Author Topic: "now what?" After FIRE  (Read 5775 times)

Ken Worth

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"now what?" After FIRE
« on: January 23, 2018, 12:03:02 PM »
FIREd at 26 as a result of starting a small business, living frugally, and rolling all the profit into income producing real estate.  Currently 34 yrs old.  Having major issues with what to do with all the free time.  Don't really feel like doing anything, but miserably bored not doing anything.  I love to teach on the subject of FI, but paradoxically, having attained it, it's not all it's cracked up to be in terms of fulfillment.  So, what do y'all do with your time?  What's your reason to bother with getting out of bed every day? 

As an aside, this isn't a complainypants post.  I'm aware how richly blessed I am and am very grateful to be in this position.  Just struggling with "Now What?".  Anyone else have these feelings?

Thanks much. 😉

jim555

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2018, 01:56:14 PM »
Buy a backpack and travel the world.

bacchi

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2018, 03:35:59 PM »
Nope, never had those feelings.

I read a lot, play computer games, nap, hike, travel, build, sleep in, stay up, drink, help out friends, cook, take online courses, climb, play sports, read and nap.

You need to find something worthwhile. The good news is that you have plenty of time to do so.

Mr. Green

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2018, 03:38:12 PM »
Out of curiosity, what have you been doing these last 8 years?

Ken Worth

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2018, 04:56:27 PM »
The last 8 years have been spent being a landlord.  Starting to back away from that by means of selling and turning various properties over to a manager.  Really burning out on dealing with deadbeat tenants.  Same stuff over and over.  Recently entered the world of NNN commercial leasing, specifically 2 shopping centers.  Those are very pleasant, hassle free, and hands off.  Residential has become more of a hassle than it's worth though, and in backing away from it, an abundance of time has been freed up.  If I sell out entirely and join the Bogleheads, there's even more free time.  So, I wander around like a lost puppy thinking "ok, so now what?".

Mezzie

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2018, 05:08:02 PM »
Have you thought about volunteer work and/or politics?

TempusFugit

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 05:19:49 PM »
I'm sure that I would have the same issue if I were to retire today.  That's one reason that I am planning to keep working for a few more years and then perhaps ease into RE with a part time status for a little while.  That should give me more time to thing about how to approach RE life. 

Now, as to strategies to combat un-enjoyed idleness, I think perhaps the best course is to try lots of different things.  Try things even if you can't think of anything that seems thrilling to you right off.  Just try lots of things, like dating lots of people, knowing that most of them won't work out. 

Don't limit those things to unpaid 'hobbies' either.  You are allowed to work part time someplace just for the experience even if you don't need the money.

Maybe just start with a little brain-storming and list out a bunch of things - even things that you wouldn't necessarily want to do, just things that you could do.  And then pick a couple of them and try.  Volunteer at a community theater to help build sets or something.  Or volunteer at the local library a few hours a week.  Try to write short stories.  Take a scuba diving class, if the budget allows.  Learn to cook by picking a few recipes and trying them.  Join a wine club. 

This passage is attributed to the German writer Goethe. It's debatable whether this is an accurate translation, but I like it:

"Lose this day loitering—’twill be the same story
To-morrow–and the next more dilatory;
Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.
Are you in earnest? seize this very minute–
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it,
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated—
Begin it, and the work will be completed!"

Point being: just start doing something.  The actual doing leads to more motivation to keep doing whereas waiting for motivation before you even start can often be fruitless. 




Ken Worth

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 05:39:34 PM »
Lot of good thoughts and wisdom there TempusFugit, thank you. 

Mezzie, yes to both.  I do some volunteering and it's enjoyable at times.  I really enjoy personal finance, thought about hosting classes at the local church.  Seems most of the classes offered are catered to the Dave Ramsey clientele; those struggling to get their act together.  Wonder if anyone would attend a class on FIRE.  I didn't even know it was "a thing" until stumbling across it several years after I achieved it.  Just sorta happened, then I learned after the fact there was a name for it and a delightful community of folks doing the same thing I did. 

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 06:14:01 PM »
Ken Worth,

Gratz.  You've done remarkably well for yourself.  I'm a little past the 5 year mark.  I've never had the sense of "meh" that you are experiencing.  I just really enjoy my own company. 

