When is the right time to slow down? | Column

Tim
By Tim Suddard
Nov 7, 2022 | Elva, Project Cars, Restoration, Column, Elva Mk VI | Posted in Columns | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Chris Tropea

As I was rushing to the airport early this morning to catch a flight to San Francisco, I went past a sign–blinking and brightly lit–that angrily advised me to slow down. Everyone has seen these signs, and normally I just ignore them and keep rushing to wherever I’m late to be.

But this time, I couldn’t get those blinking yellow letters …

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Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
11/7/22 9:20 a.m.

I hear you Tim.  I hit 73 a few days ago, and am rethinking the 50-60 hour weeks.  I fear the problem is that we love the creative process the work provides.

I know you are not one to go to a cars and coffee and sit on a lawn chair behind your car answering the same question over and over.  (note taken from your podcast)

In my case I only escape if I am traveling out-of-town.  If i'm home i go into the same work-work routine. Problem is It really doesn't feel like work.

I'll follow your journey of discovery.

OBTW, it looked like the kids handled the Challenge pretty good this year, a first step maybe.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/7/22 9:35 a.m.

Take care of yourself. Margie deserves time with you too. 
 

A couple of clichés that are totally relevant:


We're not getting any younger. Edit: I'm 67, and running myself hard too.

No one's obituary says that he wished he spent more time at the office. 
 

 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
11/7/22 9:36 a.m.

I have no desire to work 50-60 hours now.  I can't wait to retire, nobody tells me how much vacation I can/can't take but my opportunity costs are so high to take it, I hardly ever do.  I want to get away for longer periods of time, can't do that now.  I'm gonna punch outta here as quickly as possible...

kb58
kb58 UltraDork
11/7/22 11:09 a.m.

I used to work in Field Support, where on rotation, we took one-week 7/24 on-call duty. My coworker was driving in to address an issue in the middle of the night and got a speeding ticket. He said that it made him question his priorities in life.

I retired 11 months ago, taking the company's early retirement offer to their "old growth" employees. Things I've noticed since retiring:

  • Gaining 1.5 hours every day not sitting in traffic
  • Commuting was much more stressful than I realized, which only became evident once it stopped.
  • I can now concentrate on projects with fewer (work) interruptions.
  • Doing a home remodel entirely by myself is a great use of time, and saves a lot of money.

Car-related, I sold Midlana for a number of reasons, but one was that I've never considered myself a really good driver. I came to the realization that being in my 60's, I probably wasn't going to get faster, and was slightly afraid of the monster I'd created, as it was definitely faster than I was.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
11/7/22 12:02 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

No one's obituary says that he wished he spent more time at the office. 

Huge life lesson right there.

GregAmy
GregAmy New Reader
11/7/22 12:40 p.m.

The most important skill I've developed in recent years is...the ability to say "No". "No mas, por favor" goes a long way to setting my personal priorities.

Sometimes I don't say it enough. Maybe sometimes I say it too often. But there are many situations in life that will continue along its merry way without my intervention/input. I can't - and shouldn't even try to - do everything.

Trust me, it gets easier after the first couple times.

GA

msterbeau
msterbeau Reader
11/7/22 1:31 p.m.

What is this "slow down" concept your speak of?  I do not wish to know more.  I do not wish to subscribe to the newsletter.. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
11/7/22 1:50 p.m.

Traveling and spending time with others at their things has to be a priority.  Sometimes my stuff sits a while longer, but going on trips or to family events  is always more important.  It's tough to admit but sometimes I have to remind myself family is more important than my hobbies or job.  Putting that into practice can be even harder.  
 

Plan trips with family, and take them.  It's is as rewarding as finishing or showing off a project but it is far more inclusive of others.  
 

We are going to a swim meet this weekend.  My stuff can sit another weekend.  It's not going anywhere.

31rx7
31rx7 New Reader
11/7/22 2:16 p.m.

Age 64 here, and thinking about the next 20 or 30 years.

This is a time where many of us have the option to spend our time how we want with less or even no consideration for generating income.  If we are blessed, we have our health, reasonable financial security, and stability in other areas of life.

At the same time, there is recognition that this train ride is not going to last forever, that our time to do the things we love and value is limited. 

