I feel disconnected

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arrrrgon
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:42 pm

I feel disconnected

Post by arrrrgon »

I found the ere book a few years back and it was life changing for me. I was in debt over my head, and I was the perfect model for consumerism. My wife and I immediately started our transition. We've worked our debt down to where we might actually be able to start saving soon. We don't necessarily fit the ere lifestyle, but we're not rich enough for the MMM crew (jk, I just feel more comfortable here. The people on the ere forums are generally very intelligent.)

With all this said, I now feel this general feeling of a disconnection from the world around me. Things are going very well for us. I even started a business that is already profitable. Even so, I just feel like I'm drifting through life a lot of the time.

Does anyone else know the feeling I'm describing? Any tips or books that you think might help?

GandK
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Re: I feel disconnected

Post by GandK »

Me. When I was living a consumerist lifestyle, I had a lot more conversation/bonding points with other people around me. Not so much now. Occasionally people will ask us how we "do it" (afford me being home and G working only part time), or we will counsel a couple at church on how to get/stay out of debt. Otherwise, both we and the people around us have noticed that we don't have the same values that they do, and a small rift occurs on both sides. Not arguments, but distance.

I don't like it, and neither does G, but we've responded very differently. G's an extravert. He's compensated by widening his circle of casual friends and by counseling as many people as possible. On the other hand, I have ZERO desire for surface-level interaction. I either want real connection or nothing (INFJ). So I've responded by increased participation in this forum, increased contact with my family of origin, and by joining a writing group and making connections there.

So... what are YOU interested in? Where can you make more connections, or deepen the ones you already have?

arrrrgon
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:42 pm

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by arrrrgon »

That's just it though. I'm more of an introvert like you. I have no need for any new connections. I feel more disconnected from the world than from other people.

I'm trying to figure out some interests, because I'm out of movies to watch :)

The feeling I'm trying to describe is hard for me to explain. Maybe it's just melancholy.

Thanks to our hard work the past few years, my wife will be a SAHM just like you in a few months. I'm looking forward to that, and I wonder if I'm just stuck until the transition is complete.

Thanks for the reply.

Tommy
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:15 am

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by Tommy »

My 2c, take it for what it's worth:

I believe that some people engage in consumerism and debt spending because by getting all these things, it gives them a purpose. When all you think about is how to pay your bills and what new stuff to get, that is probably stressful, but for a lot of people it's a whole lot less stressful than having to ponder the big questions in life, such as:
- What is the purpose of the universe and existence?
- What is the meaning of my life?
- Is there a God?
- Is this it? Is there an afterlife or is this miserable span of around 85 years all I will ever have?
- etc etc

People that are heavily consumerist don't seem to ponder the above questions much because they are too busy chasing the next thing to buy.

When one abandons consumerism, one abandons materialism as a way of life, a way of purpose, a way of being. In truth, materialism doesn't give any answers, it just makes you drunk enough that you don't consider asking the questions. One is too busy paying bills and buying stuff to have time to consider the big questions.

I think anyone that abandons consumerism, and has known nothing else, is going to experience some sort of existential crisis because now the real big questions suddenly pop up and there are no easy answers to any of them.

It's the situation described in Plato's cave allegory - you can't ever go back to the world of shadows (i.e. materialism) but on the other hand, the light outside the cave feels perhaps too bright and painful.

Another allegory that is relevant would be the scene in The Matrix where Neo wakes up and asks why his eyes hurt. It's because he's never used them. So waking up from consumerism can in the same way hurt as you have to now look at the bigger picture, whether you like it or not.

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Sclass
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Location: Orange County, CA

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by Sclass »

I hear you. It was lonely enough dancing to my own music for 20 years. Now, three years into retirement, I feel even more distanced. I still go to friends and family social gatherings but I find myself sitting alone off to the side with my SO. My neighbors who used to think I was financially pressured treat me differently now. They actually sent a delegation over a year ago to make sure we were "alright" saying we looked like we were under financial pressure from my long term unemployment.

I'm looking forward to leaving town after twenty five years here. Most of my friends are pretty quiet about my departure. Retirement was like coming out of the closet.

A lot of pals who used to live the frugal life around me were doing so because they were poor. We all met as grad students and lived that life together. But as salaries bloomed so did mortgages and car payments. People started bitching and moaning about oppressive jobs, expenses, vacations and what the new Wolf Range they couldn't get just yet. I started to feel like Lucy sitting in a circle of bantering chimps. Rather than say "monkeys!" I just kept nodding my head in agreement. But now I'm outed big time. I feel like the monkey who wandered into the wrong chimp tribe accidentally in those chimp murder videos on YouTube.

