Too Old To Retire "Young"

Where are you and where are you going?
FBeyer
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by FBeyer » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:02 am

Decluttering is not only about productivity, but also about recuperation. A home full of pointed fingers is not a good place to rest, neither is it a good place to work.

My mess actively kept me busy, which actively kept me from recovering properly when I needed it. You don't get rid of shit in order to work more, you get rid of shit in order to live more.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:25 pm

Oh, I don’t disagree. I think I just jumped the shark with my last extreme bout of decluttering, and I am grouchy about that. The first time I made the attempt following the Flylady program 20 years ago, the result was a great improvement.

Peanut
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Peanut » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:28 pm

Interesting glimpse into the house’s id! I had the same or similar reaction as Fbeyer that it looked like a storage room because you were using it as such. I’m guessing that it is quite unlike other rooms in the house not because of what it has but what it lacks, namely a consistent infrastructure and aesthetic style. It does not strike me that there is necessarily too much stuff, although a good portion of it seems rather miscellaneous.

It does seem haphazardly organized and in my view the biggest problem is that too many different types of storage are taking up lots of space. I hesitate to recommend it because I appreciated Kondo’s point that one does not need to seek out additional storage, but in this case if you’re keeping everything I think one huge bookcase or uniform wall shelving to put all the books and papers together and something similar for the crafts would greatly reduce the clutter factor.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:10 am

Thanks for everyone weighing in so far, and thanks for embarking on this project with me. FBeyer, you've given me some food for thought, and I'm going to ponder this some more... but I think maybe I truly don't WANT to make room to do my day job at home. I don't really like working at home, and I've been thinking that it's because my home office isn't conducive to work... but the more I think about it, maybe the reason that I have allowed it to not be conducive to work is because I don't want to work in it. I've always been kind of a "work is work, home is home" person (yeah, not very 2019 of me, I know....) and after working 100% from home for 4 years several years ago, I've never really wanted to do it again.

Anyway....I'm going to meditate on my job ambivalence and work at home ambivalence some more to figure out what's going on there....

In the meantime, though, I've committed to cleaning up this mess--and taking you guys on the journey!! My plan for the moment is to commit at least a half hour a day to it, if not more.

Today's pics--I sorted out my crochet thread (yeah, I have a lot of old lady hobbies....) and got rid of the really thin thread I hate working with. (I held the balls to my chest, and nope--no joy was sparked). I kept what I do like working with, for now--my friend has asked me for crocheted snowflakes for her Christmas tree next year. When I'm done with that project, I may toss the rest. But it's pared down now to all fit in one basket, which it didn't before. Progress!! (The plastic bin in the pics is the "toss/donate" collection.

I also said I wasn't going to do it, but I did sort all of one category into a pile--computers! I have 5 old laptops (OMG--that old Dell is so THICK and HEAVY!!), a desktop, and 2 laptops (actually Chromebooks) that I currently use. (Why 2: one--the 14 inch one--works with my office system and the smaller one doesn't. I prefer the smaller one for personal use, but I have to use the bigger one when I attend certain meetings and mediations, etc.). No, did not photo the many cords and cases that go along. The little Asus Eee made me laugh. That was SO COOL and tiny when I got it! Now it looks ancient.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/memphisbe ... 6645557454

Jason
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Jason » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:08 am

EdithKeeler wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:10 am
and I'm going to ponder this some more...
Really? Is that even possible? Edith you are an intelligent, good hearted woman. But damn, just clean up your fucking room already.

daylen
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by daylen » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:33 am

FBeyer wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:02 am
A home full of pointed fingers is not a good place to rest, neither is it a good place to work.
This is more of an intj thing. To play devil's advocate here.. if your stuff can get messy, then maybe you have too much of it. Embracing some chaos would allow for a more creative work flow. Reclaim your territory from ordered machinery and live like a king in your jungle.

FBeyer
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by FBeyer » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:13 am

I'm not intj. Why is that relevant here?
Mess is correlated with creativity, but making a mess because you're lazy or can't handle the mental stress of cleaning your shit is something completely different.

Creative thinkers make a mess because their natural thought patterns converge on Design Thinking, which is options-based and prototyping heavy. That shit looks messy, but that is how you DO creativity.

