Author Topic: Tell me what it's like  (Read 8155 times)

HotTubes

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Tell me what it's like
« on: December 01, 2020, 07:53:01 PM »
I'm not quite there, but I can see it on the horizon, maybe 2023.  I've been on 3 forums, reading all I can, saving as much as I can. Learning.

I'm always surprised at those who are bored or who say "you have to have something to retire to" - I guess I just don't get it.  I've been working for 40 years.  I've had bosses and supervisors and commanders and subordinates and processes for 40 years, all in varying degrees.  I've seen the world of work change multiple times.  Currently, with Covid and social media, there is no "off" time, there is only present at the office or not.

I've been fortunate to choose interesting work, but I'm ready to go.  I'm ready to not have a boss and not be a supervisor and not fill out forms and all of that. 

To me, that seems like plenty to retire "to" - the right to do what i want to do and not one thing more.

So what the hell am I forgetting?  What am I misssing?

What's it like?

xbdb

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2020, 08:44:18 PM »
I'm not quite there, but I can see it on the horizon, maybe 2023.  I've been on 3 forums, reading all I can, saving as much as I can. Learning.

I'm always surprised at those who are bored or who say "you have to have something to retire to" - I guess I just don't get it.  I've been working for 40 years.  I've had bosses and supervisors and commanders and subordinates and processes for 40 years, all in varying degrees.  I've seen the world of work change multiple times.  Currently, with Covid and social media, there is no "off" time, there is only present at the office or not.

I've been fortunate to choose interesting work, but I'm ready to go.  I'm ready to not have a boss and not be a supervisor and not fill out forms and all of that. 

To me, that seems like plenty to retire "to" - the right to do what i want to do and not one thing more.

So what the hell am I forgetting?  What am I misssing?

What's it like?

Ah yes, the "life is serious business with a serious purpose and you can't just 'do nothing.'" racket. I think this video based on a lecture by Alan Watts is spot on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERbvKrH-GC4. Having no set plan is fine. In fact I spent a few months decompressing before I started work on some personal projects that were on my bucket list.

What's it like? For me, it feels like when I was a kid during summer vacation, only I know that I won't be going back to school. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach you get Sunday evenings knowing you have to go back to work? That's gone. That's not to say I don't have my ups and downs, but not having to deal with the work issues you mentioned is nice. So is being able to do whatever the hell you want. I also had a blast traveling before COVID hit, and look forward to resuming that soon.

So, in conclusion, it's WAY better than I thought it would be -- even with my high expectations.

ixtap

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2020, 09:03:26 PM »
No one said it had to be a serious purpose, but literally, what will you do if you have always been busy with work stuff?

If you don't have a purpose, at least have a list of things you would like to try, so that if you do start getting antsy, you have something to turn to. For a good many people, literally nothing will lead to depression.

If you have been working for 40 years, you may not run into a common issue, which is that many early retirees have to rebuild a social structure because their previous friends are all busy doing work stuff and they don't have as much in common any more. I combat that by having a varied social structure in the first place.

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2020, 10:39:52 PM »
I'm not quite there, but I can see it on the horizon, maybe 2023.  I've been on 3 forums, reading all I can, saving as much as I can. Learning.

I'm always surprised at those who are bored or who say "you have to have something to retire to" - I guess I just don't get it.  I've been working for 40 years.  I've had bosses and supervisors and commanders and subordinates and processes for 40 years, all in varying degrees.  I've seen the world of work change multiple times.  Currently, with Covid and social media, there is no "off" time, there is only present at the office or not.

I've been fortunate to choose interesting work, but I'm ready to go.  I'm ready to not have a boss and not be a supervisor and not fill out forms and all of that. 

To me, that seems like plenty to retire "to" - the right to do what i want to do and not one thing more.

So what the hell am I forgetting?  What am I misssing?

What's it like?

Yes, exactly!  My 19 months or so since FIRE have been the best of my life, and I didn't retire "to" anything.  The best part for me is exactly what it sounds like you're describing - just being able to decide what to do with my time without bosses or employees or processes or reports or budgets or schedules or....ugh!  I feel like I had a great job; I was an engineer and engineering manager for most of it and I generally had great supervisors, good teammates, and great employees.  There was stupid bureaucracy, too many long days and weekends and other problems, but all things considered I couldn't imagine a better fit for my abilities and interests than the career I had.  I was spectacularly fortunate in my career, but everything is so much better without those obligations.

So what's it like?  For me, I was never a morning person, so now I can sleep in until my body wants to wake up - usually about 8am.  My partner and I make coffee and breakfast, and enjoy spending time with each other planning our day.  I get about an hour of exercise in 5-6 days a week.  I am re-learning piano, and after a year and a half I am pretty pleased with my progress.  I am reading a lot more - both fiction and non-fiction.  I'm able to spend more time with my mom because I'm not exhausted from work all the time (we're in a COVID bubble together).  My partner and I cook together, and occasionally watch a movie or TV show.  I've been doing more volunteering, but I have been able to feel like I'm making an impact with only about 5-10 hours a month. 
To some people this would be a boring life because we're not building some great thing, but I'm happier than I've ever been.  I have almost zero stress.  I'm able to be present a lot more of the time.  I can eat slowly and enjoy what I'm eating.  My partner and I have always had a strong relationship, but things are better than they've ever been.  The only downside for me is that I did like most of my co-workers and not seeing them has been hard, but that's due to COVID as much as anything else. 

I expected most of this when I FIREd, but honestly every part of it has been better than I expected. 

2sk22

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2020, 02:43:11 AM »
I just retired a couple of months ago so I have an opinion on this :-)

I think @xbdb summarized it best:

Quote
For me, it feels like when I was a kid during summer vacation, only I know that I won't be going back to school.

I spent the first month of retirement in hard physical work, clearing out years of accumulated junk from my house. This in preparation for home remodeling with the goal of clearing up space for my hobbies (of which I have many). During this time, I mostly stayed away from my computer.

In the second month, while remodeling is underway, I started working through my reading list and feeling like a kid in a candy store. For example, I read Alan Turing's original 1936 paper on computable numbers - which is still mind blowing today. This is the kind of enjoyable reading I have always wanted to do but the pressure of work never permitted me to.

Accrual

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2020, 04:04:52 AM »
Reading this thread after 5 hours of sleep and stressed to the gills with work. My mental health has been spiraling the last few months so it is nice to read these stories of what to look forward to post - FIRE. Granted, it is a little sad this is my current life, but my hope is my compensation at such a young age will greatly expedite my retirement.

Thanks for the posts, guys.

cool7hand

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2020, 04:08:27 AM »
Take it from me, if you're stressed at work, you'll probably find ways to stay stressed in retirement. Retirement isn't the answer. Finding a more healthy relationship with yourself is the answer. The only thing retirement might do is give you more time to do so. But I wish I had formed a healthy relationship with myself before retirement because it would have made the journey there all the better.

Accrual

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2020, 04:34:31 AM »
Take it from me, if you're stressed at work, you'll probably find ways to stay stressed in retirement. Retirement isn't the answer. Finding a more healthy relationship with yourself is the answer. The only thing retirement might do is give you more time to do so. But I wish I had formed a healthy relationship with myself before retirement because it would have made the journey there all the better.

You're most likely right. But that would mean I would have to look inward and that is HARD, so exogenous solutions are more attractive. I have tried a lot of things and nothing has seemed to help.

herbgeek

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2020, 06:58:01 AM »
What's it like?  Well as I'm coming awake in the morning, I have to think hard about what day of the week it is because every day feels like Saturday.  Because I am a routine loving person, I have different routines for weekdays and weekends.  I like the sense of rhythm.  I work with my body's energies, so that means mornings are for exercise and hard physical labor, afternoons are for quieter projects and often enjoying being outside.  Evenings are for entertainment and hobbies.  Pre-covid, I arranged to be out of the house several days a week with garden club and exercise classes and sometimes meeting folks for lunch.  I hope to get back to that next year.

I didn't have something specific to retire to, but I have managed to get way more than I ever expected done on delayed yard maintenance and some new yard projects.  Its amazing how much you can get done when you aren't constantly looking at the clock and fretting about how little time you have.

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2020, 07:34:44 AM »

 I'm ready to not have a boss and not be a supervisor and not fill out forms and all of that. 

To me, that seems like plenty to retire "to" - the right to do what i want to do and not one thing more.

So what the hell am I forgetting?  What am I misssing?

What's it like?