When I occasionally still get together with old cow-orkers, they remark that I've become very self-aware.  I think that is the key (for me, YMMV).  The other near FIRE people I know are some of them struggling with personal identity issues.  If you ask the typical American "Who are you?", they will respond with their occupation 99% of the time.  What you do for money is not who you are though.  If you have a vacuum in you personal identity that you have been filling up with [business, landlord, whatever], I think you need some self reflection.

A lot of people like spiritual texts such as Bible, Quran, Baghava Gita, etc.  I think you get the same basic wisdom without the mystical mumbo-jumbo from Thoreau's "Walden".  Know yourself, and then...to thine own self be true.

Can you answer for me (us) this: what are you personal core values?  See, if you don't know your personal core values, it is pretty damn hard to build a life around what matters to you.  If you can get that part nailed down, I promise you will no longer struggle with sense of purpose because your daily activities will define your purpose. 

Hope this helps.

Ken Worth

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2018, 07:11:30 PM »
Very insightful, thank you.  Core personal values... Integrity; the notion of doing what's right, doing what one says one will do, without fail.  Independence; self reliance and not depending on or burdening others or society.  Security, financial and otherwise, which sort of plays into the Independence piece.  Responsibility toward family and close friends.  Autonomy; the notion of controlling and directing one's activities and time allocation.  General avoidance of most forms of BS and irritating hassles.  These are the Core values that come to mind without overthinking it.  I'm an INTJ-T personality profile, (the 16personalities site is  incredible  if any of you have an interest) and as such I enjoy my own company too.  After a while though, need a little meaningful activity/interaction.  Since we in the FIRE community are an extreme minority, it's hard to find folks who share common interests and don't envy/hate on our achievements. 

happy

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 03:35:37 AM »
Lots of good answers already Ken Worth.

If you're not sure what to do, think about what you enjoyed,  and were attracted to as a child. Give any of those things some more thought/ a try. The concept is that these might be things you have a natural affinity for before the world got into brainwashing you to be a success/conform. Since you are FIRE, the beauty of this is that you are not constrained to something that makes you money and you don't even have to become exceptionally good at it,  (tough for an INTJ, I know) you can just enjoy it for its own sake. Give yourself permission to enjoy something. You don't always have to do your duty, and always be the responsible one even if you aren't enjoying it.

If loitering as per tempus fugit is the problem, then create yourself a schedule and some goals re trying out stuff/social life that you think you could enjoy.

If you try all this and really, really can't find anything  that gives you enjoyment or happiness, this might be anhedonia (loss of enjoyment in life) which is a key symptom in depression...you could explore this option (plenty of online sites available) and seek help if you think its a possibility.



Linda_Norway

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 03:51:23 AM »
I do some volunteering and it's enjoyable at times.  I really enjoy personal finance, thought about hosting classes at the local church.  Seems most of the classes offered are catered to the Dave Ramsey clientele; those struggling to get their act together.  Wonder if anyone would attend a class on FIRE.  I didn't even know it was "a thing" until stumbling across it several years after I achieved it.  Just sorta happened, then I learned after the fact there was a name for it and a delightful community of folks doing the same thing I did.

Maybe you could focus on classes about general personal finance at first? Just not focus on the FIRE thing, but focus on getting out of debt. That would be the easiest way to recruit people to follow your class. You could teach Mustachian methods to the class to get out of debt. And end the course with telling about the FI options if they continue to live like that.

Or are you not interested in solving hair-on-fire debt issues? The good thing about it is that you could become an integer personal advisor for some of these people.

Why don't you start a blog or a podcast about FIRE?
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 03:55:36 AM by Linda_Norway »

Ken Worth

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2018, 06:18:44 AM »
Good idea there; offering a class for beginners with a little carrot dangled at the end about what can happen of one chooses to take it to the next level. 

Don't really want to go the blogger route.  There are so many great blogs out there already, I feel like I'd just be rehashing what already exists. 

Linda_Norway

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 06:45:25 AM »
Good idea there; offering a class for beginners with a little carrot dangled at the end about what can happen of one chooses to take it to the next level. 

Don't really want to go the blogger route.  There are so many great blogs out there already, I feel like I'd just be rehashing what already exists.

If you really want to go this way, you will probably need to read up a bit on stuff like personal bankruptcy. This might be the only option for some of the people who might go to such a class. And other places where you can get financial help from the government in some way.

