Author Topic: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE  (Read 3608 times)

heybro

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*Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« on: January 09, 2018, 01:50:36 AM »
One of the reasons FIRE is so appealing, to me and probably many others, is the idea that FIRE may bring you more control over your own life.  The phrase is often 'Having FU Money.'  Which means, if your boss comes to you and wants you to do a certain project, and you really don't want to do it, you have the ability to say 'FU' and walk away from the job.

The standard course of life seems to be, that when you are young and poor, you may compromise a lot and take on things you may not agree to later in life.  For instance, you get the grunt work when starting out any career.  You get the 'newbie' work and you happily agree to it because you need the experience and you need to climb up the ladder.

My question is this:

What are you agreeing to in life early on that you hope to never agree to in FIRE?  Or what did you agree to early in life that you won't agree to any more?

-or-

What power or control over your life did you think you'd have in FIRE that you actually didn't or don't end up actually having?



I am asking this because I've always held FIRE up on a pedestal as if it was the ultimate cure-all goal.  I may be slowly realizing that perhaps I never had to agree to things even when I wasn't FIRE.  And that, I still may have to agree to things even in FIRE.

Life is a funny thing.  I really wanted to ask this.  Thank you.  And for the record, I still believe strongly in FIRE, so don't get me wrong.

StetsTerhune

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 03:31:31 AM »
I always felt like I had control over my life. I may not have always had FU money, but I basically always felt like I could get another job easily enough.
Once, my boss made a decision which A. I felt like I should have been consulted on and B. I knew would negatively affect my job enormously moving forward. I smiled, left the room, spent the rest of my day working on my resume, and had a new job (same company) a month later. If I hadn't done that I would have spent the next year miserable and bitter.

Obviously I did plenty of things I didn't want to over my career (just as I still do now that I'm retired, it's not as if I don't have to wash dishes anymore), but I did them because I decided they were worth it. Not because I felt like I needed to.

steveo

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 04:06:54 AM »
I'm on holidays right now. I go to the gym and I play a lot of guitar. I don't get to play as much guitar now compared to when I'm at work. So for me personally I just want more of my time back.

I don't really dislike work. I don't like some of the managers at my work but I just try and not deal with them. I also don't like a lot of dumb meetings but I often just don't turn up. For me personally I just want more free time.

Linda_Norway

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2018, 04:25:56 AM »
When I was really young and needed a job very hard, I have has a job where I commuted for 4 hours a day (most of those hours by train). I won't do that ever again.

In my previous consulting job, I often got projects on the inconvenient side of time, while I lived 30 kms to the other side of the city. I had to do all the traveling in my own spare time. I didn't quit my job immediately, but I started looking for another job pretty soon when I found out that all my projects in that company required sitting fulltime on the far away side of the city. Another reason is that I asked my boss in this company if I could work part time, I think I asked for 1 hour shorter per day (to compensate for all the travelling), and that was declined. I didn't accept that either.

I have had a job with a disastrous boss. This was a temporarily assigned boss who was supposed to get us working efficiently. This woman was the reason I started brushing the dust of my old CV in the first place and start on a job hunt after 12 years in the same job.

In all these cases, I didn't feel like having enough FU money to quit immediately. I guess I could easily have done that financially, as we only live of one nett income), but I feel that it is more difficult to find another job from a jobless position than from a position in a current job. That is why so far, I have also found a new job before quitting the old one.

If working part time in the future (in case I feel the need to work at all after reaching FI) I will not accept a job where I need to be present on the job all the time. I want to be able to work at home as much as it suits me. And I will certainly not work full time.

SachaFiscal

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2018, 10:49:09 AM »
Iíve been out of the rat race for about six months and have enjoyed more control over my daily life. I like not being interrupted often to work on something that someone else deems a critical high priority task. I can focus on what I want. I have control over my diet and activity/exercise. Iíve been able to cook fresh healthy food and exercise more regularly. I donít stress eat or drink anymore. It took a while to get out of the bad habits I developed while working though and Iím still working on some of them.

I definitely am enjoying my freedom but also feel a bit unanchored which causes some anxiety and a sort of lost sensation. Iíve added some responsibilities like volunteer work, certain chores, and some classes to provide me with routine, some life challenges, some purpose, and some motivation to make progress on larger goals I have. This helps with that lost feeling.

FIRE definitely gives time and space to find your happiness but itís not a cure all. It gives an opportunity to grow, experience new things, try out different things. But you have to motivate yourself, be open to change, and be brave to try new things.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 01:43:45 PM »
What are you agreeing to in life early on that you hope to never agree to in FIRE?  Or what did you agree to early in life that you won't agree to any more?

