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View Poll Results: Did you have a "real" life before retirement?
Yes 43 78.18%
No 12 21.82%
Voters: 55. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-08-2015, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,737,509 times
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Two posters gave me the idea for starting this thread, Stevek64 and Luzianne. In TuborgP's thread "Is there life after retirement?", Luzianne posted the following:

"My question is: Is there life BEFORE retirement? Real life? I don't think so, at least not for everyone. We slave away 40+ hours a week and after that we are too tired to do anything that we would LIKE to do - or at least I am. I'm 57 and I WISH I could retire now. I am trying to find something part time or prn so I can still work, but not full time."

I am so sorry that Luzianne is "too tired to do anything" after her working hours. However, I didn't usually feel that way. I pursued several hobbies, and pursued them intensely, while still working. In addition, I read, travelled a bit, saw interesting films, etc. Of course I wasn't raising children, so both my energy and my free time outside of the workplace were greater.

So as the OP, I will answer YES, I definitely had a "real" life before retirement, which included my work. Work is part of life, not separate from it. I always find it very sad when people post that they only started to live after retiring. Now that doesn't mean I wasn't glad to retire. One can be happy working and ALSO be happy retired.
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:04 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,806 posts, read 54,455,776 times
Reputation: 31111
For me, work with travel time there and back is just 9 hours of the day, and since I start early, I'm home by 4:00. That leaves plenty of time to do things in the afternoon/evening, as well as the weekends. The window office on the waterfront with views of mountains, water, and the Seattle skyline makes a pleasant work environment, and I enjoy the work I do. I'm sure there are people that sell their soul to their employer and have no other life until they retire, but it comes down to a choice of career and employer.
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,085 posts, read 54,565,498 times
Reputation: 66460
I enjoyed the years when I was raising my daughter, and there were many times when I really enjoyed my job.

Now the job isn't as enjoyable anymore, and my daughter is grown and gone to the other side of the planet. It's just long days, one after the other, of getting up at 5 a.m. and getting home at 7 p.m., eating, doing whatever, then getting ready to start all over again the next day. I need a change.

Not that I don't do other things, I do, sometimes too much. But too much of my life and time is taken up by the job.
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:45 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,172,097 times
Reputation: 22373
I could write a book on this topic, Escort Rider. But I won't.

I will just say . . . sometimes, it takes a lot of planning to have a life. And that is true before retirement as well as after retirement.

This is especially true when there are health issues involved that limit physical ability to get out and do much of anything. Even taking a walk becomes impossible.

So instead of rambling on . . . I would relay that I think many of us, for hundreds of different reasons, end up surviving life instead of enjoying it, and that can be true before retirement as well as after retirement. The only way to change that is to very consciously make that decision -- to incorporate moments, situations, opportunities -- into our lives. That entails planning and it probably won't be "spontaneous."

Work-Life balance has been a big topic since Stephen Covey came out with his books in the early 90s or so (maybe late 80s?). So folks have been trying to find that "sweet spot" for a long time. And some people don't struggle with it as much as others.

Happiness is a choice! And sometimes, we have to choose to be happy (and "have a life") even within the confines of difficult circumstances.
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:47 PM
 
2,620 posts, read 2,524,610 times
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My personal paradox is that I need my job to pay for my hobbies.

In the 30+ years I've worked full time, I've also:

> Bought, furnished and remodeled 4 homes.
> Raised a son
> Wrote and published 9 romance novels
> Started a craft business
> Played in a band
> Wrote and recorded music
> Sang in a choir
> Participated in a photography club
> Landscaped 3 yards
> Maintained a vegetable garden
> Sewed a half dozen quilts
> Made a 6-volume scrapbook of my son's first 18 years (okay that's still a WIP)

That's just off the top of my head.

I think the key is having a job that doesn't drain all your energy. I spent a good 10+ years being very career focused, working long hours, climbing the corporate ladder. During those years, I didn't do much else. But eventually, I got to a point where I didn't care to go any higher (read: into management). I liked what I was doing and chose to switch my focus and extra energy to my personal life instead.