Gimesalot

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 10:48:53 AM »
An idea that might appeal to you is learning to do taxes and volunteering to help low-income people file taxes.  Here is some more information about the program https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-tax-volunteers

Another related idea is helping 501c3 with book keeping and tax paperwork.  I am on the board of a theater group, and getting some free book keeping help would be such a relief.  Maybe you should see if you can find a non-profit that interests you an you can offer to help.  In this position, you could also help organizations save and better allocate financial resources.


Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2018, 11:46:48 AM »
Very insightful, thank you.  Core personal values... Integrity; the notion of doing what's right, doing what one says one will do, without fail.  Independence; self reliance and not depending on or burdening others or society.  Security, financial and otherwise, which sort of plays into the Independence piece.  Responsibility toward family and close friends.  Autonomy; the notion of controlling and directing one's activities and time allocation.  General avoidance of most forms of BS and irritating hassles.  These are the Core values that come to mind without overthinking it.  I'm an INTJ-T personality profile, (the 16personalities site is  incredible  if any of you have an interest) and as such I enjoy my own company too.  After a while though, need a little meaningful activity/interaction.  Since we in the FIRE community are an extreme minority, it's hard to find folks who share common interests and don't envy/hate on our achievements.

Some food for thought...  The above quote doesn't really jibe with what you initially said about feeling a need to be productive.  Productivity is no where in your core values so is it really important?  Or are you misguided about your own values?  I see two (three) possibilities.  The first is you don't actually have a personal need to be productive at all.  You just are in need of an attitude adjustment regarding your own leisure.  The second and third related items are you do have a core need for productivity.  That can be A) you have a need to be occupied (the journey part of productivity) or B)  you have a personal need to accumulate accomplishments (the destination part of productivity.)  So is it activity or the joy of crossing this off your list??

Recommend you give yourself to time to figure out if productivity is truly important and if it is a journey or destination issue.  Any mix of the three is of course an acceptable answer.  It is what matters to you personally an no one else.  Don't rush it.  It can take a lifetime to sort your core values because they are a moving target.  You won't be exactly the same person in another 5 years.  Be glad you have the option to evolve.

Ken Worth

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2018, 12:02:53 PM »
For me, the journey is a lot more enjoyable than the destination.  The journey to FI was over many years ago and I can't seem to find the next journey.  Certainly not a productivity issue or an accomplishment accumulation issue.   Sounds like I just need to find something meaningful to do, which has thus far proven elusive. 

Thank you for your comments.  Very thought provoking. 

FI40

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2018, 12:04:04 PM »
Very insightful, thank you.  Core personal values... Integrity; the notion of doing what's right, doing what one says one will do, without fail.  Independence; self reliance and not depending on or burdening others or society.  Security, financial and otherwise, which sort of plays into the Independence piece.  Responsibility toward family and close friends.  Autonomy; the notion of controlling and directing one's activities and time allocation.  General avoidance of most forms of BS and irritating hassles.  These are the Core values that come to mind without overthinking it.  I'm an INTJ-T personality profile, (the 16personalities site is  incredible  if any of you have an interest) and as such I enjoy my own company too.  After a while though, need a little meaningful activity/interaction.  Since we in the FIRE community are an extreme minority, it's hard to find folks who share common interests and don't envy/hate on our achievements.

Some food for thought...  The above quote doesn't really jibe with what you initially said about feeling a need to be productive.  Productivity is no where in your core values so is it really important?  Or are you misguided about your own values?  I see two (three) possibilities.  The first is you don't actually have a personal need to be productive at all.  You just are in need of an attitude adjustment regarding your own leisure.  The second and third related items are you do have a core need for productivity.  That can be A) you have a need to be occupied (the journey part of productivity) or B)  you have a personal need to accumulate accomplishments (the destination part of productivity.)  So is it activity or the joy of crossing this off your list??

Recommend you give yourself to time to figure out if productivity is truly important and if it is a journey or destination issue.  Any mix of the three is of course an acceptable answer.  It is what matters to you personally an no one else.  Don't rush it.  It can take a lifetime to sort your core values because they are a moving target.  You won't be exactly the same person in another 5 years.  Be glad you have the option to evolve.

Dude, that sounds wise. Love this forum :)

Rimu05

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2018, 10:05:44 AM »
I am many years away from FIRE, heck just from FI, but I think many people who dream of FIRE probably have something they want to do. For me, I would spend my time travelling and working or volunteering around the world while language learning. I really enjoyed teaching English to adults and there are many things I enjoy doing outside of my working life so when FIRED, I would simply devote time to doing those things. I want to live in as many countries as I can, but I have always been a bit of a vagabond.

dude

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2018, 10:26:16 AM »
Do something outside your comfort zone, whatever it is.  Take up martial arts, rock climbing, hiking, biking, run a marathon, or any of a dozen or more other activities or pursuits. You will meet lots of new people and it will open new doors, and perhaps a couple years from now, you will be doing something as a result of one of those connections you never imagined you'd be doing. The web of our social lives can often lead to places we never knew even existed.