Before I FIREd  I was often absorbed  in a  reverie about what my life would be like in FIREtirement.

To those who asked me "What's  it  like to be FIREd?" I imagined my reply would be "Every day is like Sunday."

Now in FIREtirement, I have actually replied "Every day is Sunday" when asked what FI and RE are like.

I agree with your position that FIREing is a personal empowerment that   fully effects  your "right to do what i want to do and not one thing more."




« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 07:38:45 AM by John Galt incarnate! »

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2020, 07:46:04 AM »

  Its amazing how much you can get done when you aren't constantly looking at the clock and fretting about how little time you have.

Indeed, seldom do I wear  my watch except for appointments which happily, in FIREtirement are far and few between.

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2020, 08:08:55 AM »
Reading this thread after 5 hours of sleep and stressed to the gills with work. My mental health has been spiraling the last few months so it is nice to read these stories of what to look forward to post - FIRE. Granted, it is a little sad this is my current life, but my hope is my compensation at such a young age will greatly expedite my retirement.

Thanks for the posts, guys.

To cope with sad, stressful "bad days" indulge in a reverie in which  you project yourself into your FIREd future of lots of free time to engage in activities you enjoy.

bacchi

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2020, 08:55:08 AM »
I also didn't retire "to" anything. If I don't know what to do with the day, that's ok. It beats meetings.

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2020, 10:24:34 AM »
I also didn't retire "to" anything, but "from" having to do everything on someone else's schedule, doing work I didn't always enjoy, listening to everyone else do their jobs (cubicle farm), and exhausting myself, body and soul.

My first few months retired were still spent at warp speed, because that's what I'd been doing for 30 years.  It took me about a year to truly calm down and do things at a leisurely pace.  Now I get up when I'm rested, have a slow breakfast and read this forum, do household chores in the morning, hobbies in the afternoon and different hobbies in the evening.  I have time to do my own house projects and do them well, spend time with my pets and family and just enjoy being in the moment, instead of running through the long list in my head of what I have to do next.  It's glorious!

Malcat

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2020, 11:34:51 AM »
I retired "to" something, and then bailed on it because I didn't love it and can just do that now.

It's not so much that you need to retire to something, it's more that whoever you are before you retire will be the same after you retire. So if you aren't thriving and happy while working, retirement isn't going to change that.

If work is making you miserable, then chances are the thing you should retire to is therapy.

If you're a happy, healthy person who is ready to be done with work, then chances are you will just fill your life with whatever cool stuff you feel like doing.

Basically, retirement won't change anything other than how much free time you have. What you choose to do with that is up to you.

jeroly

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2020, 06:27:39 AM »
It really depends on the person.

I FIREd twenty years ago at 41. I have done a variety of things, including nothing at all, over that time. It’s been great for me personally and At the time I desperately needed to make a change - I hated my work situation and had life circumstances that made being more available for my family very important. I have almost never regretted it except about two years after FIREing, when I decided to look for work in the industry I had left and was unable to get a job. As things turned out I went down a fascinating path of more schooling, volunteering, and occasional employment in areas that were very satisfying personally - and being FIREd allowed me the flexibility to try those projects.

On the other hand, my GF loves her job and can barely think about retiring before they shove her out the door... she wants to work until she’s seventy! She has no real financial need at all - she’s at about a 2% withdrawal rate based on her current assets and would probably get that down to well under 1% should she actually work until then.  She thinks she’d miss the intellectual stimulation that her job provides.

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2020, 07:48:06 AM »
I'm coming up on one year retired.  We did have something of a plan of what to retire to.  That involved repatriating from an assignment in Ireland, and relocating to a new city--to be close to my wife's parents, to escape winters forever, and to settle down for our son's school career.  That framework is more than enough to keep us busy, so far.

To me, the happiest retirees I have met say "I don't know how I ever had time to work."  That doesn't mean they are always on the go.  It just means that they are satisfied with how they spend their time--it's not wasted.

If you enjoy being social and talking to people, understand that you will have to generate those opportunities now.

If you enjoy quiet / alone time, it's up to you to make that, too.  (meaning, you need to be able to say "no" to people who want to help you spend your newly-acquired extra time)

If something you see or hear about inspires you or pisses you off, you no longer have an excuse to not do something about it.

If your friends are basically your work friends, they will still be working so you might drift apart.

Having said this, the need for decompression is real, too.  I am still decompressing; I have come a long way, but I am not completely there.  One measure I have is whether I still have any dreams about work.  (or, with elements about it)  For 3 months solid, I had chronic work dreams, after forbidding them for myself during my 25 year career.  Now, they sneak in once in a while.

After decompression, it's also OK to allot yourself some time to figure out what you want to do:  try things out.  Switch.  Not all your ideas are good ones.  Start small, so you don't have a lot of time or money invested in a hobby or activity that keeps you anchored longer than you want to be.  I think the idea that you have to have it all planned out comes from the same driven, organized brains that got to early retirement in the first place.  But the danger of just "sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch" is also real.  If you don't want to be forgotten by everyone 30 years from now, only your own effort will keep that from happening.

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2020, 04:03:31 PM »
I've been retired for about 2.5 years now and I didn't really retire to anything either (well, I knew I'd spend a lot of time doing whatever part I could to get the Orange Menace out of office, but always knew that was a short term project not a life goal!).  I don't think you need a "purpose" in life or anything like that.  As long as you are intellectually curious, you'll find ways to avoid the depression that could come with not having things to fill up your time and make life worthwhile.  I love that video, @xbdb!

I also disagree with folks that say that whatever you are like at work you will be like retired.  That leaving work doesn't solve anything. I mean, it can't turn you into a beauty queen or a generous person or a talented musician, if you are not those things.  But it can give you the time and space to try!  To resolve problems or get away from problems that created who you were while working.  I was definitely more stressed out while working. And now I'm not!  Why?  Partly because the work itself was stressful and the people I worked with were terrible, so removing those things obviously changed my life.  But it also created space and time for me to figure out what made me stressed vs. not stressed and design conditions for myself that contributed to a happier lifestyle.  I am a very different person than when I was working because I decided to be different, thoought about how and then I followed through.

Otherwise, I definitely agree with what others have said.  It's so nice not to dread Sunday afternoons.  It's so nice to not have to compromise values or principles because work dictates your life. And it's nice to not HAVE to be productive!  The obsession with efficiency and productivity in our society, in optimizing and maximizing everything is just....exhausting.  I got tired just typing that!  I now sometimes do things that are inefficient and unproductive on purpose.  I won't lie, I'm still subject to the same cultural pressures, so part of me doing those things on purpose is trying to unlearn those cultural pressures and not let myself get caught up in feelings of guilt around not being productive and optimized.  It's a bit of a struggle.  But guess what else?  When your biggest stressor is unlearning cultural stigmas around lack of productivity...well, life is pretty good!

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2020, 04:59:53 PM »
I've been FIRE for a little over 8 years.  I didn't retire "TO" anything and don't really think it is necessary.  What is necessary is "knowing yourself".  The happy little secret is you have plenty of time to figure that part out after FIRE.  Honestly, I think the 6month decompression period is really a long slow moving existential crisis where you are confronted with your TRUE SELF and have to determine whether you like who you really are.  Else change  yourself for the better. 

But yeah, the 6 month decompression period is real.  Everything is a little wonky and unreal until about the 6 month point.  Everyone I know who FIREd experienced it for about the same period of time.  Be prepared to have a 6 month waiting period before making any major decisions.

I won't say I love it.  I did at first but now FIRE is just my default state.  I'm not 'happy' but I'm certainly a long way from 'unhappy'.  It is a nice cozy contentment.  It is "enough" in every sense of the word.  I think a lot of Americans simply don't grok the concept of "enough".  It is important to learn IMO. 

Eight years later there are still no major activities in a day or any structure.  I value the flexibility and have learned to appreciate the value in idleness.  Some people can't cope with idleness.  I pity them because I suspect it is because they don't like what they hear when their inner voice has time to speak to them on a meaningful level.  They probably don't exactly like themselves.  I like myself quite a lot these days and feel I'm a better person since FIRE.  Slower to anger, quicker to forgive, immune to pettiness, and more appreciative of others. 

Anyway, my point is, I think if retiring just to do it without a plan is appealing to you; it is probably exactly and I am precisely, the correct thing to do. 

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2020, 06:00:06 PM »
Well, thank you all for the thoughtful replies.

