Author Topic: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)  (Read 4283 times)

Greenblatt

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« on: October 11, 2017, 04:57:57 PM »
Early 40, in a stable relationship, no kids, few friends outside work (introvert), no real hobbies...
We have achieved FI but I really wonder what for. I totally understand people who FIRE to take care of young children but what's the point when you don't have much going on beside work? How do  you find meaning and purpose in FIRE? My job is easy and the salary is good but it is not that interesting. (Please serious replies only, I am really struggling with this). Thanks!

Gimesalot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 565
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 05:09:10 PM »
I think you really need to do some thinking about what makes you happy besides working.  You should try out different hobbies to see if any of them interest you.  Perhaps volunteer or charity work might be a good fit.  You are going to have to do the heavy lifting to figure out what you want in life.

MrThatsDifferent

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 166
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 05:32:26 PM »
This has been consuming me and I found joy by thinking about traveling and seeing the world. It’s tough if you don’t have any interests or hobbies.

rainbow_unicorn

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 05:35:18 PM »
personally - I think the question you're asking and the task you are seeking to accomplish is formidable... what do you do with your time that it is no longer scripted by commuting, working 8-5, commuting home, eat, sleep...repeat. Although mundane, there is something to having a routine that you share in common with a lot of people.

I would recommend as maybe a good place to start - asking yourself some (progressively) harder questions: from something as simple as - what did I do on weekends that I enjoyed? and would I want to do that activity more often now that you don't have to work? To questions like what do I want to create/ accomplish/ contribute today, this week, this year?

https://www.amazon.com/Artists-Way-Spiritual-Higher-Creativity/dp/1585421464

The book is short, and has a lot of great and insightful questions that you need to answer for yourself, and hopefully in the process - you will find the answers that you are seeking. wishing you the best of luck.


 
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 08:54:56 PM by rainbow_unicorn »

TempusFugit

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
  • Location: In my own head, usually
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 05:44:53 PM »
No one says you have to stop working.  If you enjoy it, by all means keep doing it.  But while you're still working make an effort to try some new things and maybe you'll find something that you really enjoy and would like to pursue.

The important thing, I think, is to foster a habit of trying new things.  I'm in that stage of my life as well, where I can see a possible end to full time employment in the fairly near future. I need to take the next couple of years to try some new stuff and see what I'd like to do when I have the time.  Even if I don't find the 'one' thing that I want to do, I will have practiced getting out of my comfort zone so I'm more open to new things.   


IWannaGo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 06:04:58 PM »
Hi Greenblatt, thank you for posting.  You're not alone and I appreciate your willingness to share this.  First, this may not be able FIRE'ing status at all but simply a life stage.  Many, myself included, achieved all the career success, followed the "American Dream", and now in my mid 40's I too am asking "what for???".  Without digressing too much - I chose a career influenced by others and familial pressure only to find it wasn't my calling or passion, albeit very successful.  So I too am in a similar situation whether you want to call it mid life, mini life....but god forbid a "crisis"...I don't care to see it that way.  I choose to see it as a wake up call, an opportunity to learn that something is not aligned....time for me to focus on me.  So maybe this is time for you to focus on you :-)

Note this, perhaps spend time digging in the last time you felt "flow" in a hobby or activity.  Get busy!  Try new things, try old things.... start with a top 10 bucket list to do within the next 2 months.  This will now be your full time job :-) You'll be surprised what you learn about yourself and maybe you'll find something that brings that spark, maybe you won't.  I'm sure you do, but be grateful for at least having your health and a partner to share and enjoy life right now.  Many people don't.

Noodle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 728
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 03:58:16 PM »
Well, first off, FI and RE are two different things. FI (financial independence) is a great goal for anyone, no matter what your work plans, because it gives you flexibility to handle disasters and just plain life changes. That perfectly good job could change quickly when your nice boss retires and the new one isn't great at managing, or as you and your spouse age, health issues can come up quickly. It is wonderful to be able to handle whatever life throws at you without frantic sessions with the checkbook to see if you can afford it.

RE (retiring early) absolutely isn't for everyone, and might not be for you. Some people actually really like their work, and find they like it even better (and are even better at it) when they don't have financial pressure involved. Other people just need a fair amount of externally-imposed structure and interaction in their lives, and find that work is as good a place as any to find it. Retiring at any age away from something (a job you hate) tends to be a lot less successful than retiring to something, whether that's family care, an ambitious travel agenda, or daily fishing.

Finding something interesting enough to rearrange your life for will probably involve trying out some new activities, organizations and friendships, or revisiting old ones. Doing service for others has a lot of rewards, and can be a great place to start when you don't know what to do with yourself. I mean, you may or may not find a new passion at Habitat for Humanity or the food bank but at least someone got a new roof or a box of groceries out of it.

Or, you know, a quiet, pleasant life with daily pleasures but not big goals, with or without paid work, is OK, too.

Larsg

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 91
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 05:13:51 PM »
Take the time to explore the world around you to see if something really sparks your passion. There is so much to do and imagine the impact you could have if you applied the skills you have to a charity you are passionate about. For example, there are so many endangered species in the world being driven to extinction due to deforestation, pollution (Whales, Orcas especially, Elephants, Big Cats), lack of food. So many have no idea that these things are happing or that they are contributing to the problem through blind consumerism. Imagine if you applied your self to promoting awareness and potential solutions about these issues. Or, do something amazing for you that you have never had the time to do without having to be back at work in a week or two - travel, cooking classes, classes in anything else you would like to explore. You can do volunteer work or just go for any job that looks interesting to you w/out care for how much it makes. Endless possibilities and a problem I hope to have very soon.