PVkcin

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2018, 01:51:33 PM »
I read the book "The Joy of Not Working" by Ernie Zelinski. He has lots of ideas for what to do with your time. Seems like a great book, that I will revisit every couple years. I believe it was in this book where he has a "Get A Life Tree" that helps you find things you would like to do. It might be a book worth reading for you too.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2018, 03:27:03 PM »
Sign up for an Ironman distance triathlon...even if you don't currently exercise.

Try to visit each country in the world and experience a bit of their culture.

Learn how to fly a plane.

Get certified to scuba dive and travel to some exotic places while juggling some volunteer work.

Start a charitable foundation.

Join an intramural adult sports league.

Learn how to hunt/fish/trap.

Restore an old car or motorcycle, yourself.

Gosh, I can't even imagine being bored while having true financial independence. Best of luck! I'm sure most here will envy your situation.

Krnten

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2018, 07:57:18 PM »
I’ve been having that experience too.  FIREd 6 months ago, and although my husband still works, he can quit too whenever he’s ready. I’m 35 and have a couple young kids, so that keeps me busy. But I find that I don’t use the free time I do have very productively.  I’ll take some of the advice on this thread!

lhamo

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2018, 08:38:09 PM »
I have not yet got around to reading it, but many many smart people here and elsewhere in internet self-actualization land have recommended the book "Man's Search for Meaning."

Do you like podcasts?   I get a lot of useful mental stimulation/food for thought/inspiration to continue improving myself in various ways from some of my favorite podcasts, including:

Happier by Gretchen Rubin
The Tim Ferriss Show
The James Altucher Show

Do you enjoy working with youth and/or people less fortunate than yourself?  Maybe becoming a volunteer financial coach for a social services organization would be a worthwhile endeavor.  Or teaching lower income kids some of the property management stuff you have learned, so that they can get into that as a career (and then mentor them as they develop).

EngineeringFI

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2018, 09:26:42 AM »
A simple mental exercise that I've found very beneficial is to make a list of what actually makes you happy. Think deeply about this and try to imagine times in your life when you were truly happy, what were the common elements? Don't try to focus on specifics, but rather big picture things that made you happy.

For example, one of the elements from my own list was "having a mountain to climb". This doesn't mean an actual mountain (although I do enjoy climbing them) but rather a big goal that I am working to achieve. For me, a big challenging goal gives me day-to-day purpose and focus. I think the pursuit of FIRE is a mountain for many here, myself included, that gives us an enjoyable purpose and focus. The key is quickly finding the next mountain, once you've reached the top of your current climb.

Greenback Reproduction Specialist

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2018, 01:34:21 PM »
If you ask the typical American "Who are you?", they will respond with their occupation 99% of the time. 

This reminds me of talks by Alan Watts on Buddhism, its a tough question to answer when you remove a job title.

Livingthedream55

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2018, 06:42:16 AM »
I have read several Barbara Sher books - here is just one example.

I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It

https://smile.amazon.com/Could-Anything-Only-Knew-What/dp/0440505003/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517578622&sr=8-1&keywords=i+could+do+anything+if+i+only+knew+what+it+was+by+barbara+sher

I think the key is to just keep trying out different experiences. With your values/personal mission statement you would be a fantatstic asset on a board of directors for some non-profit who cause you were passionate about. There are non-profits focused on asset building for the poor (not exactly your thing I know but maybe if you studied the model you might create something more FIRE focused).

Roadrunner53

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2018, 07:09:57 AM »
Ken, This might be of interest to you. In my town we have Adult Education fall and spring. There are many different offerings from exercise to computer courses. I never find much interesting but a financial course would be of interest. I inquired once and they said you didn't have to be licensed or anything special to teach a course. This could be really a nice project for you. You could have Finances 101 in the fall followed by Finances 102 in the spring. You could gear your subject matter in many ways. Geared for people to save money while working. For people to plan retirement. People who are in retirement. How to get rich like you did it. It could be a really fun project!

