Author Topic: The Phases of RE - Question for long time RE people or others to hypothesize  (Read 5221 times)

Wolfpack Mustachian

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I don't see this as a problem, but one of my friends proposed a challenge to me about early retirement. I don't have an exact date for early retirement yet, but my plan would end up *hopefully* with me being retired and alive for a decent amount longer than I'd been alive before retirement. I've always had a hard time understanding people that ask, "What would you do?" because I have literally dozens of things I would like to do. They're roughly broken up between travel and doing stuff around my house like gardening/working in the woods, etc. along with some personal improvement stuff like learning a new language and more exercise.

However, his point was, sure, you'll go through a phase and maybe a long phase where you're doing all of this stuff you've always wanted to do. Some people get bored in a few months because they haven't planned anything at all/were so focused on work. You have a lot of stuff, so yours will go on for a long time. Maybe 5 years, maybe 10, maybe 15 or what have you. However, will it eventually end. In my case, I would, again hopefully, have a lot of life left even after spending 10-15 years doing everything I've wanted to do but have only been able to do in part because of a lack of time.

I believe that I would be able to continue on with new things, but I thought it was a valid question. Has anyone who has had years of retirement had anything come up like this? Does anyone have any speculations for themselves? I see things as different phases of early retirement. For me, I see initial excitement/desire to do everything for a few months/year or two, followed by a longer time (years) of being able to actually make headway doing things I've always wanted, but eventually, I know that the plans I have now will be accomplished, and I am curious of what then?

Cadman

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The easy answer is "guess I'll go back to work". But it sounds like your friend is more sincere than accusatory.

In my planning for FIRE (not RE yet, but close), I ended up adding a tab to one of my spreadsheets just to jot down things that need to get done that I don't have time for now, and things that I have wanted to do for years if I can only find the time.  So far the list is in the hundreds of items and I can't imagine ever running out of things to do.

If you have hobbies, those can easily be expanded in different directions. If you're a property owner, there are always windows that need washing, grass that needs mowing, interior/exterior painting, and small projects that pile up. Personal growth is never ending...learn to play a new instrument, a new language (like you mention), continuous fitness and health goals. Throw in time to travel and relax, books to read, films to watch, and I don't see how anyone could find themselves wanting.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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That's a good point. It's very possible that I've underestimated the time it will take to complete my mental list of things to do, because I won't be working at a frantic work pace doing them, which is how I'm looking at it in my mind probably. Those are good suggestions, as well, thank you and an excellent point about hobbies going in different directions.

I should also have made this clear, my friend is definitely sincere and is also most likely going to RE himself with his own list of things. He was just asking/we were pondering together this thought that he'd heard somewhere else about what happens after the "phase of RE where you complete all the things you've wanted to do, even if that phase takes years."

ROF Expat

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Everybody is different, so YMMV.   

I've only been retired for a little over three years, so maybe a new phase will kick in for me, but I can't even imagine reaching a point phase where my plans are "done" and I face a "What now?" moment.  At this point, I can say that not only do my old interests still keep me occupied, but I am discovering new interests and goals literally every day.  I have been a fly fisherman for many years.  I can happily go to local water and catch whatever is in season.  But I also plan to go fishing for bonefish in the Seychelles, tarpon in Florida, trout in Patagonia, and salmon in Alaska and lots of other places.  I don't think I'll ever run out of places where I'd be happy to go fishing.  I've lifted weights for many years, and I'm still working on my goals of benching 300 and squatting 500 (although I may never achieve them).  But beyond my old interests like fishing and lifting, I can follow up on other interests.  Since retirement, I've been studying to get certified as a Field Guide, something I never thought about before.  Post retirement, I've taught myself to bake.  I'm planning to drive from East Africa to Southern Africa.  And I'm thinking about planting an asparagus bed.  And I've decided I'd like to learn to weld.  And reading the "stupidest wants" thread has made me start thinking about doing motorcycle and car track day courses.  And kiteboarding looks too cool for words. 

For me, being FIRE means having the time and finances to follow up on almost anything that interests me (although I do have to prioritize).  I'm pretty sure I'll run out of life before I run out of things that will keep me fully occupied and excited. 


Cali4en

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I get the point your friend was making, but I question whether it applies to everyone.  I suppose if someone spends most of their time on a really specific hobby or activity that they might get tired of it, but I don't think that sort of mental or emotional exhaustion/satiation applies to most normal things in life.

For example, here is list of the things my wife and I have been spending time on since we retired almost five years ago.

- Exercise (long daily walks together, powerlifting, running, rowing, boxing)
- Entertainment (books, movies, concerts, video games)
- Volunteering (kids school, local animal shelter, local library)
- Housework (cooking, baking, yard work, car work, home repairs)
- Leisure (idly hanging out together, long random dates)
- Acquiring new skills

I suppose someone might get totally fed up with something like volunteering, but who gets tired of reading books or dates with their spouse or keeping their body in good trim?  We are in our 40s now, but I expect all of the things on the list above will be things we enjoy doing regularly when we are in our 60s and 70s too.  Most of them also aren't things that have any natural endpoint other than death or infirmity.

