Author Topic: Choices in 2018  (Read 2272 times)

Mr. Green

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Choices in 2018
« on: December 31, 2017, 03:15:56 PM »
Happy New Year, everyone!

I was hoping I could solicit some feedback/thoughts on a dilemma I will shortly have.

I FIRE'd for the second time in June. I spent 5 months not working, which I thoroughly enjoyed, before I picked up a part-time job stocking groceries. I took the job mainly because I wanted to see what made Publix so awesome, and I wanted to get out of the house a bit. I figured stocking groceries would be a good way to get some exercise. I don't care for a second about the money. Yay FI!

We have our house up for rent and expect to have a tenant by Spring (we now rent somewhere else), at which point my wife could stop working and we can do whatever we want. We're trying to start a family so there's definitely part of me that wants to maximize our chance to see some of the world before a child arrives.

However, I'm also liking what this job is doing for me physically. Injuries have piled up over the last couple years, and time spent away from the gym as a result has made me pretty weak. I suspect the weakest I've ever been. I had some serious pain in my left knee this spring that I thought might require surgery and some back trouble this summer that I was concerned could be disc related. The body of evidence I have at this point indicates I have just been getting weaker because I always worked in an office, I stopped going to the gym due to injuries, and I'm getting older. I thought I could just hop right back into CrossFit but I forget that father time is creeping up on me. I'm now in my mid-30's and those first aches and pains are starting to show.

This grocery stocking job is pretty intense. There is literally no standing still. There's always something to do and my role in the department has been mostly stocking so I'm constantly lifting 10-40 pounds. I can get going and be mildly sweating for a couple hours at a time with the proper intensity. It's probably like being paid to go to intensive physical therapy. I've been there for a month and a half now and after working 3 days straight I'm still pretty wiped out. It basically takes all my time off just to physically recover from the demands of the job so I'm not very adventurous outside of work right now. This is the biggest draw back. I definitely do not feel "retired." However, I'm already noticing that it hurts less now after 3 days than it did 2 weeks ago. I can now bound up the stairs, two at a time, without pain in my left knee. I haven't been able to do that in probably two years. My back problem has mostly disappeared as my back and core muscles are strengthening. I won't get ripped stocking groceries but I could build a very solid muscular foundation if I stuck with it and got my diet right.

I have wanted to buy a one way ticket to somewhere and see where it leads us as long as I have had the FIRE dream and that's what I always thought we'd do after my wife leaves her job. However, I'm not getting any younger and I cannot deny the appeal of a "forced" exercise regimen that would help me immensely. I don't believe I'm strong enough to return to a gym setting like I'd like to (CrossFit), and I doubt I would voluntarily put myself through the amount of pain I'm going through now to see rapid physical changes. So there's a part of me that also thinks delaying travel, until after a child if necessary, might be the best choice for me physically.

If I did forgo our opportunity for childless travel, I'd want to make the most of it by finally getting my diet locked in. One of the cool things about that is that I work in a grocery store with tons of good, clean food to eat. I've dropped two pants sizes since I started there and if I dialed in the diet I would be in the best shape of my life, weight-wise, within 60 days. Strength-wise I'm guessing it would take 6 months to build a solid foundation.

So my dilemma is travel and freedom and self-directed exercise vs. work and (most likely) accelerated physical improvement. Thoughts?
Took the leap in June 2016.

omachi

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2017, 03:46:08 PM »
Do you really have to choose? It sounds like you're looking at spring as a target for both you and wife to be FIRE. So keep up the groceries until that point. Pick a time, like early May, when you're going to be itching to get outside, and make that your FIRE again date. Work your butt off stocking groceries until then.

After another four months of hard labor, you're going to be in decent shape. At the very least, the worst of the being wiped out will be over. You're probably not going to be making much in the way of gains just from stocking at that point, anyway. Your body should adapt to a constant load in four months time.

