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Old 01-12-2015, 05:10 PM
 
Location: North Carolina
282 posts, read 358,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northwesty View Post
I like Ernie Zelinski's "How To Retire Happy, Wild and Free" also.
I did read that. It was helpful, though the constant self-congratulation became grating at times.

Thanks all for your thoughts. You've given me some good perspectives to chew on.

To answer some questions: no, I don't work for the government (well, I did for a year, way back when, but it wasn't for me). I am in my early 60s, so yes am retiring early. My reasons that 2015 is the year are peculiar to some circumstances in my job.

I don't have any worries about filling my time. I have enough interests to do that. I guess I'm looking to have a purpose to it, but maybe the thing about retirement is to give up purpose and just be. That's certainly what I'm getting from several of you.
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Old 01-12-2015, 05:18 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 83,966,925 times
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Yes; exactly turn to interest you have and those you wished you could do. Think of your job as past and retirement as opportunity to do just that.it will take some getting use to it at first ;but you likely will just melt into it like most.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:42 PM
 
6,322 posts, read 3,581,874 times
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I've loved some of my work but I've never cared for having to be somewhere at a specific time every day. Retiring has been a breeze for me. My grand bucket list is well worked through and my minor one is endless so I feel as though I'm in good shape for satisfying things to do. Even have a plan for if I should ever become non-ambulatory.

The saddest part for me was losing all the professional connections I had. The most difficult part was ego-related. And I suspect that is the stumbling block for a lot of us.

It's a genuine loss to give up a role in which you've felt important and useful. Because of that I don't see why a certain amount of grieving wouldn't be appropriate and even healthy.

But eventually the task is either to recreate that situation in your new life or to sample a generous helping of humility and see how it works for you. I've discovered that learning to right-size my opinion of myself has played a valuable role in appreciating my time of sloth.

I could go on, I suppose. I'm not talking about humiliation but humility in the sense of being able to take an honest appraisal of my strengths and weaknesses. It's funny how much BS we can fill ourselves with over the years at the cost of maintaining a good job and a good appearance.

Frankly people who drag that stuff into their retired lives can be a royal pain.

There has been some general relief in giving myself permission to no longer hold the world on my shoulders and be "just" me.
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:28 PM
 
3,945 posts, read 3,265,568 times
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First I think it's worth noting that everyone is re-defined by their retirement launch. Before I retired I'd chuckle at the idea that some of many co workers were actually thinking that they were going to be fishing or golfing everyday in retirement. When asked about my own "plans" I'd make every attempt to get the conversation heading toward the stark reality of no longer working, and the possible angst that sometimes occurs because of that huge change.

I'd say that vacations require some detail planning but retirement not so much, I would laugh when telling them my "plan" was to get up and just at the time I'd be leaving for work go for another cup of coffee, sit down, and wait for inspiration to show me the path for today. That was in 2007 and my plan has been wildly successful, My wife and I do travel to the warmth in the wintertime, and come summer we get into all kinds of wandering around locally here in the west. I'm very blessed for the fact that I'm living in one of the worlds most beautiful places and love to get out to photograph it all, and keep in shape by doing so.

When we're out and meeting other retirees I can't help but feel some pain in the conversation of a few of them, older men who once had great jobs, and found their reason for living to be tied to that position they once held. One fellow in particular was going on about all he used to be, my reply at tales end was, "so who are you now"? He was a bit taken aback, not knowing if I had just shown him some disrespect or worse was making a joke about his past. I followed up by clarifying my question with the fact that I never knew how to respond to someone who may have felt ill at ease in his retirement. He then admitted to being in a funk over his non employment status, a couple of years later he had "found" himself again by doing volunteer work, as a great administrator he was highly valued in that organization.