Greenblatt

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2017, 06:24:18 AM »
Hi Greenblatt, thank you for posting.  You're not alone and I appreciate your willingness to share this.  First, this may not be able FIRE'ing status at all but simply a life stage.  Many, myself included, achieved all the career success, followed the "American Dream", and now in my mid 40's I too am asking "what for???".  Without digressing too much - I chose a career influenced by others and familial pressure only to find it wasn't my calling or passion, albeit very successful.  So I too am in a similar situation whether you want to call it mid life, mini life....but god forbid a "crisis"...I don't care to see it that way.  I choose to see it as a wake up call, an opportunity to learn that something is not aligned....time for me to focus on me.  So maybe this is time for you to focus on you :-)


We don't have children as the clock is ticking loudly on that, this makes it all the more difficult. I can't help to compare my life with that of others. Realising that I haven't achieved that much and besides FI don't have much to show for for my first 40 years on this planet. Will get started on the bucket list :) Thank you for your comment!

Greenblatt

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2017, 06:26:41 AM »

https://www.amazon.com/Artists-Way-Spiritual-Higher-Creativity/dp/1585421464

The book is short, and has a lot of great and insightful questions that you need to answer for yourself, and hopefully in the process - you will find the answers that you are seeking. wishing you the best of luck.

Thank you for the suggestion. I will look into it.

Noodle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 728
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2017, 08:38:06 AM »
If you're feeling blue about not being much of anywhere at 40, you might try this book too:

https://www.amazon.com/Late-Bloomers-Brendan-Gill/dp/1579651089.

It's very short but full of stories of people who accomplished a lot in the second act of their lives.

Gumption

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 87
  • Location: HCOL
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2017, 09:16:19 AM »
This is what kept the late greats like Plato and Socrates up at night...and indeed so many more after that.

Most folks don't have to deal with facing this fundamental question as they are too busy with basic survival or just working their entire lives.

I have been dealing with that myself as of late (early-40s., 2020 FIRE)

It's super painful, but necessary to leading a real life of any value.

I feel lucky that I have put myself in a spot financially to start exploring these core questions.

As to what to do: Just start somewhere, fail or succeed, and think about what was good/bad. Repeat.
There are a lot of things that seem big, like taking a class, volunteering, etc. If it feels to big, or too much of a stretch, then start with something easier.

If, as a kid, you liked to ride a bike, then get on your bike a ride.
If, as a kid, you liked to to explore in the woods, then, by all means, go explore.

Last Night

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 118
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2017, 09:22:35 AM »
Early 40, in a stable relationship, no kids, few friends outside work (introvert), no real hobbies...
We have achieved FI but I really wonder what for. I totally understand people who FIRE to take care of young children but what's the point when you don't have much going on beside work? How do  you find meaning and purpose in FIRE? My job is easy and the salary is good but it is not that interesting. (Please serious replies only, I am really struggling with this). Thanks!

This is a very complicated question with a very simple answer.

You have to try to new things, explore different relationships, etc.  There is no right or wrong answer and there isn't a blueprint from someone else's life that you can copy.  Put yourself out there and learn more about others, yourself, potential interests.  Just do things that you like or even don't like and you will figure it out.

Slee_stack

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 523
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 09:50:33 AM »
Hi Greenblatt, thank you for posting.  You're not alone and I appreciate your willingness to share this.  First, this may not be able FIRE'ing status at all but simply a life stage.  Many, myself included, achieved all the career success, followed the "American Dream", and now in my mid 40's I too am asking "what for???".  Without digressing too much - I chose a career influenced by others and familial pressure only to find it wasn't my calling or passion, albeit very successful.  So I too am in a similar situation whether you want to call it mid life, mini life....but god forbid a "crisis"...I don't care to see it that way.  I choose to see it as a wake up call, an opportunity to learn that something is not aligned....time for me to focus on me.  So maybe this is time for you to focus on you :-)


We don't have children as the clock is ticking loudly on that, this makes it all the more difficult. I can't help to compare my life with that of others. Realising that I haven't achieved that much and besides FI don't have much to show for for my first 40 years on this planet. Will get started on the bucket list :) Thank you for your comment!
What is a person supposed to achieve?  What does almost everyone achieve?

What was/is your personal goal?

What bar are you measuring yourself against?  Gandhi?  Pol Pot?  Your random co-worker?  Why?  Do you get a prize if you 'win'?  What is that prize? 

I'm not making light of your situation.  I'm trying to get you to look at things differently. You may not have anything you enjoy today.   That doesn't mean that you will be the same way for the rest of your life.   At the very least....if work routine sated that void....some routine you've yet to discover will do the same...but hopefully in a far more fun/rewarding manner.


LifeHappens

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2210
  • Location: SnowBirdLand
  • Downshifting from 5th to 3rd Gear
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2017, 09:56:50 AM »
Another book that is often recommended here is "How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free" by Ernie Zelinski. It has several exercises you might find helpful in identifying interests and passions. There are also case studies on many, many different styles of "retirement." I put that word in quotes because not everyone stopped working for money.

merlin7676

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 133
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2017, 10:27:43 AM »
As a 41 yo, married, no kids, and also an introvert I can relate to the OP.

I think for me personally when I FIRE, I'm just going to do more of what I do now.
For example, I enjoy reading at lunch and bedtime, going for walks, working in the yard, riding a bike for pleasure, crocheting.  But of course I never have enough time to do all this as much as I want what with a 2 1/2 hour commute and working 8 hours a day plus all the daily life stuff.

So in FIRE, i plan to walk more, swim, take longer bike rides, do more yard work, ect.  Plus I'll probably want a easy part time gig or volunteer at an animal shelter, ect just to get outta the house and get some socializing in.

