Ok, I’m back from my 28-hour break! Thanks to so many for encouraging me to continue. Boy did it feel amazing to unwind after publishing my post on shutting this site down. Just the act of not responding to a single comment allowed me to recharge my empty battery by a couple percent. I’m feeling like a billion bucks now!
Oh, and around 888 of you told me I published my post on April Fools’ Day. What a coincidence! Well, not really. I would be a real fool to shut this site down when I already pre-paid for a discounted full year of hosting because I’m frugal like that. I also have financial obligations to a sponsor as you’ll see in the very next post.
Besides, ~74% of my traffic passively comes from search engines like Google. Therefore, I could theoretically not publish another word for at least a year before I notice a greater than ~26% decline in traffic. Go internet! You so amazing.
Make Sure You’re Having Fun
Speaking of business, I was reminded of something very important on April Fools’ Day. Hobbies are no longer as fun once they feel like work. For seven years, like a juggernaut, I’ve been methodically writing, publishing, editing, reading, and responding to folks. FS started as a hobby, and I lost my way once I lost my job! Ironically, the larger this site got, the less free I became because I felt my obligation to help others growing. When you are in a position to help, help you must.
To be quite frank, as soon as I published my post on quitting I felt a HUGE sense of relief. The feeling was exactly the same feeling I had when I walked out of my employer’s door for the last time. No more pressure to prove my worth. No more dealing with unreasonable people. No more kowtowing to the man. No more faking joy during times of misery. I also felt a great sense of excitement about what was coming next even though I also feared the unknown. I truly hope all of you can one day experience this fearful yet exhilarating sensation.
Everything I wrote in my goodbye post was true, except for the quitting part. I don’t plan to quit until I reach the 10-year mark in 2019. Then who knows. I firmly believe a huge part of success in everything is sticking around long enough to see what pops out of the ground. Many of you smartly suggested I just cut down my posting schedule to just once or twice a week. That’s a no brainer solution.
We all better have some fun doing what we’re doing or else what’s the damn point? It would be a travesty to look back on our lives with regret because we did only what we were supposed to do and not what we really wanted to do. Whether you make mega millions or get paid peanuts doing something you love, so long as you are having fun, you’re hedged against any sort of financial disappointment!
What Did I Do During My Time Off?
After responding to about 70 e-mails (e-mail subscription for posts and e-mail subscription for newsletters), I decided to go play tennis at 8:30am with a buddy. He also read my post on shutting down, and I’m not sure if he realized I wasn’t being serious about quitting. Between each point, I kept experiencing this deja vu moment where I was reliving the first days of early retirement in 2012. It felt exciting to be free of responsibility again!
After tennis I took a shower and went to my club’s dining room to eat some brunch. There I was, sitting with a bunch of 65+ year old folks eating a Manhattan clam chowder and reading the Money section of USA TODAY. I took a picture to commemorate retirement from my retirement job.
After I was done with brunch I drove home to do my taxes of all things. I had already spent three hours filling in all my information the day before and was ready to e-file but the software said I had a bug. I spent another three hours trying to fix the bug to no avail until I talked to my father who experienced the exact same thing! He told me he was able to get someone live to resolve his issue. Inspired, I got on an e-chat with a tax preparer and she helped me out in a jiffy.
You see, part of solving impossible problems or reaching goals is realizing other people have solved them too. It wasn’t until Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile in 1954 did a wave of others start also breaking the 4-minute mark. I plan to continue showing what’s financially possible on FS.
By the time I got done with my taxes, it was 3:15pm. I drove all the way back downtown to the Bay Club at Golden Gateway to play another couple hours of doubles with some friends. It’s free guest day every first Friday of the month where they also serve alcohol and food! As an early retiree, you get to know about all the good deals around town.
A bunch of us sat in the hot tub until about 8pm with our beverages until it was time to go. After all, I had to get home to write this post before I passed out from a marathon day of booze and exercise.
Having a lot of freedom feels amazing, but everything gets old after a while. I long to have a purpose every day. The purpose can be as simple as applying touch up paint to my window sashes or helping out a personal finance consulting client with their financial plan. So long as there’s something to do, I’m happy. Don’t you feel the same?
Don’t Forget To Look Up Sometimes
It’s really hard to not get caught up in whatever we’re doing and miss all the other amazing things that are happening around us. I remember sitting on my balcony in Hawaii typing away not even realizing there was an amazing double rainbow gracing the sky until I was tapped on the shoulder to look up. Double rainbows don’t last long, but I was able to get this shot.
From now until 2019 I promise to lead a more purposeful life that’s much more balanced. I will work on not taking anything personally from those who lash out. Also, I plan to keep on going no matter what. Maybe I’ll cut the posting frequency down to two times a week when I start getting burned out again. But I certainly won’t just leave everybody high and dry!
- There’s a great many of you who read, but never comment. Don’t be shy! If there’s a problem you have that I cannot address, I’m sure someone from the FS community can help.
- I love to hear your stories of progress. They motivate me to keep on writing. Your stories also help keep me grounded.
- It’s easy to take people for granted. It’s even easier to take free things for granted.
- Never quit until you’re absolutely sure all avenues are exhausted. Burnout is inevitable if you do something long enough. Quitting cold turkey often isn’t the best solution. Take a break. Reduce your output. But whatever you do, don’t get rid of all the effort you’ve put in up to now.
- Having a community is wonderful. We should all find ways to support each other. At the same time, let’s not forget to take care of ourselves once in a while.
- It’s hard to stop doing what we’ve been doing for so long. If we’re not careful, we’ll wake up one day and wonder where all the time went. Let’s enjoy the present down to the very minutes.
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