Thanks for the thoughts. I do question sometimes whether I'm being silly about this since as you point out, we're married. But doesn't wanting your spouse to be happy work both ways? Yes, I would love for her to find a well paying job doing something she loves. But I feel like she's spent a lot of time trying to find herself, while also pushing us to spend more. This has put a lot of pressure on working toward FIRE, which is something she knows is something that will make me happy. And after all this searching, she is willing to go back to the business world (which is why she started searching in the first place) so it seems like she's back at square one. If she took that job I'd be worried that six months from now she'd be dissatisfied and restful again.
Also while it's great to have a well paying job you love, I think that most of us never find that. Usually it's a high paying job doing something you are ok with or dislike, or a lower paying job you love. Any in any event, no job is perfect; there's stress and annoyances everywhere. We did talk about it some more and it seems like she's going to try and make it in her field by looking for another job in that area.
Traveling for a year was a mutual decision. She was even convincing me to quit sooner because she wanted to go. She only started disliking it once we were doing it. Also, 66k may not sound like a lot for NYC but most of the reason NYC is expensive is housing. We have found a relatively affordable housing situation which is how we've been able to live here and save on two modest salaries.
Mr. Overlord, please allow me to contribute my two cents.
Let me see if the viewpoint I've taken is accurate:
Very often, you think about early retirement. You think about it often enough that it regularly affects decisions that you make regarding your immediate future, as well as long term. You are naturally austere, and don't mind minimalism and you've paired your lifestyle down to match. You earn sufficient income, and you're happy with the path that your current lifestyle is following. You are goal oriented, and have found a comfortable trajectory for yourself, so it's easy to stay on the bandwagon. However, you're clearly quite anxious about the lifestyle that your wife prefers, and you've yet to come to terms with it.
Lets consider the viewpoint that I've taken for your wife:
She's not often thinking about early retirement. In fact, though she knows you focus on it and that it's important to you, it simply isn't nearly as important for her. She can understand the benefits of it that you express to her, but the direct "enjoyment" of it escapes her. Simply put, it's not a priority for her. Thus, she doesn't think of it. It's not entering the equation when she's completing her decision making process.
Furthermore, she's not settled into her "path". She does not have fulfilling employment, with a safe wage. She also does not have an "end goal" such as early retirement represents for you. Therefore, her actions are likely based on what she thinks is important at the time, and may not consider the implications further down the line. Currently she is capitulating, and living in a studio. She may find rationalization for some of her decisions based solely on that fact. Their may be other things that induce this same effect as well.
She is in a supportive relationship. She very likely believes that she is also supporting you in a manner of ways that seem completely reasonable to her as a trade, but at the same time may be completely undervalued by you. You don't feel the same support from her, because your end goal is different than hers. Whereas she may feel similarly because of her different motives.
An average person without a Definite Chief Aim, will not be "happy" in their current situation unless it is extraordinary. They will find restlessness and resentfulness, and it will motivate them to alter their course. You have a definite chief aim, and it represents itself as FIRE. What is hers? How would she go about it?
You, my good sir, have some communicating to do.