Lonely

Suddenly it hit me. I know what I’m missing now that I’m no longer employed. I need people around me, I need to be able to talk and share ideas, right now I’m lonely!

Lonely

Let me start to note that I’m not depressed and that you should not worry. But I came to the realization in the last few weeks that I’m lonely! I’m very much an extrovert. People who know me, know I talk a lot (no really, a lot! Shutting up is not my forte).

Lonely
Lonely

As an extrovert I seem to actually get energy from other people. By being able to talk to other people I get new ideas. But I also am able to process my own thoughts and better formulate my opinions. I love to discuss, question and reason with others. Generally that is, some people do frustrate me and have the opposite effect. But fortunately there are relatively few of those around. However, this is what I love about the FIRE community. We are not the same, have different ways we look at things, but there are many basic philosophies that binds us. Great crowd!

Having been at home now for about 2,5 months straight almost every day of the week, I came to the realization that I need more direct person-to-person interactions. I’m certainly not unhappy, and stress levels are pretty much gone, but I do miss something. I’m also not bored. On the contrary, but I’m doing daily life primarily on my own. So I’m lonely and need  to fix that. That being said, I have no intention to go back to work!

Not the first time

It is actually not the first time I realize this. In my career I have been on extended trips abroad. But that also resulted in periods of 3-4 weeks that I was home, alone! That is not a bad thing if you have worked 12 hour shifts for 7 days per week for 8 weeks in a row. Trust me, that first week you sleep a lot! But by the time you hit week 4, you are bored out of your mind (because I was lonely) and want to go back to work.

This (kind of) feels the same. All our friends still work, so do many of our relatives. That means that I currently cannot really socialize as much as I apparently need. I compensate by using Twitter and Slack to interact with many of you, but it’s just not the same as getting coffee and having a chat.

How it ends

This video also shows how it should end, with a bang 🙂

I’m in the process of making plans to have more social interactions, but it’s not as easy during normal “work” hours. Most people still have a job, go figure! That is why I might need to shake up my side hustle, as this does provide opportunities to improve the amount of “human interactions”.

Perhaps I also should get that dog (or two). Get’s you out of the house and meet other dog owners, always a fun thing! Or I need to start a side hustle in walking dogs. Financially that is perhaps the smartest move too.

Last weekend we (Mrs. CF and a few FIRE-y friends) also came up with some big ideas for next year. I cannot tell you yet what that is, but keep an eye out in the coming months for some interesting news. This should also help with more interactions. Interesting times ahead!

As noted before, hurry up you guys! I need more people to quit there jobs so that I can annoy you 😉

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41 Comments

  1. Do you know Seats2Meet? Those are places with a nice vibe: people with energy and ideas and open for chats about things that matter. Great place to be during office hours!

  2. I am not yet FI (still working on it) so I haven’t had to deal with this situation but I can tell you what my wife usually does (she quit her work a while ago).
    When we lived in The Netherlands she enrolled in language classes. When we moved to Barcelona she kept with her Dutch lessons and enrolled in some photography workshops. Now that we have moved to Germany she enrolled in some painting workshops. That helps her a lot because is with other people and it’s surprising (at least for me) how many people there are without having an office to go. Of course, she still have some moments of loneliness but at least she is not alone the whole day, everyday. Even she has made new friendships through all these places.

    1. You have a very smart wife! It seems like a very good idea, but I struggle with the desire to also be extremely flexible in my time. Pinning oneself down to fixed course hours is not always winning the battle with benefits of the events/courses for me. That being said, I have just enrolled into a salsa course! Have fun in Germany.

  3. Great to see you realizing what you do and do not need. I second the advice of some side hustle gig which will let you visit clients or coworking spaces. The suggestion for voluntary work is also a great one.

    1. It’s an interesting journey for sure, writing this down also helps a lot to process. Guess it might also be useful for people in similar positions or that will get to be without a job for X amount of time. Still need to check out the volunteer thing, was thinking about an animal shelter or the “dierenambulance”. Never done either, but should be interesting and fun.