If you don't clean up your shit between prototypes, then you're probably approaching sloth. If you make a mess when you work, then you're probably just prototyping.

I own very little stuff, but I still manage to smear it all over the house when I work.

There is some weird notion that owning what you need means that you home is always photoshoot-ready. That is definitely not the case!

daylen
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by daylen » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:40 am

The more J you are the more likely you would perceive it as mess in the first place. Yes, there is a one-way effect where working creatively produces a mess, but the other side of the coin is that a slight mess could lead to slightly different action patterns that produce slightly different thought patterns. Sometimes doing something in a different way in the external world can lead to a new way of thinking in the internal world.

Laziness and "can't handle mental stress" could be completely different. I find that sometimes laziness just appears that way in the external world, but in the internal world the lazy person is trying to solve an external problem in a way that will save them time in the future when repeating the activity (basically working smart as opposed to hard).

I suppose the main point of disagreement is how the mind should be used. If you can remember a map of where things are then organization is not necessary. I am not saying this is a superior method, only an alternative one.

Of course, life is not that binary. I simply like to treat it as such so that the options become clear. There are always trade-offs, and the simplest way to compare them is by constructing many opposing binary conditions that form many dimensions of difference.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:20 pm

Ok.... taking a break from my decluttering project to respond and consider. I just listed 25 books for sale on Ebay, and more to follow. I'll see if I can get them sold and try to recoup a little cash; if I can't, they'll get donated. Also found some stuff that I'd bought for a project and never completed; rather than move it around and whatever, I'm just going to do the project. So for now that stuff is moved out onto the dining room table for completion this afternoon/tomorrow, and then everything left will be tossed (except for the sewing machine, of course).

I think part of the reason this room has gotten so unruly is that, well--it is small. I moved into this 950 SF house (3 SMALL BR, 1 BA, no garage) from an almost 2000 SF house (4 large BR, 2 BA) with a 2 car garage. I got rid of a ton of stuff before I moved, more once I moved, and I keep thinking I'm going to buy a bigger place... but I really like what this tiny PAID FOR place is doing for my budget, so in the last couple years I've been leaning more toward staying here. But of course, this room has just gotten worse. (Interestingly, this room at about 9x9 feet is just a little bigger than my walk-in closet in Texas....). And the other reason is just inertia. It's easy to pitch stuff in here, and looking at the mess it's easy to say "Meh, I'll do it later, I'll just close the door." (A good reason to live alone). Anyway. Excuses, explanations, whatever. I still don't know what the hell to do with the bicycle.

