:18:43 PM »
The "sense of purpose" was what burned me out in my old career. Frankly, I've had enough purposing other people to do me for the rest of my life.

This really resonates with me,  I'm so ready to be happily purposeless. I find myself volunteering for things that matter to me, but even with that I feel a nudge of discomfort at the thought that someone will be counting on me when all I want to do is take a nap or walk in the woods.

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #47 on: April 13, 2019, 05:33:27 AM »
Keep?  FIRE is what helps you find purpose.

I liked my job.  I thought it was important and meaningful and mattered in the world, but there was also a lot of corporate style BS that got in the way of that.  Now that I'm retired, I get to do what I want and when I want, and that means keeping (and expanding) all of the meaningful parts that matter, and letting go of all of the corporate constraints that were holding me back.

Letting go of my 9-5 has been freeing.  At least in my case, it was my employment contract that was keeping me from reaching my potential, not propping up a false sense of purpose.

We're all going to retire, eventually, and so we all have to find our own path in life independent of a boss's directives.  I feel kind of bad for people who need that power dynamic over them in order to find meaning in their lives.

I agree.

I had no idea what I really loved and wanted to do with my life until I had the freedom and space to do it.

My full time job was rewarding and challenging for sure, but it wasn't my purpose.

pecunia

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #48 on: April 13, 2019, 03:03:49 PM »
I just saw this show about a Rock 'n' Roll band.  They went through the usual tale of alcohol, drugs, women problems, deaths, etc.  The band eventually cleaned up its act and toured for another 20 years or so.

I got to thinking, why?  Don't any of them have the sense that when all that money is coming in, put it aside, quit and do something else?

Do famous rich people get stuck in a rut like the rest of us where we should quit and walk away, but some kind of inertia needs to be defeated in order to do this?

I guess a few times in my life I've run into people and ask why they don't quit and have received the answer, "That's all I know."

I've seen people be hired out of retirement to become contractors.  It wasn't about the money.  It was something else, but we didn't broach the subject.  I'm thinking if people put too much into a job during their working years, they've been shaped by that time and it's kind of a sad thing.  Maybe, its not good to make light of this sense of purpose question.

Misstachian

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Re: How do you keep your "sense of purpose" post FIRE
« Reply #49 on: April 18, 2019, 10:40:22 AM »
I just saw this show about a Rock 'n' Roll band.  They went through the usual tale of alcohol, drugs, women problems, deaths, etc.  The band eventually cleaned up its act and toured for another 20 years or so.

I got to thinking, why?  Don't any of them have the sense that when all that money is coming in, put it aside, quit and do something else?

Do famous rich people get stuck in a rut like the rest of us where we should quit and walk away, but some kind of inertia needs to be defeated in order to do this?

I guess a few times in my life I've run into people and ask why they don't quit and have received the answer, "That's all I know."

I've seen people be hired out of retirement to become contractors.  It wasn't about the money.  It was something else, but we didn't broach the subject.  I'm thinking if people put too much into a job during their working years, they've been shaped by that time and it's kind of a sad thing.  Maybe, its not good to make light of this sense of purpose question.

I don’t think you’re necessarily wrong, but I’m not sure you’re taking love/passion into account? Like, if I won the lottery, I’d quit my job. But only mostly. Because the core of my job is working intensively with authors, and I’d honestly do it for free - on certain passion projects and on my own schedule, for sure, with the annoying bits cut out. I don’t think I’ll ever stop deeply engaging with books, and helping authors make them better gives me joy, and yes, a sense of purpose that’s different from my other, non-work feelings of purpose.

So while I’m sure it isn’t true in every case, it seems easily possible to me that a contractor or musician might not be in a rut, but genuinely loving aspects of what they do in a way that should perhaps be not pitied but celebrated.