  4. Lonely….so lonely….. that song will stick in my head for hours. Thanks ;).
    (and yup, I know that feeling. I’ve had the same experience when I had my first maternity leave. I almost sunk in a depression. What about a sportschool? Exercising and meeting others saved me.)

    1. Hehehe, you are welcome! I did the sportschool for years, but lost interest. Also prefer to be outside more, so I like to cycle, run and inline skate (if my body does not breakdown….). I did also get a membership for the local pool!

  5. This was also one of my fears when I quit working. I personally found out that having meaningful conversations with people is actually easier when you don’t have a job.
    Sometimes I visit a few of my ex-colleagues, and I have a few friends who also quit working.
    Maybe I’m less of an extrovert, when I have an interesting conversation with someone, It lasts for a few days.
    What also works for me is volunteering. I am now working one morning a week to help people cope with debts. This is not only very fulfilling, but it also gets me in touch with very interesting people.
    I live in the Haarlem area, so if anyone is interested in having a meeting I’m in!

    1. Really?! Your first statements kind of surprised me, don’t really see/notice a difference in the level of meaningful discussions to be honest. That being said, you are fortunate to have friends who don’t have jobs (anymore?!). Still waiting for a few of my friends to pull off the same, which should only take time.
      That volunteering is no a bad idea, I’ve considered it but didn’t made it a priority to check it out around here. Not in the Haarlem area unfortunately! But we could still meet up!

  6. I’m a long long way from FIRE, but was unemployed for 9 months a couple of years ago and, even as an introvert, found it quite lonely and directionless. I volunteered 1.5 days a week, did a few walks with my mum, met up with my sister. But I did feel like the world had shrunk a lot. I am sure you will figure out your ‘what next’ and solve that lonliness.

  7. It is great that you’ve analysed your feelings and uncovered the root cause of the problem.

    Many people would shy away from that sort of introspection, having “won” the prize of escaping the daily grind. How can it be anything less than perfect? I’ve worked so hard for it! Be careful what you wish for, etc.

    I’m no extrovert, but occasionally feel the same absence of human company you describe. It isn’t just any people being missed though, it is having smart conversations about interesting things with similarly engaged people. You don’t often find that in the queue at the post office, or when talking to random strangers in coffee shops.

    This engaged social side of a work place is one of the few things I occasionally miss.

    1. So true! I also spend a part of the time with the little kid, but those conversations are not the same indeed! More like the post office talks, haha.
      Strange that you can almost “miss work”, purely due to the social side of things. Thanks for the input.

  8. Tja, herkenbaar helaas. Ik zou echter wel in jouw schoenen willen staan. Man, de wereld ligt aan je voeten. Er zijn ongetwijfeld hele leuke dingen te doen en hele leuke mensen om te ontmoeten, maar het kost even wat tijd om je draai te vinden. Komt vanzelf.

    Kijk je wel eens naar vrijwilligerswerk? Soms vragen ze daar ook mensen voor afgebakende projecten. Zelf zou ik dolgraag ambachten willen leren: glas in lood ramen maken of hoefsmid worden oid. Gewoon, voor de leuk.

    Die hond werkt trouwens :-). De mensen hier duiken al weg als ze me zien. Weer dat gekke mens dat om een praatje verlegen zit ;-).
    En ik ben altijd benieuwd naar leuke nieuwtjes dus ik volg.

    1. hahaha, rennen ze nu al voor je weg. Gaat lekker dan 😉 Maar die hond komt nog wel, alleen dat helpt al tegen het eenzame gevoel in huis, er is tenslotte altijd “iets” in huis dat ademt. Ik ben nog aan het kijken voor vrijwilligerswerk, maar ik wil ook mijn flexibiliteit houden, en die twee gaan niet altijd samen. Dit geldt voor meer dingen trouwens. Maar het is een enorme luxe positie, dat weet ik dan gelukkig ook weer!

    1. I have not problem socializing with friends and family outside of business hours, it’s the problem during business hours I’m trying to solve. Which is possible, but not always easy. Thanks for the note AF!

