I'm not sure what I'm expecting from posting this. It's more of a dump of my thinking. It feels like these thoughts are trying to squeeze out of my brain and I need to let them go "somewhere."
I'm married, two kids under 10, have been working extremely hard in my industry for the last 15 years. I'm now almost 38. I got serious about saving when I was about 25 (2004). Started off at about $5k/year (which was quite a bit at the time for me) once student loans were paid off. By 2007, stache was growing about $15k a year and it's grown from there. Last year in 2015, stache grew by $125k. This year is already significantly higher than last year and there's still 3 months to go.
So 12 years of saving. Earlier years were lower savings rate, but I've managed to grow my "stache" not including our home to around $600k. We're not terribly frugal but we do watch every penny we spend. Kids enjoy gymnastics, skiing, skating, soccer, etc. We have a tutor for my one daughter but our vehicles are both 10 years old and we have an iPhone4 that we share between the two of us.
I work full-time and I also have my own freelance business on the side.
I work in technology and I'm burning out from it. I don't have the passion I once did when PocketPC's were "strange" and programming was more about technique than it was frameworks and environment configuration. Design these days is nothing extraordinary. Web apps are driven from frameworks like bootstrap and it's just not the "Wild West" of the Internet anymore.
I liked the Wild West. It was fun.
I live in perpetual anxiety about my career and money. I don't have enough to FIRE but I don't think I'd want to. I enjoy being busy. I go crazy if I'm not. But what could that "next thing" be. I don't know how to find it nor do I know how to make time for it. Right now, the sun is shining and I'm making hay, but I'm sensing darker clouds and storms brewing. Should I continue to make hay while the sun shines? The sun may not shine forever.
I really like the idea of Semi-Fire. Let the stache grow, knowing that it's a significant safety net but that it doesn't need to be touched. Quit my job and become a "part-time dog walker" or "stand-up paddle board instructor"
But I'm making hay right now. I fear that when I jump off the ball (hence, the thread heading) that I'll never be able to get on the ball again and even if I do, I'll have burned through savings and it will still be too late.
I turned down a job a couple years ago that offered a full DB pension after 30 years. My biggest fear is that I'd become one of those people who say "if I can only put up with one more year..."
But here I am... thinking "If I could just get through another year" I'll have my stache up to $750k... Then it's another year... And another. But, at a $1 million stache at 40... I suspect I'd feel better and not worry as much. But then, am I going to replace worry about making money with "keeping" the money?
What I Want
1. I want to be able to FIRE. Not to actually FIRE, but knowing I can. From that I suspect comes perceptual freedom which is really, really important to me.
2. To be content. I realize you can't "buy" content and happiness. It comes from within.
3. To do something I love to do and make some money doing it. I'd love to do is find a job/start a business that allowed me to make good money, work in changing environments doing something that I enjoy while still maintaining control over my time.
What do I enjoy? I don't know. I know I really enjoy the beach, water, personal finance and helping people.
Looking for thoughts and suggestions? I don't know how to accomplish #2 and #3 above? #1 is something I'm already moving towards.