I am glad to hear so many others who take each day as it comes.  My work is intellectually challenging so it leaves me very little mental battery power at the end of the day, and the stack of books grows and grows.  The idea of completing a book is a luxury right now.

I've also been in the working world long enough to miss the days when you walked out of work at 5 or 6 and didn't think about work until the next morning. I remember distinctly the precise day my then-boss got a "car phone" and now, of course, employees are reachable every minute of every day.  There are no boundaries any more. While typing this (at 7:50 pm) I received 2 texts from the office.

Man, I just want to read a book tonight and not be called out at a meeting for missing a Tweet at 7:50 pm.  I have a million non-useful things I want to do, on my terms, that I simply lack the time and energy to do right now; that sounds really like enough to me.


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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2020, 06:16:28 PM »
I've been retired for about 2.5 years now and I didn't really retire to anything either (well, I knew I'd spend a lot of time doing whatever part I could to get the Orange Menace out of office, but always knew that was a short term project not a life goal!).  I don't think you need a "purpose" in life or anything like that.  As long as you are intellectually curious, you'll find ways to avoid the depression that could come with not having things to fill up your time and make life worthwhile.  I love that video, @xbdb!

I also disagree with folks that say that whatever you are like at work you will be like retired.  That leaving work doesn't solve anything. I mean, it can't turn you into a beauty queen or a generous person or a talented musician, if you are not those things.  But it can give you the time and space to try!  To resolve problems or get away from problems that created who you were while working.  I was definitely more stressed out while working. And now I'm not!  Why?  Partly because the work itself was stressful and the people I worked with were terrible, so removing those things obviously changed my life.  But it also created space and time for me to figure out what made me stressed vs. not stressed and design conditions for myself that contributed to a happier lifestyle.  I am a very different person than when I was working because I decided to be different, thoought about how and then I followed through.

Otherwise, I definitely agree with what others have said.  It's so nice not to dread Sunday afternoons.  It's so nice to not have to compromise values or principles because work dictates your life. And it's nice to not HAVE to be productive!  The obsession with efficiency and productivity in our society, in optimizing and maximizing everything is just....exhausting.  I got tired just typing that!  I now sometimes do things that are inefficient and unproductive on purpose.  I won't lie, I'm still subject to the same cultural pressures, so part of me doing those things on purpose is trying to unlearn those cultural pressures and not let myself get caught up in feelings of guilt around not being productive and optimized.  It's a bit of a struggle.  But guess what else?  When your biggest stressor is unlearning cultural stigmas around lack of productivity...well, life is pretty good!

This is probably the closest to where I am thanks for this post- For example, a ton of my stress started melting away when I got closer and closer to FI (not quite there yet) - that's a residual effect of growing up poor - until the money is in the bank you just can't relax.

My passions tend to be things that stir the intellect and are "unsolveable" - golf, fishing, classical music, history, poetry, astronomy.  One thing they all share is that they all take a lot of time to do and are therefore somewhat incompatible with work. 

Let's play a game:  I'm taking tomorrow off.  I'll tally the work interruptions and report back.

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2020, 06:34:18 PM »
I may be retired.  I quit to be a trailing spouse, that ended up lasting a decade, and now I may never be employed again.

I would agree that you need to retire *to* something.  But that doesn't have to be a calendar with every square packed with appointments and meetings and events.  It can be "reading and gardening".  It can be volunteering or quilting or golfing.  Wood working, working out, whittling.   Or likely a handful of those, or similar things. 

My parents play lots of tennis.  Mom does beading, which has expanded into teaching beading classes.  They entertain frequently.  They travel. Dad is on the board of their very, very large HOA.   And other things. 

I write, and take online writing classes. I read.  I've learned to cook.  Because my spouse works full time, I also do the majority of the housework, which will decrease once he is no longer working in some number of years.  And other things. 

The question can be boiled down to "what do you do when you wake up Tuesday morning"? If you don't know, that's not necessarily bad.  That could mean you haven't thought enough about it, or too many things appeal to you and you are struggling to narrow it down.  Or, it could mean that there's really nothing that interests you, in which case you are likely to struggle. 

So imagine you've been retired a couple months.  You are all caught up on sleep and feel decompressed.  You wake up.  It's a Tuesday.  What do you do, or what do you want to do?  If you can come up with a rough answer for that--that a hard schedule, but just a list of things you think you might like to try, whether it's Tuesday or the following Friday or the next month. 

Malcat

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2020, 07:43:42 PM »
I may be retired.  I quit to be a trailing spouse, that ended up lasting a decade, and now I may never be employed again.

I would agree that you need to retire *to* something.  But that doesn't have to be a calendar with every square packed with appointments and meetings and events.  It can be "reading and gardening".  It can be volunteering or quilting or golfing.  Wood working, working out, whittling.   Or likely a handful of those, or similar things. 

My parents play lots of tennis.  Mom does beading, which has expanded into teaching beading classes.  They entertain frequently.  They travel. Dad is on the board of their very, very large HOA.   And other things. 

I write, and take online writing classes. I read.  I've learned to cook.  Because my spouse works full time, I also do the majority of the housework, which will decrease once he is no longer working in some number of years.  And other things. 

The question can be boiled down to "what do you do when you wake up Tuesday morning"? If you don't know, that's not necessarily bad.  That could mean you haven't thought enough about it, or too many things appeal to you and you are struggling to narrow it down.  Or, it could mean that there's really nothing that interests you, in which case you are likely to struggle. 

So imagine you've been retired a couple months.  You are all caught up on sleep and feel decompressed.  You wake up.  It's a Tuesday.  What do you do, or what do you want to do?  If you can come up with a rough answer for that--that a hard schedule, but just a list of things you think you might like to try, whether it's Tuesday or the following Friday or the next month.

Sure, but for a lot of us, it's impossible to know what we'll want to do on Tuesday morning, months after we stop working and are in a completely different headspace because we've finally decompressed. Obviously everyone needs activities in retirement, but for many, it's not at all necessary, or even feasible to be able to identify them in advance.

I had very, very clear ideas of what I would fill my downtime with, because I knew exactly what my hobbies and interests were and anticipated doing more of them. Well, that was totally wrong. It turns out a lot of my old hobbies were ways to manage my stress and tension, and now that I have so little stress and tension, I'm far more interested in things that I wasn't before.

For example, I expected to take on a ton of writing projects. Nope. It seems that writing is something I do to channel frustration, pain, and anger. Less frustration, less interest in writing. I haven't written a proper page of content since early summer, and I don't miss it. I've turned down a few projects.

Meanwhile, I read a fiction book for the first time in over 20 years. Until last week, fiction to me was a complete waste of time. I consume books like they're skittles, but only if I can learn something important from them. However, last week I shocked myself by choosing a fiction book, and I was actually able to vaguely enjoy it. Who knew?

I also haven't painted in over 2 decades, and just thought yesterday: "maybe I should paint something for that wall". Long story, but yeah, there's a reason I don't paint.

Months ago I baked a god damn pie. I DO NOT bake. Baking is not a thing I do. I cook, and I adore cooking, but baking? No. Then suddenly I smelled a neighbour baking something apple-y and said "I'm going to bake an apple pie!" and I did! Despite never particularly liking apple, of all pies.

Basically, my DH thinks I've been swapped out for a pod person because I'm slowly coming around to all of these things that I not only did not do, I LOATHED them. Seriously, had you told me a year ago that I would use my newfound free time to bake an apple pie, read fiction (and not even historical fiction), and am considering painting (of all awful things), I would have made a face and imitated vomiting. Honestly, I still might, it's all that anathema to me. I'm truly baffling myself.

My point being, for some of us, it's impossible to anticipate what our needs will be once the demands of work are alleviated, especially if they're intense. There can be such a huge difference between what we do in our downtime between work obligations, and what we do when we are totally free of obligations.

It's hard to tell what kind of people we might become under completely different circumstances. Evidently, I'm becoming someone who likes to do shit I used to hate. Go figure.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 09:10:03 AM by Malcat »

texxan1

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2020, 07:29:32 AM »
The first time i saw a comment about What your going to retire too... I thought the same thing.... However, you really do need something to do .. whatever your plans, you will have down time etc..... Ive worked 28 days on 28 off for over the last 5 years and ive learned that you definately need something to do on your time off.... I luckily was overly busy with my business's and planning and all that and im about 2 months from FIRE and when its nice and warm out ill have plenty, but when its like today ( cold for me lol) i got not alot to do.... Im realizing that when your lazer focused at making money, its great but now that there isnt much to do on my glide path.... I seek out things, Things that ive always wanted to do, or that i did before and got to busy for to do in life.... Examples are everwhere..... I was a huge metal detector and treasure seeker as a kid, well thats sometime i want to get back into .... So just think about what things might be kewl to do, and espeiccally if they cost not much etc.....