I kind of get it. I keep coming back to "getting outed" because it reminds me of a close friend telling me he was gay back in college. I wasn't mad about his lifestyle. I was happy he was being true to himself. But I was mad for being duped for so many years. So maybe all my old friends feel like I duped them when I was complaining about being poor.

I'd say half a dozen friendships got stronger for me. Mentors and mentees in business. I'd say my richer friends (self made not spoiled brat) friends have pulled me closer. My SO says now that it is more obvious what I'm about I got more interesting to the people who like to grow their money. One actually said "we are outliers, only worry about what the rest of the society says if you're trading a trend."

So yeah. I cannot believe it. I'm moving out of town to be closer to one of my strongest mentors. He's getting old and I'd like to spend some time with him while he's still fun to talk to. The rest of my "crew" is getting ditched.

arrrrgon
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:42 pm

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by arrrrgon »

The Matrix comparison is something I've thought about for a while. I definitely wouldn't want to go back to consumerism.

I think you're right. I'm probably spending too much time thinking about everything. I've always believed in God, so at least that question is easy for me :)

I do feel a disconnect there as well though. Not from God, but from churches. They all seem so fake to me. I don't think that has any effect on me. It's just something I've noticed over the years. I've never been big in group activities though.

Thanks for the reply.

@sclass - Good luck :) I hope the new town is better for you. I totally understand not fitting into a neighborhood. I don't know what to talk to those people about any more. I want to talk investing, business,etc... and they want to complain about work or discuss their new car.

GandK
Posts: 1995
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:00 pm

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by GandK »

arrrrgon wrote:Thanks to our hard work the past few years, my wife will be a SAHM just like you in a few months. I'm looking forward to that, and I wonder if I'm just stuck until the transition is complete.
Woohoo! Congratulations! I hope you love it as much as we do. We both think it's the best thing we've ever done for our marriage.

I slept a lot at first. I think the first few weeks I was running around in a tizz, getting everything set up the way I wanted it at home and going to appointments we'd put off and everything, and then for the next 8 or 9 months I was sleeping 10+ hours a night. I think that was my body's way of getting 20 years of work out of my system. :D

Within about 2 months, the kids were better behaved. They really crave Mom and Dad's time. They may get too much of it now, LOL.

We went down to one car when I quit. That wouldn't work for everyone, but it did for us. We also moved from a house to a condo shortly after I quit, trying to pare down other stresses in our lives and cut expenses further. No more big lawn, no more pool maintenance, no more rooms we don't use like the formal living room, WAY lower utility bills... I could go on and on. LOVE the condo.

So, yeah. Pretty much every aspect of our lives that we'd ever fought about got better when I came home. Our finances improved, our home was neater/cleaner, our kids were happier, our romantic life improved because we were talking more, our sex life got WAY better... I am so NOT a night owl, but when I was working, night was all we had.

Best thing ever. I hope it does the same for you guys.

arrrrgon
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:42 pm

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by arrrrgon »

She's in a very high stress job, so I'm sure it will be great for us. Our son just turned one, and my wife is really looking forward to being home with him instead of dropping him at daycare. I'm just glad I'll get to see them at lunch every day. I'm sure my first post sounded like depression, but that's definitely not it. My family is great. It's everything else that's the problem :-P

Our diets will be the thing to improve the most once my wife is at home. We'll have a lot more time to cook then. This should help our budget a lot too.

Tyler9000
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Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:45 pm

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by Tyler9000 »

In my experience, that feeling of disconnection is real but isn't really an ERE issue so much as a common interest issue. I felt distant from my best friend when I left the company we both worked at and we no longer had work stories to talk about every day. People feel distant from others all the time in their late twenties and early thirties as the peer group starts to have kids and priorities change. It shouldn't be too surprising that those who start focusing on saving rather than spending might feel some of the same emotions with regards to relating to spendy others.

Another thing I've found is that friendships take effort. For a long time I was a social freeloader, but now that friends have aged and have more responsibilities (like working ;) ) I have to put more effort into maintaining friendships. That's hard, and I'm not very good at it quite yet. It's a life skill I'm working on.

In the meantime, one good method for reducing distance is to seek out people with common interests. This forum is great for that, and I also frequent a few related to my favorite sports teams. Meetup groups and churches are good options IRL. And for pre-existing relationships, some of the problem is purely mental. You need to cherish the things you have in common with others rather than dwell on the things you do not. Much of the perceived distance may actually be of your own mental creation. Get over yourself!

workathome
Posts: 1298
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:06 pm

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by workathome »

I think many of us our permanent outsiders. Even among each other. I think it comes with our minority personality types and having strong convictions. Like we might heartedly agree with each other about X, but will always into a very serious dispute about Y & Z :)

leeholsen
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Re: I feel disconnected

Post by leeholsen »

you have to find some interests.

once you overcome the consumer society need, you wont fit in well many places if you don't have the latest thing, hadn't bought anything lately or don't need to push up the ladder anymore.

an easy one is reading, there are over 130 million books; surely you can find some that interest and if you've read enough books; you'll have a lot to add to groups since most read none. another easy one is a musical instrument, you can buy, learn and play harmonica for about $20 and in a week.

you can also try and find a job interest to grow.

you will still have some days, I do; when you wonder way you should leave the couch if you have enough to cover expenses if you don't have a passion for something; but that's a good problem to have; most have to go out to pay for all the crap they own and I think you'll find most people aren't passionate about something or there wouldn't be thousands of tv channels to choose from.