So, how do we make best use of it?  The answer varies for all of us, but I have found the following: 

  • Think hard about what you value and treasure.  Think about the things you've maybe taken for granted or assumed that, if lost, would be hard to accept.  Family, friends, mental and physical health.
  • Diverse hobbies / activities / interests is of benefit. We all have this addictive hobby and eventually, our ability to enjoy it will decline. There needs to be things to fill that void.
  • Diverse social circle is similarly of benefit. 
  • Feed all elements of yourself. Stay physically healthy, mentally open and engaged, spiritually (no matter what you believe or don't).
  • Stay engaged with the world at large, maybe through part time work, through volunteering, etc.  
  • Make plans. Have things to look forward to. 
  • Appreciate today and focus on the good.  

Enough of my philosophical wanderings.  All the best. 

kaybat
kaybat New Reader
11/7/22 2:55 p.m.

About the same age, yoga(and less coffee) helped me slow down a couple of notches.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
11/7/22 4:43 p.m.

Look in the mirror.............you're doing this to you. You need to set boundaries for yourself and stick to them........period.

1. You have a full plate: no new events (pretty sure Margie has told you this already).

2. Stop with overly ambitious deadlines. 

3. If it isn't a core element of the business or dramatically improve it then why are you doing it?

4. Do the toughest thing for an entrepreneur, delegate. If you don't slow down you'll end up in the hospital. What good are you to the team in the hospital?

5. Again, you have a great team and you don't need to do everything yourself.

Margie is a saint...........for God's sake take her on a vacation; the Elva and barn will keep.

I'm 60 my solution is riding my vintage BMX bikes with my son a couple of days a week as well as going for joy rides with my wife.

 

 

300zxfreak
300zxfreak Reader
11/7/22 5:01 p.m.

I had to learn this slow down bit the hard way. After being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2003, and after surgery and chemo, my doc told us that stress is a killer, stay away. I did return to work, but after a couple years the stress thing started to rear its ugly head once again. After an in-your-face confrontation with my then boss, and after having a "think drink" with my wife, we determined it was time to retire........so I did, the very next morning.   I highly recommend it. I'm still a survivor at age 76, and still going pretty strong.........slowing down is the best way to go fast when you want to.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/7/22 5:54 p.m.

Tim Suddard said:

She wants to travel some, play in the garden and enjoy the vintage travel trailer we restored together. I may have to just say no to some other stuff to make more of that happen.

Is it time for me to pay more attention to the blinking yellow signs and slow down? 

Yep, that's pretty much it.   You should listen to that Tim Suddard guy.  He seems to know what's going on, even if you don't listen to him...

jeffpdesign
jeffpdesign New Reader
11/7/22 6:43 p.m.

Just had my 60th birthday, so a lot of thinking about how to spend my time.

The silver lining of Covid has forced me to work at home....and now I've found I like it. Its rekindled home life at just the time the wife and I became empty nesters.

My work used to involve travel a few times a month to some amazing places. I'm very fortunate to have is a great job that I truly enjoy that lets me  be creative and effective from home. I've always said if I didn't need money I'd do something similar to my current work. I've finally shifted from career scrambling up the ladder and fighting for projects to enjoying the projects I have. This has finally given me time and flexibility to create that tiny garage I've always wanted and spending weekday track days being coached by drivers I admire. I know I'm not going to be faster than the other guy, but I'm improving MY lap times.

I know there'll be a day when I'm asked to not work on projects and simply watch at the track. I'm doing my best to appreciate what I have now.

759NRNG
759NRNG PowerDork
11/7/22 7:25 p.m.
31rx7 said:

Age 64 here, and thinking about the next 20 or 30 years.

This is a time where many of us have the option to spend our time how we want with less or even no consideration for generating income.  If we are blessed, we have our health, reasonable financial security, and stability in other areas of life.

At the same time, there is recognition that this train ride is not going to last forever, that our time to do the things we love and value is limited. 

So, how do we make best use of it?  The answer varies for all of us, but I have found the following: 

  • Think hard about what you value and treasure.  Think about the things you've maybe taken for granted or assumed that, if lost, would be hard to accept.  Family, friends, mental and physical health.
  • Diverse hobbies / activities / interests is of benefit. We all have this addictive hobby and eventually, our ability to enjoy it will decline. There needs to be things to fill that void.
  • Diverse social circle is similarly of benefit. 
  • Feed all elements of yourself. Stay physically healthy, mentally open and engaged, spiritually (no matter what you believe or don't).
  • Stay engaged with the world at large, maybe through part time work, through volunteering, etc.  
  • Make plans. Have things to look forward to. 
  • Appreciate today and focus on the good.  