I think just like keeping up with the jones during working years, us FIRE people think we have to be purposeful or do things that further our knowledge or travel the world or "fill in the blank".  When in reality it just gives you the freedom to do whatever it is you want to do...period.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 10:30:12 AM by merlin7676 »

Greenblatt

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2017, 10:41:02 AM »

What is a person supposed to achieve?  What does almost everyone achieve?

What was/is your personal goal?

What bar are you measuring yourself against?  Gandhi?  Pol Pot?  Your random co-worker?  Why?  Do you get a prize if you 'win'?  What is that prize? 

I'm not making light of your situation.  I'm trying to get you to look at things differently. You may not have anything you enjoy today.   That doesn't mean that you will be the same way for the rest of your life.   At the very least....if work routine sated that void....some routine you've yet to discover will do the same...but hopefully in a far more fun/rewarding manner.

Not too sure... Children, meaningfull friendships, peer recognition, an overall sense of purpose, having a reason to wake up in the morning? Rather vague I agree. Thank you for your comment. It helps to put things in perspective.

FINate

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 652
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2017, 10:50:46 AM »
Quote
Behind the glorification of “work” and the tireless talk of the “blessings of work” I find the same thought as behind the praise of impersonal activity for the public benefit: the fear of everything individual. At bottom, one now feels when confronted with work—and what is invariably meant is relentless industry from early till late—that such work is the best policy, that it keeps everybody in harness and powerfully obstructs the development of reason, of covetousness, of the desire for independence. For it uses up a tremendous amount of energy and takes it away from reflection, brooding, dreaming, worry, love, and hatred; it always sets a small goal before one’s eyes and permits easy and regular satisfactions.  --Friedrich Nietzsche

As you're discovering, being free from busyness is a double-edged sword. Is there any deeper meaning or purpose to life or is it all meaningless, or as Stephen Hawking puts it:

Quote
“The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. We are so insignificant that I can't believe the whole universe exists for our benefit. That would be like saying that you would disappear if I closed my eyes.”

I think most people wrestle with this at some point in life, usually when old and frail and being stalked by death, at which point there's little that can be done about how one lived life. So consider it a blessing to be confronted with this age old question with much of your life ahead of you, as you now have the opportunity to live the "examined life."

Maenad

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
  • Location: Minneapolis 'burbs
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2017, 11:36:35 AM »
Another book that is often recommended here is "How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free" by Ernie Zelinski.

+1 on this book. His "Get a Life Tree" gave me a number of ideas on top of the list I already have.

I also second the question of "What did you like to do as a kid?" What was engrossing to you before the daily grind started? Did you like to look up at the stars? Then join an amateur astronomers club. Watch the clouds? Try being a weather spotter. Read a book in the shade of a tree? Then... read a book in the shade of a tree. :-)

Good luck! There's nothing wrong in struggling to find meaning and purpose. It just means you're human.

Linda_Norway

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1613
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2017, 11:57:27 AM »

What is a person supposed to achieve?  What does almost everyone achieve?

What was/is your personal goal?

What bar are you measuring yourself against?  Gandhi?  Pol Pot?  Your random co-worker?  Why?  Do you get a prize if you 'win'?  What is that prize? 

I'm not making light of your situation.  I'm trying to get you to look at things differently. You may not have anything you enjoy today.   That doesn't mean that you will be the same way for the rest of your life.   At the very least....if work routine sated that void....some routine you've yet to discover will do the same...but hopefully in a far more fun/rewarding manner.

Not too sure... Children, meaningfull friendships, peer recognition, an overall sense of purpose, having a reason to wake up in the morning? Rather vague I agree. Thank you for your comment. It helps to put things in perspective.

Meaningfull friendships is something you will have to do an effort to get. You'll need to meet new people. You might find them in clubs, voluntary work, or public hikes or something like that.

A sense of purpose can be reached by doing something for other people. Either in the form of a (part time) job or as voluntary work.

Children are something you need to decide on. Do you want to do al these parents parents need to do? Are you looking foreward to raising children? As a retiree you will have much more time for children than normal working parents. But realize that your retirement plans are much more restrained by having children.

Just start with the buckets list. And also think about the option of working like you do now, but take extended vacations.

jooniFLORisploo

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2831
  • Location: helping challenged people keep a job by doing their work for them
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2017, 12:06:14 PM »
A lot of us just can't find enough satisfaction in playing. Some of us only find deep joy when we focus on contribution. Building some Habitat for Humanity homes, or starting a nonprofit meeting another local need, or mentoring a teen, or teaching broke people how to fix their bikes so they can get to work, or...

ponyboy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 44
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2017, 12:32:23 PM »
Without kids you probably wont find much enjoyment or purpose in life.  Its just how it is.  More and more people are dying along due to being a DINK.  Sounds great when you're younger but later in life you'll regret it.

jlcnuke

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 179
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2017, 12:38:55 PM »
Early 40, in a stable relationship, no kids, few friends outside work (introvert), no real hobbies...
We have achieved FI but I really wonder what for. I totally understand people who FIRE to take care of young children but what's the point when you don't have much going on beside work? How do  you find meaning and purpose in FIRE? My job is easy and the salary is good but it is not that interesting. (Please serious replies only, I am really struggling with this). Thanks!

I don't understand the question.. your job is "not that interesting" and "easy" but somehow currently gives your life "meaning and purpose"? If you just need "something to do scheduled for you" to have "meaning and purpose" in your life then you can schedule yourself to go for a walk for 8 hours a day instead. I'd argue that most people's work provides no meaning and purpose outside of "getting a paycheck" (purpose) so they can do other stuff of "meaning". Once you're FI, then you can make "whatever you want to do" the "purpose and meaning" for that day. Whether it be relaxing, taking on a new hobby, enjoying an existing/old hobby, volunteering, participating in causes you believe in, etc..