I'm sort of observing myself thru this process, too. I'm a big fan of the "Hoarders" shows--they fascinate me. I just can't understand the motivation of someone holding on to a used napkin and debating with themselves about whether or not to keep it "because it might be useful someday." I scoff at that... yet I'm going thru some art supplies thinking "well, I might get back into watercolors again...." Granted, it's not a filthy piece of trash, but a new in-package water color set, but there may be similarities in that motivation. (I haven't decided to keep or not yet, for the record). Still, I have no trouble getting rid of other stuff, so I don't think I've hit terminal hoarder level yet.
Edith you are an intelligent, good hearted woman. But damn, just clean up your fucking room already.
This makes me laugh. I'm working on it, Dad!!
You remind me so much of my DD27 (xNTJ.) She is always so hard on herself, even though her overall functioning is almost always very high. She also always loved crafts and had a messy room.
Yeah, I'm an ENTJ (though I score just over the line into E-land) and I've always loved creating things, whether making things with my hands, cooking, or making up stories and writing them down. And I can be VERY hard on myself. On the one hand, I'd love to have a house that is perfectly organized, perfectly minimal.... my mom's house was like that growing up, and it was always a struggle between the two of us--while my projects and things never strayed out of my room or my basement project corner, it drove her absolutely nuts for me to have my stuff out of place. I think as an adult, with my own space, it's felt good to have "permission" to have my stuff any way I want to... but at the same time, my mom's voice in my head has probably made me keep in relegated in a single room and not all over the house. In my other, bigger house, I had an office/project room, too, but it was a lot bigger with a lot bigger closet and built in shelves. So I had a lot of stuff in there, I just had a place to put it.
One of the joys of late mid-life, which I must admit I haven't allowed myself to fully experience, is you can allow yourself the luxury of once again playing at the activities that were in your portfolio at age 10, or age 6, or even age 3. IMO, another important function of engaging in crafts such as knitting is that they are within the practice of self-nurturing, or taking care of your own juvenile feminine with your own adult feminine energy. Our culture, or any other culture which promotes masculine energy in all things, does not always make it easy for us to give ourselves permission to engage in less than efficient activities such as these, but I think this is simply another example of over applying reductionist thinking to the complexity of life in full.
I think this is really true. I appreciate a lot more the "zone" that my mind can wander into when I'm engaging it in some simple knitting, crocheting, or other cooking or crafty project. I think it's essential to me to have these things--I spend much of my day dealing with stressful situation, large sums of money, and people who are upset for one reason or another. (Just this past Wednesday I received as part of an investigation pictures of a person killed in an auto accident, pics of them removing her from the car, loading her into the ambulance, close up pics of her injuries.... I need a good bit of mental rest after seeing something like that, and it's nice to sort of fall into a "single crochet, double crochet" or "knit one, purl one," and hey this scarf is getting longer and look, I do have control over something in the world. I also find that engaging that part of my mind on projects allows my mind to wander in other ways that helps with my creativity on my writing side. And yeah--there's also that "hey, I'm 9 years old and got a new box of Crayolas--64 colors!"
if you’re keeping everything I think one huge bookcase or uniform wall shelving to put all the books and papers together and something similar for the crafts would greatly reduce the clutter factor.
Yeah, I don't want to go out and spend a bunch of money for stuff to store my stuff. But I think I probably need a bigger bookcase. Not to mention the shelves of the current one are bowing under the weight. But I really don't to get more stuff in my quest to have less (more organized) stuff. I'm channeling George Carlin here:
That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.
As I've been tossing things and listing things for sale on eBay, I keep having this thought that "well, I can just replace it if I need it." I thought about this piece in The New York Times or The Atlantic from a few years ago (I may have been directed over there by someone on these boards, now that I think about it) that talked about how minimalism itself can be a class signifier--basically there's an idea that you can be so wealthy you can have nothing (because the moment you need it you can buy it and just give it away when you're done with it). I think about my farmer grandfather who kept LOTS of stuff because he "might need it someday" (and often he did--he was very resourceful with the various things he kept), or my grandmother making quilts from bits of old clothing and left over bits from the garment factory up the road, things like that.

Anyway... the project continues. More pictures in the next day or so.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:24 am

that talked about how minimalism itself can be a class signifier--basically there's an idea that you can be so wealthy you can have nothing (because the moment you need it you can buy it and just give it away when you're done with it).
Right, and also because it is not unlike or unrelated to how over the course of the 20th century being obese vs. scrawny became the low-class signifier.

It used to be the case that evincing or creating the illusion that your home was full of interesting, valuable items collected over generations and casually displayed, or made use of, was the signifier of highest level of affluence. As in, a person saying "Oh, yes, that is the head of a wildebeest my great-grand-uncle acquired on safari." while seated on well-worn leather chair, messy stack of books surrounding, and muddy-pawed dogs lounging about underfoot on museum quality Persian rug. Then, sort of in tandem with progression of modern art, the room was emptied out except for maybe just one or two significant signifiers that you might have to be "in the know" to even decipher.

I can't exempt myself from these tendencies towards judgment. For instance, my reaction on the occasion I visited the Denver home of the wealthy father of the bride of a brother-in-law, and he had English hunting scene reprints hanging on the walls of his newly constructed mega-mansion. Or the Dallas home I visited that had two kitchens, and a huge blown-up studio photo of the family members somehow embedded in the space under a large floating central counter, that was clearly only used to serve catered food a few times per year.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:29 pm

So I started out with a lot of fervor with my office clean up, and I did make some good progress. (Not ready to post pics yet, because not that good, as you'll see...).

As part of the decluttering, I listed several books and other items on eBay, mostly from my office, but also some other things. And suddenly....I was eBaying again! I used to do this from time to time, mostly books and "this and that," and occasionally reselling stuff I found at estate sales. But I had such great luck selling the books and stuff I already had, and then I lucked into a treasure trove of craft kits and supplies at an estate sale, and then I negotiated down some already really cheap prices... and suddenly I'm eBaying again. A little. I could probably do more, but I don't have 1) much room to put stuff in my already crowded office and 2) and I don't have time to do a lot of packaging and run to the post office every day.