We will certainly add some things to the list as our kids grow up and leave home, most notably travel, but I don't think we'll be trimming the list down any.

spartana

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I've had one of the longest REs around here and really haven't felt any less driven to do things then I did when I first quit my job about a million years ago. I'm in my 50s now and still going full throttle. However I am so happy I retired fairly young, while fit and healthy (still am maybe even fitter and healthier)  and have been able to do many physical things that I wouldn't be able to do if I retired at a traditional retirement age. There is still so much I want to do, see, and experience that I wish I had a few more lifetimes - in RE of course. But everyone is different and the life I have been living in RE probably isn't going to be float everyone's boat. I'm hoping for a 50 - 60 year retirement. Maybe I will get bored someday ;-).

 ETA for me RE has just gotten better and better over time and my interests and excitement about future possibilities has grown. I'm not sure I'd feel the same way if I quit working at a job at 65 rather than in my late 30s or early 40s.  I always joke that once I'm 65 I'll have been retired over 25 years already. I think those 25 years of early retirement will look very different at age  40 -65 compared to 25 years of traditional retirement at age 65 - 90.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 01:17:09 AM by spartana »

deborah

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I think you go through life stages in retirement. I have seen some people who retired as dinks to have kids and spend their lives globetrotting. They did globetrot and start a family, but as soon as the kids were of kindergarten age, they settled down. I think families with school aged kids generally need to settle down, but there are other families who continue to globetrot with school aged children.

Later, there is the time when you need to be around for parents and others. When I retired, I had planned to develop my business side gig. It didn’t happen, mainly because my parents started having life threatening illnesses, and then became elderly and frail. One of the reasons I retired was because there were a series of disasters that happened to friends and family and I couldn’t give support because I was working. So the fact that my original plans were derailed by this was my conscious decision.

Retirement can be adaptable. Much more so than when you work. There are many long term commitments that are made much easier with early retirement - for instance homesteading doesn’t make much sense if you start it at normal retirement age because it’s only really starting to work out when you’re too old to continue. But there is no requirement that you stay on one path - you’ve still got a lot of life left.

FreshlyFIREd

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The words: change, evolve, dynamic, growth, mature, exposure - come to mind.

Ask your friend if you are allowed to revise the list (I am sure revising mine). Is it possible that you will find that your current list of things will not even interest you in the future (has this not happened before)? ... that you will grow through exposure and experience ... maybe your thought processes will change? And none of this would have been able to happen by slaving away in a cube?

Malkynn

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I've learned that it's very difficult to predict how you will actually feel under very different circumstances.

Is there any particular reason you are trying to map out how you will behave in the future? Isn't the whole point to not be constrained, even by expectation?

nancyfrank232

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What OP described happened to me

http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f26/hello-from-canada-99808.html

For me, FI is easy. RE is a work in progress

EndlessJourney

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The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.

What are all your hobbies while you are employed? Did you tire of any of them? What did you do then? Did you move on to something else? Did you ever run out of things to do or hobbies to pursue when you were working?

Why would not working and having more free time suddenly drain the well dry?

I can see if you have no hobbies and work was the only thing you ever did, then suddenly having all the time in the world on your hands might be a problem, but if you're interested in other things besides your job, I don't see how not having that job anymore would change things so drastically...

It's been seven and a half years after work ended and I'm still finding new things to learn about and hobbies to pursue.

spartana

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As @deborah said any plans you have may likely change by life circumstance or your own experiences if you will be retired a long time. My own FIRE looks totally different then what I planned. Not worse, not better, all good but just different. Both life circumstances and my own desires changed thing over the years and allowiing for those changes with flexibility is a good thing imho.

kei te pai

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Since retiring about 5 years ago I have taken up nothing new in the way of hobbies and interests. I have done little travelling (but did a lot in my 20s and 30s). What has happened is a huge change in attitude. I plan less, have few to do lists, but enjoy and value each day more.
Having time and mental space has helped me appreciate and truly value the ordinary. The early morning sky, birdsong, seasons changing, my neighbours toddler running to greet me. It is as though the world is new, because I am seeing it in a fresh way.
I cant imagine being bored with this, it feels like the ultimate in riches and freedom.

fattest_foot

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I guess I don't understand the point of this thought exercise?

So you have a hobby and you do it for a decade and get bored. Am I missing the part where you're limited to only activities you identified the day you retired?

That's ridiculous. You go find something else to do! If your friend is insinuating that you won't find something new to do, I mean, I guess you just die? It's a bizarre question to ask, because it makes it sound like you just stop having new interests.

nancyfrank232

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The Phases of RE - Question for long time RE people or others to hypothesize
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2019, 12:06:55 PM »
Having time and mental space has helped me appreciate and truly value the ordinary. The early morning sky, birdsong, seasons changing, my neighbours toddler running to greet me. It is as though the world is new, because I am seeing it in a fresh way.
I cant imagine being bored with this, it feels like the ultimate in riches and freedom.

+1
I agree

I do this as well. The great thing is that you can do this at any time!

Whether I’m retired or working doesn’t even matter

DadJokes

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The easy answer is "guess I'll go back to work". But it sounds like your friend is more sincere than accusatory.

...snip...

When I do volunteer work, I see a lot of retirees.

So, yeah, you can go back to work and do work that actually matters.

Mr. Green

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It's quite interesting that today people can't fathom what life would be like if you didn't have to go to a location to trade hours for money, yet not too long ago this was simply how life was. Whenever I hear questions like these my knee jerk response is, "whatever humans did from the dawn of the species up until now."