If enjoying your life isn't enough purpose for you, there are currently over 1 million charitable organizations in the US alone (per the last statistic I could find) that could help you find "meaning" in life. If you donated 30 minutes of your time to each, you'd run out of time before you ran out of charities... assuming you never slept.
Delta card referral, 10k extra for both of us (60k total bonus miles for you) http://refer.amex.us/JEFFRC3xlu?xl=cp52

LifeHappens

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2210
  • Location: SnowBirdLand
  • Downshifting from 5th to 3rd Gear
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2017, 01:04:38 PM »
Without kids you probably wont find much enjoyment or purpose in life.  Its just how it is.  More and more people are dying along due to being a DINK.  Sounds great when you're younger but later in life you'll regret it.
I question your premise.

TempusFugit

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
  • Location: In my own head, usually
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2017, 01:32:15 PM »
Without kids you probably wont find much enjoyment or purpose in life.  Its just how it is.  More and more people are dying along due to being a DINK.  Sounds great when you're younger but later in life you'll regret it.
I question your premise.

Seconded.   I think you can find people in either demographic that are both very happy and fullfilled and unhappy and unfulfilled.   Does one or the other stack the deck in favor of one outcome?  Maybe.  I don't know.  I think that, much like early retirement, you can't expect a change in circumstance to change your level of contentment in the long term.  If you're miserable now, you'll probably be miserable with children or in retirement.   That isn't to say that you're powerless to change that, but it takes a bit of intention and effort.

Maenad

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
  • Location: Minneapolis 'burbs
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2017, 06:03:41 PM »
Without kids you probably wont find much enjoyment or purpose in life.  Its just how it is.  More and more people are dying along due to being a DINK.  Sounds great when you're younger but later in life you'll regret it.

Nice projection you got goin' on there.

jooniFLORisploo

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2831
  • Location: helping challenged people keep a job by doing their work for them
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2017, 06:20:57 PM »
Yeah, the "no meaning without kids" idea will sound strange to many of us. I find much meaning in parenting well, but I found at least as much meaning in the 30+ years before that...mostly via unpaid social work on behalf of marginalized adults. If I didn't have my kid, I would still be doing more of that (than I'm managing to do now) and hopefully also serving as an observer in war zones (among the several important things I won't do while a child is dependent on me). We can give so much, to so many different people besides children we raise.

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6721
  • Age: 61
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2017, 06:24:53 PM »
Without kids you probably wont find much enjoyment or purpose in life.  Its just how it is.  More and more people are dying along due to being a DINK.  Sounds great when you're younger but later in life you'll regret it.

61. No kids. No regrets.

Bateaux

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 798
  • Location: Port Vincent
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2017, 02:42:56 AM »
Volunteer.   Join a relief group.  Fly to Puerto Rico and help suffering people.  Go to California and help wildfire victims.  The Red cross, Team Rubicon, Salvation Army, local volunteer fire department.   There are people who do good works everywhere, who would love to put your talents to work helping others.  Your reward is it makes you happy when you help others. You don't have to bring a child into the world to be complete.  There are many children looking for love and attention.  Schools, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and children without parents would love your time.  Spend it well.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
 ― Antoine de Saint Exupery-

Class of 2019

Greenblatt

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2017, 06:41:46 AM »
I don't understand the question.. your job is "not that interesting" and "easy" but somehow currently gives your life "meaning and purpose"? If you just need "something to do scheduled for you" to have "meaning and purpose" in your life then you can schedule yourself to go for a walk for 8 hours a day instead. I'd argue that most people's work provides no meaning and purpose outside of "getting a paycheck" (purpose) so they can do other stuff of "meaning". Once you're FI, then you can make "whatever you want to do" the "purpose and meaning" for that day. Whether it be relaxing, taking on a new hobby, enjoying an existing/old hobby, volunteering, participating in causes you believe in, etc..

I might have phrased it wrongly. My job doesn't give any meaning to my life. It gives me something to do, allows me to get out of the house and meet people. In fact my life doesn't have much meaning at all. FIRE was something to look forward to, but now that I have achieved it I don't see the point. Most early retirees seem to find joy in having a lot of time to raise children. Since I am 40 time time isi running out. Did I miss something? What can I do now to not be miserable in 5 -10 years? Damn what can I do to not be miserable tomorrow? Thank you for your answer.

Greenblatt

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2017, 06:51:47 AM »
Without kids you probably wont find much enjoyment or purpose in life.  Its just how it is.  More and more people are dying along due to being a DINK.  Sounds great when you're younger but later in life you'll regret it.

I've unfortunately seen it both ways. I met 60 something estranged from there children who said they would rather never have them. I've met older parents struggling with the idea to put a disabled child (now adult) in a group home because they could no more taking care of him.... Most lonely older people also have children so it is not a sure way to hapiness in your older days. I find it also unfair to have a child as an insurance policy. This is another human being we are talking about, one that will have ideas of his own. I might be overthinking this too much... Thank you for your comment.

Greenblatt

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #31 on: October 14, 2017, 06:54:08 AM »
61. No kids. No regrets.

I know this is an unfair question, as we never ask why do you not regret having children. But I would be most gratefull if you could elaborate. Why no regrets? Thank you.

Linda_Norway

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1613
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #32 on: October 14, 2017, 10:25:57 AM »
61. No kids. No regrets.

I know this is an unfair question, as we never ask why do you not regret having children. But I would be most gratefull if you could elaborate. Why no regrets? Thank you.

I once asked a 60+ year old female colleague whether she regretted not having children. She didn't regret it either. She just had a good life with her own hobbies, friends and what more and didn't miss children she didn't have.

My mother on the other hand has two children, of which one (my brother) has produced grandchildren. She doesn't get to see her grandchildren often enough for her taste and is a bit frustrated about that. I live in another country and visit once a year.  So having children is no garantee for seeing them often when they are adults.