But at the moment I'm "up" $392 (edited to correct a math error) just selling stuff I had (mostly books) plus estate sale finds (Hey, $20 on a needlepoint Christmas stocking kit I got for a buck. Why not?).

Anyway, this is kind of a distraction, but fun, and when it came right down to it, I didn't really want to declutter the office if it meant working in there at the job I'm not so crazy about, especially at the moment. So.... I'll get rid of this stuff and then have another go.

Oh, and I have a complete outline for my novel. And I found a new writers group that I think is going to be better. And...I'm down 22 pounds. Nothing to complain about at the moment. (Jesus, that all sounds way too cheery).

jennypenny
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by jennypenny » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:29 am

EdithKeeler wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:29 pm
Oh, and I have a complete outline for my novel. And I found a new writers group that I think is going to be better. And...I'm down 22 pounds. Nothing to complain about at the moment. (Jesus, that all sounds way too cheery).
They're going to revoke your GenX membership if you don't rein in that optimism. :lol:

Is your new writers group IRL or online?

EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:32 am

They're going to revoke your GenX membership if you don't rein in that optimism. :lol:

Is your new writers group IRL or online?
Ha!! It will pass soon enough, I’m sure.

Real life. I already live too much of my life in the ether...

Jason
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Jason » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:57 pm

First Suo, and now you. I don't know. It's like that feeling when your favorite band completely sells out. You two are the Chicago and Heart of the board. I guess I'll only read your old stuff for now on.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:46 am

I could probably do more, but I don't have 1) much room to put stuff in my already crowded office and 2) and I don't have time to do a lot of packaging and run to the post office every day.
Yup. There is a minimum volume you have to churn to make it worthwhile. Maybe 10 packages to the post-office every other day? OTOH, it's not like having chickens in your backyard. You can go on vacation for as long as you like by simply pushing a button to hang up your virtual "Gone Fishin" sign, if you are willing to eat the overhead of ongoing storage.

Plucky Money
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Plucky Money » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:24 pm

EdithKeeler wrote:
Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:43 pm
@DutchGirl: You're right, I am building equity with my Texas house, and I'm definitely counting on it. I just meant from a cash flow perspective, it's not giving me any more cash beyond covering costs. Knock wood, so far I have not had any significant repairs, and I'm hoping the roof lasts one more year (or a really bad TX hailstorm comes and lets me make an insurance claim to have it replaced). I want to get my debt dealt with before that happens. Also, I think there's a pretty good chance I may move back there eventually, and my plan is to accelerate the payoff some after I get the other debt handled.

@mxlr650: You're right, I could do a loan from my retirement account, but I've been really hesitant to do that, because I'd have to pay it back immediately if I lost my job or quit in a fit of pique. My company likes me pretty well, but our office is overstaffed, and we have some new management that's big on "efficiencies." We're hearing a lot about that these days. I've decided I feel more comfortable not getting a loan against it right now, just because I don't want to be in a "OMG, I need to pay this back" position. You don't have to, of course, but then the tax ramifications are pretty dire. (I know because I did this once, years ago. Just not eager for a repeat). The debt is all at really low interest rates, so I feel OK about it... but I'm getting it gone, too!


And... on the subject of debt, good news! I got an unexpected windfall check today, found out I got a small raise (very small, but my first in 3 years) and I was told I am getting a bonus I was not expecting. Not a Wall Street banker type bonus, but a bonus just the same. All of this will go onto the debt, which will accelerate the payoff.

I've been keeping a spreadsheet of my debt, tracking my payoff rate, but today I updated it to calculate my net worth. I don't want to post a lot of details about my money here right now, but I was happy to realize that my net worth is enough that, if I were to liquidate everything right now, I could theoretically live a Jacob-like lifestyle. That is a really freeing realization, and frankly, seeing it laid out like that gives me great peace of mind. I actually didn't realize it was a high as it was, because I've been so focused on the negative (the debt). I'm not ready to walk away right now, of course, because I don't think I could actually live quite as ascetically as Jacob seems to, and I can't give up my car and I won't give up my pets. Most importantly, I have these family obligations I have to attend to, and uncertainty about the future there.