Le North Dreamer

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2020, 09:03:25 AM »
Disclaimer, I'm far from FI and RE but happily enjoying the journey to FIRE.

Without getting into the nitty-gritty details of it, it's a good idea to remember that the literature seems to recognize that there are varied personality types within the human race (16 I believe, and I guess it depends on the model). As such, how someone deals with the near-absolute freedom of FIRE greatly depends on their personality, IMO. I gather that there are multiple theories out there on personality types, but one thing's for sure - we are not all experiencing life the same way nor behaving in a uniform way in from of similar stimuli.

Here's my quite personal example: I'm supposedly an INTJ and do recognize certain personality patterns when reading about it. My GF is supposedly an INFJ and the description does fit her personality. While these 2 personality types are quite compatible, my outlook on work and life tends to be a bit more on the rational side, while her outlook is far more emotionally driven. I do believe I could definitely ER happily without any big project or specific agenda in front of me as I'm always moving into new projects and interests naturally (and go 110% into these) in my current life, and I am not emotionally tied to my job or title given my rational-oriented personality. OTOH, my GF being a work-purpose-driven person, I do believe she would need to ER to another purpose-driven project or agenda in order to be happy and fulfilled in ER, no matter what it is, something in which she could flow the drive that she currently has at work. So there you have it, 2 slightly different personalities potentially reacting entirely differently to ER.

I'm fully aware that the whole personality type thing may not be hard-cold science-based as there is a lot of subjectivity in this field, but the personal experience should show us that we are not all the same (just think about your various coworkers if you have some...).

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2020, 09:43:08 AM »
Well, thank you all for the thoughtful replies.

I am glad to hear so many others who take each day as it comes.  My work is intellectually challenging so it leaves me very little mental battery power at the end of the day, and the stack of books grows and grows.  The idea of completing a book is a luxury right now.

The stack of books on my bedside table is larger now than when I FIREd.  I'm reading a lot more after FIRE but the more I read the more interesting books I come across.  I think this is what's called a good problem to have.  :)

@Financial.Velociraptor is absolutely correct about the 6 month decompression timeline, although there are stages.  My partner and I both were very invested in our jobs and thought we'd want to hear how the new software release went, or whether or not our former teams won a new contract or whatever.  Nope.  Literally days after FIRE neither of us cared one bit other than hoping our former co-workers were still doing ok.  And it took me a bit longer than 6 months to find a few things that have become very important to me post-FIRE.  But the essence of the 6 month decompression is correct - taking a few weeks or months off while working is in no way similar to the feeling of being done FOREVER.  Everyone is different, but I cannot understand the idea that you need to have a purpose or a list or social structure or anything else set up before FIRE.  Just ditching the job - even a great one - really does solve an enormous number of problems.  At least it did for both me and my partner.  The job was the problem.  Not having a job fixed it.  We were talking about this last night after I read through some of the answers, and we both agreed that for us our stress levels dropped to about 10% of what they were before, but the difference is so much bigger than that.  We were tired after getting home from a full day of work, even though we had relatively easy jobs.  We were stressed because there were always so many things piling up on the to do list.  Even if it was just laundry, groceries, cleaning, and a Monday morning meeting there still was pressure in our lives that doesn't exist now.  The simple act of ditching the job turned our lives from ones where substantial amounts of time were spent working for someone else to just doing what we wanted on our timelines, all the time.  No need for lists or purpose or anything else here. 

Villanelle

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2020, 10:44:23 AM »
I may be retired.  I quit to be a trailing spouse, that ended up lasting a decade, and now I may never be employed again.

I would agree that you need to retire *to* something.  But that doesn't have to be a calendar with every square packed with appointments and meetings and events.  It can be "reading and gardening".  It can be volunteering or quilting or golfing.  Wood working, working out, whittling.   Or likely a handful of those, or similar things. 

My parents play lots of tennis.  Mom does beading, which has expanded into teaching beading classes.  They entertain frequently.  They travel. Dad is on the board of their very, very large HOA.   And other things. 

I write, and take online writing classes. I read.  I've learned to cook.  Because my spouse works full time, I also do the majority of the housework, which will decrease once he is no longer working in some number of years.  And other things. 

The question can be boiled down to "what do you do when you wake up Tuesday morning"? If you don't know, that's not necessarily bad.  That could mean you haven't thought enough about it, or too many things appeal to you and you are struggling to narrow it down.  Or, it could mean that there's really nothing that interests you, in which case you are likely to struggle. 

So imagine you've been retired a couple months.  You are all caught up on sleep and feel decompressed.  You wake up.  It's a Tuesday.  What do you do, or what do you want to do?  If you can come up with a rough answer for that--that a hard schedule, but just a list of things you think you might like to try, whether it's Tuesday or the following Friday or the next month.

Sure, but for a lot of us, it's impossible to know what we'll want to do on Tuesday morning, months after we stop working and are in a completely different headspace because we've finally decompressed. Obviously everyone needs activities in retirement, but for many, it's not at all necessary, or even feasible to be able to identify them in advance.

I had very, very clear ideas of what I would fill my downtime with, because I knew exactly what my hobbies and interests were and anticipated doing more of them. Well, that was totally wrong. It turns out a lot of my old hobbies were ways to manage my stress and tension, and now that I have so little stress and tension, I'm far more interested in things that I wasn't before.

For example, I expected to take on a ton of writing projects. Nope. It seems that writing is something I do to channel frustration, pain, and anger. Less frustration, less interest in writing. I haven't written a proper page of content since early summer, and I don't miss it. I've turned down a few projects.

Meanwhile, I read a fiction book for the first time in over 20 years. Until last week, fiction to me was a complete waste of time. I consume books like they're skittles, but only if I can learn something important from them. However, last week I shocked myself by choosing a fiction book, and I was actually able to vaguely enjoy it. Who knew?

I also haven't painted in over 2 decades, and just thought yesterday: "maybe I should paint something for that wall". Long story, but yeah, there's a reason I don't paint.

Months ago I baked a god damn pie. I DO NOT bake. Baking is not a thing I do. I cook, and I adore cooking, but baking? No. Then suddenly I smelled a neighbour baking something apple-y and said "I'm going to bake an apple pie!" and I did! Despite never particularly liking apple, of all pies.

Basically, my DH thinks I've been swapped out for a pod person because I'm slowly coming around to all of these things that I not only did not do, I LOATHED them. Seriously, had you told me a year ago that I would use my newfound free time to bake an apple pie, read fiction (and not even historical fiction), and am considering painting (of all awful things), I would have made a face and imitated vomiting. Honestly, I still might, it's all that anathema to me. I'm truly baffling myself.

My point being, for some of us, it's impossible to anticipate what our needs will be once the demands of work are alleviated, especially if they're intense. There can be such a huge difference between what we do in our downtime between work obligations, and what we do when we are totally free of obligations.

It's hard to tell what kind of people we might become under completely different circumstances. Evidently, I'm becoming someone who likes to do shit I used to hate. Go figure.

Sure.  The answers may well change.  They may even change so much that the original list not represented one iota.  But if someone doesn't at least have a list of things they want to maybe explore, then I suspect they are very likely to struggle.  Again, the list is not etched in stone.  It's written, lightly, in pencil.   Someone who can make a list is likely going to be fine, regardless of how close, or not, the list comes to the reality.  If you can't make a wish list, that would strongly suggest a decent chance you will be rudderless and unmotivated in retirement.  Is it a guarantee? Of course not, just as having a list doesn't mean you won't wake up every morning listless and go for days without showering.  But if a friend was retiring and couldn't at least list a handful of "maybe I will..." and "XYZ sounds worth looking in to" items, then yes, I'd be somewhat concerned. 

YMMV.

Malcat

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2020, 01:27:39 PM »
I may be retired.  I quit to be a trailing spouse, that ended up lasting a decade, and now I may never be employed again.

I would agree that you need to retire *to* something.  But that doesn't have to be a calendar with every square packed with appointments and meetings and events.  It can be "reading and gardening".  It can be volunteering or quilting or golfing.  Wood working, working out, whittling.   Or likely a handful of those, or similar things. 