When I visit my brother and his family I like the children, but I also feel relieved to leave the house later. Children have a lot of influence on a household and I am not quite used to that. I appreciate some more quietness. Maybe that is just my age (44).
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 10:29:31 AM by Linda_Norway »

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6721
  • Age: 61
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2017, 12:59:56 PM »
One of the interesting things about being childless by choice is that people who have children feel free to be honest with you. A surprising number of people of my acquaintance have regrets about their children. It was a lot of work. They cost a lot of money. They did not turn out well. They are always asking for money. They never visit. They married people their parents detest. I am not saying all, or even the majority, but a startlingly large minority have negative feelings about their children. They do not tend to tell this to people WITH children, because there seems to be  some kind of code of silence.

Having said that, I have 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren, and I have no regrets about marrying a man with children. I started dating DH when his youngest was 12. They were good kids and are fully functioning adults. But I did not raise them. Their parents did.

SachaFiscal

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 168
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #34 on: October 14, 2017, 01:38:01 PM »
I’m in my early 40s and no kids. I sometimes look at others with kids and wonder if my life might be more meaningful but then I look at what people with kids have to go through and feel like I dodged a bullet. I’m trying out ER now and have had days that are blah and days that are meaningful. I think it is important to do a few things outside my comfort zone every so often. Im an introvert (or maybe just very shy) so going by myself to events where I don’t know anyone is slightly terrifying but I’ve been making myself do it. I find meditation and mindfulness helps me to find meaning in my daily life. It helps me be grateful and view the miracles of this world with a child-like wonder.

Just take some baby steps and do a few things outside of your normal routine.

Polaria

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 161
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Brussels - Belgium
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #35 on: October 14, 2017, 02:44:17 PM »
Volunteer.   Join a relief group.  Fly to Puerto Rico and help suffering people.  Go to California and help wildfire victims.  The Red cross, Team Rubicon, Salvation Army, local volunteer fire department.   There are people who do good works everywhere, who would love to put your talents to work helping others.  Your reward is it makes you happy when you help others. You don't have to bring a child into the world to be complete.  There are many children looking for love and attention.  Schools, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and children without parents would love your time.  Spend it well.

+1, totally agree. Plenty of good things to do when you start looking around.

I would add: creating "something" (writing a book, releasing music,...).
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 02:48:08 PM by Polaria »

FINate

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 652
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #36 on: October 14, 2017, 03:16:50 PM »
I have two kids. Love them more than I thought possible and super thankful for the gift of having them in my life. Outgoing love focused on others (as opposed to possessive love) involves sacrifice and effort, but this is additive rather than subtractive. That is, my love isn't divided between my kids, it has been added to with each kid. It's hard work and at times frustrating, disappointing, exhausting, scary. But the opportunity to love is worth it. As Brené Brown puts it a TED talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability/transcript)

Quote
This is what I have found: To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen ... to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee -- and that's really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that's excruciatingly difficult -- to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we're wondering, "Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?" just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, "I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive." And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we're enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, "I'm enough" ... then we stop screaming and start listening, we're kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we're kinder and gentler to ourselves.

Although my kids have helped me to better understand this, I don't think they are a necessary condition. On the contrary, those who look to kids to bring fulfilment and meaning to life are, IMO, likely to miss this bigger picture. Kids aren't about the satisfaction from seeing them succeed (however we define success), how they turn out. They are about loving for no other reason than they are worthy of it simply for being human, even when they disappoint or frustrate or even hurt us. As a father I sometimes think of what it would be like if one of my kids died tragically. Early on this gave me a lot of anxiety, but now I realize that even if the unthinkable happened all the sorrow and grief and pain would still be worth it just for having the opportunity to know and love them.

All this to say, I don't think people are necessarily missing out if they choose not to have kids. I think the key is to understand that it's all about connection with others, which can and does happen without kids. And unfortunately often does not happen with kids.

Step37

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 151
  • Age: 43
  • Location: AB, Canada
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #37 on: October 14, 2017, 03:44:42 PM »
Thanks for the Zelinski book recommendation; I’ve put it on hold at the library. I’m wondering about the same things as OP. No kids, and no regrets on that front (have never been interested), but not sure what I will do with myself.

My plan, which will be starting in the next couple of months, is to scale back work to two days per week and see what happens. There are things I want to do around the house, books I want to read... I don’t know. But I do know that I don’t love working (I even own part of the company... doesn’t matter) and have felt resentful about having to be there M-F, so I hired someone a few months ago to take over the day-day. My attitude is much improved.

I don’t have much of an urge for world travel. I’m a homebody and an introvert. I am hopeful that once I’m down to p/t and caught up at home, and have had time to breathe for a while, that a direction or focus will present itself. I’d like to do volunteer work in some capacity, maybe take up an old sport/hobby if I can come up with an affordable way to do it, perhaps help out my parents with downsizing (future me will thank me for this).

So, not much in the way of advice or suggestions, but I do hear where you are coming from, OP. Good luck with figuring out your path.
"Not wanting something is as good as possessing it." ~Donald Horban

jooniFLORisploo

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2831
  • Location: helping challenged people keep a job by doing their work for them
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #38 on: October 14, 2017, 04:04:57 PM »
I’m a homebody and an introvert.

And just to note... There are incredible volunteer contributions one can make from home and/or as an introvert! Much of mine has been this way. Volunteering doesn't have to involve schedules, chatting, groups, etc.

Hula Hoop

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 124
  • Location: Europe
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #39 on: October 15, 2017, 01:01:34 AM »
Quote
This is what I have found: To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen ... to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee -- and that's really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that's excruciatingly difficult -- to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we're wondering, "Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?" just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, "I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive." And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we're enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, "I'm enough" ... then we stop screaming and start listening, we're kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we're kinder and gentler to ourselves.