Financial.Velociraptor

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Have you ever read Thoreau's "Walden?"

On the surface it is about a man who goes into the woods to sort of fiddle-fart around.  On a deeper level it is about a man who goes into himself (mostly to fiddle-fart around).  That's where you find your own inner truth and beauty.  Do what you enjoy until you get bored.  Embrace that.  Self reflection will eventually happen.  I've found deep contentment a little more than 7 years into FIRE that way. 

secondcor521

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I've only been FIREd 3.5 years or so.

Before I FIREd I did make a bucket list of all the things I wanted to do.  Shortly after FIRE there was a brief period where I felt obliged and constrained to work at that list and cross things off.  In my mind, changing the list was not allowed for some reason.  I got over that, and added some new things to the list and removed others that I was no longer interested in.  I also feel free to do stuff that comes up that interests me that isn't on the list.

Almost every day in the past 3.5 years, the list is there only as a backstop just in case I ever wake up one day and think I don't have anything to do.  Most days I do whatever I feel like.

As others have said in slightly different ways, I am also less afraid of doing nothing.  Just relaxing and puttering around if I feel like it can sometimes be a good way to spend my time and not a waste.  For me, though, there is a balance between relaxing/puttering and getting things done - if I recreate too much then I'm not as happy as being somewhat productive.  It took a while to find that balance that worked for me.  Part of that was figuring out what counted as productive and what counted as recreation, although it was mostly pretty straightforward.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Thank you all for the great responses and thought provoking questions. I guess, for me, the biggest thing I am looking forward to in retirement is not having to do the same thing again and again every day. It's the freedom itself that is the biggest draw. I have a lot, lot of different things I enjoy and would like to spend more time on, so I don't feel I would be bored, even years down the road, but it's something I've thought about. There were good points about why do I need to have a list or feel regimented even to be that way (I have not read Walden, except for excerpts a long time ago). I guess in part I am hoping I have not over-emphasized how much I'll enjoy the freedom from requirements.

In fact, changing gears slightly, which I guess I can do as the OP :) and if anyone is interested in commenting on this I have some concerns about being disappointed in the freedom or potentially minimizing the beauty of the experience of a weekend hike or whatnot when I can do it all the time. But even more, because I look forward to the freedom so much, I struggle to balance pursuing the experiences now that I would do if I had the freedom to do them and thus delaying RE. I know this has come up many times, but I'd be interested in any opinions people have about that balance leading into/delaying RE.

secondcor521

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OP, to respond to your second paragraph above:

The freedom adds to the beauty, in my experience.  You have to look out for taking things for granted.  But that's surprisingly not that hard:  FIRE is so weird that others will make remarks every so often at you and those remarks serve as reminders to appreciate your situation.

As far as delaying, I'm probably in the minority:  I did a pretty "balls-to-the-wall" approach and saved 60% of my salary for the last six years of my work career and retired at 46; if I had to do it over again I might have done a more balanced approach and saved 40-50% of my salary and retired at 47 or 48 or whatever it would have worked out to be.  I really wore myself down and didn't enjoy myself for a few years as a result.

But it's a very personal decision and I think you really just have to decide what's best for you; it probably won't be the same as what others would choose, but that's OK.  You do you.

deborah

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There is a problem that many people think that they are denying themselves now to do what they really want to do later - after they have FIREd. This is nonsense! If you are someone who doesn't get bored, you CAN do much of what you want to do BEFORE you FIRE. Many people want to travel during FIRE, but most haven't seen the attractions close by (in the neighbourhood or region) that other people come a long way to see. There are also many opportunities in your own community that you don't take advantage of. These things can be done BEFORE FIRE, and can be very inexpensive, and take little time - you don't need the extra time and money to travel to the experience. Your responses to these opportunities can inform your FIRE activities, and you can also make friends in your community who have like interests and can do things with you further afield once you are FIRE.

Malkynn

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In fact, changing gears slightly, which I guess I can do as the OP :) and if anyone is interested in commenting on this I have some concerns about being disappointed in the freedom or potentially minimizing the beauty of the experience of a weekend hike or whatnot when I can do it all the time. But even more, because I look forward to the freedom so much, I struggle to balance pursuing the experiences now that I would do if I had the freedom to do them and thus delaying RE. I know this has come up many times, but I'd be interested in any opinions people have about that balance leading into/delaying RE.

You might not be particularly happy in FIRE and you might find your options a lot less exciting than you expected.

If you aren't a happy person who gets excited about hiking before retirement, there's a very good chance you won't be a happy person who gets excited about hiking after retirement.

The absence of barriers to happiness doesn't create happiness. Meaning, if your career is truly in the way of you being happy, getting rid of it won't automatically make you happy, it will simply create a more favourable environment for being able to do the work that happiness requires.

Don't get fixated on worrying about how you are going to feel under circumstances that you can't effectively imagine. If you aren't happy today, then focus on that and do something about it.

Living for the future isn't living. And stressing about not being happy enough in a future where you have near total freedom to live as you please is...well...kind of pathological.

It sounds like you are pinning all of your hopes for being happy on achieving FIRE, but that's really not how happiness works.

markus

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Great thread and responses! I've enjoyed reading this one.

I'm FI but not yet RE myself, but I did want to make mention here of the so called "Get a Life" tree from Ernie Zelinski's book 'How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free'. The book is redundant in a lot of places and might include a lot of obvious information if you're already deep into planning for and thinking about your FIRE'd life, but I'd still recommend it overall and picked up some good nuggets from it myself. This "Get a Life" tree idea was a big one.

