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Old 04-28-2014, 11:15 PM
14,255 posts, read 23,974,521 times
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I retired last year at age 53. Both my wife and I had planned to retire at 57 but due to changes at work, I lost the motivation to work there. I have to say that I planned about three months for retirement and thought only a little about what I was going to do to replace the 50-60 hours that I was working.

Right now, I am splitting time between Illinois and Arizona.

When I am in Arizona, I have a fairly regimented routine every week. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are days that I volunteer for a charity in Tucson. Every other Friday, my wife and I hike up in the mountains around Tucson. Two days a week I play bocce. Most days, we walk at 8am and 4pm. In addition, Thursday is shopping day. You get the drift.

In Illinois, I hang around and am pretty bored in general. Since I will not be here much longer, I do not want to invest a lot of time in finding volunteer activities and the like.

Escort Rider makes some good points. Try out the volunteer work. If you find work you like, you will find it very satisfying. However, some organizations treat volunteers like unpaid serfs. I was going to volunteer at one charity and they handed me a list of all of their rules ... which limited bathroom breaks and forbade us from bringing in cell phones into their building.

By the way, people who volunteer in organizations often become your friends and can help you meet tons of people. They also tend to be people who will help you out when you need it.
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Old 04-29-2014, 05:31 AM
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
8,761 posts, read 7,693,193 times
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OP has pointed me back to my original plan from years ago. I'm just going to keep working. Volunteers treated like surfs, given all kinds of rules to follow on bathroom breaks, sounds like I'm back in school being treated like a child. Forget it. For others, the highlight of their day is a walk? Sounds like fun.lol. I have more fun at work, and a feeling of accomplishment and purpose than what I hear on this thread. I stick to life as it is. Fortunately for me, I still enjoy my work also.
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:13 AM
2,447 posts, read 2,097,795 times
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I read this thread as I can relate to some degree. I remember about 10 years ago I was laid off. I decided I would enjoy my leisure and I did for a very short time. I was unemployed for about 2 years. To be honest, I didn't really try to find employment for the first year (unemployment $ and being in a decent financial situation I wasn't too worked up about this financially) but the second year I did start to really look for a job and that is when the lack of structure, obligations, time restraints started to really wear on me. I too tried to impose some sort of structure where I had to have some sort of plan a few days a week, whether it was going to a certain store, meeting a friend( not very many to choose from) or library or lecture- something out of the house. I also have always been one that typically will find a reason to get out even if it is to buy bread. I totally agree and commend the suggestions and insight about the structure.
I have to say that this winter in the northeast was probably one of the more depressing ones and I could really see being isolated and directionless.
I agree with the suggestions that it's ok to indulge yourself and just decide maybe another few weeks of this is ok, and then at a minimum, take a class, go to the library, volunteer. Although the internet does allow us to have contact with people while we are at home, being at home does not allow you to interact and make new connections. I know in some areas there are meet ups that list different activities.
As others have suggested, it's a means to an end. There is no obligation to commit to these things /activities, or even part time jobs or volunteer stints. Take it a day at a time, try it again, and if it's awful don't go back. Each activity will break up your day, will have you focusing outside of your solitary time and will be a good thing for that.
good luck..
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:26 AM
Location: in the miseries
3,302 posts, read 3,577,670 times
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Originally Posted by Hefe View Post
First off let me say that I am not looking for sympathy or am whining or anything like that. I am grateful to be where I am & healthy & am thankful. I'm hoping some good folks out there may have gone through where I am now & I am looking for suggestions for concrete steps forward.

I was recently offered a buyout at work & accepted it at the last minute & 3 weeks later I was out, that was 12/31. I had been intending to work FT another 2-3 years (I turned 62 in January) but when I did the math I saw I would have 7 1/4 -7 1/2 X annual earnings in savings once I paid off the mortgage, then I knew I would feel like an idiot if I didn't take it.

Thing is I've been a bit of a worker bee the last 10 years & let personal relationships & outside interests slide (I'm single). I figured I would give myself a month or 2 off, take care of my finances & maybe start picking up some part-time work then. Well, I looked out my window most of the last 4 months & saw this awful weather & not see any reason to push myself like I have for the last 33 years.

