Insight 3 — Personal Time… Doing Your Own Thing

This post is a continuation of the discernment period I recently spent on thought of where I go from here. I retired from the corporate world fifteen years ago and from my own business nine years ago. Since then I have struggled with my retirement years.  Part of that struggle is due to the very different approaches to life between myself and my spouse. I love her dearly but we are two very different people. She is content with living a simple life of computer games, puzzles, TV, and naps. It is all she needs to have a fulfilled life. I on the other hand seek at least as some level new experiences, travel, and the unknown and to live a purpose beyond myself.  How to reconcile those differences between us has been a major portion of my distress.

When I read the following quote from Ernie Zilinski helped it gave me some insight into his problem:

2014-12-21_13-47-42Contrary to popular belief, by no means do all retired couples enjoy their time together more than they did when they were working. The fact is, even two people who have enjoyed a successful marriage for three decades can end up driving each other crazy when one or both retire….

A post-retirement lifestyle shouldn’t be limited to the retiree spending most of his or her time with their spouse. It’s essential that each partner have his/ her own interests….

It’s also important that couples give each other the freedom to pursue individual interests. Without the workplace to provide them with something to do, some retired individuals end up being lost souls, following their spouse wherever they go. Not giving their spouse the space and freedom to pursue their own interests can backfire and leave these retirees with even less company and less to do….

The key is to organize your life so that you have time with your spouse and plenty of time to do your own thing. Zelinski, Ernie (2013-11-16). How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor (Kindle Locations 972-980). Visions International Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Almost all of the retirement books I have read, and I have read several of them, don’t address the issue of when spouses have very different ideas of what a happy retirement is. They say the divorce rate among people over sixty is increasing dramatically in recent years and I image this discontinuity between spouses is one of the primary reasons. Most of the blogs and such I read about retirement are accounts of how the spouses  agree on lifestyles and approaches to their retired lives. They spend their time doing what makes both happy, wild and free as Ernie puts it.  It just seemed like everyone always enjoys what the other does. Many seem to have an “Ozzie and Harriet” retirement life that I have never  really known.

While I occasionally get my wife to leave her nest, doing my own thing will now take on an added importance in my life. I simply can’t live the sedentary lifestyle of my spouse. Learning to do my own thing and getting my wife to accept that fact is going to be an important part of my future happiness.

 <<<This is part 4 of my year-end discovery period. Go to the home page and then scroll down to see earlier posts>>>

Insight 1 — Waiting For Fate…

One thing that helped me during my recent discernment period was a book by Ernie Zelinski entitled: How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. Ernie has written several very popular books about retirement. I don’t really know what drew me to this one but it was worth the effort as it addressed many of my concerns that other books on retirement have not. It seemed this book was mainly a collection of clichés but that was ok. It was what I needed.  Let’s talk about a quote from that book:

2014-12-21_13-47-42Regardless of how talented you are and how successful you are in the workplace, there is some danger that you will not be as happy and satisfied as you hope to be in retirement. This may be the case even if you end up having friends to spend time with, living the lifestyle you want to live, residing where you want to live, and having many interesting things to do. What may be missing is a sense of purpose and some meaning to your life. Put another way, you will want to keep growing as an individual instead of remaining stagnant….

Most people have at least a vague sense that they should set aside some surplus cash now for retirement so they don’t have to rely on meager government pensions sometime in the future. But when it comes to how they will spend their time, the majority of individuals are waiting for fate to show them the way. The more that these people expect from retirement without any effort on their part, the more likely that their retirement will be filled with boredom — even depression.

In my business life I had little time to sit back and contemplate my purpose. It was always to get the job done and to keep paying the bills. I put off any serious thoughts of life but when I retired that changed dramatically. For a good while just couldn’t find my “new” place in life. Much of this indecision was put off as I went from retirement from corporate world to six years of owning my own cabinet/furniture making business. But after those six years my “purpose” in life hit me head-on.  What do I do now??

I, like so many others just let life happen. I had always been a planner so this coping strategy was very foreign to me. Foreign but easy!! I initially spent most of my time in front of a television waiting for fate to show me what I was meant to do. As stated in the quote above that decision lead to some periods pretty deep depression and boredom that sometimes took weeks shake off.

I have come to the conclusion that the main reason I become bored is because I am letting my life happen instead of making things happen. Will I ever completely extinguish the feeling of boredom in my life?  Given my personality I am certain the answer to that is “no” but it is a matter of degrees not absolutes. Basically when I don’t challenge myself enough I fall into boredom. It seems as simple as that to me now.

Lets finish off this post with another quote from the book–

As would be expected, some retirees were bored, some were physically active, a few were expanding their minds, and a lot were waiting for destiny to show them the way.  

 

 <<<This is part 2 of my year-end discovery period. Go to the home page and then scroll down to see earlier posts>>>

Just What Is Boredom….