Search images of this concept online, but basically you list out the following four "branches" of the tree:

1) the present ... what are the things I like to do right now that make me happy, are satisfying and fulfilling, just plain interesting, etc?

2) the past ... what are the things I used to like to do and might like to do again someday but I don't have the time for while working?

3) the future ... what are the things I'd like to do someday, am planning to do or have always been curious about and interested in? Could be long-term projects, shorter experiences, whatever.

4) things that will keep me physically active and fit


If I fill out my own list, it looks like this:


1) foreign language study, guitar

2) foreign language study (a different language, basically, one that I'd like to pick up again), piano, music composition and recording, amateur electronics tinkering, drawing/illustrating, knots (as in tying, memorizing different kinds and techniques), videogames.

3) almost everything in my #2 list above!, resume piano lessons, classes on more advanced drawing/illustrating, some videogames, hiking and long walks around my city, visiting and reading at the library, watch and re-watch loads of films, play in a band and maybe even record an EP for fun, compose for an amateur film, travel across the Atlantic as a passenger on a container ship, yoga, adopt a cat, take the time to develop close friends (something I never have any time for) ... and on and on!

4) weight lifting, biking, hiking/walking, yoga


What you end up with is basically a big list or menu of things you can choose from on any given day, so you really never have an excuse for being bored. There is always something small you can get into for a bit or a larger project to resume and attend to. If I take the list above and put it into a weekly schedule, that schedule is soon overflowing. The only thing that prevents me from pursuing these things is the enormous amount of time my work takes out of my waking hours. When I put that work time (and commute time and general prep time) into the same schedule, it's depressing how it just shuts everything else out. If I still found my work as fulfilling as I once did then it wouldn't bother me as much, but I'm so over it at this point.

Getting back to the "tree" above: definitely look at the images of this online, then sketch out your own. Let it sit a while, and I bet you'll keep coming up with new items to add to it, likely in the 'past' and 'future' sections. It's been an enjoyable exercise for me as I keep finding new items I'd forgotten about, or am reminded of something I'm very interested in for the future or would simply like to try and do. It makes me realize that the world outside of work is vast and goes out in all directions, and that thought helps greatly when I'm feeling overwhelmed at my job. It gives me back the perspective that this current work is just this one phase of my life.


deborah

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When I worked, I worked long hours - much longer than is normal. Yet, I still managed to get up an hour early to do at least an hour of embroidery (and when I commuted, to do it on public transport on the way to and from work) every day. There is nothing stopping people from learning a language, practising guitar... BEFORE FIRE. And being happier as a result.

spartana

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OP, to respond to your second paragraph above:

The freedom adds to the beauty, in my experience.  You have to look out for taking things for granted.  But that's surprisingly not that hard:  FIRE is so weird that others will make remarks every so often at you and those remarks serve as reminders to appreciate your situation.
This has been my experience as well. Even the mundane things are better knpwing you have all the free time in the world. Heck even being sick for a week is better once FIRE. Wallowing around the house knowing there are no deadlines to meet or work falling behind and that you can fully take care of yourself is pretty blissful. The good stuff, imho and on my personal experience, does become more beautiful and my appreciation has grown over time not lessened at all.

Linea_Norway

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Great thread and responses! I've enjoyed reading this one.

I'm FI but not yet RE myself, but I did want to make mention here of the so called "Get a Life" tree from Ernie Zelinski's book 'How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free'. The book is redundant in a lot of places and might include a lot of obvious information if you're already deep into planning for and thinking about your FIRE'd life, but I'd still recommend it overall and picked up some good nuggets from it myself. This "Get a Life" tree idea was a big one.

Search images of this concept online, but basically you list out the following four "branches" of the tree:

1) the present ... what are the things I like to do right now that make me happy, are satisfying and fulfilling, just plain interesting, etc?

2) the past ... what are the things I used to like to do and might like to do again someday but I don't have the time for while working?

3) the future ... what are the things I'd like to do someday, am planning to do or have always been curious about and interested in? Could be long-term projects, shorter experiences, whatever.

4) things that will keep me physically active and fit


If I fill out my own list, it looks like this:


1) foreign language study, guitar

2) foreign language study (a different language, basically, one that I'd like to pick up again), piano, music composition and recording, amateur electronics tinkering, drawing/illustrating, knots (as in tying, memorizing different kinds and techniques), videogames.

3) almost everything in my #2 list above!, resume piano lessons, classes on more advanced drawing/illustrating, some videogames, hiking and long walks around my city, visiting and reading at the library, watch and re-watch loads of films, play in a band and maybe even record an EP for fun, compose for an amateur film, travel across the Atlantic as a passenger on a container ship, yoga, adopt a cat, take the time to develop close friends (something I never have any time for) ... and on and on!

4) weight lifting, biking, hiking/walking, yoga


What you end up with is basically a big list or menu of things you can choose from on any given day, so you really never have an excuse for being bored. There is always something small you can get into for a bit or a larger project to resume and attend to. If I take the list above and put it into a weekly schedule, that schedule is soon overflowing. The only thing that prevents me from pursuing these things is the enormous amount of time my work takes out of my waking hours. When I put that work time (and commute time and general prep time) into the same schedule, it's depressing how it just shuts everything else out. If I still found my work as fulfilling as I once did then it wouldn't bother me as much, but I'm so over it at this point.

