Never Ending Honeymoon?

Honeymoon

Last week I published a post that discussed the ‘honeymoon’ phase of retirement and included a chart on the phases of retirement (from Forbes.com, sourced to Dr. Sara Yogev).

While I certainly feel like I’m in the honeymoon phase now –  after just a few weeks away from the office – I went to the forums on Early-Retirement.org to see what some more ‘experienced’ early retirees thought about how long the euphoria might last.

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Was I shocked by the reaction the chart got!  Almost 50 people responded to the question I asked about how long the honeymoon phase lasted for them. Resoundingly, they said the honeymoon phase DOES NOT END.  People that were retired from 1 to 22 years ALL responded that they still felt like they were in the honeymoon phase.

Furthermore, they angrily began pointing out issues with the way the research / phases of retirement are described.  Especially the phrase under honeymoon that said that it was a “temporary, euphoric feeling” and that one would soon “tire of your new-found freedom.”  People called it the phrasing ‘insane’, ‘ridiculous’, and asked “how could anyone tire of FREEDOM?”  They pointed out that the media seems to specialize in some kind of ‘weird double think’ when they write about retirement.  That “they like to stress on how bad it is and that ‘everyone should keep working.”

Here are some of the more positive comments about how people are enjoying their retirements.  Nearly every single person talked positively about the honeymoon feeling they continue to have YEARS into retirement:

  • “Still feel euphoric”
  • “I will never ever tire of my freedom”
  • “Not a hint freedom fatigue”
  • “Was more bored at the end of my working days”
  • “I feel sorry for people who have such an empty life
    that they can’t envision ever not w*rking due to boredom.”

  •  “I can’t imagine how being told what to do and when to do it
    could be better than choosing what to do when you want to do it (or not do it!).”

It wasn’t just the honeymoon phase that people found issues with.  People responded ‘Seriously?’ to the comment that one would need to create a “daily schedule of how to spend your time” in phase #5.  Most experienced retirees say their happiness comes from the spontaneity that comes with not working.  Having a schedule is the last thing these folks want – “utter rubbish” they said.  They regret having to be scheduled to meet someone for lunch or have a dentist appointment on the calendar.

One person perhaps summed up the forum’s feeling best by saying that retirement is not comprised of phases, but is “just one big unfolding adventure”.  I certainly hope that is how I will feel about retirement in 1,3,5 or 20 years from now.

Image Credit: Pixabay

24 thoughts on “Never Ending Honeymoon?

  1. That’s awesome to hear that nobody thinks the honeymoon phase ever ends and I can see their logic. All the more to look forward to for those aspiring to retire early!

    The Green Swan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m happy to have found your blog and very sorry I didn’t find it sooner! It’s wonderful to peer into the life that awaits us. It would be untruthful to say I never have worries about the boredom thing. It really is in your face on a regular basis, especially when the first thing my brother asked when I told him about our ER plans was “but, wont you be bored?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would say … “And work isn’t boring?” Start keeping track of how often you are bored at work. Budget meetings, staff meetings, and performance reviews (both writing and receiving). Bored means being stuck in something – I am never stuck now. I can always switch doing something else – complete freedom!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read several of the posts on ERE.org and was thrilled to see the responses you got. Thanks for turning it into a post. I think this needs further research. Why is there so much talk of people being miserable once they retire? Is it that those people truly have no imagination?

    Maybe I have never worked in a workplace as great as those folks are leaving. I have not really done the Megacorp. thing. I can understand being a serial entrepreneur, and I could understand a very high ranking C-suite type never having the feeling of being as important. Also, I guess if you are in a service field like doctor/teacher, there may be some rewards that are hard to get if you quit. But these seem like special exceptions, not the rule. I tend to think that people tell themselves they will be bored when they retire because they would rather spend than save. But I would be interested to understand it better, at least to help other people escape!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good observations. I think it’s funny that in almost any article about early retirement or ‘what retirement plans you need to make’, one of the first things they write is that you should WORK in retirement (at least part-time) for the benefits, financial or otherwise. I will guarantee you that none of those people are have ever been actually retired themselves or they wouldn’t be writing that way. I learn a lot on ERE.org and enjoy asking the experienced retirees questions like that. Thanks for the comments!

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  4. Wow, that’s a really interesting reaction on the forum! I hope you (and someday we) experience the same unending excitement of freedom. I imagine early retirees are usually up to something adventurous or interesting, so that probably keeps it fresh and fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes – the folks likely to be hanging out on an early retirement forum are likely a group of people who have planned well and are most likely to enjoy better days in FIRE. Someone wise once said “there are no boring days, just boring people”. 🙂

      Like

  5. I don’t have a hard time believing that the Honeymoon stage never ends. I see Mrs. Superhero experience glimpses of the stage every summer, as she is a teacher. Day 1 of her vacation is no less thrilling than Day 60. I imagine retirement will similar, only better.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. We cannot even get our heads around how the honeymoon stage could ever end! Both of my parents retired in their early 50’s (now in their 70’s) and they travel the world, play golf, do interior decorating, ride bikes, spend time with their grandchildren, and are avid boaters. And this is just the short list! They do more, and are more active than we are. I actually told them that they should slow down and enjoy it. They told me they were having a blast and to mind my own business! Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s so interesting, but also not surprising to me. Phases like that don’t acknowledge differences between people, and I wonder if the phases are more true for those who are frightened of retirement/freedom, as opposed to the folks who clearly responded to you, who embrace the lack of structure? I certainly don’t see us struggling with the freedom and feeling the need to structure our time! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m questioning the validity of the whole phases approach – almost regardless of who you are. Who doesn’t love freedom? That doesn’t mean at times you don’t need to find a little routine or re-orientation, but who wants the alternative?

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      • I’m positive my grandmother would have worked forever if she could have — she only retired because my grandfather needed her home to care for him. But once he was gone, she really missed working. But I consider her a total outlier and agree with you that most people want and love freedom!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I think instead of “phases,” it’s more that you reflect on what you VALUE, and you spend time refining that. If structure is your thing, then there are some people who will need to find a schedule. As for us, we think we will always probably “work” in one way or another, because we have determined that learning and trying new things is a big value of ours. As far as the “honeymoon” thing goes – It describes the freedom at all the “phases” to make your actions match your values – unfettered by having your time controlled in some other type of “employment.”

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  9. I think the hardest part would be adjusting to a new reality. We all work so hard to hit this goal, that when we do I imagine it’s tough for realization to set in. It probably feels like an extended vacation the first few months. Then at some point, AH, your brain put together that you never need to go to the office again. I bet it’s a great feeling!

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  10. I love that people still feel they are in the honeymoon phase after 22 years! I am sure this is a top concern of people retiring early…will I miss the work or routine? As my mother used to say, “Only boring people get bored.” I would prefer to think of my retirement “schedule” as flexible free-flow!

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  11. Pingback: Freedom – For Our Nation, For Ourselves | Mr.FireStation

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