Although my kids have helped me to better understand this, I don't think they are a necessary condition. On the contrary, those who look to kids to bring fulfilment and meaning to life are, IMO, likely to miss this bigger picture. Kids aren't about the satisfaction from seeing them succeed (however we define success), how they turn out. They are about loving for no other reason than they are worthy of it simply for being human, even when they disappoint or frustrate or even hurt us. As a father I sometimes think of what it would be like if one of my kids died tragically. Early on this gave me a lot of anxiety, but now I realize that even if the unthinkable happened all the sorrow and grief and pain would still be worth it just for having the opportunity to know and love them.

All this to say, I don't think people are necessarily missing out if they choose not to have kids. I think the key is to understand that it's all about connection with others, which can and does happen without kids. And unfortunately often does not happen with kids.

Love this quote.  I agree that having kids and being part of a family in general, for me, is about the human connection for better or for worse.  It's just another profound experience that you could experience or not experience in life.  It reminds me of a nun I used to be friends with.  She had chosen to be celibate, which meant that she, obviously, would not get to experience a side of life and human connection that for many is very important.  But she's was perfectly happy with her chosen life of celibacy - maybe moreso than many non-celibate people as she had her deep religious faith to guide her and the sisters in her convent.  I think choosing not to have children is similar.  You miss out on a fundamental human experience but at the same time you can be perfectly happy in your chosen life - maybe happier than people with kids as your life is simpler.

Linda_Norway

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1613
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #40 on: October 15, 2017, 05:57:40 AM »
I have two kids. Love them more than I thought possible and super thankful for the gift of having them in my life. Outgoing love focused on others (as opposed to possessive love) involves sacrifice and effort, but this is additive rather than subtractive. That is, my love isn't divided between my kids, it has been added to with each kid. It's hard work and at times frustrating, disappointing, exhausting, scary. But the opportunity to love is worth it. As Brené Brown puts it a TED talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability/transcript)

Quote
This is what I have found: To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen ... to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee -- and that's really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that's excruciatingly difficult -- to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we're wondering, "Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?" just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, "I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive." And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we're enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, "I'm enough" ... then we stop screaming and start listening, we're kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we're kinder and gentler to ourselves.

Although my kids have helped me to better understand this, I don't think they are a necessary condition. On the contrary, those who look to kids to bring fulfilment and meaning to life are, IMO, likely to miss this bigger picture. Kids aren't about the satisfaction from seeing them succeed (however we define success), how they turn out. They are about loving for no other reason than they are worthy of it simply for being human, even when they disappoint or frustrate or even hurt us. As a father I sometimes think of what it would be like if one of my kids died tragically. Early on this gave me a lot of anxiety, but now I realize that even if the unthinkable happened all the sorrow and grief and pain would still be worth it just for having the opportunity to know and love them.

All this to say, I don't think people are necessarily missing out if they choose not to have kids. I think the key is to understand that it's all about connection with others, which can and does happen without kids. And unfortunately often does not happen with kids.

I quoted you as best quote of the day on the forum.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3347
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #41 on: October 15, 2017, 07:16:56 AM »
Early 40, in a stable relationship, no kids, few friends outside work (introvert), no real hobbies...
You seem to think kids, friends, hobbies would help you find more meaning in life ... so get some kids, friends, hobbies. 

You say you're pushing the envelope for having a child. Fostering or adopting are options open to you. 

You've received some excellent advice on how to locate /meet people.  Thing is, once you get involved in an activity and meet some people, you must take that next necessary step and  push towards a friendship -- after the meeting or activity is over, ask a couple people if they'd like to go out to eat, express how much you've enjoyed the day and ask if you might get together later.  Church is an excellent way to meet people and get involved.  Look around your community and see what's available; for example, in my area a group of people are involved in raising service puppies ... that group gets together to socialize the puppies; they go to the dog park, baseball games, the mall.  Always with the dogs so that they learn how to go out amongst people.  What's in your community? 

Good advice on hobbies too. 

If you're feeling blue about not being much of anywhere at 40, you might try this book too:
Yeah, milestone birthdays will make you think.

As you're discovering, being free from busyness is a double-edged sword. Is there any deeper meaning or purpose to life or is it all meaningless, or as Stephen Hawking puts it:
I agree that being busy all the time does prevent you from introspection.  I'm less sure that we should take such comments from Stephen Hawking seriously.  Whether we're important in the grand scheme of things has nothing to do with how we live our daily lives. 

Without kids you probably wont find much enjoyment or purpose in life.  Its just how it is.  More and more people are dying along due to being a DINK.  Sounds great when you're younger but later in life you'll regret it.
Totally agree.  My kids are the center of my life.  I know a few people my age who don't have children (and were very pleased with that choice when they were younger) who are now asking, "Did I make a mistake?"  I've heard plenty of people discussing rough patches with their kids, but I've never personally heard anyone say they wish they hadn't had the kids. 

Is this true for everyone?  Of course not, but I think most people benefit from children and family. 

anadyne

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #42 on: October 15, 2017, 10:17:16 AM »
Quote
My job doesn't give any meaning to my life. It gives me something to do, allows me to get out of the house and meet people. In fact my life doesn't have much meaning at all. FIRE was something to look forward to, but now that I have achieved it I don't see the point.
 

I think this actually does give insight into what some of your values are. You seem really achievement oriented, you like having something to work towards, and maybe some of that comes from a place of distraction (you can focus on a goal to keep from focusing on your every day feelings) - but in total, you really do gain purpose from having a tangible goal in front of you. You just haven't come up with your next goal yet.   