Then take your freedom and go travel while you don't have a kid. Traveling with kids (even when they're somebody else's and they're caring for them) isn't anything like traveling childless. Seriously, go now while you can.

Just maintain your strength on the road. It's enough. It's hard to improve fitness while traveling and still enjoy the travel. Then get yourself into a proper strength routine where you can make the gains you want when you get back.

lhamo

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2017, 03:50:44 PM »
Keep the job while you are TTC. If getting pregnant has been a challenge your wife may want to stay closer to home during the first trimester anyway. Second trimester is great for travel. Most morning sickness is gone and energy levels go back up.
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soccerluvof4

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2018, 06:18:45 AM »
I'm a little confused by your post but if you think you ache now wait till your in your 50's. As a person that was a serious fitness guy I trashed my body by all the heavy lifting etc.. I found I needed to reinvent the way I do things and not feel guilty for not being able to lift what I use to be able to do. The key I found is to stay active and not worry about how much you can lift but to make the time in or out of the gym count. For example now I walk outside or do the eliptical, treadmill, row etc.. about 6 days a week but lift on average 3x's a week . The difference is I lift more in a cardio state doing light weight high reps and I dont stop and usually do 2-3 exercises at a time. Heck you could walk or hike and carry weight. My point is your going to age so accept that but that does take time. Figure out away to incorporate as much of your exercise into what your doing. Right now your stocking in a store but eventually your body yes will get use to that and your body wont suffer as much but it also wont be exercise anymore because things have to be mixed up as your body gets used to things.

I agree with others stick with it till spring and see how it goes and over that time if I am understanding your question right start thinking about low impact good exercise you can incorporate into your life if you do slow travel.

Side note- I was offered a job I am seriously considering this spring working a couple days a week at a golf course. I would be able to walk there about an hour away. Get a lot of exercise cutting greens etc.. and being outside. I just have to let them know the week before what days I want to work and usually start by 5:30am and be done. So thinking maybe 20-25 hours a week I might do if I take it. So that would take care of alot of my "walking" steps and then just would need to fit in some resistance training which I easily could do with some dumbells at home. But not sure I want to work at all because I have to get me knees replaced and in doing that I really need to exercise around what hurts "today"!

Good luck to you.
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BTDretire

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2018, 06:33:13 AM »
I'm a little confused by your post but if you think you ache now wait till your in your 50's.

 I'm confused too, but my number was, 'wait till you're in your 60s'.
 I also have back problems, (herniated disks) and a knee problem that happened
when I was doing a honeydo, I got a ladder out to dust a tall dresser we have
and somehow damaged my knee. A year later it still gives me trouble.
 Just keep plugging away.
 I have a 72 year old friend, his sugar started to get a little high, doc told him to lose 10 lbs,
he started walking daily and cutting out bread products and lost the ten lbs. It did bring his sugar down to normal levels.

DanLee

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2018, 06:38:00 AM »
How did your job interview go, taking a job in a different field? Does your boss know you are FIRE?

Mr. Green

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2018, 03:49:56 PM »
How did your job interview go, taking a job in a different field? Does your boss know you are FIRE?
I definitely got questions from all the managers. "Why is a former software engineer who made over $100 an hour applying for a grocery store job?" I was honest. I told them I couldn't deal with being stuck in an office any longer. We moved and I no longer needed to work. I wasn't working before applying for the job but I thought part-time work would be interesting and I thought if there was any job worth applying for, it would be at a company that perennially ranks as one of the best in the country for how it treats its employees. I never used the word retired because all most people see when you say that word is the stereotype.
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Mr. Green

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2018, 04:10:25 PM »
I suppose I might not have to choose but I'm really hoping the house rents ASAP, which would make it feel like more of a choice. I definitely have days where I question if I need to put myself through the physical strain. After 3 straight days of working I'm toast. That was the case today. My whole body ached and I did nothing but sleep and lay around the house reading because I'm so tired. My last 3 day stint was on a small amount of sleep (switching from evening to morning shifts) so I slept for 30+ of the following 48 hours after my last shift. I'm hoping that much of this is simply getting used to a physical job which is unlike anything I've had in the past.