And I have to say, I love this website and forum and the community. I especially love the journals--I spent a lot of time reading them yesterday, and just got so wrapped up! They're giving me some great ideas and inspiration!

Plucky Money
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Plucky Money » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:32 pm

I have been questioning what this really looks like, or the varieties of what this could look like. I have lived my 57 years in the SF east bay area. A place where everything is more expensive, especially real estate. My parents, adult children and 3/4 of my grandchildren are here too. Could one pull off a Jacob-like existence here?

"I don't want to post a lot of details about my money here right now, but I was happy to realize that my net worth is enough that, if I were to liquidate everything right now, I could theoretically live a Jacob-like lifestyle. That is a really freeing realization, and frankly, seeing it laid out like that gives me great peace of mind."

Edith - I may have copied too much text. I highlighted just the above quotation. This is my first communication on the site. And I chose to read your writings as you are closer to my age.

Plucky Money
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Plucky Money » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:40 pm

Office/Home Mess. It is a burden for me too. I think I need to box it all up like The Minimalists suggest and bring back items that I need. Those "what ifs" stifle me. I'll keep the boxes in the garage and after 6 months let them go or sell.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:27 pm

Edith - I may have copied too much text. I highlighted just the above quotation. This is my first communication on the site. And I chose to read your writings as you are closer to my age.
Well, you copied a lot, but that’s ok —you’ll get the hang of it!

Welcome to my journal. Looking forward to sharing stories!

EdithKeeler
Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

WORK is a 4 letter word... but MONEY is not.

Post by EdithKeeler » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:32 pm

So.... I'm still decluttering.... more on that in a later post. But today I'm going to talk about MONEY. M-O-N-E-Y!

This is the time of year when I sort of half turn into Scrooge McDuck, wringing my hands in anticipation of the MONEY at at work. We just had our profit sharing deposited into our 401(k)--this is a chunk of money that everyone gets as long as they worked between certain dates, etc. It's one of those things that they very clearly note it's not something that's guaranteed.... but in my 15 years at the company, we've always gotten something. Last year was the LEAST we've ever gotten (it's a percentage of salary), and this year it was double last year, but still well below previous years. But it's super nice to see that big bump in my retirement account. Of course I worked for it, one way or another... but it feels like "free" money.

And the other "free" money I get this time of year is a nice deposit into my defined contribution pension plan. It's not a pension in the sense that I'm guaranteed X amount a year after I retire, but they earmark a certain percentage of my salary a year, plus an "interest credit" toward a sum of money I can use to purchase an annuity when I retire, or I can roll it over into an IRA. Anyway, that's a nice little bump, too, and it MUST be a good deal, because they did away with it for new employees last year (HA!). Instead, new employees get an extra 3% put into their 401K every year. I did the math; it may work out better to have it in your 401K in the long run, as long as you have a good 401K (we do), but I'm OK with what I've got.

And... next week I'll be advised of my raise and bonus, if any. Raise is usually crap, bonus usually OK (NOT Wall Street OK, just mid-market insurance company OK....) , and I suspect it will be the same this year. I generally plow most of bonus into savings/investments, so it's not like I'm going out and buying a beach house or anything.

And after all of this is over.... gotta wait another year for anything to happen money-wise. It's like--YEAH! and then MEH... the post vacation let-down when you have to get back to your real life.

But what makes it a little more interesting this year is that this is the year in which I turn 55. My birthday is not for several months, but as of right now, I'm eligible to take that little pension, and I can also access my 401K, since it's with my current company. In a weird way, it's a bit of a game-changer to realize this. I COULD QUIT. And lose nothing.... except my decent salary, next year's bonus, and next year's free money. Hmmm.

I guess as I sit here and think about it, it's now officially something more than a thought experiment. No longer just a mental exercise. I could quit RIGHT NOW and live on about 2-3 Jacobs if I wanted to. I could quit today... or stick it out and keep getting those paychecks (and probably more valuable, my company-subsidized health insurance...) and stick it out another year and get more "free" money, too.

I think I'd probably quit if it wasn't for my mom--I do help her out financially--as well as the uncertainty of health insurance. Sure, I could always quit and then start working again later if I need to, but that's a little different scenario at age 55 versus 35 or 40. I could certainly do an early semi retirement, and that's probably what I'll do first, either in a year or two or five.... just depends what the future holds.

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