For me it's unethical behavior, or just being willing to speak my mind when I believe things are being done wrong.  At my current job I'm seen as a dissenter, because I'm quick to question everything if it doesn't make sense.  It was harder to do that when I was broke and needed the job.

For an example, my first use of FU money was very early on, right after getting my messy finances under control.  One of the things the company I was working for did was to mislead customers on the abilities of our product in order to make the sale, then delay responding to the customer until after the 30-day money back period was over.  As a tech support person, I was honest about telling them 'no, our product doesn't do that, I don't know why the salesman would have told you that'.  My boss was not happy because I was single-handedly ruining their refund numbers, and he told me flat out that I needed to lie until the 30 days was up.  I just looked him in the eye and said 'no'.  Went back and forth a few times as he was confused by an employee telling him no.  Then he just walked away and it never came up again.  Shortly after I decided that wasn't the type of company I wanted to work for and left.

Ever since then I've never done anything I wasn't comfortable with, and I'm often the one speaking up about company policies that effect everyone, but one else has the guts to say anything.

Canadian Ben

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 01:52:50 PM »
I'm in the military... I traded a lot of things for Job security and a pretty good paycheck.

Now that I don't need the money, I want it all back.

MY HAIR WILL BE SO LONG.

soccerluvof4

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2018, 02:32:16 PM »
Iíve been out of the rat race for about six months and have enjoyed more control over my daily life. I like not being interrupted often to work on something that someone else deems a critical high priority task. I can focus on what I want. I have control over my diet and activity/exercise. Iíve been able to cook fresh healthy food and exercise more regularly. I donít stress eat or drink anymore. It took a while to get out of the bad habits I developed while working though and Iím still working on some of them.

I definitely am enjoying my freedom but also feel a bit unanchored which causes some anxiety and a sort of lost sensation. Iíve added some responsibilities like volunteer work, certain chores, and some classes to provide me with routine, some life challenges, some purpose, and some motivation to make progress on larger goals I have. This helps with that lost feeling.

FIRE definitely gives time and space to find your happiness but itís not a cure all. It gives an opportunity to grow, experience new things, try out different things. But you have to motivate yourself, be open to change, and be brave to try new things.


+1^ I echo this. I am going on 3 years and its improved immensely but definitely for me since happened fast as opposed to a long time planning I am planning more as I go now.
" In life you don't get what you deserve you get what you negotiate"

Mr. Green

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 04:52:28 PM »
When I was in my early to mid-20's I put up with a ton of boredom at work because I knew the industry I was in would pay better than anything else I could do without going back to school and training for a completely different field. I spent 40 hour work weeks with no phone, no internet access, trying to look busy, and feeling absolutely miserable.

I can always look back and wonder if it was worth what felt like several years of torture but I already had early retirement in my head when I was coming out of college, so I knew that career was my best shot at complete control of my time when I was young. And here I am 34 and FIRE. I can't really say whether it was worth all that pain because I don't know what my life would have been like had I just given up the ghost. Maybe I'd be a successful business man. Maybe I'd be a bum. You could drive yourself crazy wondering about the lives you didn't live. Knowing that I'm free at 34, I'm okay with what I sacrificed to be where I am today.

I think this is one area that I could question if early retirement might have hamstrung me early on. If I was just a guy thinking about working into my 60's, I'd have for sure dropped those boring jobs like a bad habit and found something I enjoyed more. My wife and I were frugal be nature so I think if we didn't have a big income we'd have still been okay because saving was so ingrained for us. Hell, maybe we'd still be FIRE but instead of planning to live on 40k a year we'd be comfortable getting by on 25k because we're even better at knowing what basics we really can live on, and what is fluff.

One thing I did learn early on is not to let anyone push me around. I always worked hard and felt that if I was doing my best, then I could have my principals and if anyone disagreed with that then I either win because I'm a harder worker, or my best isn't all that great because I'm just not a good fit for that role, in which case I should do something else anyway.

So I guess what I really agreed to early in life is being locked into that high income all the way to FIRE, like a horse with blinders on. In FIRE, I would never agree to a single thing in my life that I chased no matter what. There are simply times when the effort is not worth the reward, no matter how we'd like for the end result to be what we want.

A HUUUUUUUGE thing for me in FIRE is that I thought all that freedom meant I'd have total control over changes we were making and that they would be easy because we were FIRE. We planned to make so many changes in an 18 month span that it took panic attacks and therapy sessions for me to realize that no matter how in control and easy you might think big life changes can be (because you're FIRE), there are emotional elements to these things you can't just put in boxes and move around like a machine. To that end I now try to pay extra attention to the broad strokes of my life, feeling them out, instead of just assuming I'm the master because I have complete control of my time. I think this is something engineers tend to overlook because we're so focused on the efficiency of the mechanical aspects of a task.

