Author Topic: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.  (Read 5033 times)

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
The husband (ha!) and I have been on the MMM path for a few years.  We're 31 and save roughly half our income.  We give nearly another 5% to charity.  No kids planned but we are tethered to a house and a well-loved dog.  We have a tentative plan to quit our jobs around 42-45 and work just enough to pay our daily bills, because our retirements will be well-funded at that point.

But.  That is so far away!  And lately I've been feeling so restless. There's a whole host of reasons for this restlessness, starting with the fact that my husband and I started dating when we were just 20 and ending with us spending our whole lives in the suburbs of one state. 

We are typically very good at finding happiness where we are.  We hike, bike and spend lots of time outdoors.  I typically love reading and cooking too -- we are, mostly, homebody-type people.

Except lately I've been feeling like I'm not ready to settle into this life.  I didn't take full advantage of my 20s; I was too career-oriented (which HAS paid off, but you're only a twentysomething once).  We have money set aside for travel now, which helps, and my career is going well, which helps too.

But we are low on friends in our current city, family is getting us down, and I'm wishing we spent more time acting like the young childfree people that we are.

There's a neighboring city where we have some built-in friends -- more than the suburbs where we are now.  My work also has a regional office in that city, and there is some precedence for headquarters employees being based at regional officers.  We have full-time telework available, if approved, but I believe you need to be reasonably close to an office in case of IT issues, etc.  So moving there for a little while is not completely untenable.

However, the husband is a teacher who is not certified in that state, and having him switch districts (and states) seems like a lot of hoops to go through for a temporary move, with real pension implications.  He has nine years of service in our current state.  I think it's wiser for him to get to twenty years of service in one state before attempting to leave to another state.  (Likely, once he hits 20 years, he's out. I'm the breadwinner.)   I hate hate hate realizing this though -- I hate being/feeling trapped.  But it does seem shortsighted to ignore this.

I'm trying to balance my restlessness and work flexibility with his work limitations. One option that jumped to mind is to spend just a summer in the neighboring city.  I think it would be trickier but probably not impossible to get telework approved for just the summer.  Or, perhaps I could even drive down for two days of work and stay with family the night between -- it's only about a two-hour drive, so doable if a little crazy. 

I think we could probably fairly easily find a house/cat sitter for the summer, at one of those house-sitting websites, although I'd love to hear if others have experiences with that.  The only real hangup that I can see, beyond getting telework approved, is that we'd have to pay for both our mortgage and rent.  This seems financially stupid but less financially stupid than some other things I could be doing with this feeling of restlessness.

But looking at this plan from the outside I do have kind of that sinking feeling that this is half-baked, unlikely, doomed to fail.  Or maybe it'll just be too uncomfortable.  I don't know. 

What would you do if you had a serious sense of restlessness, some work flexibility, fairly solid finances, no kids and a summer to play?

Axecleaver

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3390
  • Location: New York
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2016, 11:11:07 AM »
The primary issue is that you don't have enough social engagement in your life. Most people underestimate how truly difficult it is to make friends after you're out of college. There's so little time to schedule around work and kids (if not for you, for your peer group) that it's hard to find free time to spend with a friend, even when you have time available.

You're lonely! We're having some of the same challenges, but at a different life milestone - empty nest. We've spent the last 20 years working hard, raising kids, and keeping a nice home, and haven't spent much time developing friendships. It takes work and effort to maintain them, and we're trying to make time for that now.


former player

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4752
  • Location: Avalon
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 11:14:55 AM »
If you could make the move to your neighbouring city for the summer, why not make a more adventurous move for the summer, or at least some of it?  Some telework plus some paid time off plus maybe some unpaid time off for you, to make up the whole of your husband's summer off?  Somewhere that seems more exotic to you than the city next door?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2016, 11:16:41 AM »
I mean...I would have a child. But I imagine you've considered that and it isn't the answer you're looking for.

Fishindude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2141
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2016, 11:21:47 AM »
45 Will be here before you know it.

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2016, 11:25:41 AM »
The primary issue is that you don't have enough social engagement in your life. Most people underestimate how truly difficult it is to make friends after you're out of college. There's so little time to schedule around work and kids (if not for you, for your peer group) that it's hard to find free time to spend with a friend, even when you have time available.

You're lonely! We're having some of the same challenges, but at a different life milestone - empty nest. We've spent the last 20 years working hard, raising kids, and keeping a nice home, and haven't spent much time developing friendships. It takes work and effort to maintain them, and we're trying to make time for that now.

