This is a very important topic, one that has dominated my thoughts for months... I was thinking of starting a thread "ERE Burnout" but what tjt described is exactly what I have. I renewed a contract out of something that feels like cowardice, because I've met every financial benchmark I wanted by retirement. I didn't want to make a hasty decision, especially after a recent financial negative windfall. Which is logical, but it feels like my id is very angry and I've lost faith that I will ever retire. Logically I know I can retire right now, and plans are in place to do so within months!... But it FEELS like that cannot be. Hard to describe. Maybe change seems so unlikely to the muscle memory or something that the body doesn't believe the mind.
Worthy of an entire blog post, but blogs are reserved for people with enthusiasm in the tank. In my ERE purgatory, enthusiasm is void... Alcohol spending is several multiples higher, food consumption is far less healthy, workouts are rare, even my favorite hobbies (like reading) are scarce. TV watching through the roof, concentration bottoming out in some sub-basement. It feels like a scifi where I've had to retreat to a probe; life support system, alarms blaring, no time/effort for anything but the core mission: keep saving, don't do anything stupid. It feels like I'm lashing together an airplane with tape while it is crashing.
I've reached the point of diminishing returns. Maybe because I am older? Maybe, because of the regrets involved in the ERE quest during 20s... I try to execute everything so perfectly, it often doesn't get executed at the optimum time. It's like taking time off of work (or life!) to shop on the internet, only to spend 2 hrs to save 25% of what your lost wage was... I enjoy a perfect execution, even if it is meaningless. Anything can be art if executed with grace. I need to find balance between this and making decisions quickly. Because I'm getting older!...
I think I know what Jacob is hinting at. Loss of enthusiasm is terrifying. I do not believe it will happen, but is a frightening prospect... Can I even exist or find passion outside of ERE? It has been the very dominant focus of my life so far...
I guess I'll find out in part time! ;) I truly believe that everything will recover, and double, once I regain faith in myself and my efforts... This has felt good to put my feelings to words... Eh, maybe it's just the alcohol. Which I can blame on all the problems with this post :)
The way out is through:
*Preparing part time proposal to employers.
*I came to the same conclusion as tjt: use part time to cultivate other interests... I think working PT might be an important step to ER. If I jump into the shockingly icy waters of retirement without the transitional stage I might freak out.
*New focuses, hopefully 1 of them will come to dominate: fix/build house, building trading systems, 80% feed myself (garden, hunt, fish), brewing, travel (I know, I know but my location bores me), couchsurfing and new locales for satisfying friendships, looking for a mate to have kids with... countless other adventures, experiences I feel like I've missed out in my ERE quest.