Getting back to the "tree" above: definitely look at the images of this online, then sketch out your own. Let it sit a while, and I bet you'll keep coming up with new items to add to it, likely in the 'past' and 'future' sections. It's been an enjoyable exercise for me as I keep finding new items I'd forgotten about, or am reminded of something I'm very interested in for the future or would simply like to try and do. It makes me realize that the world outside of work is vast and goes out in all directions, and that thought helps greatly when I'm feeling overwhelmed at my job. It gives me back the perspective that this current work is just this one phase of my life.

Thanks for the idea, @markus . I made one for myself and it is already a page full. Luckily my list of current pleasant activities is the biggest and my future list the smallest, so I am already doing a lot of things that I love. But would like to use more time on them and therefore FIREd from January.

nancyfrank232

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The Phases of RE - Question for long time RE people or others to hypothesize
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2019, 10:35:21 AM »
Great thread and responses! I've enjoyed reading this one.

I'm FI but not yet RE myself, but I did want to make mention here of the so called "Get a Life" tree from Ernie Zelinski's book 'How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free'. The book is redundant in a lot of places and might include a lot of obvious information if you're already deep into planning for and thinking about your FIRE'd life, but I'd still recommend it overall and picked up some good nuggets from it myself. This "Get a Life" tree idea was a big one.

Search images of this concept online, but basically you list out the following four "branches" of the tree:

1) the present ... what are the things I like to do right now that make me happy, are satisfying and fulfilling, just plain interesting, etc?

2) the past ... what are the things I used to like to do and might like to do again someday but I don't have the time for while working?

3) the future ... what are the things I'd like to do someday, am planning to do or have always been curious about and interested in? Could be long-term projects, shorter experiences, whatever.

4) things that will keep me physically active and fit


If I fill out my own list, it looks like this:


1) foreign language study, guitar

2) foreign language study (a different language, basically, one that I'd like to pick up again), piano, music composition and recording, amateur electronics tinkering, drawing/illustrating, knots (as in tying, memorizing different kinds and techniques), videogames.

3) almost everything in my #2 list above!, resume piano lessons, classes on more advanced drawing/illustrating, some videogames, hiking and long walks around my city, visiting and reading at the library, watch and re-watch loads of films, play in a band and maybe even record an EP for fun, compose for an amateur film, travel across the Atlantic as a passenger on a container ship, yoga, adopt a cat, take the time to develop close friends (something I never have any time for) ... and on and on!

4) weight lifting, biking, hiking/walking, yoga


What you end up with is basically a big list or menu of things you can choose from on any given day, so you really never have an excuse for being bored. There is always something small you can get into for a bit or a larger project to resume and attend to. If I take the list above and put it into a weekly schedule, that schedule is soon overflowing. The only thing that prevents me from pursuing these things is the enormous amount of time my work takes out of my waking hours. When I put that work time (and commute time and general prep time) into the same schedule, it's depressing how it just shuts everything else out. If I still found my work as fulfilling as I once did then it wouldn't bother me as much, but I'm so over it at this point.

Getting back to the "tree" above: definitely look at the images of this online, then sketch out your own. Let it sit a while, and I bet you'll keep coming up with new items to add to it, likely in the 'past' and 'future' sections. It's been an enjoyable exercise for me as I keep finding new items I'd forgotten about, or am reminded of something I'm very interested in for the future or would simply like to try and do. It makes me realize that the world outside of work is vast and goes out in all directions, and that thought helps greatly when I'm feeling overwhelmed at my job. It gives me back the perspective that this current work is just this one phase of my life.

This is reminiscent of my 2 attempts at RE when I asked those who weren’t working if they would suggest some ideas

I didn’t like any of them lol

But I enjoyed what I did as an employee so I went back to my chill career

And for the activities that I DID like, I already had more than enough time to enjoy them

WalkaboutStache

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I've learned that it's very difficult to predict how you will actually feel under very different circumstances.

Is there any particular reason you are trying to map out how you will behave in the future? Isn't the whole point to not be constrained, even by expectation?

This!  You don't have to map everything out.  You will start doing one thing, then in the course of that, become interested in another.  Then one of your plans will fail and you will find an unexpected way to get out of the funk.  Then you will meet someone who sparks an idea that you would not have had alone, and off you go.  In between that, you may discover that you also like loafing around and not doing anything.

Think back:  Were the things you thought about doing at 15 the same when you were 20?  What about when you hit 25?  Did your desires change in your early 30's?  You

Desires and interests are like plants.  Your job is to take care of the soil and let them do their thing.

sui generis

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I've only been RE for about 15 months, but absolutely loving it and really looking forward to the phases and how my life will change over time, as well as how my perspective and interests and desires will change! 

But tbh, I was a little scared about RE too.  When I was young, sometimes I really did sit around all summer when school was out and watch TV for many many hours straight.  Granted, I didn't have a car or money, but I also know my own capacity for laziness.  Also, I had a career break about 10 years ago that did not go well (one of the sources for the title of my journal).  As a model for RE, I had reason to be scared! 