A person can "have it all", I think. Maybe not all at once, but over the course of a lifetime, hopefully.
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Old 03-08-2015, 06:36 PM
 
2,421 posts, read 3,724,705 times
Reputation: 3455
I think one should mention, it depends on what you do. A tile layer is going to be pretty pooped at the end of the day laying floor tile at 55 yrs.old. A person who works at a desk in a nice air conditioned office may have much more energy left and doesn't need to collapse when they get home. It also has a lot to do how much you enjoy your job, as I imagine really disliking your job effects you mentally.

In my case, when I was building a business I was working non stop and was all consumed mentally. When I finally made a success of the business, I settled back a little and expanded my horizons to explore new areas of interest. Both times were fulfilling to me though, but for different reasons.
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Old 03-08-2015, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,399 posts, read 9,143,473 times
Reputation: 13036
For me work supports my life. I work 36 hours out of 168 per week. Granted, I do sleep 56 of the remaining 132. I am not defined by my job as it is for many. Job just gives me money.

Life is real and will different in two years when I retire.
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:16 PM
 
825 posts, read 564,671 times
Reputation: 2603
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:46 PM
 
29,782 posts, read 34,871,258 times
Reputation: 11705
With two sons playing travel team soccer and high school plus I had more than enough of a life independent of work. Was a lot of fun and traveled to some great places with some great folks. Worked a lot of hours and lived a lot of hours.
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:26 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,759 posts, read 7,035,798 times
Reputation: 14295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Two posters gave me the idea for starting this thread, Stevek64 and Luzianne. In TuborgP's thread "Is there life after retirement?", Luzianne posted the following:

"My question is: Is there life BEFORE retirement? Real life? I don't think so, at least not for everyone. We slave away 40+ hours a week and after that we are too tired to do anything that we would LIKE to do - or at least I am. I'm 57 and I WISH I could retire now. I am trying to find something part time or prn so I can still work, but not full time."

I am so sorry that Luzianne is "too tired to do anything" after her working hours. However, I didn't usually feel that way. I pursued several hobbies, and pursued them intensely, while still working. In addition, I read, travelled a bit, saw interesting films, etc. Of course I wasn't raising children, so both my energy and my free time outside of the workplace were greater.

So as the OP, I will answer YES, I definitely had a "real" life before retirement, which included my work. Work is part of life, not separate from it. I always find it very sad when people post that they only started to live after retiring. Now that doesn't mean I wasn't glad to retire. One can be happy working and ALSO be happy retired.
IMO we all have lives from the day we're born. We may not be real happy with our status in life, or what we're doing at in any particular moment, we may think we spend too much time working, and we may spend any free time we have wishing for or looking forward to a time when we hope things will be better, but it's still our life.

I had a rather miserable childhood ( without going into the details), but I feel that my life as an adult- particularly after I met and married my soul mate more than made up for that. I think it was after the birth of my daughter, when I saw that life was rushing by waaay too fast, to try and appreciate, even enjoy each moment as it came. There were, as in all lives, joys and sorrows, good times and tribulations, but in looking back on my "pre-retirement"years, it was good overall, I enjoyed the jobs I had, I felt as though I was respected and treated overall well in the workplace, wouldn't have missed some of those experiences I had with coworkers and the public we served for anything. And I felt the pride of integrity built into a job well done, no matter what it was I was doing. I also felt loved and needed as a wife, mother and friend. What more could anyone ask, IMO?

Not that I didn't look forward to not having to schlep back and forth to work,not having to sit for hours trying to get to work or a work-related destination in that mind-numbing southeast Florida traffic, being able to get up when I wanted to, do what I wanted to, and enjoy the spot we had picked out for retirement. As the time came closer, as others have said, I wanted that retirement so bad I could almost taste it. And when the time was right ( for a number of reasons, age being only one of them) I did retire. And I've enjoyed it more than I ever thought possible.
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