My parents play lots of tennis.  Mom does beading, which has expanded into teaching beading classes.  They entertain frequently.  They travel. Dad is on the board of their very, very large HOA.   And other things. 

I write, and take online writing classes. I read.  I've learned to cook.  Because my spouse works full time, I also do the majority of the housework, which will decrease once he is no longer working in some number of years.  And other things. 

The question can be boiled down to "what do you do when you wake up Tuesday morning"? If you don't know, that's not necessarily bad.  That could mean you haven't thought enough about it, or too many things appeal to you and you are struggling to narrow it down.  Or, it could mean that there's really nothing that interests you, in which case you are likely to struggle. 

So imagine you've been retired a couple months.  You are all caught up on sleep and feel decompressed.  You wake up.  It's a Tuesday.  What do you do, or what do you want to do?  If you can come up with a rough answer for that--that a hard schedule, but just a list of things you think you might like to try, whether it's Tuesday or the following Friday or the next month.

Sure, but for a lot of us, it's impossible to know what we'll want to do on Tuesday morning, months after we stop working and are in a completely different headspace because we've finally decompressed. Obviously everyone needs activities in retirement, but for many, it's not at all necessary, or even feasible to be able to identify them in advance.

I had very, very clear ideas of what I would fill my downtime with, because I knew exactly what my hobbies and interests were and anticipated doing more of them. Well, that was totally wrong. It turns out a lot of my old hobbies were ways to manage my stress and tension, and now that I have so little stress and tension, I'm far more interested in things that I wasn't before.

For example, I expected to take on a ton of writing projects. Nope. It seems that writing is something I do to channel frustration, pain, and anger. Less frustration, less interest in writing. I haven't written a proper page of content since early summer, and I don't miss it. I've turned down a few projects.

Meanwhile, I read a fiction book for the first time in over 20 years. Until last week, fiction to me was a complete waste of time. I consume books like they're skittles, but only if I can learn something important from them. However, last week I shocked myself by choosing a fiction book, and I was actually able to vaguely enjoy it. Who knew?

I also haven't painted in over 2 decades, and just thought yesterday: "maybe I should paint something for that wall". Long story, but yeah, there's a reason I don't paint.

Months ago I baked a god damn pie. I DO NOT bake. Baking is not a thing I do. I cook, and I adore cooking, but baking? No. Then suddenly I smelled a neighbour baking something apple-y and said "I'm going to bake an apple pie!" and I did! Despite never particularly liking apple, of all pies.

Basically, my DH thinks I've been swapped out for a pod person because I'm slowly coming around to all of these things that I not only did not do, I LOATHED them. Seriously, had you told me a year ago that I would use my newfound free time to bake an apple pie, read fiction (and not even historical fiction), and am considering painting (of all awful things), I would have made a face and imitated vomiting. Honestly, I still might, it's all that anathema to me. I'm truly baffling myself.

My point being, for some of us, it's impossible to anticipate what our needs will be once the demands of work are alleviated, especially if they're intense. There can be such a huge difference between what we do in our downtime between work obligations, and what we do when we are totally free of obligations.

It's hard to tell what kind of people we might become under completely different circumstances. Evidently, I'm becoming someone who likes to do shit I used to hate. Go figure.

Sure.  The answers may well change.  They may even change so much that the original list not represented one iota.  But if someone doesn't at least have a list of things they want to maybe explore, then I suspect they are very likely to struggle.  Again, the list is not etched in stone.  It's written, lightly, in pencil.   Someone who can make a list is likely going to be fine, regardless of how close, or not, the list comes to the reality.  If you can't make a wish list, that would strongly suggest a decent chance you will be rudderless and unmotivated in retirement.  Is it a guarantee? Of course not, just as having a list doesn't mean you won't wake up every morning listless and go for days without showering.  But if a friend was retiring and couldn't at least list a handful of "maybe I will..." and "XYZ sounds worth looking in to" items, then yes, I'd be somewhat concerned. 

YMMV.

Funny, when people asked me what I planned on doing with all of my time off my answer was a very confident and cheerful "I have no fucking clue". People don't worry about me because I give them no cause to worry about me.

I generally don't worry about FIRE folks, they tend to be quite motivated and disciplined. What I *do* see is a lot of FIRE folks who stress like hell about what they will fill their lives with after working.

For a lot of people here, a little "I have no fucking clue" might actually be good for them.

ETA: I should clarify that I kind of retired twice. The first found, I had a running list of things I wanted to do. Then I took on a massive project that I quickly had to walk away from, and for that second round I went into it with the aim of planning nothing. That was 2 months ago.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 01:51:03 PM by Malcat »

sui generis

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2020, 01:37:55 PM »
I may be retired.  I quit to be a trailing spouse, that ended up lasting a decade, and now I may never be employed again.

I would agree that you need to retire *to* something.  But that doesn't have to be a calendar with every square packed with appointments and meetings and events.  It can be "reading and gardening".  It can be volunteering or quilting or golfing.  Wood working, working out, whittling.   Or likely a handful of those, or similar things. 

My parents play lots of tennis.  Mom does beading, which has expanded into teaching beading classes.  They entertain frequently.  They travel. Dad is on the board of their very, very large HOA.   And other things. 

I write, and take online writing classes. I read.  I've learned to cook.  Because my spouse works full time, I also do the majority of the housework, which will decrease once he is no longer working in some number of years.  And other things. 

The question can be boiled down to "what do you do when you wake up Tuesday morning"? If you don't know, that's not necessarily bad.  That could mean you haven't thought enough about it, or too many things appeal to you and you are struggling to narrow it down.  Or, it could mean that there's really nothing that interests you, in which case you are likely to struggle. 

So imagine you've been retired a couple months.  You are all caught up on sleep and feel decompressed.  You wake up.  It's a Tuesday.  What do you do, or what do you want to do?  If you can come up with a rough answer for that--that a hard schedule, but just a list of things you think you might like to try, whether it's Tuesday or the following Friday or the next month.

Sure, but for a lot of us, it's impossible to know what we'll want to do on Tuesday morning, months after we stop working and are in a completely different headspace because we've finally decompressed. Obviously everyone needs activities in retirement, but for many, it's not at all necessary, or even feasible to be able to identify them in advance.

I had very, very clear ideas of what I would fill my downtime with, because I knew exactly what my hobbies and interests were and anticipated doing more of them. Well, that was totally wrong. It turns out a lot of my old hobbies were ways to manage my stress and tension, and now that I have so little stress and tension, I'm far more interested in things that I wasn't before.

For example, I expected to take on a ton of writing projects. Nope. It seems that writing is something I do to channel frustration, pain, and anger. Less frustration, less interest in writing. I haven't written a proper page of content since early summer, and I don't miss it. I've turned down a few projects.

Meanwhile, I read a fiction book for the first time in over 20 years. Until last week, fiction to me was a complete waste of time. I consume books like they're skittles, but only if I can learn something important from them. However, last week I shocked myself by choosing a fiction book, and I was actually able to vaguely enjoy it. Who knew?

I also haven't painted in over 2 decades, and just thought yesterday: "maybe I should paint something for that wall". Long story, but yeah, there's a reason I don't paint.

Months ago I baked a god damn pie. I DO NOT bake. Baking is not a thing I do. I cook, and I adore cooking, but baking? No. Then suddenly I smelled a neighbour baking something apple-y and said "I'm going to bake an apple pie!" and I did! Despite never particularly liking apple, of all pies.

Basically, my DH thinks I've been swapped out for a pod person because I'm slowly coming around to all of these things that I not only did not do, I LOATHED them. Seriously, had you told me a year ago that I would use my newfound free time to bake an apple pie, read fiction (and not even historical fiction), and am considering painting (of all awful things), I would have made a face and imitated vomiting. Honestly, I still might, it's all that anathema to me. I'm truly baffling myself.

My point being, for some of us, it's impossible to anticipate what our needs will be once the demands of work are alleviated, especially if they're intense. There can be such a huge difference between what we do in our downtime between work obligations, and what we do when we are totally free of obligations.

It's hard to tell what kind of people we might become under completely different circumstances. Evidently, I'm becoming someone who likes to do shit I used to hate. Go figure.