Yep, this is definitely true, 100%.  We have a community where we live now, via biking, but we don't have FRIENDS really.  Most of my close friends moved out of the state (and for some reason these days I am feeling "lame" for never having done that -- although for my career, you can't beat our state).  I'm still close with them but get to see them only rarely.  Most of our other friends are in a (different) city 45 min-1 hour away, and I'm not real close with most of them anyway.  Plus we're entering a stage of life where many people are getting pulled under into the black hole of caring for young children.

People who are more like us typically live in cities, so it's difficult for us to make good friends in the suburbs.  We've talked about trying to get into the city more, but how do you even make new friends?  Plus we're so particular about people. 

But this reasons a real question about the city plan -- what exactly is the point of living there for 10 weeks?  I suppose if we cement those friendships we could travel up there more often, and maybe eventually move there permanently, if we wanted. 

If you could make the move to your neighbouring city for the summer, why not make a more adventurous move for the summer, or at least some of it?  Some telework plus some paid time off plus maybe some unpaid time off for you, to make up the whole of your husband's summer off?  Somewhere that seems more exotic to you than the city next door?

This is another thing I've considered, although it seems counter to the develop-stronger-relationships thesis of the previous post.

I mean...I would have a child. But I imagine you've considered that and it isn't the answer you're looking for.

Ha.  Nope.  Nope nope nope.  I do waver on this, occasionally, but I for sure need to get this sense of restlessness OUT of my system before committing to a freaking baby.  I think likely we'll never have kids though.  Our interest is too rare and passing.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3065
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2016, 11:32:39 AM »
I found it hard to make friends in the city because city people are more likely to be transient. I vote for something more exciting like teleworking for a month from a different country. Maybe your husband needs to do a certificate in Istanbul and you must accompany him?

parkette

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 77
  • Age: 36
  • Location: PEI, Canada
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2016, 11:41:40 AM »
Since you have such a great savings rate, could your husband take leave for a year? You could move to the other city even if just for the year, and he could see how easy finding a job is in that state.

I work for the feds (in Canada) and I know the feeling of the golden handcuffs. However, I value the freedom more than the pension so I'm always reminding myself that we can (and we do) fund our retirement otherwise, and it's okay to leave it when the time is right. Maybe that time could be sooner for you and your husband than you think...

Apples

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 934
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2016, 12:45:20 PM »
I second (third? fourth?) the idea that y'all need friends.  I know this because I also need 1-2 good new friends and I feel many of the things you mentioned.  Can you attend a regular gathering of some sort?  A workout class?  Local hiking club?  Beer tasting club?  I"m in a book club, but have yet to develop real friends out of it.  I go to a knitting group, so there's that....haha.  After 4 months I was invited to a non-club activity by someone, and now 6 months in I have 2 new friends.  Are they absolute best friends material?  No, but they're certainly friend material.  You have to go find the people.  Any neighbors around your age that would love to come by when you guys crack open the grill for a new season?  I'm a homebody type, but I've learned that I have to make the effort to talk to people and invite them over, or I won't have friends.  Seriously-in college the girls who ended up being my friends remarked that I was always the one reaching out to new people.  Yeah, b/c I was the out-of-state kid w/o any friends, so I had to start somewhere.  Fortunately, reading cool books and making interesting meals makes for great dinner conversation :)

choppingwood

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 531
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2016, 12:53:17 PM »
I second (third? fourth?) the idea that y'all need friends.  I know this because I also need 1-2 good new friends and I feel many of the things you mentioned.  Can you attend a regular gathering of some sort?  A workout class?  Local hiking club?  Beer tasting club?  I"m in a book club, but have yet to develop real friends out of it.  I go to a knitting group, so there's that....haha.  After 4 months I was invited to a non-club activity by someone, and now 6 months in I have 2 new friends.  Are they absolute best friends material?  No, but they're certainly friend material.  You have to go find the people.  Any neighbors around your age that would love to come by when you guys crack open the grill for a new season?  I'm a homebody type, but I've learned that I have to make the effort to talk to people and invite them over, or I won't have friends.  Seriously-in college the girls who ended up being my friends remarked that I was always the one reaching out to new people.  Yeah, b/c I was the out-of-state kid w/o any friends, so I had to start somewhere.  Fortunately, reading cool books and making interesting meals makes for great dinner conversation :)

+1

You are going to have to put some sustained effort into this. If you can't be bothered to go into the city and you are so "particular" about people, you aren't going to make friends.

GardenBaker

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Location: Texas
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2016, 01:00:29 PM »
+1 on finding friends. Can you see if they're some local Meetups in your area? I've seen them for an array of interests and hobbies!