Enough of my philosophical wanderings.  All the best. 

out of the park Bro....I'm 69 and a Fist Bump ......thank you

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
11/7/22 9:17 p.m.

Lots of great comments here.

I think the biggest thing is you have to actively pursue that work life balance and be adamant about  keeping it.

15 years ago I left an industry that was particularly bad about boundaries and haven't regretted a single day. Ironically I now make more than I ever would have in that industry.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
11/7/22 9:43 p.m.

Great article - I just hit 60 and am looking towards retiring but not yet.  There is peer pressure with friends - hey, when you retiring?

65? The health insurance plan is still a challenge. 

j_tso
j_tso HalfDork
11/7/22 11:04 p.m.

Even if it's something you love, piling on too much may turn it into something you hate doing.

 

 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
11/8/22 12:03 a.m.

Never lift till you see Jesus.

OJR
OJR New Reader
11/8/22 12:37 a.m.

I can't imagine life without racing at 72.

livinon2wheels
livinon2wheels GRM+ Memberand New Reader
11/8/22 8:34 a.m.

In reply to kb58 :  its more fun to drive a lower horsepower car than what you might think, even if you want or think you deserve a higher horsepower car. That's partly the reason I have an normally aspirated car for track events and a turbocharged car for street use. It seems backwards but the wrx gets respect from me and will live longer and keep me alive longer as a street car. The legacy wagon track car is slow in a straight line which is a good thing. It gives me time to think in between corners and its as secure on track as anything you can ask for. Is it a challenge to drive quickly? Of course it is but at least it isn't terrifying. Btw I turn 70 next month and am busier now than i was when I retired at 62. Good luck slowing down guys! 

 

livinon2wheels
livinon2wheels GRM+ Memberand New Reader
11/8/22 8:34 a.m.

In reply to kb58 :  its more fun to drive a lower horsepower car than what you might think, even if you want or think you deserve a higher horsepower car. That's partly the reason I have an normally aspirated car for track events and a turbocharged car for street use. It seems backwards but the wrx gets respect from me and will live longer and keep me alive longer as a street car. The legacy wagon track car is slow in a straight line which is a good thing. It gives me time to think in between corners and its as secure on track as anything you can ask for. Is it a challenge to drive quickly? Of course it is but at least it isn't terrifying. Btw I turn 70 next month and am busier now than i was when I retired at 62. Good luck slowing down guys! 

 

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
11/8/22 9:07 a.m.

I thought this would be about threshold braking. Dissapoint. laugh

Byrneon27
Byrneon27 GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/8/22 9:55 a.m.

Since this is starting to come off the rails already I've arrived to point out that Amy Macdonald does the opposite of slow me down. 

 

Also while I fought it tooth and nail being medically forced to pump the brakes in my late twenties has massively improved my life do it while you can ideally before you have to. 

kb58
kb58 UltraDork
11/8/22 10:25 a.m.

In reply to livinon2wheels :

Hah, I used to track a Datsun 1200... 1200 CC, so I'm fully qualified for "driving a slow car fast."

te72
te72 HalfDork
11/8/22 10:40 a.m.

I've come to realize that my hobbies in the garage were a great outlet for creativity, but they were rooted in being a distraction from the crushing loneliness of my early 20's. I still enjoy what comes out of the garage these days, but I don't live for it like I used to. There's a lot more to enjoy in life. =)

kb58
kb58 UltraDork
11/8/22 10:43 a.m.
te72 said:

I've come to realize that my hobbies in the garage were a great outlet for creativity, but they were rooted in being a distraction from the crushing loneliness of my early 20's. I still enjoy what comes out of the garage these days, but I don't live for it like I used to. There's a lot more to enjoy in life. =)

Agree, but depending on one's situation, they may or may not have disposable income to be out doing things and going places. Gardening and working in the garage are about as inexpensive as activities can get. There'll be time enough for TV and puzzles later...

AndyHess
AndyHess New Reader
11/8/22 11:15 a.m.

Hey.  Activity - Work and play - can be like an addiction.  And to paraphrase a horrid meme - "just say no."  (Sorry). Not sure there is a good way to slow down other than to just slow down.  'Course the awful truth could be that is just who we are. . . .

audiguy
audiguy New Reader
11/8/22 10:32 p.m.