This is a time in life that you and only you can pick your path, all the books and seminars on careers and very few meaningful books on retirement, it's meant to be that way because this may be the first time in your life that no one but you cares what you do.
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Idaho
1,455 posts, read 1,156,701 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trying harder View Post
Retirees, or retirement contemplators, how do you define yourselves? Or have you been able to let go of the need to even try to do so?
I am in the stage of contemplating retirement. My life's definitions have changed over the years but these are defined by others be it my parents, siblings, spouse, daughter, bosses, co-workers, friends, members of my organizations, clubs etc. These definitions are based on my roles and relationships with others. I fully expect to be redefined when I retire.

I don't define myself based on what I do or have achieved. My own definition is based on my characters, both my strengths & weaknesses & what I can do to leverage my personal strengths and overcome my weaknesses. I am certain that I will continue to find purposes in life in my retirement phase.

It appears that you have defined yourself based on your job and your job achievement. In retirement, I think you can shift the definition to your capabilities. IMO, as long as one continue to utilize one's capabilities, one can find happiness and contentment in achieving whatever goals/objectives be they big or small.
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,747,361 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jertheber View Post
First I think it's worth noting that everyone is re-defined by their retirement launch. Before I retired I'd chuckle at the idea that some of many co workers were actually thinking that they were going to be fishing or golfing everyday in retirement. When asked about my own "plans" I'd make every attempt to get the conversation heading toward the stark reality of no longer working, and the possible angst that sometimes occurs because of that huge change.

I'd say that vacations require some detail planning but retirement not so much, I would laugh when telling them my "plan" was to get up and just at the time I'd be leaving for work go for another cup of coffee, sit down, and wait for inspiration to show me the path for today. That was in 2007 and my plan has been wildly successful, My wife and I do travel to the warmth in the wintertime, and come summer we get into all kinds of wandering around locally here in the west. I'm very blessed for the fact that I'm living in one of the worlds most beautiful places and love to get out to photograph it all, and keep in shape by doing so.

When we're out and meeting other retirees I can't help but feel some pain in the conversation of a few of them, older men who once had great jobs, and found their reason for living to be tied to that position they once held. One fellow in particular was going on about all he used to be, my reply at tales end was, "so who are you now"? He was a bit taken aback, not knowing if I had just shown him some disrespect or worse was making a joke about his past. I followed up by clarifying my question with the fact that I never knew how to respond to someone who may have felt ill at ease in his retirement. He then admitted to being in a funk over his non employment status, a couple of years later he had "found" himself again by doing volunteer work, as a great administrator he was highly valued in that organization.

This is a time in life that you and only you can pick your path, all the books and seminars on careers and very few meaningful books on retirement, it's meant to be that way because this may be the first time in your life that no one but you cares what you do.
An excellent, perceptive, and astute analysis of our personal situation in retirement. I especially liked the part I placed in bold type.
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:36 PM
 
14,261 posts, read 24,004,620 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jertheber View Post
When we're out and meeting other retirees I can't help but feel some pain in the conversation of a few of them, older men who once had great jobs, and found their reason for living to be tied to that position they once held. One fellow in particular was going on about all he used to be, my reply at tales end was, "so who are you now"? He was a bit taken aback, not knowing if I had just shown him some disrespect or worse was making a joke about his past. I followed up by clarifying my question with the fact that I never knew how to respond to someone who may have felt ill at ease in his retirement. He then admitted to being in a funk over his non employment status, a couple of years later he had "found" himself again by doing volunteer work, as a great administrator he was highly valued in that organization.

This is a time in life that you and only you can pick your path, all the books and seminars on careers and very few meaningful books on retirement, it's meant to be that way because this may be the first time in your life that no one but you cares what you do.


It is amazing how quickly you can find a volunteer position if you let people know what you are looking for. Some places you walk into will sign you up and put you to work immediately. There is so much need out there.