You can still go visit you're friends several hours away on the weekends or holidays, but it would be nice to have friends you could have over for dinner on a weeknight or meet up with for a common hobby!

esq

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Location: Humble, TX: World's Biggest Oxymoron
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2016, 01:15:02 PM »
Are you in or near a city where MMM meetups are possible?  I've made two good friends from a local message board.  I actually set out to find friends one year, and found a couple of like minded people on a local messageboard.  This was 5 years ago.  I love my new found friends.

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1559
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2016, 01:33:21 PM »
Not much to add other than to empathize with you on sometimes just being able to turn of parts of my brain, throw caution into the wind and just go for it.  Alas, that only lasts about a day or two for me and then i'm back calculating what the long term effects are.  My wife is the one with the uncanny ability to 'just do it.'  Sometimes I wish I could be more like her.  =(

backyardfeast

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 899
  • Location: Vancouver Island, BC
    • My journal
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2016, 01:41:20 PM »
Sounds like it's also time to give some time to considering what you would like your life in FI to look like.  Will you stay where you are? Travel?  What kinds of hobbies are you looking forward to having time to do more of? Could you do some of those things now?

I'm slightly confused about why, if you're saving half your incomes now, you would still need to work part-time to cover daily expenses when your retirement is funded, especially if you're including your husband's pension.  I understand why it makes sense to stay with his job for another 11 years to get that pension; are you sure you would need to keep working, though?

I am all for setting up mini-adventures.  Take advantage of your husband's summers off to either have him earn extra income that speeds up FI, or do some traveling/adventuring or experimenting with different possible FI lives. 

In our experience leaving our home city for a year and then returning, much of the community that we had left behind had dissipated.  It really wasn't possible to recapture what we had had in place, and we ended up deciding to leave again.  We see our closest friends there every 6 months or so and keep in touch by phone more often.  We have made some new friends in our area, and although they are aren't our closest confidantes, they are great people who allow us to feel like we have spontaneous fun times locally, while also still having the emotional connection to our closest friends/family by phone.

Good luck--I completely sympathize with restlessness!

Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1209
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2016, 08:49:47 AM »
I think this is a good place for what Chip and Dan Heath, who wrote the book "Decisive" called "ooching," meaning to try things on a small scale before going big and costly. So aside from all the great advice about making new friends as adults, where could you add more adventure and variety into your life? Our brains encourage us to settle into routines because it saves so much mental energy, but it's not good for us in other ways. Even changing up regular routines like where you grocery shop or go to church (if you do) would help, not to mention mixing up the fun things like deliberately making time to go into the city or seek out weekend adventures...plus it would probably liven up daily life in terms of giving you new things to talk about (even if you agree you hated them!). You've got years to go before retirement--if making small changes this summer doesn't work, you can look at traveling or doing an extended stay elsewhere next summer--and it won't feel like a foolish experiment because you've tried the smaller version first.

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2016, 06:28:42 PM »
Regarding meeting new people and making new friends, have you gone to meetup.com to see about groups in your area?

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Help me blow up my life without...completely blowing up my life.
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2016, 01:15:21 PM »
Sounds like it's also time to give some time to considering what you would like your life in FI to look like.  Will you stay where you are? Travel?  What kinds of hobbies are you looking forward to having time to do more of? Could you do some of those things now?

I'm slightly confused about why, if you're saving half your incomes now, you would still need to work part-time to cover daily expenses when your retirement is funded, especially if you're including your husband's pension.  I understand why it makes sense to stay with his job for another 11 years to get that pension; are you sure you would need to keep working, though?

I am all for setting up mini-adventures.  Take advantage of your husband's summers off to either have him earn extra income that speeds up FI, or do some traveling/adventuring or experimenting with different possible FI lives. 

Oh we have so many FI plans.  Slow travel / moving is a big one for me.   Lots of hiking and biking and reading.  We have a few small business ideas that will not make much money but will fill some time (and perhaps create some community).  And we do our best with mini adventures -- we are going away every other weekend for the next couple of months, really.

I think my bigger issue is just feeling trapped in my daily life here, the everydayness of it.  Like, why do I live in the suburbs.  I feel like I jumped forward too fast to embrace a life I can have at any age, but now I'm wondering how to wring the last bits out of my twentysomething life (as a now thirtysomething). The music scene in my city leaves something to be desired, or we somehow still haven't broken into the right group yet -- but the husband is in a band so I think he would have by now.  I'm surprised it's this difficult, but we have fewer roots and connections here (ironically, since it is my hometown).

Regarding FI, you're right, I'm probably being too conservative.  However, I'm a fed, which means that my pension is not inflation adjusted from the time I retire to the time I begin withdrawal -- so I'm hesitant to let that get completely destroyed by inflation.  If we have enough saved, though, I might just say eff it and walk away.  I'm sick of following all the rules.