Long story short: I wasn't prepared for full-time free time & I'm not so motivated now to jump back to the cubicle farm even for a temp basis & I find myself sitting around wasting time, gaining weight, staying up late & somewhat isolated (I live in a typical urban apartment situation). I kind of know what I have to do but it is the "how to" that I can't get to yet: nutritious meals, exercise, social interaction, professional engagement.

It's just a major transition point that came abruptly without warning & I find myself on the other side now looking to get going but feeling in a rut.

Thanks for listening.
You need to cultivate some hobbies. Then you'll meet like minded people.
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:34 AM
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,967,079 times
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I like all the suggestions here. However i'm also a believer in taking one's sweet time to adjust to strange new situations. It's easy to "jump in" to volunteer positions and other activities before taking a bit of time to slow way down, look around, observe possibilities, and explore ourselves first.

For me that meant taking the luxury of sleeping more, giving myself permission to take time to do nothing or meditate, a slow rather than an ambitious walk around the neighborhood, brushing my dogs, sitting and eating a simple nutritious meal, browsing alone in bookshops, taking a camera outside for an hour, just sitting in a cafe observing or writing, in other words "taking stock." I know so many retirees who jump into activities as involved as work was. There's so much to know about ourselves and finally time to learn upon retirement. When I step into something now, I do it without rush or overcommitment.
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:49 AM
Location: San Diego
55 posts, read 73,469 times
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Great suggestions in the preceding posts and many are useful for me as well.

I "retired" (well, not ready to declare it as a forever state yet - hence, in quotes) a month ago. Unlike the OP, I've been thinking of retirement for a while, so I do have some plans, which helps. Well, sorta.

The thing is, it is too darn difficult to intellectually figure out what one is going to do in "retirement". One thing I've read on many ER blogs is that this confusion as to what to do in retirement is a key characteristic of the time immediately after leaving work, lasting from months to a year or two. So, rather than attempting to figure it out, the best thing to do is try different things - even if they seem random and impulsive - and see what comes of these scatter shot attempts. In other words, accept the confusion and let it play out - do whatever comes your way without thinking whether that's what you want to do forever or not. Talking to others of a like mind, as OP is doing in this thread, is a great way to start to accept such confusion. Acceptance leads to a way to move through it.

But, that's sort of the overall philosophy. One needs some concrete "action items" in such confusing times as well. In my case, I've been focusing on what is important to me as an individual in the near future. So the following is my personal manifesto, if you will, and not a recommendation to OP, or, anyone else. Hopefully it's illustrative of some sort of coherent approach.

First, a non-negotiable priority that I must establish at this stage in life is my health & well being. All the more so as a single person, I am my caretaker. Feeling healthy and energetic is the foundation to everything else in retirement. So, I've started going to the gym 6 days a week, and, spend a good hour plus doing cardio + strength training. There is definitely a palpable lift in my energy level and enthusiasm in the 4 weeks that I've been doing this. A helpful book with loads of practical advice is Body for Life by Bill Phillips. It gave me clarity on how I want to approach physical fitness as a means to change. I'm also beginning to eat healthy. Caveat: it takes time to build up to 6 days of intense workouts.(I sleep in the afternoon, although progressively less, as this level of daily exercise tires me, and, so one has to stick with it. But, since I'm not working, sleeping in the afternoon is quite alright!

Second, I want to try new things - pick up a hobby that I was passionate about (learn a musical instrument) but neglected due to work/family commitments, or, go learn a language in a foreign country, try my hand at writing (about what? I don't know yet). Basically, I want to jolt my languid intellect out of it's secure mooring to what it knows to do well (i.e. work/profession). So, as mentioned in an earlier post, I too am planning on going to study Spanish in Spain for a few months, followed by travel for a few more months - maybe brush up on another language I studied long ago but has fallen into repair by now. That will truly set me adrift of any mooring alright!

Third, come up with a method or process to figure out what it is that I want from myself and my life going forward (i.e. not the same stuff you did during the working years), taking into consideration the the physical, mental and attitudinal changes I've been seeing in myself. I am no longer fascinated by the same things that exerted enormous gravitation pull on me in my youth. Some want to pursue stuff they neglected (Peace corps was mentioned), others want to give of themselves without having to worry about remuneration, etc. But, in my case, it is not clear yet and I expect it will become evident only in time as I keep trying different things. Hence, a method or process comes down to being observant of what I do and reviewing them periodically. Perhaps start a diary of daily or weekly observations on things I've done or participated in. I hope reviewing these will eventually - in a few months or a year or two - lead to "aha!" moments where I begin to separate the wheat from the chaff of what I want to do with my life. (An instinctual feeling I have is that I may get into health & well being or teaching. But how? I don't know yet, other than that it's not going to be another "job" situation. There is also this gnawing feeling that maybe there won't be one thing that I will be interested in for the rest of my life - I may churn through many activities.) I haven't started on this yet.