As I have gotten older, I've tried to live by the mantra of doing fewer things better....lower stress has been a welcomed by product of this strategy....

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
11/8/22 11:10 p.m.

Alabama plugged into some of this theme. 

BTW Jeff Cook passed away yesterday- 72.

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
11/8/22 11:14 p.m.

In reply to audiguy :

I like that.

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/9/22 12:04 a.m.
audiguy said:

As I have gotten older, I've tried to live by the mantra of doing fewer things better....lower stress has been a welcomed by product of this strategy....

This.  I'd say cut back on the nonessential time filling projects and tasks and focus on what's important to you.  Leaving some slack time will allow other opportunities that you didn't realize that you really want to do to become possible.

In reply to livinon2wheels :  I went back to time trialing and tracking my "perfect" (built to my taste) Miata and I find it boring.  Less wrenching and track time next year and more travel and grandkids.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
11/9/22 9:00 a.m.
docwyte said:

I have no desire to work 50-60 hours now.  I can't wait to retire, nobody tells me how much vacation I can/can't take but my opportunity costs are so high to take it, I hardly ever do.  I want to get away for longer periods of time, can't do that now.  I'm gonna punch outta here as quickly as possible...

I am only 34 and I sure as E36 M3 ain't working 50-60 hour weeks regularly ever again. If someone asks expects me to do that, I'll be looking for a new job ASAP. Did it at a start up for a while and never doing it again.

car39
car39 Dork
11/9/22 9:40 a.m.

I wasn't planning on retirement, but when faced with another uber expensive building project, or taking the money and running, I put my track shoes on.  Found someone who liked my business more than I did, and haven't really looked back.  Completely upended my wife's life by moving to another state.  Started another (small) business by accident, and broke out of the canyon I had carved for myself over 43 years of work.  I've spent more time with my wife of 40 years in the last 9 years than I did in the previous 31.  I do things that no one who knew me ever thought I would do, like improv and acting.    I'm fortunate that we planned for this from Day 1 financially, which makes the decision easier.  The hardest part about retirement is figuring out what you're going to do now that you have a life, the best part of retirement is figuring out what to do now that you have a life.  

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
11/9/22 9:55 a.m.
93EXCivic said:
docwyte said:

I have no desire to work 50-60 hours now.  I can't wait to retire, nobody tells me how much vacation I can/can't take but my opportunity costs are so high to take it, I hardly ever do.  I want to get away for longer periods of time, can't do that now.  I'm gonna punch outta here as quickly as possible...

I am only 34 and I sure as E36 M3 ain't working 50-60 hour weeks regularly ever again. If someone asks expects me to do that, I'll be looking for a new job ASAP. Did it at a start up for a while and never doing it again.

There is a difference between working those hours for someone else, and working them for yourself.  Especially if its work you enjoy doing.   

I think what Tim realizes in his original post and others like myself have said can be summed up in a Jimmy Buffet lyric.     "It's my own damn fault!"

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
11/9/22 10:16 a.m.
93EXCivic said:

I am only 34 and I sure as E36 M3 ain't working 50-60 hour weeks regularly ever again.

I remember fondly only having one job laugh the 40 for 'the man' is a bit easier to control. The rest to build my retirement gig is harder to control. It's easily 80-90 hour weeks but it's hard to call some of it work at all.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
11/9/22 2:47 p.m.

In reply to Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) :

Don't care.  Still don't want to work 50-60 hours a week.  While I like doing dentistry I don't want to be in my office working that much.  I'd rather be doing any number of other things.

kb58
kb58 UltraDork
11/9/22 9:20 p.m.

You guys who are getting close might like to check out the YT channel "Holy Schmidt." He's a financial planner guy who focuses on producing videos all about retiring. No connection, no relation.

frenchyd
frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/9/22 11:08 p.m.

