I’ve been thinking about this more lately. I’m not online more or less than anyone else, but like it can be with drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, maybe even doing it every now and then is not all that good of an idea. Of course, everyone does it, and it’s not clear given all the other ways our lives could be devastated, that doing something ‘mildly bad’ is a problem per se, but the accumulation of these ‘mildly bad’ actions can culminate in our life being less than in could have been, less rewarding, and less fulfilling.
There is an unnatural, discontinuous nature to our interactions on the internet vs. living life. Our lives have a finite, fleeting (analog) nature whereas our participation online is perfectly (digitally) captured and spread more deeply and permanently. In a sense, our worldly experience is imperfect but real, whereas our online contribution is an alien representation of ourselves. In the modern world, this online life is becoming more ‘human’ and living a life without internet interactions is becoming foreign.
Anyway, I’m interested in starting the conversation. What do you think about where this new reality is headed?
As the title implies, this is a spurious, ill-advised putting of pen to paper. This is not some investigative journalistic burning of the midnight oil trying to perfect a narrative and balance personal thoughts against what sells well. This is just a stab in the dark from one guy that wonders what saying something on the internet might do. Hopefully my comment section is on and not blocking too much, I love comments but there is so much spam out there. And I don’t really check in too often, given that this is just me actually (as opposed to MMM saying it) typing shit on a keyboard. I collect no income and have no advertisements or sponsors or affiliates. It’s really just this page – 2D. What you see is what you get.
So, Early Retirement seems to be captivating an audience. I don’t blame them, I used to be enthralled. And, although it hollows out your formative experiences with money woes (working to save as opposed to blowing the load ecstatically again and again), I still would not complain. It is undeniably foolish to work and have nothing to show for it.
But maybe there is some middle ground. I probably should have enjoyed my 20’s more, like going out to restaurants and bars and stuff. I did actually enjoy my 30’s since I was married and things went from being tough (but not unbearable due to my 20% down-payment on a starter house and having no student loans) to my wife getting pregnant a second time and being able to quit her job. It would have been barely possible for me to retire at 45 or 50 going the route we were on, a single income family and two kids.
But then, sensible people as we were, we got opportunities to make more money and had no need to spend it. In our early 30’s we made 200k for 2 years and we saved over 100k/yr. In my mid 30’s we did the same again for 2 years.
So technically, I hit FI at 35 (1 million dollar net worth), but at that point, life had just become interesting. Now we had options and I had great experience in my industry.
From 35 to now 45, life has been incredible. I can’t imagine passing it up knowing what I know now, but such is life. Are you stretching for FI looking to collapse in ER on the ‘finish line’ or are you going to hit your stride and pass the FI milestone feeling young and fresh, the world being yours to take, and ER being whatever you want it to be.
A terse post, but this came to me and then bothered me all day. I just need to get it out, in maybe an inelegant way.
I read FIRE bloggers and they seem to think it is all about themselves, whereas, most normal people do the things they do for their kids. Sure, everyone has some self-indulgence along the way, but bloggers just reach their own goals and then it’s all about themselves, their experiences, how their kids will pay for their own, etc. The other side, the ‘mainstream’, typically want to and are more than willing to sacrifice for their kids. It is the meaning of life, especially when your back is up against the wall. You stop caring about yourself, and hope your kids get a better deal.
FIRE bloggers are unique. Maybe their kids will get this new world in a new way that works better than passing on ‘handyman-type skills’, only time will tell, but bloggers certainly don’t seem to live only for and be willing to sacrifice for their kids.
I wonder what it would look like if mankind ever said, ‘well, that’s good enough’. We have self driving cars that go over 100 mph, we have cheap international travel, and we have decent infrastructure. Let’s just keep this stuff, enjoy the abundance, and pass it down.
Maybe, just maybe, it would be helpful to others if I went transparent with what our finances looked like over the years since graduating college. I could present it in an accelerated format (balance sheet and net worth) with each month presented weekly, or even faster when nothing exciting transpired. So maybe I adjust the schedule when life-changing things like work opportunities or market crashes present themselves? Still thinking….