Everything else ought to follow from the above.
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:55 AM
Location: Over yonder a piece
3,908 posts, read 4,644,145 times
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I'm not retired (I've got 20+ more years to go), but my dad retired a couple years ago. Here are some things he has done:

1) Joined a gym AND signed up with a trainer 3x a week - it forces him to stay active AND is a regularly scheduled appointment he never misses

2) Joined a monthly book club - it's not just for ladies anymore! My own book club has a token man in it and we have come to really appreciate his male perspective on some of the books we've read over the years.

3) Travel - he and my mom take two big trips a year, and he loves spending time researching and planning all aspects of the vacation (they usually go for a month at a time - they are leaving for England this week and won't be back until the beginning of June)

4) Hobbies! He's a big computer guy and he is VERY knowledgeable. As such, he is a moderator on several online forums and provides expert advice for those needing tech help. He does this for 1-2 hours a day, sometimes less if the need isn't there. But for the most part, he spends a couple hours a day responding to IT questions on the various forums he moderates.

5) Home projects - he finally has time to do all the home projects that he's been putting off. Even if he hires a contractor to do it, he's got time to meet the person and get the issue fixed now that he doesn't have to worry about being there.

6) Volunteering - he volunteers once a week with the church my parents attend.

7) Local activities - he scours the local paper and if he sees any local festivals, clubs, plays, etc - they go! They don't miss a single one and as a result have met a LOT of people in the local community that they otherwise would not meet.

As for me, I can't wait until I can finally retire. My dream is to sell off everything, buy a Winnebago, and spend the rest of my days traveling around this great country seeing all there is to see, with an occasional visit to bother my kids and spoil the grandkids (should I blessed with any).

Good luck!
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Old 04-29-2014, 07:16 AM
Location: Central Massachusetts
4,800 posts, read 4,842,106 times
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Originally Posted by Girl View Post

As for me, I can't wait until I can finally retire. My dream is to sell off everything, buy a Winnebago, and spend the rest of my days traveling around this great country seeing all there is to see, with an occasional visit to bother my kids and spoil the grandkids (should I blessed with any).

Good luck!

Girl great post! I took out most since it is just above mine here but left something in I will comment on. First you have great parents. You also have an awesome outlook on life. Keep that up. Third I loved the area you live in. I took a trip there last year and would like to be able to talk my better half into that area but....

Last thing your aspirations are nice. I will tell you that as you grow older you might change your mind on some of it. Don't jump hard into the Winnebago by selling off everything. It might seem great now but... there is that word again. Try it on for size before you make the complete commitment. Outside of that I applaud your post and wish you and your parents all the best.
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Old 04-29-2014, 07:42 AM
Location: NYC
1,723 posts, read 3,370,940 times
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OP, some things you could do now are to buy a cookbook and cook those nutritious meals for yourself. Maybe you'll enjoy cooking and then you could take a cooking class if it interests you. You'll learn new stuff, and meet new people.

Another thing is, if you're not ready to join a gym some of the malls allow groups to meet up in the morning and walk around the mall for exercise. I know it sounds hokey, but it would get you out of the house, meeting people and get you some exercise. I'm in the suburbs of nyc, and my local mall offers it. Most, if not all of the walkers are all mature adults.

What do you like to do? What did you do for enjoyment when you were off from work on weekends?
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:51 AM
14,255 posts, read 23,974,521 times
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My youngest uncle who is in his early 70s was a route salesman for snack foods. For the last five years he was working, he had major knee issues and shoulder issues which required surgery and rehabilitation.

He retired. He joined a health club affiliated with the local hospital.

Monday - Friday, he heads down there and spends the morning with his friends. He will work out on the machines for an hour, take a break. He will swim for 45 minutes, take a break. Grab a cup of coffee. Then he will jump on the treadmill - 4 mph for five miles. He then showers and heads home.

I have never seen a guy in better shape. He will ask my father to come along and will get the "hell, no." On the other hand, my father can jump on the stationary bike for two hours straight.
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