You could also write several books on financial stuff. That would take a ton of time and research. I think I would start off with the Adult Education because it would help educate you on what people want to know and how to organize your materials based on the consumer. If you are going to sell a book, you have to have materials that would appeal to the buyer. Sometimes financial books are too hard for the average joe to absorb. In your book I would suggest lots of examples. I personally identify with examples. Like Hank and Mary have $200K in savings, he makes $$$ and she makes $$$. If they do such and such, in X amount of years they will accumulate $$$.

Not sure if any of this is helpful but you seem to like to share your financial success and these are a few ways you can. Good Luck!

I am a lot older than you and retired and I am still asking myself what I want to be when I grow up! I better figure it out fast because the clock is ticking!

freeat57

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2018, 07:57:23 AM »
For me, the journey is a lot more enjoyable than the destination.  The journey to FI was over many years ago and I can't seem to find the next journey.  Certainly not a productivity issue or an accomplishment accumulation issue.   Sounds like I just need to find something meaningful to do, which has thus far proven elusive. 

Thank you for your comments.  Very thought provoking.
This sounds like the key.  You want a "problem" to "fix" so that you can apply your energy and ingenuity to it.  Referencing your core values, you previously wanted to achieve independence and autonomy in life (problem), so you set about becoming a landlord to provide an income stream (fix). 
Now, what problem do you see in the world around that you would like to fix?  Is it a large scale social ill?  Then you'll need to be a freaking rich philanthropist to fix it.  You were FI by 26 and are now 34.  I'd say that you can figure out how to be stinking rich by 45.  Then you can set up your foundation and start fixing the problem you identified.  On the other hand, you may see an issue that you are passionate about that you already have the means to address (i.e.your time).  Tackle it! 

flyingaway

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2018, 03:50:06 PM »
Maybe going back to work is a better option.

Linda_Norway

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2018, 05:19:00 AM »
<...> I'm an INTJ-T personality profile, (the 16personalities site is  incredible  if any of you have an interest) and as such I enjoy my own company too.  After a while though, need a little meaningful activity/interaction.  Since we in the FIRE community are an extreme minority, it's hard to find folks who share common interests and don't envy/hate on our achievements.

I looked it up and did the same test today, with the same result: type T, architect. That explains why I often feel I don't have a great lot in common with other women, especially when they talk about stuff that doesn't interest me.

The test results say that people with this personality can often by inspiring for others as long as they do stuff they are interested in. I really hope you will find you niche. Just try out many different things, including going back to part time work to see whether that works for you.

ol1970

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2018, 08:56:33 AM »
I'd suggest doing what I did:

Ask yourself "what were the best 10 days of the last 10 years of your life?"

Write them down, you'll notice a theme...then mold your life around being able to incorporate more of that theme into your everyday life.  Kind of simplistic but it worked : )  For me it was being on the water and being physically active.  Three plus years later it lead me to meet the love of my life and get my captains certification for sailing...I'm happier than I've ever been.

 

anisotropy

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2018, 10:44:25 AM »
FIREd at 26 as a result of starting a small business, living frugally, and rolling all the profit into income producing real estate.  Currently 34 yrs old.  Having major issues with what to do with all the free time.  Don't really feel like doing anything, but miserably bored not doing anything.  I love to teach on the subject of FI, but paradoxically, having attained it, it's not all it's cracked up to be in terms of fulfillment.  So, what do y'all do with your time?  What's your reason to bother with getting out of bed every day? 

As an aside, this isn't a complainypants post.  I'm aware how richly blessed I am and am very grateful to be in this position.  Just struggling with "Now What?".  Anyone else have these feelings?

Thanks much. 😉

I argue with random people on the internet, it is SO FULFILLING. :)

MoneyStacher

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2018, 10:54:36 AM »
I like the list 2Birds1Stone had going. I've been building a list for years: daily yoga practice, learn spanish, hang glide, surf, bike across the US, learn electric guitar well enough to be in a cover band, help friends and family with projects, lots of reading by the water/pool. Last year I said I'm not waiting for FIRE anymore and started leaning electric guitar.

Ozlady

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Re: "now what?" After FIRE
« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2018, 04:47:21 PM »
I was lucky in that in my "younger" years, i found 2 mentors (and that was before i knew such a word exists..)..what can i say?  I am quite a likeable person haha!

They took me under their wing gently, and was so free and generous with their time, thoughts, their own experiences and sharing with me their journeys...

Can i suggest you find yourself 1 or 2 young people to mentor?