Now that I've dealt with my self-created demons I understand change much better and I'm very excited about the additional big life changes that I know will be coming as we start a family, begin international travel, etc.
Took the leap in June 2016.

heybro

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 01:53:11 AM »
We planned to make so many changes in an 18 month span that it took panic attacks and therapy sessions for me to realize that no matter how in control and easy you might think big life changes can be (because you're FIRE), there are emotional elements to these things you can't just put in boxes and move around like a machine.

Thank you so much for sharing this.  I also read Mad Fientist say that he had trouble with isolation and depression (along with depravity).

When I paid off all my student loans, I was surprised at the seemingly roller-coaster of emotions I felt afterwards from being thrilled to being disappointed to also being able to finally take on things I never thought I could.

I have always wanted to step-outside-the-system and see FIRE as a way to do so.  The only thing worse than working forever may be not working forever.  What I mean by that, is I do believe FIRE forces you to confront things that you probably never had to think about before (mostly because you couldn't).

I am glad to be here.  Thank you.

Mr. Green

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 06:48:03 AM »
What I mean by that, is I do believe FIRE forces you to confront things that you probably never had to think about before (mostly because you couldn't).
Absolutely. Most people's identity is heavily influenced by what they do. It's hard to spend 40 hours or more a week doing something and not have it become part of who you are. Choosing to leave that means stripping yourself of part of your identity. In my case I didn't have have a bunch of hobbies outside of work so quitting felt like losing a significant part of who I was. That can feel like being lost unless you actively work toward whatever goals you have in mind for replacing work. Almost everyone advocates for knowing what you plan to FIRE to before actually FIREing and I can't agree with that statement enough.
Took the leap in June 2016.

mak1277

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 08:48:55 AM »
My question is this:

What are you agreeing to in life early on that you hope to never agree to in FIRE?  Or what did you agree to early in life that you won't agree to any more?


Pre-FIRE: I am agreeing to go to a job.  To commute every day.  To sit in my office and work even though I'd rather be doing anything else.  Post-FIRE: I will stop doing that. 

It's as simple as that for me.  It's a macro level approach (I don't want to work) and not a micro level approach (I don't want to put up with ___).

tooqk4u22

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2018, 02:02:09 PM »
What are you agreeing to in life early on that you hope to never agree to in FIRE?  Or what did you agree to early in life that you won't agree to any more?

For me it's unethical behavior, or just being willing to speak my mind when I believe things are being done wrong.  At my current job I'm seen as a dissenter, because I'm quick to question everything if it doesn't make sense.  It was harder to do that when I was broke and needed the job.

Funny for me bc I think FU money let me not worry about my actions.  I never had the corporate filter so to speak so more often then not when I disagreed, raised an issue or generally anything else worker bees are supposed not to say/do I would end up thinking "Crap I hope I don't get fired." Now its really no different more like "So what, I will be FIREd."

So FU money basically let my actions be backed up without worry.

heybro

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2018, 12:44:45 AM »
Funny for me bc I think FU money let me not worry about my actions.  I never had the corporate filter so to speak so more often then not when I disagreed, raised an issue or generally anything else worker bees are supposed not to say/do I would end up thinking "Crap I hope I don't get fired." Now its really no different more like "So what, I will be FIREd."

So FU money basically let my actions be backed up without worry.

Wow!  This is exactly what I was trying to ask about!  I have noticed that the closer I get to FIRE, the more my mouth runs without a filter.  At first, I was worried about consequences but there haven't been any yet.  This is leading me to believe that I was always CAPABLE of saying these things without consequences (like I've censored myself all this time for no reason and maybe had an incorrect view of what was OK because everything I've said now has been OK).  So, it makes me wonder, do you actually get more control in FIRE or did I have this control all along?  And also, of course, what will I still have no control over even in FIRE.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 12:47:11 AM by heybro »

Linda_Norway

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2018, 01:11:33 AM »
Funny for me bc I think FU money let me not worry about my actions.  I never had the corporate filter so to speak so more often then not when I disagreed, raised an issue or generally anything else worker bees are supposed not to say/do I would end up thinking "Crap I hope I don't get fired." Now its really no different more like "So what, I will be FIREd."

So FU money basically let my actions be backed up without worry.

