Author Topic: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary  (Read 7213 times)

Masstache

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Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« on: January 22, 2018, 08:20:54 PM »
Two years ago today I walked out of my office with my backpack full of belongings, hopped on my bike, and made my final commute home.  There was no retirement party, no celebration of any kind.  I had planned FIRE for years, but my last day sadly coincided with a massive layoff, and a lot of my coworkers trudged out of the building that same day in a different frame of mind.  It wasnít the time or place to celebrate, so like every other work day I just biked home.

When I got home, one of the first things I did was call my dad.  He had started his career in the 60s in an era of lifetime employment with pensions.  But in the 80s shortly before he would have qualified for a full pension, he was laid off.  He gave his heart and soul to that company, worked long hours and weekends, traveled, went to all the company outings, and then they kicked him to the curb with suspicious timing.  From the perspective of my impressionable teen brain, the clear lesson was to not trust a company to look out for your best interest and to take control yourself. 

So I called my dad.  He seemed happy for me but was baffled by the whole early retirement thing and kept offering to loan me money if I "didn't find something right away."  I tried to explain I was not planning to look for anything, but it just didn't fit in his world view, even after his own experience.  To this day I think he is still puzzled and worried by how long it is taking me to find a job. 

No, I had my plan, I had executed it, worked, budgeted, saved, biked.  And here I was FIREd and dammit I was going to enjoy it.  One of my motivations to FIRE was to get rid of the constant stress and guilt of working full-time in an unfulfilling job and never having enough time or energy for the meaningful things in life (wife and kids mostly but also projects and hobbies that I enjoy and never had time for).  When I was sitting in my office, I felt guilty that I wasnít home with my family.  And when I was home, I felt guilty that I wasnít getting more work done at the office.  I just felt I was never doing enough anywhere.  So I was going to FIRE and then spend all my time doing what I wanted to do: spend time with the kids, read more books, do some writing, learn some carpentry, volunteer, practice the piano more than once a year.

But as the old song goes, Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.  Because then my dad got sick.  And when that happened, all my grand post-FIRE plans went out the window.  But thanks to the pre-FIRE planning, it was fine. I wasnít doing what I had originally planned to do with my newfound freedom, but I came to see how just having the freedom was the truly meaningful part.  I did not have to "take time off" to go and help my parents.  I could just go, and I did.  Despite the circumstances it was awesome to be able to be there with them (even though they kept asking how I was going to find a job if I was sitting there in the hospital with them).  My original plan hadn't really included spending more time with my parents, because I figured they have always been there, they'll always be there, right? 

As I sit tonight with a beer and reflect on my two years of FIRE, I think of how much I am constantly adjusting the post-FIRE plan, and yet it is all good.  Adjusting is just part of the plan.   Luckily my dad got better, and now I call my parents all the time, and I visit them as often as I can.  There have been lots of other adjustments to the priorities as I figure out this new life.  I do spend a lot more time with my wife and kids, and I've done a lot of reading and volunteering.  I still can't play piano for crap, and I haven't learned much carpentry (although I have learned some plumbing by necessity).  But that's all part of the adventure, and there hasn't been a single day in two years that I have felt bored and wondered what I should do with my time.  I'm not doing what I might have expected, but I am enjoying everything I am doing.    And it beats the hell out of sitting in that damned office wishing I had the time and energy to do something else.

steveo

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 08:37:27 PM »
That was a really good read. Well done.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 10:12:09 PM »
Thanks for the inspiration. 

I've sort of worried about my lack of future plan.  My dad is getting older so I need to be prepared for his infirmity/passing.  Since I'm FIREing this year, my schedule will be free, with no job worries.

I'd like to have my own time off, but if that's not in the cards, no problem.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2018, 04:53:32 AM »
That post seems like the first chapter of a book. Your book.

Farmgirl

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2018, 06:32:40 AM »
Fantastic read!  Well done!

Vegasgirl

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2018, 07:07:56 AM »
Wow great inspirational story!!

dude

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 11:22:56 AM »
Fantastic read, Masstache! Gives me hope!

p.s. - are you in Mass.?

des999

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 11:52:08 AM »
good read, glad to hear you were able to be there for your dad, and that he is better.