There are some things I notice that I'm not sure if they're unhealthy or are just an adjustment happening, like I have a carpal tunnel-y type thing going on where my left hand goes numb. I believe it's because I'm a lefty and use that hand to place most things on the shelf. I'm trying to get better about being ambidextrous and hoping things like this fade away as my body toughens up. Sometimes I question if I'm not going in the wrong direction though when, on my days off I'm tired and my left hand is in some state of being asleep for half the day. A minor complaint I suppose but I'm just trying to be conscientious of trading one injury for another if I'm over doing it. I've also been overly generous up to this point for being scheduled up to 39 hours a week, even though that's not really what I signed up for. A store grand opening is a different beast so I've been waiting for things to completely settle before setting a hard line on 4 days a week being my limit. I think physically that would help my recovery though.

It has been incredibly eye opening going from a career in the whitest of white collar jobs to a blue collar job. I overhear conversations in the break room about not grocery shopping until after a paycheck is cashed (and this is weekly!) and in my mind I just shake my head. I can't help but wonder if the job market out there is much more polar than I ever imagined, and I just happened to be on the good end for all these years. Every time I overhear something like that I am extremely appreciative for what we have in life.
Took the leap in June 2016.

lhamo

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2018, 04:21:23 PM »
Does the numbness start/seem concentrated in the outer fingers of your left hand (pinkie ring and middle finger)?  If so you may have cubital tunnel syndrome -- similar to carpal, but it is the nerve that is running through your elbow that is being pinched.   B complex vitamins can sometimes help with nerve issues.  But you really need to avoid anything that aggravates it.  A lot of heavy lifting could be bad.   For me, I have to be careful with not resting my elbows on tables or arm rests. 

I also question a bit your correlation of fitness/strength with crossfit.   I know it works for some people, but seriously -- I feel like I have heard more crossfit horror stories than successes.   People do serious damage to their bodies by doing to much, too intensely, too soon.   The work it til you puke it mindset baffles me.   I'm no pinnacle of fitness, but I'd rather take my slow and steady approach than end up with multiple rounds of injury. 
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Mr. Green

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2018, 05:51:20 PM »
The numbness is my whole left hand, typically. It started about two weeks ago. Never had a problem before that. I enjoy the high intensity interval component of CrossFit the most. I've never run myself that close to the edge because I like to think I listen to my body better than that. All my injuries have happened outside of the gym. This might just be one more thing I have to figure out how to change in my FIRE transition, how to develop a good exercise plan that I like outside of a community gym setting.
Took the leap in June 2016.

Hikester

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2018, 12:45:56 PM »
How about if you travel now and go to a gym that is less challenging than CrossFit.  You donít have to workout at a CrossFit level to see huge improvements to your strength and wellbeing. Travel will force you to walk a ton which is a great for back issues. This way you could get the best of both worlds, exercise without injury doing it gradually AND see the world before your child arrives while still young enough. Look at MMM workout setup, you donít even need a gym membership to get strong and fit.
Happy 2018!
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Sun Hat

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2018, 04:55:56 PM »
The numbness is my whole left hand, typically.

Not to scare you, but it's also possible that the nerve is pinched at the spine by a bulging disk. At the low point of my fitness after an extended illness, I decided to do some heavy work around the house and promptly injured a disk at C6/C7. Other than some massive initial pain, the main symptom was that my right hand was numb for about 6 months. Fortunately, the remedy was strengthening and some stretches, rather than anything more invasive. While I'm pain-free and can feel my hand now, I think that I'll always have to be careful with movements at that joint (I learned this by kayaking last summer - the next day was a doosie!) It may be worthwhile for you to see a physiotherapist, just to gauge where your nerve is being pinched so that you can avoid hurting yourself more.