Wow!  This is exactly what I was trying to ask about!  I have noticed that the closer I get to FIRE, the more my mouth runs without a filter.  At first, I was worried about consequences but there haven't been any yet.  This is leading me to believe that I was always CAPABLE of saying these things without consequences (like I've censored myself all this time for no reason and maybe had an incorrect view of what was OK because everything I've said now has been OK).  So, it makes me wonder, do you actually get more control in FIRE or did I have this control all along?  And also, of course, what will I still have no control over even in FIRE.

As I am starting to think that we can FIRE in one or two years, DH has been thinking aloud that it would be best if we could both be in a situation that your boss is asking you to leave (for a goodbye salary). I wouldn't want to leave with a bad reputation, as I think that generally sucks. But my company does sometimes offer a quitting sum to let people quit voluntarily without drama. I hope there will be such a thing in a year and a half or so.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2018, 10:03:03 AM »
So, it makes me wonder, do you actually get more control in FIRE or did I have this control all along?

You only have as much control as you exercise.  Like when someone takes control in a group situation.  That person didn't necessarily have more inherent control than the others, they're just the ones that exercised it.  Now you're confident enough to use the control you've had.

heybro

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2018, 04:14:59 PM »
So, it makes me wonder, do you actually get more control in FIRE or did I have this control all along?

You only have as much control as you exercise.  Like when someone takes control in a group situation.  That person didn't necessarily have more inherent control than the others, they're just the ones that exercised it.  Now you're confident enough to use the control you've had.

Yes!  Like it's all a game of 'chicken.'  You are willing to go off the cliff, so you'll win.  And you won't even have to go off the cliff.  But its in your gut that you are willing to.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2018, 04:18:05 PM »
So, it makes me wonder, do you actually get more control in FIRE or did I have this control all along?

You only have as much control as you exercise.  Like when someone takes control in a group situation.  That person didn't necessarily have more inherent control than the others, they're just the ones that exercised it.  Now you're confident enough to use the control you've had.

Yes!  Like it's all a game of 'chicken.'  You are willing to go off the cliff, so you'll win.  And you won't even have to go off the cliff.  But its in your gut that you are willing to.

Lol horrible analogy, but yes, exactly like that.

dude

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2018, 01:06:07 PM »
I'm in the military... I traded a lot of things for Job security and a pretty good paycheck.

Now that I don't need the money, I want it all back.

MY HAIR WILL BE SO LONG.

HAHAHA!  When I left the military (only 6 years), I told everyone I was not getting my hair cut for at least 2 years!  I grew it out quite long and had a ponytail (I was in my 20's). It just felt so good not to have anyone telling me, "sailor, you need a haircut." I've now been in a job for 20 years that require random drug screening, so one of the first things I plan to do when I retire is smoke a big fat J.  Not because I want to be a stoner or I think I'm missing out, but because I FUCKING CAN!!!! (pot is legal in my state).

Canadian Ben

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2018, 06:28:33 AM »
I'm in the military, and both those things are the first thing I will do when I leave :D

And grow a beard.

Jon_Snow

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2018, 09:24:19 AM »
Prior to FIRE, the lack of control over how my days unfolded increasingly became unacceptable to me. It felt as if 80% of my life energy went into my career.

Now, while my post-FIRE days often consist of a similar routine, it is a routine 100% of my own creation. This makes ALL the difference.

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2018, 12:06:50 PM »
When I was in my early to mid-20's I put up with a ton of boredom at work because I knew the industry I was in would pay better than anything else I could do without going back to school and training for a completely different field. I spent 40 hour work weeks with no phone, no internet access, trying to look busy, and feeling absolutely miserable.

I can always look back and wonder if it was worth what felt like several years of torture but I already had early retirement in my head when I was coming out of college, so I knew that career was my best shot at complete control of my time when I was young. And here I am 34 and FIRE. I can't really say whether it was worth all that pain because I don't know what my life would have been like had I just given up the ghost. Maybe I'd be a successful business man. Maybe I'd be a bum. You could drive yourself crazy wondering about the lives you didn't live. Knowing that I'm free at 34, I'm okay with what I sacrificed to be where I am today.

I think this is one area that I could question if early retirement might have hamstrung me early on. If I was just a guy thinking about working into my 60's, I'd have for sure dropped those boring jobs like a bad habit and found something I enjoyed more. My wife and I were frugal be nature so I think if we didn't have a big income we'd have still been okay because saving was so ingrained for us. Hell, maybe we'd still be FIRE but instead of planning to live on 40k a year we'd be comfortable getting by on 25k because we're even better at knowing what basics we really can live on, and what is fluff.