But this has gone much better than that career break and although my list of what I want to do is not nearly as long as some others', I also haven't had time to sit down and expand my list, since I've been so busy!  More importantly, I take it as a real challenge (we all need challenges, right?) to take on the times when I do get bored or lack ideas or opportunities and take initiative and agency to turn it around and see how I do with that.  Not only can't I know what I'll be doing 7 or 17 (or maybe 70??) years from now, but it's an adventure.  Adventures always come with risk, and I can't say for sure I'll acquit myself as well as I'll like, but I'm hopeful and up for the challenge. 

ApacheStache

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As others have said in slightly different ways, I am also less afraid of doing nothing.  Just relaxing and puttering around if I feel like it can sometimes be a good way to spend my time and not a waste.  For me, though, there is a balance between relaxing/puttering and getting things done - if I recreate too much then I'm not as happy as being somewhat productive.  It took a while to find that balance that worked for me.  Part of that was figuring out what counted as productive and what counted as recreation, although it was mostly pretty straightforward.

Well said. I spent time in Europe and it was refreshing to see the cultural differences around how people spent their leisure time. People of all ages seemed adamant about relaxing, people watching, reading and socializing at parks, plazas and other public landmarks. You didn't see people racing around the city to big box hardware stores to prep for the next home improvement disaster, nor did you see parents rushing their kids to and from sportsball practice. Everyday of life or retirement doesn't need to be a Hollywood blockbuster of activities. Ultimately, people relaxed with no stigma attached. Not to mention, there will always be plenty of books to read, walks/hikes to take and places to explore. OP, I know you mentioned your friend is being sincere, but I think the question/argument proposed is likely in line with what most Americans think of/fear when they hear the word retirement. I think they mistakenly associate retirement with gray hair, a hip replacement and non-stop rounds of golf in Florida or Arizona. I think most can't fathom expending the mental energy or creativity to occupy their free time when they retire so they put little to no effort into accelerating their life toward FIRE.

What I also find ironic is many people fear having downtime in retirement yet they have no problem wasting their current free time mindlessly glued to the TV ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Lastly, I like to think back to being a kid in school (K-12th grade) — I didn't have a job then, or after school activities and I had no problem occupying my free time. My lack of employment had 0 impact on or relevance to my personal self-worth. I think it's only once people get into the habit of working 40 hours of week that they associate their life and their worth with tasks that are only meaningful to their employer.

I don't remember where I heard this conversation, but I think of this tongue in cheek exchange every time I'm bored but want to do something

Son: Dad, I'm bored!
Dad: No son, you're not bored, you're boring.

blue_green_sparks

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No way for me to know for sure, but there seems to be a group of people who are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts. They seem to be super intent on doing busy-work and spend little time on big picture thinking. They often have many unfinished projects that go on and on and have to do a lot of "rework".

I will not lift a finger until I have a plan. As a result I am efficient getting tasks completed. I have pre-computed "time in motion", probable hiccups and contingencies to remain flexible. I seem lazy to those busy body types. I have had past issues with bosses who run things like headless chickens. They will probably never enjoy retiring.

soccerluvof4

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I am going on five years being Fire'd and I will just add this, retirement opens up as well a whole host of things you havent even thought about you might enjoy to go along with the list you already have. I went into it with a list of things I thought I would all do but there are plenty of things that have come about being retired because I am not rushed all the time and have more time to think about things. If that makes sense...

markus

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I should have added this link in my previous post:
https://livingafi.com/2015/03/09/building-a-vision-of-life-without-work/

Dr. Doom of the excellent 'Living a FI' blog also wrote this excellent post about the subject of this very thread. I found it while looking for Zelinski's "Get a Life tree" idea mentioned above, and he references it in the post. Good stuff, and his writing is always enjoyable.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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I just want to say that I'm still reading and still greatly appreciating the responses and anecdotes. You guys are awesome!

FIRE 20/20

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However, his point was, sure, you'll go through a phase and maybe a long phase where you're doing all of this stuff you've always wanted to do. Some people get bored in a few months because they haven't planned anything at all/were so focused on work. You have a lot of stuff, so yours will go on for a long time. Maybe 5 years, maybe 10, maybe 15 or what have you. However, will it eventually end.

I don't see why it would "eventually end".  To me that's saying that it would only take you 5 or 10 or 15 years (or whatever) to do *every single thing* that you could afford to do that's better than going in to work.  Even if I had some magically amazing career, I still think I'd rather volunteer at whatever it is so I could do it on my terms.  After 15 years of FIRE I am confident that I'll still want to travel to see family and friends without having work hanging over my head.  I'll still have thousands of interesting books I haven't gotten to yet.  There will still be countries I want to visit but haven't.  I'll still have recipes I want to try to perfect.  And most importantly I'll want to wake up and choose what I want to do that day rather than being obligated to go to a job for money I have absolutely no use for.  I really can't think of a single realistic job that would be better than deciding what's important to me and doing whatever that is. 

nancyfrank232

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The Phases of RE - Question for long time RE people or others to hypothesize
« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2019, 09:12:54 PM »
“We find large and significant negative effects of the provision of pension benefits on cognitive functioning among the elderly. We find the largest effect of the program on delayed recall, a measure implicated in neurobiological research as an important predictor of the onset of dementia. We show that the program lead to more negative impacts among the female sample.