Meanwhile, work gives you a schedule and a venue to interact with people. You don't want to let go of that, because it's natural to crave feeling purposeful and human interaction. At the moment, you don't have a plan B for those things, so you keep going to work.  And in my opinion, this is totally fine. FI should give you choices, not mandate that you quit your job. You can choose to go to work each day for reasons other than financial necessity. But there are necessities in life other than financial - this is what you're experiencing. You still need the other things, outside of the paycheck, that come from your job. So just like on our quest for FI, you keep your job until you reach FI, similarly now you're on a quest for things that bring you purpose, so likewise you can keep your job until you accomplish that quest.

You already know you want your days to have a purpose, human interaction that you don't have to work too hard to engineer, and a tangible goal to work for. To me this says that you're already on your way to defining what comes next. Those are the basic parameters.

Sure, kids make this easy because the second they're conceived you are handed those three things as a package. You suddenly have purpose each day (keep them alive, arrange their schedules) and human interaction (them, all the people your kids make you interact with like doctors and teachers and other parents, etc) and a tangible goal to work for (helping them to reach each milestone). But that's certainly not the only way to get those things in your life, though them. 

I think right now you need to set yourself a new goal, but it's one that you'll probably be uncomfortable with because it's going to involve a lot of personal questioning and asking yourself what your values are, what you care about, what you're passionate about. At the moment you seem kind of deflated, maybe a bit depressed (post-achievement let down is real!!) so it's going to be hard to do personal questioning from that position, but I think the first part of that will entail not thinking you have to do the RE once you're FI just beause that came next on the list. Keep the job as a tie to things you need in your life (other than financial) until you can come up with the thing that will replace your job in giving you those things.

FR2000EE

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • Age: 51
  • Location: Albuquerque, NM
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #43 on: October 15, 2017, 11:11:10 PM »
I can relate to the OP. I am in my early 50's, single, with no kids and have achieved FI and tried to RE, by submitting my resignation last summer, but my boss negotiated for me to go part time. During this period, I had lots of time off and realized that a lot of my structure for my day came from the work schedule. And more importantly, I became aware how much I enjoyed talking with co-workers while we worked. So, I could see there was more to the job than the paycheck.

And, I also like staying up late and not being tied to an outside schedule, so I really enjoyed staying up as late as I liked and getting up whenever I feel like it. One of the best parts of being part time, was I could start my day anytime I wanted. Yet, after I was involved in a project at work, I worked nearly full time.

So, I realized that I don't have a full life outside of work at the moment. There has been a few couples in my main peer group that broke up, including myself and my partner.

I can see that life is never a bed of roses from all angles. Looking back, I would still do frugal savings, I like the freedom to walk away anytime I want. Just by submitting the letter of resignation last year, I realized I truly am free to run the experiment of FIRE.

I am trying to see this as an opportunity to create the last 1/3 of my life anyway I want, but it was surprising see FIRE is only a new beginning, which involves change and challenge, which is very different than being on vacation all the time, as I thought FIRE might feel.

Anyway, I relate to the original OP's struggle.

Larry
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 11:14:58 PM by FR2000EE »

Linda_Norway

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1613
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #44 on: October 16, 2017, 12:48:15 AM »
I can relate to the OP. I am in my early 50's, single, with no kids and have achieved FI and tried to RE, by submitting my resignation last summer, but my boss negotiated for me to go part time. During this period, I had lots of time off and realized that a lot of my structure for my day came from the work schedule. And more importantly, I became aware how much I enjoyed talking with co-workers while we worked. So, I could see there was more to the job than the paycheck.

And, I also like staying up late and not being tied to an outside schedule, so I really enjoyed staying up as late as I liked and getting up whenever I feel like it. One of the best parts of being part time, was I could start my day anytime I wanted. Yet, after I was involved in a project at work, I worked nearly full time.

So, I realized that I don't have a full life outside of work at the moment. There has been a few couples in my main peer group that broke up, including myself and my partner.

I can see that life is never a bed of roses from all angles. Looking back, I would still do frugal savings, I like the freedom to walk away anytime I want. Just by submitting the letter of resignation last year, I realized I truly am free to run the experiment of FIRE.

I am trying to see this as an opportunity to create the last 1/3 of my life anyway I want, but it was surprising see FIRE is only a new beginning, which involves change and challenge, which is very different than being on vacation all the time, as I thought FIRE might feel.

Anyway, I relate to the original OP's struggle.

Larry

Interesting to read this, Larry. But all in all it sounds like FI has made your life better and given you the possibilities to work more under your own conditions.

I also think that an eternal vacation doesn't fit everyone. Many need to to get themselves some new obligations and work with other people (paid or voluntary work). At least, after FI you have a choice of what you want to do and how much you want to do it.

PhilB

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 66
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #45 on: October 16, 2017, 06:06:59 AM »
If you are scratching around for something to keep you occupied, there is an awful lot of wisdom contained in the old saying: "If you want to be happy for a few hours get drunk.  If you want to be happy for a few years get married.  If you want to be happy for life get a garden."

FIREySkyline

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 62
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #46 on: October 16, 2017, 08:52:23 AM »
I've often said to my local Mustachians and family that FI/RE isn't a life purpose at all, it's just a means to enable you to fully focus on your life purpose. So let me provide some input that you do not find touted much on this site or in culture, and you can take it or leave it.

I'm just going to attempt a sequence of reasoning that may help you figure out what you are lacking and why.