One thing I did learn early on is not to let anyone push me around. I always worked hard and felt that if I was doing my best, then I could have my principals and if anyone disagreed with that then I either win because I'm a harder worker, or my best isn't all that great because I'm just not a good fit for that role, in which case I should do something else anyway.

So I guess what I really agreed to early in life is being locked into that high income all the way to FIRE, like a horse with blinders on. In FIRE, I would never agree to a single thing in my life that I chased no matter what. There are simply times when the effort is not worth the reward, no matter how we'd like for the end result to be what we want.

A HUUUUUUUGE thing for me in FIRE is that I thought all that freedom meant I'd have total control over changes we were making and that they would be easy because we were FIRE. We planned to make so many changes in an 18 month span that it took panic attacks and therapy sessions for me to realize that no matter how in control and easy you might think big life changes can be (because you're FIRE), there are emotional elements to these things you can't just put in boxes and move around like a machine. To that end I now try to pay extra attention to the broad strokes of my life, feeling them out, instead of just assuming I'm the master because I have complete control of my time. I think this is something engineers tend to overlook because we're so focused on the efficiency of the mechanical aspects of a task.

Now that I've dealt with my self-created demons I understand change much better and I'm very excited about the additional big life changes that I know will be coming as we start a family, begin international travel, etc.

Wow, this sounds exactly like me and not just the bold parts, I could have made a few entire paragraphs bold... I'm also in the engineering field, so it sort of makes sense.
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MrThatsDifferent

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2018, 01:49:51 PM »
Interesting question. Reflecting on it I realize that my personal circumstances and character doesnít allow me to not have control or to put up with lack of control for too long. Any situation that Iím not happy with, I change. I either quit or I move into a position where I have control. I have a pretty high self-esteem at work, that doesnít necessarily apply in all parts of my life, but definitely when I work. Still though, you have to show up at work and get things done and there is always someone you have to report to. FIRE means my own schedule and never reporting to anyone again about anything. Canít. Wait.

Nords

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2018, 07:48:08 PM »
I'm in the military, and both those things are the first thing I will do when I leave :D

And grow a beard.
My last haircut was 30 April 2002, nearly 16 years ago and 31 days before I retired from active duty.  It was the first time in my life when I could decide how long I wanted my hair to be.

The ponytail has been awesome, but it might take more fortitude to stick with the beard in warm climates.
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Canadian Ben

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2018, 12:24:28 PM »
Canada.

I'll shave off the hair and beard when it gets to summer (July 1st) and then regrow it when its back to winter (July 3nd)

I doubt I`d every get to ponytail length, when it hit my shoulder when I was younger, that was the sign that it`s too annoying, followed by a buzz cut. Cue 2-3 year wait till the next one.

Malkynn

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Re: *Control Over Your Life* before-and-after FIRE
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2018, 06:12:14 AM »
Iíve pretty much spent my whole life living it the way I wanted to except for a horrible 4 years of dental school and then a horrible 2 years of my last job.

Those years were horrible because I was living for the future.
I hated dental school. The culture was horrible, the experience was miserable, and my self respect and health suffered immensely. I stuck it out for a dream future.
Unfortunately, in that time, I trained myself extremely well to tolerate misery now in hopes of a bright future. So when I landed an enormously high paying first job and discovered MMM I thought ďI can do this!Ē and knuckled down to reach FIRE as quickly as possible. I was at the apex of my career, there was no up, so any move would be lateral at best and a pay cut.

I was miserable, but felt that leaving would betray my FIRE goal.

Well...that was stupid.
After awhile, I got a good therapist, quit my stupid unreasonable job, and went back to taking responsibility for my own health and happiness. I didnít have FU money, but we are dual income and live frugally enough to support ourselves on one income so either of us can lose a job and weíll be fine.

Iím nowhere near FIRE and I feel like I have total control over how happy and healthy my life is. Of course there is plenty that I have no control over, but I have control over how I respond and how I let things affect my life.
There are endless ways to live my life and absolutely zero excuses for choosing to be miserable.

If living in a way that reaches your FIRE goal isnít making you happier and healthier, then maybe itís worth revisiting how much of a priority that FIRE goal should be.

Right now, I trust that my financial life will be fine as long as I live my best life. I have no fear of pissing off my boss becaus if doing my best work pisses her off, sheís not the right person to work for. Sure, switching jobs would delay my retirement savings, but I did it once already and it turned out amazing and I would happily work 10 years at my current job than another 6 months at my last job.
You donít *need* FU money to be bold in your career, it just makes it easier, but itís not strictly necessary.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 06:16:45 AM by Malkynn »