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I seem to talk about boredom pretty frequently on this blog but I have never tried to specify just what that means to me. So let’s do a little of that for this post.  As usual we will go to Wikipedia; here are some bits and pieces:

BoredomBoredom is an emotional state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do… The first recorded use of the word boredom is in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, written in 1852

There are three types of boredom, all of which involve problems of engagement of attention. These include times when we are prevented from engaging in some wanted activity, when we are forced to engage in some unwanted activity, or when we are simply unable, for no apparent reason, to maintain engagement in any activity or spectacle. Boredom proneness is a tendency to experience boredom of all types. ….

There is an inherent anxiety in boredom; people will expend considerable effort to prevent or remedy it, yet in many circumstances, it is accepted as suffering to be endured. Common passive ways to escape boredom are to sleep or to think creative thoughts (daydream). Typical active solutions consist in an intentional activity of some sort, often something new, as familiarity and repetition lead to the tedious.

As I have come to learn the supposed causes of boredom are wide and varied among the “professionals” (kind of like religion). I can’t really say my boredom is pinpointed by any of the definitions above.  When “I” say I am frequently bored I tend to mean that the challenges before me are just not very, well, challenging.  I was bored in grade and high school because the teachers, for the most part seemed to be unable to challenge me in any significant way. They would spend hours and hours going over something that I seemed to glean in a matter of minutes. The rest of my time was spent mostly looking out the window and daydreaming. To stave off boredom I started reading books. I went through the Hardy Boys series in less than a year. I became a big fan of Steinbeck and other rebels of the time.

I admit that boredom is a rather frequent companion with me. It is a constant challenge to find stimulating things to do day in and day out.  When I hear people who say they are never bored what they are apparently saying is that they always find life’s circumstances to be challenging.  How can that be?

To close up this post with a nutshell sentence “If I don’t have stimulating things to occupy my time then I am bored.” It seems almost as simple as that. What is the cause of this lack of stimulation? Probably me but that will take at least a dozen post to even begin to understand.

Ok, enough of this boredom talk. The last few days I have been working up a new and hopefully stimulating project to take on.  That should keep me occupied for at least a little while. 😉

A Bored Mind Is A Moody Mind….

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The title of this post is a quote from a not very famous person but it has some deep meaning for me. Actually it is something I wrote in my personal journal about a year ago. 🙂  I often times like to look back to what I wrote about the previous year just to compare to where I am now. Last year I was just getting over some rather troubled times. I often wonder if I am living my life as fully and fruitfully as I desire. The feeling of a lack of personal accomplishment often drives me to various levels of depression but don’t we all have that to one degree or another. We do all have that don’t we?

One of my daily reads is a fellow blogger. That blog is centered on a somewhat narrow theme of having a good retirement.  It seems that he and most of his readers just seem to want to race away from is the term “boredom”. It is almost as if they don’t want to admit that they have ever had a boring moment in their retirement lives. But for myself, I am just not a person who will, knowingly  or unknowingly, deny feelings that I have.  I get bored I admit it. In fact I get bored on a weekly if not daily basis.  It is something that I am constantly battling against.

Getting back on point what I basically discovered last year was that the times when I am the most bored is when I get these depressed feelings. When I don’t have other things on my mind my infinitesimally  small effect on the universe rises to the surface. Maybe because I leave no heirs on this earth to get it right where I didn’t, is one of the reasons for this moodiness.  When I am gone my genes will go to the grave with me. There will be no second chance to get it right through my offsprings.

Yeah I admit I am a sometimes a troubled dude but least I don’t have voices telling me that I am a failure. One of my favorite movies was called “A Beautiful Mind” starring Russel Crowe. It was about a brilliant Princeton professor who was bi-polar. If  I heard voices as he did I would definitely seek professional help. Sometimes my off-the-top thoughts that I post here even slightly startle me but not in what I believe is in an unhealthy way. I hope to leave at least a very small scratch on this world after I am gone and it troubles me that someone in the future will use a little of life’s spit polish to remove even that.

I think these thoughts are actually nudges from God at one level or another to keep me focused on his mission for me. That is constantly in my thoughts. In that regard I treat these nudges as a good thing. I stave off boredom wherever possible by engaging in new and stimulating  and creative things on a regular basis. To fail to do so is just, well, boring…

Boredom, My Personal Journey …. Part 2

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This is a continuation of my previous post about boredom and apathy. In high school not much changed as far as a lack of a challenge. One of the things I did enjoy there was writing essays. That activity gave me free rein to say what I wanted and I always easily got A’s for my work.  Unfortunately I was never guided toward an avocation that would have exercised that talent I definitely showed even in my early days.

After high school college came. That is where I came upon the first real challenges in thinking.  Again I excelled in English Comp classes without much effort and the electrical engineering classes I took were challenging but not particularly enjoyable to me. That should have given me a clue that I was in the wrong major but being a naive farm kid that I was that just didn’t occur to me that I had options.

Rube Goldberg

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