Sure.  The answers may well change.  They may even change so much that the original list not represented one iota.  But if someone doesn't at least have a list of things they want to maybe explore, then I suspect they are very likely to struggle.  Again, the list is not etched in stone.  It's written, lightly, in pencil.   Someone who can make a list is likely going to be fine, regardless of how close, or not, the list comes to the reality.  If you can't make a wish list, that would strongly suggest a decent chance you will be rudderless and unmotivated in retirement.  Is it a guarantee? Of course not, just as having a list doesn't mean you won't wake up every morning listless and go for days without showering.  But if a friend was retiring and couldn't at least list a handful of "maybe I will..." and "XYZ sounds worth looking in to" items, then yes, I'd be somewhat concerned. 

YMMV.

This to me rings of the "as long as you are intellectually curious" comment I made above.  Someone that has a list, even if it's not the list they end up following, is a curious person that seeks out new information or ideas or experiences.  If someone doesn't have a list, that might mean they really have very little curiosity or interest in the world.  That they'll be passive and inert.  Or it might mean, as Malcat sounds like they are describing, that they look forward to stumbling into many interesting things and seeing where those stumbles land them.  Sort of like the old quote about humans planning and god laughing.  Not necessary to make a list when you are confident that you'll start wandering and will inevitably stumble into lots of stuff.  I definitely know the difference between these two people, even if they both said to me, "I have no fucking clue."

Villanelle

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2020, 01:50:31 PM »
I may be retired.  I quit to be a trailing spouse, that ended up lasting a decade, and now I may never be employed again.

I would agree that you need to retire *to* something.  But that doesn't have to be a calendar with every square packed with appointments and meetings and events.  It can be "reading and gardening".  It can be volunteering or quilting or golfing.  Wood working, working out, whittling.   Or likely a handful of those, or similar things. 

My parents play lots of tennis.  Mom does beading, which has expanded into teaching beading classes.  They entertain frequently.  They travel. Dad is on the board of their very, very large HOA.   And other things. 

I write, and take online writing classes. I read.  I've learned to cook.  Because my spouse works full time, I also do the majority of the housework, which will decrease once he is no longer working in some number of years.  And other things. 

The question can be boiled down to "what do you do when you wake up Tuesday morning"? If you don't know, that's not necessarily bad.  That could mean you haven't thought enough about it, or too many things appeal to you and you are struggling to narrow it down.  Or, it could mean that there's really nothing that interests you, in which case you are likely to struggle. 

So imagine you've been retired a couple months.  You are all caught up on sleep and feel decompressed.  You wake up.  It's a Tuesday.  What do you do, or what do you want to do?  If you can come up with a rough answer for that--that a hard schedule, but just a list of things you think you might like to try, whether it's Tuesday or the following Friday or the next month.

Sure, but for a lot of us, it's impossible to know what we'll want to do on Tuesday morning, months after we stop working and are in a completely different headspace because we've finally decompressed. Obviously everyone needs activities in retirement, but for many, it's not at all necessary, or even feasible to be able to identify them in advance.

I had very, very clear ideas of what I would fill my downtime with, because I knew exactly what my hobbies and interests were and anticipated doing more of them. Well, that was totally wrong. It turns out a lot of my old hobbies were ways to manage my stress and tension, and now that I have so little stress and tension, I'm far more interested in things that I wasn't before.

For example, I expected to take on a ton of writing projects. Nope. It seems that writing is something I do to channel frustration, pain, and anger. Less frustration, less interest in writing. I haven't written a proper page of content since early summer, and I don't miss it. I've turned down a few projects.

Meanwhile, I read a fiction book for the first time in over 20 years. Until last week, fiction to me was a complete waste of time. I consume books like they're skittles, but only if I can learn something important from them. However, last week I shocked myself by choosing a fiction book, and I was actually able to vaguely enjoy it. Who knew?

I also haven't painted in over 2 decades, and just thought yesterday: "maybe I should paint something for that wall". Long story, but yeah, there's a reason I don't paint.

Months ago I baked a god damn pie. I DO NOT bake. Baking is not a thing I do. I cook, and I adore cooking, but baking? No. Then suddenly I smelled a neighbour baking something apple-y and said "I'm going to bake an apple pie!" and I did! Despite never particularly liking apple, of all pies.

Basically, my DH thinks I've been swapped out for a pod person because I'm slowly coming around to all of these things that I not only did not do, I LOATHED them. Seriously, had you told me a year ago that I would use my newfound free time to bake an apple pie, read fiction (and not even historical fiction), and am considering painting (of all awful things), I would have made a face and imitated vomiting. Honestly, I still might, it's all that anathema to me. I'm truly baffling myself.

My point being, for some of us, it's impossible to anticipate what our needs will be once the demands of work are alleviated, especially if they're intense. There can be such a huge difference between what we do in our downtime between work obligations, and what we do when we are totally free of obligations.

It's hard to tell what kind of people we might become under completely different circumstances. Evidently, I'm becoming someone who likes to do shit I used to hate. Go figure.

Sure.  The answers may well change.  They may even change so much that the original list not represented one iota.  But if someone doesn't at least have a list of things they want to maybe explore, then I suspect they are very likely to struggle.  Again, the list is not etched in stone.  It's written, lightly, in pencil.   Someone who can make a list is likely going to be fine, regardless of how close, or not, the list comes to the reality.  If you can't make a wish list, that would strongly suggest a decent chance you will be rudderless and unmotivated in retirement.  Is it a guarantee? Of course not, just as having a list doesn't mean you won't wake up every morning listless and go for days without showering.  But if a friend was retiring and couldn't at least list a handful of "maybe I will..." and "XYZ sounds worth looking in to" items, then yes, I'd be somewhat concerned. 

YMMV.

This to me rings of the "as long as you are intellectually curious" comment I made above.  Someone that has a list, even if it's not the list they end up following, is a curious person that seeks out new information or ideas or experiences.  If someone doesn't have a list, that might mean they really have very little curiosity or interest in the world.  That they'll be passive and inert.  Or it might mean, as Malcat sounds like they are describing, that they look forward to stumbling into many interesting things and seeing where those stumbles land them.  Sort of like the old quote about humans planning and god laughing.  Not necessary to make a list when you are confident that you'll start wandering and will inevitably stumble into lots of stuff.  I definitely know the difference between these two people, even if they both said to me, "I have no fucking clue."

I agree whole heartedly with this, and it's what I was trying--far less articulately--to get at with my "what will you do on Tuesday" thoughts.  If you can answer what you would do on a random Tuesday now (imagining you've decompressed and settles into not working a bit), then it means you are able to look at the world and see something that interests you enough to fill some time and exercise your brain a bit.  If you can do that, I think you will likely be just fine.  Whatever you come up with may not actually interest you in 6 months when you have retired and have that time to fill.  Or it may only take an hour or two, and it turns out that you actually hate whittling and War and Peace bored you in the first 25 pages.  But if you can fill an imaginary day, then you can probably fill the very real decades of retirement. 

To some people, that might manifest as "I have no fucking clue".  I agree with you that it's generally pretty easy to know the difference between someone who says that but clearly will be able to find satisfying and plentiful options, and someone who is going to wake up and turn on the TV because they are bored. 

Malcat

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2020, 01:57:38 PM »
I honestly just don't worry about FIRE folks in retirement. This is not a population that I think will fall into lazy ennui.

The only ones here is worry about are the ones who have clearly suffered severe mental health damage from their careers and have no clear plans for addressing those mental health concerns.

That said, I don't worry have any concerns about them listlessly drifting off into doing nothing, I worry about their ongoing stress and anxiety without having work as a heat sink to absorb it.

bmjohnson35

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2020, 02:05:23 PM »
Retired at the end of February.  I wish I could have started FIRE without Covid.  It has distorted it considerably. I was very much ready to leave my career of 30 yrs, so it was more about retiring away from something than to something.  I also don't miss the 75 miles round trip 5 days a week and being on call 24/7. 

Over the last 9 months I completed most of my major house projects and started a new hobby. I get consistent sleep now and have shed most, if not all of the stress that came with my former position.  I look forward to being able to get back to the gym, socialize with friends, travel, enjoy live music, and simply be able eat out at a nice restaurant.

I may get a part-time job next year to add a little structure to my life, but only if I can find something with limited hours and the flexibility I would require.  Alternatively, I may try some volunteer work.  I'm still figuring out what FIRE means for me.


2sk22

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2020, 02:37:07 AM »
I honestly just don't worry about FIRE folks in retirement. This is not a population that I think will fall into lazy ennui.

Indeed, I agree that a person disciplined enough to FIRE is probably not a big risk.

The really bad cases are those who were forced to retire by circumstances. Especially in the software business where I worked, ageism is a common problem. I know numerous people in their fifties who were laid off from high-paying, high-status jobs. Many of these people did not adjust well to their forced retirement and went into depression.