Our findings support the mental retirement hypothesis that decreased mental activity results in atrophy of cognitive skills and we show that retirement plays a significant role in explaining cognitive decline at older ages.”

https://m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Fnorthwestern.app.box.com%2Fs%2Fttu8goep26d4eg240tktgd977bwh89he

Linea_Norway

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“We find large and significant negative effects of the provision of pension benefits on cognitive functioning among the elderly. We find the largest effect of the program on delayed recall, a measure implicated in neurobiological research as an important predictor of the onset of dementia. We show that the program lead to more negative impacts among the female sample.

Our findings support the mental retirement hypothesis that decreased mental activity results in atrophy of cognitive skills and we show that retirement plays a significant role in explaining cognitive decline at older ages.”

https://m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Fnorthwestern.app.box.com%2Fs%2Fttu8goep26d4eg240tktgd977bwh89he

Why do you post this without any own comment? To show that we shouldn't retire?

I didn't read the article itself, but the quote in your post.
I think it means that we should keep challenging ourselves with cognitive tasks, like learning new things. I expect to be able to learn as much or even more without being in a job as I am currently doing in a job. But it will be a different type of things, more in line with my personal interests. I plan to learn more about mushrooms and plants, maybe even study biology.

spartana

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“We find large and significant negative effects of the provision of pension benefits on cognitive functioning among the elderly. We find the largest effect of the program on delayed recall, a measure implicated in neurobiological research as an important predictor of the onset of dementia. We show that the program lead to more negative impacts among the female sample.

Our findings support the mental retirement hypothesis that decreased mental activity results in atrophy of cognitive skills and we show that retirement plays a significant role in explaining cognitive decline at older ages.”

https://m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Fnorthwestern.app.box.com%2Fs%2Fttu8goep26d4eg240tktgd977bwh89he

Why do you post this without any own comment? To show that we shouldn't retire?

I didn't read the article itself, but the quote in your post.
I think it means that we should keep challenging ourselves with cognitive tasks, like learning new things. I expect to be able to learn as much or even more without being in a job as I am currently doing in a job. But it will be a different type of things, more in line with my personal interests. I plan to learn more about mushrooms and plants, maybe even study biology.
Well because if someone retires at 40 then by the time they are 65 they are basicly going to be the same mentally as the person who retires at 65 and is now 90. It's those 25 years in retirement that will cause cognitive decline not age apparently. Poor MMM who retired at 30. He'll be a drooling demented mess by the time he's 55. So sad. Guess we should all keep working.

Oh yeah and apparently we are all going to die earlier too. Within 5 years or less after retirement according to studies. Poor dearly departed MMM who passed away at 35 ranting into his bowl of oatmeal because of retirement-related dementia. RIP.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2019, 02:05:09 AM by spartana »

Linea_Norway

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“We find large and significant negative effects of the provision of pension benefits on cognitive functioning among the elderly. We find the largest effect of the program on delayed recall, a measure implicated in neurobiological research as an important predictor of the onset of dementia. We show that the program lead to more negative impacts among the female sample.

Our findings support the mental retirement hypothesis that decreased mental activity results in atrophy of cognitive skills and we show that retirement plays a significant role in explaining cognitive decline at older ages.”

https://m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Fnorthwestern.app.box.com%2Fs%2Fttu8goep26d4eg240tktgd977bwh89he

Why do you post this without any own comment? To show that we shouldn't retire?

I didn't read the article itself, but the quote in your post.
I think it means that we should keep challenging ourselves with cognitive tasks, like learning new things. I expect to be able to learn as much or even more without being in a job as I am currently doing in a job. But it will be a different type of things, more in line with my personal interests. I plan to learn more about mushrooms and plants, maybe even study biology.
Well because if someone retires at 40 then by the time they are 65 they are basicly going to be the same mentally as the person who retires at 65 and are now 90. It's those 25 years in retirement that will cause cognitive decline not age apparently. Poor MMM who retired at 30s. He'll be a drooling demented mess by the time he's 55. So sad. Guess we should all keep working.

Some people do start to recline from an earlier age. My MIL had mental decline that ended in dementia. It started lightly some years into her early retirement (after 50) and got bad when she was 70.  Maybe her lifestyle (heavy smoker, heavy drinker, no physical activity and overweight) had influence on it.

But I also think that even if someone would get early mental decline, this would have a noticeable effect when working as well. I still don't think there is a clear link between not working and mental decline, but there might be one between not learning new things and mental decline.

ROF Expat

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I think the brain is like your muscles.  If you don't exercise it, it atrophies. 

If "retirement" means sitting in front of a screen and not thinking for the rest of your life, then it probably leads to cognitive decline.  My own retirement involves continually learning new skills and challenging myself physically and mentally, and I find it hard to imagine that commuting to the office for pay would somehow be healthier for me.   

deborah

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A lot of early retirement is not people who FIRE but people who cannot actually work any more. Unfortunately, such people are far more likely to be cognitively or physically impaired than the normal population.

Malkynn

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“We find large and significant negative effects of the provision of pension benefits on cognitive functioning among the elderly. We find the largest effect of the program on delayed recall, a measure implicated in neurobiological research as an important predictor of the onset of dementia. We show that the program lead to more negative impacts among the female sample.

Our findings support the mental retirement hypothesis that decreased mental activity results in atrophy of cognitive skills and we show that retirement plays a significant role in explaining cognitive decline at older ages.”

https://m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Fnorthwestern.app.box.com%2Fs%2Fttu8goep26d4eg240tktgd977bwh89he

Why do you post this without any own comment? To show that we shouldn't retire?