My body slows me down. At age 74 I can't do some things I used to do. I used to enjoy cars that were wild track attack cars. That Were easy to get to the edge and brutally hard to keep on that knife edge.  Short wheelbase, narrow track, high power,   Now I'm building them more predictable.  
       Early in my flying career I talked with the fighter pilots on the ship.  Turns out the best of fighter planes are darn near impossible to fly.  I thought they were pulling my leg until I traded planes with a . Spad (  A1 D ) pilot.  He wanted some S2E time ( twin engine) and I wanted to know what a real fighter is  like.     
     I almost blew the take off. Just not used to that much torque.   I cleared the air space around North Island  then tried my hand at things those guys do in their sleep. Wow!   It's like you've never driven anything more than a Toyota Corolla  and suddenly  you're in a 427 Cobra. Things happen way faster than you're ready for it.  Suddenly  You're in a flat spin. With seconds to correct before you auger in.  Even coming out of that,  it's like you're 5 years old and just learning to ride a bike.  Wobbling all over the sky. 
     Anyway. There is a time to do stuff like that.   And a time when that is past.  

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
11/9/22 11:20 p.m.

My solution seems to have been get a Gub-ment job. We don't view overtime as good stewardship of the taxpayers money.

tester (Forum Supporter)
tester (Forum Supporter) Reader
11/10/22 12:11 a.m.

A few months ago, I looked around and realized that I would be working 50 + hours a week for the rest of the year, be rewarded with 12+ hour days through the holidays, and then another 2 weeks of plant startup in January. At that point, I would have several weeks of comp time built up, that I obviously could not take because projects would be launching for the new year...
 

About the same time, one of our contract engineers had a heart attack and then my former manager who had just transferred out had one too, all within a couple of weeks. Both survived, but were told to take it down a notch.  I could easily see myself headed the same way. Needless to say, that changed the direction of my career. I pulled the ripcord on the corporate job, and now work from home for a small company. I still work some long hours on some days, but it is not every day.  

As I look back at my old job, I can see that  the company simply kept adding duties and responsibilities to my plate. It really wasn't the same job anymore. At some point, you have to say "no" to protect your health, your family life, and your ability to actually do good work. This can be very hard for driven, entrepreneurial folks to accept. 

 

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Dork
11/10/22 7:43 a.m.

As a licensed tradesman since the early 90's I've spent 30+ yrs making others money.

 Left 3 yrs ago to do my own 1 man sized jobs,best thing I did was focus on saying no to jobs too big or would overlap other jobs needing extra time spent at work.

 With the housing prices going nuts the last couple yrs we sold our "forever" home last yr (built in '17),bought ocean front in atlantic canada for pennies and will be building a nice little house come spring.

 Ride off into the sunset while doing the occasional odd job there,no more race cars will cut expenses a fair bit :)

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
11/10/22 7:54 a.m.

I'm almost 58. I'm quitting my career at 62. I'll probably still have to work until 65/Medicare but I'll just do something fun that doesn't pay much. I've taken quite a few 'staycations' where I just goof around at home doing whatever it is I feel like doing. It's fun, and I'm rarely bored. With my family history I doubt I'll live to see 80 so I don't intend on wasting any more time than necessary chasing the dollar. Fortunately, I live a pretty frugal life and have zero debt so it won't be a painful transition. 

russelljones48
russelljones48 New Reader
11/10/22 9:02 a.m.

after all of the apt comments, my only contribution would be a catchphrase that was mentioned to me by a friend and that I've adopted: QTR or Quality Time Remaining.  That "time" will take on a different aspect, I think, for each individual and vary with age.  For me it was a somewhat vague concept at 65. Now as I approach my 75th birthday it's much more defined and imperative given my family history.  I use it as a benchmark for many decisions on what and when I want to accomplish my life goals.      

frenchyd
frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/10/22 9:24 a.m.
kb58 said:

You guys who are getting close might like to check out the YT channel "Holy Schmidt." He's a financial planner guy who focuses on producing videos all about retiring. No connection, no relation. CB

The trouble with financial planners, is it's all about money. Spread sheets and gambling with money ( granted, with improved odds)   
  Retirement can and should be about change. Putting this as a priority over that.  Like to play golf?  Go for it!   Like to race but can't afford it on a retirement income?   Partner up with someone, build or fix race cars for others.  
     Need to downsize?   Good, do so. 
  At some point in your life, you will likely need some help to do things you've been doing since you were a youngster.  
 If you want that time to still be good for you,  don't wait until others select the help. As you see the need approaching,  try out some people. 
      You'll feel better knowing you are still in charge.   Don't make your last years a loading fight. 
       

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/10/22 11:50 a.m.

I think this is one of those "if you have to ask the question, you already know the answer" type situations. 

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