As for what to do, I'm with the others. Stay put for a few more months, then travel before babytime.
"You need a little bit of insanity to do great things." ~ Henry Rollins

Mr. Green

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 07:38:52 PM »
The numbness is my whole left hand, typically.

Not to scare you, but it's also possible that the nerve is pinched at the spine by a bulging disk. At the low point of my fitness after an extended illness, I decided to do some heavy work around the house and promptly injured a disk at C6/C7. Other than some massive initial pain, the main symptom was that my right hand was numb for about 6 months. Fortunately, the remedy was strengthening and some stretches, rather than anything more invasive. While I'm pain-free and can feel my hand now, I think that I'll always have to be careful with movements at that joint (I learned this by kayaking last summer - the next day was a doosie!) It may be worthwhile for you to see a physiotherapist, just to gauge where your nerve is being pinched so that you can avoid hurting yourself more.

As for what to do, I'm with the others. Stay put for a few more months, then travel before babytime.
Did you only have numbness in your hand? I was reading about pinched nerve at the spine and it sounded like when the nerve is pinched that close to the spine it typically results in numbness in part of the arm as well. I now can feel some fatigue from use in the left wrist and there are occasions where the hand muscles don't move smoothly, like there's a catch at the wrist. I'm fairly confident it's an over use injury resulting from all the wrist movements involved in putting items on shelves but I'm very conscious of other symptoms in case it's something else.
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Sun Hat

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2018, 06:48:04 AM »
In addition to the numbness in my hand, I also had occasional pain at my shoulderblade and elbow, but the first and most lasting symptom was the hand numbness. It recurs without the other symptoms if I sit slouched or lie with my neck propped at an odd angle. While I usually ascribe to a policy of ignoring aches until they go away or self-directed stretches, I actually found going to the physiotherapist useful for the stretches that they prescribed.

I did discover a temporary remedy that may help you determine if this is your issue or not. I find that relaxing in a standing forward bend allows my head to act as a weight and provides very gentle traction on my pinched nerve. Now, if my hand tingles, I do forward bends until I feel my upper back relax, and voila - the feeling returns to my hand. Provided that you don't have any reasons not to do forward bends (I find them lovely for relaxing my hamstrings and lower back), it may be worth trying.
"You need a little bit of insanity to do great things." ~ Henry Rollins

Mr. Green

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2018, 01:56:05 PM »
In addition to the numbness in my hand, I also had occasional pain at my shoulderblade and elbow, but the first and most lasting symptom was the hand numbness. It recurs without the other symptoms if I sit slouched or lie with my neck propped at an odd angle. While I usually ascribe to a policy of ignoring aches until they go away or self-directed stretches, I actually found going to the physiotherapist useful for the stretches that they prescribed.

I did discover a temporary remedy that may help you determine if this is your issue or not. I find that relaxing in a standing forward bend allows my head to act as a weight and provides very gentle traction on my pinched nerve. Now, if my hand tingles, I do forward bends until I feel my upper back relax, and voila - the feeling returns to my hand. Provided that you don't have any reasons not to do forward bends (I find them lovely for relaxing my hamstrings and lower back), it may be worth trying.
I will keep tour technique in mind the next time my hand is numb. I bought a wrist brace and so far I've been okay. The biggest offender was during my sleep, as I'd wake up with the hand numb almost to the point it was painful, like icy hot to the extreme.
Took the leap in June 2016.

Salim

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2018, 05:31:18 AM »
I had the same symptoms you describe and did not heed the warnings, I guess because I like hard work. I developed both carpal and cubital tunnel syndromes in both arms. Also got bone spurs and other issues. Had carpal release surgery in both wrists. Now I seem to have permanent nerve damage... even light work, typing, writing by hand, or playing a musical instrument can bring pain and numbness, so I have to avoid those activities.

People are not all built to do the same work. I wish I hadnít tried to prove I could do some things that ended up breaking me. Iíve shifted to lighter activities, so Iím okay, but wish I hadnít inadvertantly been self-destructive in the past.