Peanut
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Re: I feel disconnected

Post by Peanut »

You could try getting involved in something community-oriented. It might help you figure out your role in the big scheme of things. Especially if you can contribute in a way that provides unique value to others. Mentoring youth, urban gardening, cycling advocacy, the possibilities are endless.

arrrrgon
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:42 pm

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by arrrrgon »

Thanks for all the replies everyone. I think Tommy actually hit the nail on the head. Not in that I'm struggling with life issues, but more so in that I'm spending way too much time thinking about things that haven't even happened yet. I'm spending way too much time worrying about things that could happen. I just needed to get out of my own head and relax a bit.

Reading everyone's thoughts has helped a lot. I'm not usually one for discussing my feelings, so thanks to all of you who were friendly with your replies :)

I may have used the wrong word to describe it. I don't feel disconnected in that I need more people/more community. It is more of a feeling of watching my own life go by. Thinking it through and reading your posts helped me put everything into perspective.

Thanks again.

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jennypenny
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Re: I feel disconnected

Post by jennypenny »

arrrrgon wrote: I may have used the wrong word to describe it. I don't feel disconnected in that I need more people/more community. It is more of a feeling of watching my own life go by.
I've dealt with this. I think that some people are natural 'observers' for lack of a better term. It can be a useful quality, but it can create the feeling of a gap or a distance between you and your life, if that makes sense. Honestly, I don't think being an observer most of the time is necessarily bad. It's only bad if it makes you unhappy. If it doesn't, just embrace it.

There seem to be a lot of observer-types on the forum. That would explain why there are also so many writers.

arrrrgon
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:42 pm

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by arrrrgon »

I definitely notice everything Jenny. I can't help but notice things that other people never seem to notice. I was definitely spending too much time in my own head (for lack of a better term). I need to spend more time in today, and live tomorrow when it comes.

FRx
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Location: Portland Or

Re: I feel disconnected

Post by FRx »

@Tommy

wow. that's pretty much the best explanation I've heard (on my level of comprehension) regarding this.

cmonkey
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Re: I feel disconnected

Post by cmonkey »

I also know that feeling of disconnection quite well. I have felt it for the better part of 4-5 years ever since I landed a cube dwelling life. I don't share any of the interest of my coworkers and many of the friends I made in college certainly don't have the same views/opinions/values that I have.

It wasn't until about 2 years ago that I found the ERE community and discovered my group. I think quite a few people on these forums feel the same. Since discovering ERE, however, that feeling of disconnection has transitioned into something else and I'm not quite sure what it is yet. I still feel disconnected from the people around me, but its not really an uncomfortable feeling anymore. It could be because I understand why the disconnection is there now, I accept and embrace it and honestly enjoy it.

IMO, I believe that we are the pioneers in a shifting of societal stories. Most of the people on this site can see how our cultural narratives are breaking down and I think that ERE offers us the best alternative to what has been offered to us.

This video that jennypenny shared sums it quite well in my mind - https://vimeo.com/54199462

Dragline
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Re: I feel disconnected

Post by Dragline »

Yes, what we are talking about here is similar to what was in that thread: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=6100&p=88821#p88821

I think this feeling is a normal state if uncommon, actually. To wake up in the morning not having anything you have to do that you haven't actually affirmatively chosen to become involved with. It's less of a disconnection to me as a sense of floating above an ocean of concerns that I don't have.

We forget that it's normal, because we live in a world where others are driven to keep up with the joneses.

cmonkey
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Re: I feel disconnected

Post by cmonkey »

Dragline wrote: We forget that it's normal, because we live in a world where others are driven to keep up with the joneses.
I sometimes forget those people exist...then when I meet one I am stunned. :shock:

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jennypenny
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Re: I feel disconnected

Post by jennypenny »

Dragline wrote: I think this feeling is a normal state if uncommon, actually. To wake up in the morning not having anything you have to do that you haven't actually affirmatively chosen to become involved with. It's less of a disconnection to me as a sense of floating above an ocean of concerns that I don't have.
I like the way you expressed that. I always refer to it as not feeling 'plugged in' to the world that everyone else seems to live in. I like the image of 'floating' better.

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