At the end of your life, you get to take nothing with you. No money, no items, no experiences. If you get to have everything you want, have any experience you want, do nothing but things you think are fun, you will reach the end of your life still empty because you'll be leaving it all behind and wondering what the purpose really was. Now, if we're all a bunch of evolved biomatter/space dust, then the truth is your life has absolutely no meaning and regardless of how you manage to stimulate your senses, whether you do good or do harm to any other organism is absolutely meaningless and your only focus might as well be to figure out how to most satisfy your sensual desires for the duration of their existence (if they can be said to exist, and if desire can even be considered an accurate word) and to prolong that existence if you find any value in doing so. You can attempt to rationalize things some other way given the current state of "evolution" and species survival and the herd or whatever you like, but in the end none of it matters, even the survival of the human race is nothing except a random sequence of physics and chemistry that doesn't matter. If this is, indeed, your stance, I probably can't help you. Follow the other advice here and try to figure out what stimulates you and attempt to find some kind of satisfaction in it. I can give you a book's worth of argument for why none of the above makes any real sense when examined rationally and carefully, but we'll leave it abridged.

Now, the alternative thesis to the above is that there is a God who created everything we are and everything we experience. If this is true, then the ultimate objective which would bring ultimate satisfaction to our lives would be to live our lives in a way that is as close as possible to what he intended. And if this is the case, then our primary objective in finding meaning should be to figure out who he is and what his ultimate desire is for us. I could go into another book's worth of content on how to come to the logical conclusion regarding who God truly is and how we can know, but again, let's leave this abridged.

In summation, I have learned through the course of my ~30 years of life that the most rewarding things you can do, and the only things you will truly find satisfaction in on your deathbed are what you did for others -- acts of love and selflessness. I have known since before aiming for FIRE that my goal in life was to love God and to share his love with as much of the world as possible. Tangibly, this translates into a desire to spend as much of my time in this physical life as possible serving the poor (in both finances and in spirit) and rescuing those in oppression and bondage (specifically victims of sex trafficking) because I believe every one of these human beings has a soul which is of infinite worth individually. It's not just about some collective good, because the "collective good" doesn't necessarily do any one person's soul any good; each person matters on an individual level, and their experiences and desires are all unique. I want to impact as many individuals in a positive way as I can during the course of my life as possible and FIRE is a fantastic way to shed 40+hrs / week of distraction to focus exclusively on this objective no matter what it requires. My pre-FIRE goal is to make my career double in achieving this objective as much as possible while I still require the income (in practice, making money when focused on helping those in need [if the job isn't government subsidized, which I do not want, because those positions restrict your ability to truly be able to do what you believe is right and important] is difficult and to do it full time is generally to forego the ability to make any significant money). But all my FIRE objectives and principles of minimizing meaningless excess are completely in-line with my overall life mission; it's perfect harmony.

So that is the short answer from my perspective -- that you won't find satisfaction in anything until you understand the true context of your life and what it really means, and that should be your first focus. Keeping distracted with pleasure or occupied with tasks is counterproductive until you know where you're headed. I'm not going to turn this post into something looking like a "propaganda" brochure, but feel free to message me if you'd like some resources for logical minds that can help point you in a direction that makes sense. Over the last few hundred years there are countless examples of well-reasoned writings from intellectual giants that step through this ultimate question of mankind in the most logical way possible that I find very helpful.

I definitely wish you the best in your journey!

jooniFLORisploo

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2831
  • Location: helping challenged people keep a job by doing their work for them
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2017, 09:51:27 AM »
Quote
Now, if we're all a bunch of evolved biomatter/space dust, then the truth is your life has absolutely no meaning and regardless of how you manage to stimulate your senses, whether you do good or do harm to any other organism is absolutely meaningless and your only focus might as well be to figure out how to most satisfy your sensual desires

[...] the only things you will truly find satisfaction in on your deathbed are what you did for others -- acts of love and selflessness.

FIREySkyline, you essentially said that if one doesn't believe in God, any good they do for others is meaningless, but if they believe in God, the exact same action makes all the difference. Ack. Obviously I disagree. While I live entirely by the same philosophy -that all meaning lies in truly helping others- I sure disagree that it's only meaningful if we also happen to believe in a third party. The person freed of sex slavery is freed regardless of our personal belief system, and it still matters.

FIREySkyline

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 62
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #48 on: October 16, 2017, 09:57:41 AM »
Quote
Now, if we're all a bunch of evolved biomatter/space dust, then the truth is your life has absolutely no meaning and regardless of how you manage to stimulate your senses, whether you do good or do harm to any other organism is absolutely meaningless and your only focus might as well be to figure out how to most satisfy your sensual desires

[...] the only things you will truly find satisfaction in on your deathbed are what you did for others -- acts of love and selflessness.

FIREySkyline, you essentially said that if one doesn't believe in God, any good they do for others is meaningless, but if they believe in God, the exact same action makes all the difference. Ack. Obviously I disagree. While I live entirely by the same philosophy -that all meaning lies in truly helping others- I sure disagree that it's only meaningful if we also happen to believe in a third party. The person freed of sex slavery is freed regardless of our personal belief system, and it still matters.

Hi joon. I didn't say it does or doesn't matter based on what you believe, I said it does or doesn't matter based on reality. If God is God, then humans have their value established by their creator. If this is all a random sequence of events, then there is no logical argument for why doing good for others matters. Now, you're correct, it is rewarding, and I would argue that there is a reason for that. But, if people are literally nothing but a sentient clump of cells then saying that doing good for others matters is like saying doing good for robots would be important if they gained sentience -- they'd still just be electronics and code.

See the difference? It's an important one.

I'm not trying to start a debate, I'm trying to help the OP.

LifeHappens

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2210
  • Location: SnowBirdLand
  • Downshifting from 5th to 3rd Gear
Re: How to find meaning and purpose in FIRE? (40yo no kid)
« Reply #49 on: October 16, 2017, 10:01:15 AM »
I'm not trying to start a debate, I'm trying to help the OP.
See, the thing is, I don't think telling OP they HAVE to have kids or their life is meaningless or they HAVE to find religion or their life is meaningless is at all helpful.