I was not real anxious to retire. However, after twenty months, I rarely think of my old position.
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Old 01-16-2015, 06:32 AM
 
526 posts, read 509,557 times
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You are living in one of the most exciting places on the planet. You could probably spend the next 50 years running around all the museums, galleries and restaurants in your city. What a delightful prospect!
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,692 posts, read 33,704,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trying harder View Post
2015 is here! This is the year I retire. I go through moments of sheer terror about the prospect. It's not the money part--I think I've got that controlled, unless the market tanks even worse than 2008. It's the "who am I now that I'm not the person doing X job" part.

I never married or had children. I have a circle of good friends, and siblings, nieces and nephews with whom I'm close. But not a family of my own making. I've spent my whole adult life building and occupying a career that I've loved. It had been interesting, and has had broader meaning in the world at large. I can honestly say that I've changed some lives for the better, and done little if any harm.

But soon I will not have that career to define myself. I sat down and made a list of all the things I might like to do once retired, both large and small. But I don't want to just fill time. I want a broader meaning, even if my mission isn't to save the world. Truth is, I can't even articulate what I'm asking. I guess it's this: how do I define myself when I no longer have a job to do it for me?

Retirees, or retirement contemplators, how do you define yourselves? Or have you been able to let go of the need to even try to do so?
What is it about your job that you like? Have you ever thought about that? Your satisfaction in retirement may be related to taking the aspects of your job that you like and applying it to retirement activities.

I'll give you some examples.

Do you like being a boss/leader? Then in retirement you might get the greatest enjoyment in running some kind of club or some big community event or charitable event. I notice the people that rise to the top position in clubs usually were some type of manager or are currently some type of manager in their career. Everyone else is thrilled you are willing to take the leadership role so it may only be a year or two before you are running the club or event.

Do you like making presentations/teaching? There are plenty of retiree programs looking for instructors or guest speakers with PowerPoint presentations. The same goes for clubs. The key will be to marry it with your interests. I belong to a retiree program and we are always looking for instructors (no pay) to make presentations on topics where they have some expertise be it related to their former job, a hobby they have done for a long time, or they have long had some specialty interest. I also belong to a camera club and we have had guest presenters that are either subject matter experts (like wildflowers, concerts, architecture, rowing, birds, barns), that is, they are not photographers, but their expertise is in a subject that is a popular photography subject or they are photography experts in things like lighting, cameras, editing software, etc. There are so many camera clubs in my part of Tennessee that these presenters are constantly called upon to make a presentation.

Do you like competition at work? Then you should seek out a hobby, sport, activity, club that sponsors some kind of competition(s) among its members as opposed to joining social clubs. It might be one with fishing tournaments, marathons, or it might be photography competitions, baking competitions, art competitions, garden competitions, etc.

Do you like meeting the public in your job? Then volunteer for community events but make sure you don't have a behind-the-scenes job for the event. Make sure your are out front on the day of the event in your volunteer role meeting, greeting, informing the attendees. You might like some kind of living history/reenactment volunteer job, too.

If what you liked about your job was socializing with your co-workers, then gravitate to organizations/clubs that are big on socializing, throwing parties, dinners, etc. Or maybe you would enjoy being a volunteer firefighter where you still mingle with a set of guys.

Maybe you enjoyed planning/organizing at work (plan events), making things or setting up things (building the stage, handling the lighting), handling money or the books/spreadsheets (club treasurer, membership secretary, event fundraiser, ticket seller), critiquing (make a good judge for competitions), internet (design/build club/organization website), etc..

Again, point being figure out exactly what aspects of your job that you liked/gave you the most satisfaction and then figure out where you could apply those skills in retirement because you are good at them and you enjoy them.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Idaho
1,455 posts, read 1,156,701 times
Reputation: 5500
LauraC had offered some terrific suggestions. I found a statement in this very helpful article which seemed to directly address the OP's question on 'defining yourself'

The 6 Questions People Ask on Day One of Retirement | Next Avenue

"Start to take inventory of your gifts, skills, and character traits outside of your 9-to-5; you may be surprised to find that you can have an identity built on the kind of person you are, despite having just considered yourself the sum of our working years."
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