I didn't read the article itself, but the quote in your post.
I think it means that we should keep challenging ourselves with cognitive tasks, like learning new things. I expect to be able to learn as much or even more without being in a job as I am currently doing in a job. But it will be a different type of things, more in line with my personal interests. I plan to learn more about mushrooms and plants, maybe even study biology.
Well because if someone retires at 40 then by the time they are 65 they are basicly going to be the same mentally as the person who retires at 65 and is now 90. It's those 25 years in retirement that will cause cognitive decline not age apparently. Poor MMM who retired at 30. He'll be a drooling demented mess by the time he's 55. So sad. Guess we should all keep working.

Oh yeah and apparently we are all going to die earlier too. Within 5 years or less after retirement according to studies. Poor dearly departed MMM who passed away at 35 ranting into his bowl of oatmeal because of retirement-related dementia. RIP.

Nancyfrank probably posted that because they themselves retired early and then got bored out of their skull and went back to work. At least, that's how I remember their story.

Still, that doesn't lend any credence to that article as an indication that early retirement is bad for people's health, as has been discussed here many times when it's been posted before.

I totally relate with Nancyfrank though, I'm not FIRE, but I do work very part time and I would not do well with zero work to do. If I had to give up all paid work, I would just amp up my volunteering.

That says nothing about FIRE though, Pete works a ton in FIRE, the whole point is that you get to do whatever you want and if that includes work, it means working on your own terms.

I absolutely love my work, it's deeply meaningful and I already do it on my own terms, so why would I quit just because I don't need money??

What I do find kind of depressing is if someone doesn't love their work and can't imagine finding anything else interesting to do with their life and therefore fears living without a job they don't even love.

I think spending too many years spending hours a day unfulfilled really does a number on a person's capacity to live their life to the fullest.

blue_green_sparks

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What I do find kind of depressing is if someone doesn't love their work and can't imagine finding anything else interesting to do with their life and therefore fears living without a job they don't even love.

I agree however my experience is more nuanced. There were parts of my career that I loved and parts of my career I absolutely detested. Now that I am FIRE'd, my activities lean much more towards doing things I love to do !



Malkynn

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What I do find kind of depressing is if someone doesn't love their work and can't imagine finding anything else interesting to do with their life and therefore fears living without a job they don't even love.

I agree however my experience is more nuanced. There were parts of my career that I loved and parts of my career I absolutely detested. Now that I am FIRE'd, my activities lean much more towards doing things I love to do !

Then you aren't the kind of person I'm talking about. You have things you love to do.

I'm talking about people who've spent years miserable in their job but struggle to imagine a life without it.

spartana

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“We find large and significant negative effects of the provision of pension benefits on cognitive functioning among the elderly. We find the largest effect of the program on delayed recall, a measure implicated in neurobiological research as an important predictor of the onset of dementia. We show that the program lead to more negative impacts among the female sample.

Our findings support the mental retirement hypothesis that decreased mental activity results in atrophy of cognitive skills and we show that retirement plays a significant role in explaining cognitive decline at older ages.”

https://m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Fnorthwestern.app.box.com%2Fs%2Fttu8goep26d4eg240tktgd977bwh89he

Why do you post this without any own comment? To show that we shouldn't retire?

I didn't read the article itself, but the quote in your post.
I think it means that we should keep challenging ourselves with cognitive tasks, like learning new things. I expect to be able to learn as much or even more without being in a job as I am currently doing in a job. But it will be a different type of things, more in line with my personal interests. I plan to learn more about mushrooms and plants, maybe even study biology.
Well because if someone retires at 40 then by the time they are 65 they are basicly going to be the same mentally as the person who retires at 65 and are now 90. It's those 25 years in retirement that will cause cognitive decline not age apparently. Poor MMM who retired at 30s. He'll be a drooling demented mess by the time he's 55. So sad. Guess we should all keep working.

Some people do start to recline from an earlier age. My MIL had mental decline that ended in dementia. It started lightly some years into her early retirement (after 50) and got bad when she was 70.  Maybe her lifestyle (heavy smoker, heavy drinker, no physical activity and overweight) had influence on it.

But I also think that even if someone would get early mental decline, this would have a noticeable effect when working as well. I still don't think there is a clear link between not working and mental decline, but there might be one between not learning new things and mental decline.
I completely agree. I dated a guy who's Mom had early onset Alzheimer's and was diagnosed at 45 and had to quit her job so had nothing to do with retirement or aging. Even normal aging is likely to bring some cognitive and physical decline - both which can be off set to a certain degree with mental and physical stimulation. But I don't think that decline is due to being retired but rather aging. A 30 year old retiree who sits around watching cartoons for 35 years isn't going to have the same level of cognitive or physical decline as a 65 year old retiree does once they are 100 years old no matter how engaged and active they are.

Hikester

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I guess I don’t see early retirement and financial independence as a to do list. If you “run out of things to do” just come up with more things.  Life is a journey, it’s not like people ask, what will I do after I turn 50? The answer is that by then the journey of life will have taken you on to new interests and new adventures. I still don’t understand “what will you do” question. There are several lifetimes of exploration both travel and academic that even an entire lifetime won’t get to experience. So to me the question doesn’t make sense as the more I live in freedom the more I realize how much else there is to do and experience and explore.