Life in Balance

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2018, 02:28:34 PM »
For your hand issue, you might try stretching your chest muscles (e.g. place arms on either side of door frame and step through).  If I don't keep my chest stretched out, my hands go numb, particularly when I sleep.  Too much time with my hands in front of my body working, my chest/shoulder muscles tighten up along with my upper back.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2018, 03:11:29 PM »
@Mr. Green, congrats on your increasing fitness, and the thoughtful choice of post-FIRE gig.

As someone in his 50s returning gradually to physical activity after a dry spell, I found after a few months that I had unrecognized injuries built up.  They did not resolve through continued exercise.  I then got assistance from trained physical therapists (there are people with doctorates in this stuff specifically).  Two and a half months later, with only moderate effort, one injury (shorthead tendonitis, related to painful shoulder joint) is resolved; now working on foot injury.  Sometimes pros can help.  Re healing, yes proper rest helps; in any case, keep paying attention, seek pro help when in doubt.

Re job vs travel, my instinct is do the travel.  Eventually other factors will make it harder.  Exercise can be done anywhere.  Maybe consider gradually learning some body weight workouts once or twice a week after the store opening lightens your schedule.  When you travel, you could increase the body weight workouts to 3 or 4 times per week. 

Anyway, best wishes in using your wonderful state of having choice.

infromsea

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2018, 04:24:52 PM »
I won't get ripped stocking groceries but I could build a very solid muscular foundation if I stuck with it and got my diet right.

I'm in my early 40's and, as others have said, if you think you have aches now, wait till you put on a few more years.... UNLESS....

You mention diet. I highly suggest you look into the damage that MIGHT be caused by consuming sugar/carbohydrates/certain oils.

Many people are finding that their aches and pains subside/go away when they cut sugar, lose the carbs and switch from seed based oils to olive/avocado oi. I recommend a paleo or keto diet, it will reduce inflammation and inflammation is likely as the root of many of your problems.

From another angle, I've actually considered going to cut firewood or other physical jobs since I'm currently FIRE and I spend a lot of time running and lifting weights in place of doing a physical job. I have a part time job coming up that involves installing dish washers and microwaves and I look forward to the physical aspect of the job and have told my SO that I would RATHER have  PT job that had a heavy physical component instead of having to use weight lifting and running to get my physical stimulation (I LOVE to move, always have).

Best of luck to you in 2018 Mr. Green.

Cheers,

Mr. White

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2018, 05:03:58 PM »
Iím struggling with the idea that someone who is Fired feels they need to be a stock person for ďforcedĒ exercise!?! To be FIRED at your age shows your mental commitment, youíre not working at an office now and because of your stock job, youíre stronger now.  Great. Now, you can carry on your own, travel the world and exercise anywhere and everywhere. Download the official 7 minute exercise app or program and do that 2-4x a day, 3-5x a week.  You can do that anywhere with body weight and it has science to show the impact.  Walk every day for an hour, no matter where you travel to. Invest your FIRE time into figuring out how to exercise, eat healthy and motivate yourself without it being forced by a job. Youíre stronger than that, put that weakness behind you.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Choices in 2018
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2018, 07:22:36 PM »
The nice thing about FI is that there aren't any wrong choices, other than making one based on money.  We started travelling in earnest after our kids were born.  It cost more, but was also a way to put a mark on certain parts of a fast-paced timeline.  Now, whenever we go to Norway, we think of our kids as infants and whenever we go to Dubai, we think of our children as kids.  Now that they are older, we are staying put, so that is a real thing that limits us.

But as for exercise, you should be doing that all the time, job or not.  I don't get why people think working means that you eat like crap and watch TV.  I do justify that I'm working  so I can eat fresh salads every day.  I prioritize exercise (and my children's activities) over everything else.  Maybe I'm weird that my employer let's me start work early and leave early?  But since I'm FI, I'd just quit and figure it out if this weren't the case.

Good luck MG, I'm sure you'll figure it out!
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