  9. The ‘downside’ to being FIRE, I think now you put pen to paper about the problem you’ll be able to come up with solutions or deal with it. Maybe your next passion or time consuming activity is right around the corner. You might find other young retirees and socialize with them. I’m very eager to find out the rest of this story as this is the future for all of us. Keep us informed and all the best!

    DI

  10. Aaah yes, I know the feeling! Although not FIRE yet, I can work more or less when and where I want and only a few hours per day. When I work from home, I suddenly realise that I haven’t had any face-to-face interactions for 3 days – not a good thing! So I started working from coworking spaces and it’s been a blessing. Whether I work for my clients or just working on my own projects, at least I’m surrounded by cool people! I’m a little less productive there because of all the coffee breaks, but it’s well worth it 🙂

    1. Wise words and actions! I might also need to do something like that, but I currently don’t make any money with the side hustle, and not very keep either to create extra cash-flow costs by renting a space that I currently cannot afford. Two ways attack this, still rent and work harding on the hustle (dangerous as than I have “work” again), or fart around a bit longer and only which to a space once I have sufficient cash-flow coming in. Downside is that I will be lonely longer. Not sure what the right path is!
      Thanks for your comment!

  11. Same same here. I’m your typical extroverted type-A personality consultant. When I work a day from home, I’m going crazy for human interaction! If I were in your shoes (and I’m not by a long stretch) I would probably do some freelance consulting / interim management / coaching on the side, but only 1-2 days a week. Earns a nice little income, you can work on your terms, and above all, help other people.

    Regarding the office space, let’s contact offline. We might be able to pool together some resources to buy a building if it’s going to be rented out. I’m interested in being a partner on the deal.

    1. You have a deal, I’ll send you an email! And you are spot on with the 1-2 days per week side hustle, it should not become work but stay a fun hobby which also brings in some money. That would be the sweet spot.

  12. Ah, loneliness is really tough for extroverted people. I can relate. Sometimes I wonder what I would do to combat lonlimess if I were in your shoes. I’d probably join meet ups, work out with other people, or read. Or I would force the Wife into early retirement to keep me company so we can travel.

    1. I’ve been busy with many things, but I indeed need to get out of the house more and meetup with other folks. Just got to investigate how to do that around here. Would love to have the wife quit here job too and join in, but we are not FI yet……..

  13. When there is more “room” in your head and body when you are de-stressed, real feelings can come in. It is a great opportunity that you are better aware of your needs so you are able to enjoy them more and act to it.

    I think that the same goes for strengthening your (spiritual) ‘radar’. Last night we ‘accidentally’ had a long talk in which I told you that I wanted to contact you the last weeks (but I didn’t). I am happy that another subject came up to actually realise it.

    Lessons learnt:
    -Change your life in a way you are able to really feel what you need (don’t be a western robot/zombi)
    -Act to it
    -and listen to you inner radar concerning you own feelings and other one’s 🙂

  14. The fact that you got this realisation could be the trigger to better and greater things. Just give us working people some time 🙂

    And a Fire Space Headquarters also sounds awesome!

      1. The MMM hq doesn’t seem to be that great of a financial investment. Running the numbers I come to a 60.000 gross income on a 200.000 investment. That’s a three percent gross return. And he got the building cheap and put in a lot of work himself. To me it seems as he bought himself a cool way to spend his time and meet interesting people. Which is great as he can afford it and eventually will get a nice return because the building has appreciated a lot. But as a cash generating business in the present I think there are better investments to be found.

      2. Oh, no debate here! It’s not a good investment financially, at least not directly in terms of return on equity. But, it might be a great idea from a social perspective and it could result in increased revenue in other ways! More way to look at this then just the revenue on the building. Then again, I’m starting to look like you and are becoming a sloth, the above noted approach does required a lot of “work” 😉

    1. Hey Ant, I already figured that I was not the only one with this issue. Especially as there are many folks that work from home these days. Just got to find local meetups that I can attend or, as suggested above, make my own MMM headquarters locally. That would be a good idea, and I even know a property that would fit the bill! Just don’t have that kind of money right now.

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