Just for my own selfish reasons, b/c I'm always interested, are you expenses what you planned, more/less?

Thanks for sharing.

Mr. Green

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 03:42:48 PM »
Awesome! You make me look forward to reflecting on my two years FIREversary. Thank you for sharing.

Life in Balance

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2018, 06:02:00 PM »
What a great FIRE story!  Putting your priorities into action because you have the freedom to do so.  Thanks for posting this!

infromsea

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2018, 06:44:15 PM »
Thanks for sharing!

As I travel through my first year of RE, wondering if I can stay sane, I'm asking myself if you just have to a certain personality to do this long term (being indoors for the winter weather is enough to make me wanna work at 7-11). Would you say your experiences/motivation are more important that personality/mental modes/attitude?

As for learning carpentry, check out your local habitat for hummanity. If you show up on a regular basis for a few months and prove to be a hard worker, they might let you join the "red hats" (that's what they call it around here...) and those are guys who do the bulk of the work, on the days when the PITA "volunteers" are not around mucking things up  :)   If you can get into the red-hats, you'll be ready to build a house in no time. For learning, I suggest Larry Hauns "how to build a house", it's beginner level stuff but you could use it to build 90% of a home if you had to.

Thanks again for sharing, I'm gonna go text my dad now....

FireLane

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2018, 06:49:03 PM »
Great read! For those of us who have a little while left to work, it's inspirational to have a reminder of what we have to look forward to.

Mezzie

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2018, 06:51:34 PM »
I'm so glad this allowed you the freedom to be there with your dad when he needed you and that you're in closer contact now.

max924

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 11:09:38 AM »
Awesome post. Financial independence is so much more than 'not working'. It gives you the freedom to choose, therefore, have a more fulfilling life. So heartwarming to see how much of a positive impact having this freedom can be.

Btw, you should really consider doing more writing, that was done beautifully!

Hikester

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 09:44:07 PM »
Wow! Thatís great that you had the time to be with your Dad at such a crucial time, not having to worry about taking time off, returning to work etc.  This is what true freedom is all about. It is through stories like these that the priceless flexibility of FIRE is best portrayed. Thanks for sharing.

PrinsKheldar

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2018, 02:29:55 AM »
Thanks for sharing!
Great read!

Linda_Norway

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2018, 02:41:26 AM »
Thanks for your great story.

Yes, having the choice to to whatever the F you want is great. Whether it is doing your hobbies, travelling, looking after parents or running your side-hustle.

I also expect to have to jump in to help parents at some stage. We currently live abroad and now we cannot visit often, as it is too time consuming. But in FIRE we could consider moving there for some time.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2018, 07:15:26 AM »
Nice read and thanks for sharing! Its safe to say that I too haven't done half the things that I had planned to do but the flexibility of being fired has enabled me to take care of things as well I would not have had the time to. In addition to more meaningful time with family!

JoJo

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2018, 10:26:18 AM »
Thanks for sharing! 

lhamo

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2018, 08:58:08 PM »
My mom was diagnosed with congestive heart failure a few months after I FIREd.

I spent a good portion of the past two years helping her out -- taking her to medical appointments, running errands for her, etc. 

She passed away in December.  And I am so glad I was able to spend that time helping her and being with her.

Dicey

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2018, 10:54:54 AM »
Just passed my five year FIREversary. In that time, we realized MIL had ALZ. We cleaned out one of her houses and sold it, then cleaned out her other house and rented it out. Then DH and I each sold our houses and we bought a new one together that was appropriate for our newly re-formed family. Then my parents started failing. My Mom died and Dad didn't want to live in the house without her. We moved him to my brother's house in another state. My sister and I cleaned out their house, held an estate sale, and found a cash buyer at the estate sale. Then DH and I flipped a house, just for fun. We also BRRR'd two more somewhere in there. Then Dad died. My brother and I are co-executors and co-trustees. Even with the house sold prior to Dad's death, it's been a giant PITA and it's still not settled.