Malcat

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2020, 05:45:59 AM »
I honestly just don't worry about FIRE folks in retirement. This is not a population that I think will fall into lazy ennui.

Indeed, I agree that a person disciplined enough to FIRE is probably not a big risk.

The really bad cases are those who were forced to retire by circumstances. Especially in the software business where I worked, ageism is a common problem. I know numerous people in their fifties who were laid off from high-paying, high-status jobs. Many of these people did not adjust well to their forced retirement and went into depression.

Exactly.

It's such a huge difference, working proactively to retire early vs having your life's work taken away from you when you aren't prepared for it.

Incidentally, I *did* have my career taken away from me, but I was expecting it, and I had been here for over 5 years talking extensively about what work and money can mean in terms of happiness.

So I knew to line up some high quality therapy to process the loss and get one with living my best life.

Being part of this community forces you to think about your options, to take responsibility for what your life looks like. Just contemplating taking control over when you can stop working is a very powerful assertion of autonomy over your own life and circumstances. That skill is incredibly valuable when the structure of work disappears.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2020, 08:48:07 AM »


I'm always surprised at those who are bored or who say "you have to have something to retire to" - I guess I just don't get it.

 

The www is a stupendous encyclopedia.

How can anyone be bored if they have access to the www?



« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 08:52:53 AM by John Galt incarnate! »

Villanelle

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2020, 06:19:43 PM »


I'm always surprised at those who are bored or who say "you have to have something to retire to" - I guess I just don't get it.

 

The www is a stupendous encyclopedia.

How can anyone be bored if they have access to the www?

I think people who have always been told what to do, or who always had clear things they were required to do, can really lack the skill of self-motivation.  I've seen it.  Based on some of these posts, I guess some here haven't, which is surprising to me.  But there are people who, without clear commitments filling their lives (like paid work with a set schedule), just wake up and don't know what to do.  Because they are used to someone telling them that, they lack the motivation or habit or  whatever it is to even utilize that "www".  Or perhaps, to reference Sui Generis' post, they lack the intellectual curiosity to wonder about a thing, and then decide to fill that wonder with learning.  IOW, the "WWW" is a place to find answers, but that means one must first have questions.

chevy1956

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2020, 09:09:41 PM »
This is a really good thread. I retired at the end of September so it's been close to 2 months.

Thank You to everyone that mentioned a decompression stage. To the OP I didn't retire to something. I adopted the approach of figuring it out as I go. I also think future me is better placed to make decisions for future me and I still feel that way. In stating that I do feel in a funny state. I'm figuring myself and my life out. So what is interesting is that FIRE has thrown something at me to deal with.

I suppose I'll state what I've done. I read a lot. I play guitar a lot and I've improved a lot. I've done a little work in the garden. I've gone to the gym a bit more. I've been vaping more pot. I go for walks with my wife. We've been having sex more regularly. I've been watching a bit of TV and some movies. My wife watches a lot of TV/movies and does most of the housework. I cook a bit but no more than when I worked but now I also cook for myself a bit more for lunches/breakfast. I think my wife likes doing the housework. It gives her something to do. My wife seems pretty happy and content with this existence but interestingly she has also been retired for 9 months or so.

I think a big point I'd make at this stage of my journey is that I think that there is a decompression stage but I'm not sure if that is the right words to describe the process in my eyes. I'm definitely going through an adjustment stage. I think this adjustment phase is going to take me some time to get used too.

Another couple of random points:-

1. I love eating simple frugal healthy food. The best has to be of course beans and rice. My in-laws are loaded and have taken us to heaps of fancy restaurants. I like rice and beans and veges and spices all mixed together as much as truffle butter. Having the time to eat like this is great. I don't rush getting my food ready.
2. I can't see myself ever going back to work. I also had a relatively good job. The pay wasn't great but it was middle management in IT in a big corp so it was way better than average. I didn't take shit for a large number of years even though the environment could get stressful. I'd manage my work time really well and don't think I really ever did 40 hours per week. I'd do less and get paid for 40 hours. I liked a lot of the people I worked with. I consider them good friends. I just don't see why I would go back to work because I don't need the money. If I don't need the money there is no incentive at all to do it.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2020, 08:24:44 PM by chevy1956 »

stoaX

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2020, 05:00:42 AM »
I've been retired for a year and a half after putting in 40 years of full time work (ages 18 to 58).  I am less stressed in retirement, but that doesn't mean no stress. I obviously do a lot more of what I want to do but not everything I want to do.  I have yet to be bored even though we are not doing the traveling we had planned on doing. 

Because of the pandemic, I've read 55 books this year and the house is immaculate. 

Malcat

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2020, 06:49:47 AM »
This is a really good thread. I retired at the end of September so it's been close to 2 months.

Thank You to everyone that mentioned a decompression stage. To the OP I didn't retire to something. I adopted the approach of figuring it out as I go. I also think future me is better placed to make decisions for future me and I still feel that way. In stating that I do feel in a funny state. I'm figuring myself and my life out. So what is interesting is that FIRE has thrown something at me to deal with.

I suppose I'll state what I've done. I read a lot. I play guitar a lot and I've improved a lot. I've done a little work in the garden. I've gone to the gym a bit more. I've been vaping more pot. I go for walks with my wife. We've been having sex more regularly. I've been watching a bit of TV and some movies. My wife watches a lot of TV/movies and does most of the housework. I cook a bit but no more than when I worked but now I also cook for myself a bit more for lunches/breakfast. I think my wife likes doing the housework. It gives her something to do. My wife seems pretty happy and content with this existence but interestingly she has also been retired for 9 months or so.

I think a big point I'd make at this stage of my journey is that I think that there is a decompression stage but I'm not sure if that is the right words to describe the process in my eyes. I'm definitely going through an adjustment stage. I think this adjustment phase is going to take me some time to get used too.

Another couple of random points:-

1. I love eating simple frugal healthy food. The best has to be of course beans and rice. My in-laws are loaded and have taken us to heaps of fancy restaurants. I like rice and beans and veges and spices all mixed together as much as truffle butter. Having the time to eat like this is great. I don't rush getting my food ready.
2. I can't see myself ever going back to work. I also had a relatively good job. The pay wasn't great but it was middle management in IT in a big corp so it was way better than average. I didn't take shit for a large number of years even though the environment could get stressful. I'd manage my work time really well and don't think I really ever did 40 hours per work. I'd do less and get paid for 40 hours. I liked a lot of the people I worked with. I consider them good friends. I just don't see why I would go back to work because I don't need the money. If I don't need the money there is no incentive at all to do it.

Ah! I just about squealed when I read this. This is one of the lines I say constantly, it's so neat to see someone else say the same thing.

bmjohnson35

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2020, 08:28:04 AM »
This is a really good thread. I retired at the end of September so it's been close to 2 months.

Thank You to everyone that mentioned a decompression stage. To the OP I didn't retire to something. I adopted the approach of figuring it out as I go. I also think future me is better placed to make decisions for future me and I still feel that way. In stating that I do feel in a funny state. I'm figuring myself and my life out. So what is interesting is that FIRE has thrown something at me to deal with.

I suppose I'll state what I've done. I read a lot. I play guitar a lot and I've improved a lot. I've done a little work in the garden. I've gone to the gym a bit more. I've been vaping more pot. I go for walks with my wife. We've been having sex more regularly. I've been watching a bit of TV and some movies. My wife watches a lot of TV/movies and does most of the housework. I cook a bit but no more than when I worked but now I also cook for myself a bit more for lunches/breakfast. I think my wife likes doing the housework. It gives her something to do. My wife seems pretty happy and content with this existence but interestingly she has also been retired for 9 months or so.

I think a big point I'd make at this stage of my journey is that I think that there is a decompression stage but I'm not sure if that is the right words to describe the process in my eyes. I'm definitely going through an adjustment stage. I think this adjustment phase is going to take me some time to get used too.

Another couple of random points:-

1. I love eating simple frugal healthy food. The best has to be of course beans and rice. My in-laws are loaded and have taken us to heaps of fancy restaurants. I like rice and beans and veges and spices all mixed together as much as truffle butter. Having the time to eat like this is great. I don't rush getting my food ready.
2. I can't see myself ever going back to work. I also had a relatively good job. The pay wasn't great but it was middle management in IT in a big corp so it was way better than average. I didn't take shit for a large number of years even though the environment could get stressful. I'd manage my work time really well and don't think I really ever did 40 hours per work. I'd do less and get paid for 40 hours. I liked a lot of the people I worked with. I consider them good friends. I just don't see why I would go back to work because I don't need the money. If I don't need the money there is no incentive at all to do it.