Is this the traveling lifestyle of my FIRE dreams? Nope, not at all. But when I reflect upon these years, I'm endlessly grateful that I wasn't trying to juggle a j-o-b while all this other stuff was going on.

Cassie

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2018, 11:06:43 AM »
We semi-retired 6 years ago at 58. I had to juggle care giving for parents with working f.t. so I know how tough that is. They were gone by the time I retired. I teach an online college class that I love and plan to do until I no longer love it.  I can do it from anywhere with internet so have done it from cruise ships and in Europe. WE are taking 2 cruises/year plus some rV travel so we can take our dogs.  WE are having a great time. WE have found plenty of discounts for things we want to do like go to the movies. During the week the theaters are practically empty. For anyone that loves movies you can get Moviepass for 10/month and see a movie every day for free.  WE also look for happy hour meal specials because it is no big deal for us to eat dinner early which we could not do while working.

Kay-Ell

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2018, 02:56:25 PM »
What a great story.  Thank you for sharing the beauty of financial independence even when it doesn't resemble what we might think "retirement" will be.  You got to be there for your parents during a tough time and in the process learned just how precious time with them really is.  I'm in the beginning phase of my semi-FIRE-ment and am slowly learning that I don't need to be anxious about my productivity as long as I know I'm being present each day.  For instance, today i'm spending time baby sitting a close friend's dog, post op, so she can take a break.  Tomorrow I'm taking my daughter to two medical therapies.  I still haven't replaced the flooring or remodeled the bathroom in my rental unit... and that drives me nuts.  But the choices I am making are about being present and connected to the people that matter most to me.  And when I look past my own ego, which needs a healthy dose of achievement to feel good about itself, I'm actually really happy with my choices.

pecunia

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2018, 05:38:19 PM »
Your tale was a good one.  It reminded me of something I was taught long ago by my father but I often forget.

The story didn't talk about money.  The story talked about people and not money.  I've been looking at money a lot lately in preparing to FIRE myself.  Maybe, I've been thinking about it to the exclusion of some other things.

My dad has been gone for almost twenty years.  I guess I still think a bit about him every day.

He used to tell me, "People are more important than money."  I think my old man was right.

StockBeard

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2018, 12:18:29 AM »
Posting to thank you for the inspiring story. Glad your dad got better!

August

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2018, 04:48:39 PM »
So... how's that job search going?

:)

Masstache

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2018, 08:56:10 AM »
Thank you everyone for the kind words!   I didn't expect my late-night beer-fueled ramblings to be interesting to anyone else, I just needed to get the thoughts out of my head.

My dad has been losing his battle, so the last few months have been a little tough for the family.  It is really hard to watch the steady decline of someone who had always been the "strong one" for everyone else.   But thanks to FIRE I have the flexibility to spend a lot of time with him and my mom. 

MarciaB

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2018, 09:05:04 AM »
We semi-retired 6 years ago at 58. I had to juggle care giving for parents with working f.t. so I know how tough that is. They were gone by the time I retired. I teach an online college class that I love and plan to do until I no longer love it.  I can do it from anywhere with internet so have done it from cruise ships and in Europe. WE are taking 2 cruises/year plus some rV travel so we can take our dogs.  WE are having a great time. WE have found plenty of discounts for things we want to do like go to the movies. During the week the theaters are practically empty. For anyone that loves movies you can get Moviepass for 10/month and see a movie every day for free.  WE also look for happy hour meal specials because it is no big deal for us to eat dinner early which we could not do while working.

I am in my second year of FIRE and have many similarities to Cassie (age, online teaching, travel, discounts, happy hours...) and I've got three elderly folks to boot who need attention. Not having to work every day is excellent!

Basenji

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2018, 12:31:07 PM »
Love your story! Thanks for writing it.

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: Some rambling thoughts on my 2nd anniFIREsary
« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2018, 02:53:28 PM »
That's awesome.  Yeah, there is usually so much going on in life that is important, so much you should do or need to do on top of what you want to do, its amazing we ever find time to work (and I admittedly used to work ALL the Time until just recently reevaluating after crashing)