My wife had been retired for around 2 years now.  She had been talking about getting a part-time job for the past year.  I think she was waiting for me to retire. Since Covid has put the brakes on our traveling and much of our social activities, she went ahead and got a part-time job last month. She has always done the majority of the house cleaning over the years.  Since we have both been at home full time, it quickly became obvious which household tasks she preferred and which ones she would put off.  I've since taken over cleaning the bathrooms, floors and other misc. items.  I have also started tinkering with baking, but the kitchen is still very much her domain.  None of this was planned or discussed, it just kind of happened organically.  The point is as you and/or your significant other's work situations evolve, your roles/responsibilities in the house may also evolve.

spartana

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #40 on: December 06, 2020, 11:57:27 AM »
RE for me has been pretty darn glorious! Quit work at 36 to do a bunch of physical stuff while younger (retired TO something's I guess). After 2 years off went back to old job for 4 years because they asked me to (it was a mistake I REALLY regret) then left at 42 permanently. Again because there were many things and opportunities  - mostly age related and physical - that I longed to do that I didn't want to put off. I didn't need any decompression time either time, probably because I liked my job although it was very stressful and kinda dangerous, so YMMV.  Now 15 plus years in I don't regret my decision at all and still have many things I have plans and a very strong desire to do. For me, who's not a homebody at all, I think having things I really wanted to do but not any kind of schedule works best. I don't really make plans but feel very motivated to do lots of things. Not all at once and have tons of "do nothing" moments, hours, days and even weeks. It is all good.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2020, 12:01:48 PM by spartana »

HotTubes

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2020, 06:49:48 PM »
Thanks all for continuing to contribute to this thread - as an update I indeed was interrupted several times with action items on my day off, 100% of which could have waited until Monday, or Tuesday, or never.





chevy1956

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2020, 08:26:11 PM »
Ah! I just about squealed when I read this. This is one of the lines I say constantly, it's so neat to see someone else say the same thing.

I picked that up from you. I think the same idea is in a lot of stoic/epicurean/buddhist philosophies as well. Enjoy the day and let the future sort itself out.

chevy1956

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #43 on: December 06, 2020, 08:27:17 PM »
Thanks all for continuing to contribute to this thread - as an update I indeed was interrupted several times with action items on my day off, 100% of which could have waited until Monday, or Tuesday, or never.

I love the bolded bit. That is life isn't it. I think I'm going to go and play some computer games.

Malcat

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #44 on: December 07, 2020, 05:48:04 AM »
Ah! I just about squealed when I read this. This is one of the lines I say constantly, it's so neat to see someone else say the same thing.

I picked that up from you. I think the same idea is in a lot of stoic/epicurean/buddhist philosophies as well. Enjoy the day and let the future sort itself out.

Lol, well that makes sense then.

Car Jack

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #45 on: December 07, 2020, 06:35:41 AM »
With covid and work from home, I'm "practicing" how to be retired.  And guess what?  I have plenty to do.  I cut firewood on my property and heat the house with a wood furnace.  I like all aspects of this from clearing storm damaged trees to using my new log splitter to NOT seeing the oil truck making expensive deliveries.  Besides that, I do our car mechanic work.  Keeping up on maintenance and DIY stuff saves us tons of money.  I buy brake pads at Auto Zone and when they wear out, they replace them for free.  I don't know why they do this, but my 7 year old Crosstrek has had at least 2 or 3 replacements.  When needed, I'll buy rotors from Rock Auto.

If I were a decade or 2 younger, I'd probably be taking regular mountain bike rides.  I'm just not up to it anymore.  I've taken it out maybe a dozen times last season, so I do some riding. 

Once I'm on "real" retirement, maybe I'll be doing things differently, but not sure what else I can fit in.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #46 on: December 07, 2020, 07:07:22 AM »
I very much enjoy being able to get up when I have woken up naturally, as I have always woken up too early by the alarm clock to get to work. I love lazy breakfasts. Normally I get out if the weather is attractive, or with bad weather, I might not bother and do stuff indoors. Indoors, I do stuff like mindfull yoga, reading books, cooking, baking bread, surfing the internet, watching birds in the garden, watching commercial-free TV. So far, I have read over 90+ books this year and I FIREd at the beginning of the year. When I go outside, I like to forage/learn plants or mushrooms, or just briskwalk in the forest. And during the snowy season, crosscountry skiing. During further away trips, I like to hike (in the mountains).
It took me about 11 months to get a lower blood pressure (more or less within normal range). In the beginning I had a lot of stress because of our home sale and moving, as well as DH damaging his back for a few weeks during the moving. I also had tendencies to still be hyper productive all the time, as I used to be when working. But now I have relaxed much more and do more one thing at the time.
I like that we spontaniously can get on trips without being depending on (long) weekends. I also love that we can generally drive anywhere outside rush hours. And in particular that we in the winter can drive to and from our cabin during daylight hours, instead of always on Friday night or Sunday night together with many others.
One item that is missing from our lives, is owning a new place. We are currently renting a house. The garden is grass. I would love to start planting all kinds of food plants (trying permaculture), but we may not remove or cover the grass. So this will have to wait. Finding the next place to live will likely cost some new stress. But when owning your own place, you do more home improvements and gardening. We miss that a bit now.

Metta

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #47 on: December 07, 2020, 07:54:01 AM »
I had a list of what I wanted to do with my time in FIRE. I left a high stress, long hours job that left me no time for anything but work and very little sleep. I didn’t think I was unhappy. In fact, when I look back at my posts here I’m struck by how often I said I was happy at work.

But I know the truth now. I was a little manic and trying desperately to be happy in a situation that was eating me alive.

I’ve been FIREd for four years at the end of this month and I am happy. Like everyone else I went through a six month period of ‘decompression’ which in my case was non-stop sleep. I was afraid I’d forgotten how to be productive in that time. But I just needed to recover from my high stress job. After the first year of FIRE I suddenly had a surplus of energy again.

When I emerged I found that some of the items on my list didn’t interest me anymore. One funny thing is that I set up for myself a course in gourmet vegan cooking (which I completed) and then discovered that like Malcat with writing, I cooked as a way to channel my pain. When there was no more pain, there was no more interest in gourmet cooking. I’d planned to continue on after the cooking program into a pastry program, but stopped when I realized that this wasn’t where my heart was.

Writing and art, that’s different. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do either because both came hard when I was working crazy hours and not sleeping. But now I spend 6-9 hours a day doing one or the other (or learning more on either). 

I finally made a schedule for myself this year, mostly to keep me from neglecting my husband and to provide some structure for the writing/art time.

On a day-to-day basis, I’m happy. But I thought I was happy when I was working all the time, too. So let me revise that. I’m calm. I wake up when I want to and get out of bed when my body is ready. I stay up late, but for my own projects. I love more deeply. I feel everything more deeply, which in this age of mass death is kind of terrible. But I wouldn’t trade my emotions for the numbness I used to feel.

My hair has grown from just below my shoulders (best I could manage after years of trying) to hitting just above my tush. It turns out that my husband was right. I was literally tearing my hair out from stress. I just didn’t realize it.

I thought I would have problems finding people to socialize with, but it turns out that this was not really a problem at all. There are plenty of people around. I actually have the same problem with too many people wanting to socialize that I had when I was working. It turns out that learning to say ‘No’ is a life project for me.

As Malcat says, whoever you are, you bring yourself. What FIRE does is teach you who you are. It’s wonderful for that. Planning doesn’t help. Making lists doesn’t help. Embracing it is what works in the end. (But you’ll want six months to a year to adjust.)

You’ve gotten a lot of great answers in this thread. (I always love it when people ask this question.) I’ll tell you from my own experience, Financial Velociraptor’s posts and advice were the ones that helped me most when I was early FIRE.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 09:59:47 AM by Metta »

Metta

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #48 on: December 07, 2020, 08:10:50 AM »
One more thing. It turns out that frugality was easier when all I did was work. I spend a bit more in FIRE (mostly on writing and art classes and conferences), but not so much more that it hurts our finances.

Dicey

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Re: Tell me what it's like
« Reply #49 on: December 07, 2020, 08:44:09 AM »
I am 8 years plus two days FIRE. It's been glorious.