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Live in the Moment?
Old 08-31-2009, 11:54 PM   #1
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Live in the Moment?

Hi folks,

I am finding that I am having more and more of a hard time "living in the moment" so to speak. In other words, I find that i am unable to enjoy myself, for the most part. I continue to look forward to some future event. The only exception is when i go on vacation, where I feel that I can finally stop and take a breath. (But of course vacations only remind me of how much I want to FIRE)

My j*b is OK. I don't love it but it's above 95% of the jobs out there. It's fairly pleasant. I really shouldn't complain.

My life otherwise is quite fine. I am married, 30, no kids and not planning on any. I have supportive friends and no major health or financial issues.

The big picture is that I feel that i am in a race chasing FIRE. I feel that all I am doing is to keep myself intellectually occupied until FIRE, then I can finally live for myself and not just to sell my time for money.

While this is a great reason to LBMM and save and invest, I feel that this is a very unhealthy attitude. I am at least 10 years away from FIRE. We may be able to pull it off by eating catfood only in 2016.

Any suggestions? i don't want to wake up one day and realize my life has passed me by.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by GoodSense View Post

Any suggestions? i don't want to wake up one day and realize my life has passed me by.
DIN, do it now. Give yourself a two-year sabbatical and then start over with the job nonsense.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:01 AM   #3
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GoodSense, I have a good sense of what you mean (pun intended). Part of the reason for that is that I had hoped and intended to pull the plug 3 months ago today at the time I joined the forum in July of 2007. Part of it is that I don't have a hobby to enjoy (other than posting here), or something else with a nearer-term achievability than FIRE, now slated for late 2012 for me (unless something happens in the meantime). And, part of it is that we are going to be empty nesters in 10 more days.

With FIRE 10 years away for you, my advice would be to find some other shorter-term interest to have in addition to your FIRE goals. I have been focusing more on fitness the past couple of weeks, because I need to, and because I need a diversion that I can enjoy that also gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Hope you find something that suits your needs, gives you the diversion, but allows you to stay on track to FIRE.

Find Joy in the Journey...
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:25 AM   #4
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Not having any hobbies or interests shouldnt be a deterrent to retirement as you will probably discover some interests once you retire,you'll definitely have the time. and if all you do is nothing it only becomes a problem if some one else keeps nagging you to do something.
"Second star to the right and straight on till morning"
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:28 AM   #5
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I think I understand.
I had to dial back to 1998 to remember the 10 year before FIRE mentality, according to my (then) Plan A to do an "early out" in 2008.
W*rk was tolerable but starting to degrade for reasons outside my control. I felt "stuck"...10 years was close, but not close enough. All efforts and energy were focused on the target (FIRE).

What I would suggest is to compartmentalize your mental focus on FIRE. In other words, use only part of your time to think about FIRE.
Make a deal with yourself that you will not think about FIRE 24/7, but turn instead to another activity (or several) that you enjoy that has nothing to do with FIRE. Mind over matter, so to speak.
The possibilities are endless. Take a seat and list your current interests or things you've never done but have always had an interest in doing.
Pick one and go forward.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:06 AM   #6
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Start practicing "retirement" on your weekends. How do you envision your retirement? Give yourself little 2 day slices of that!
Make no mistake, my friend, it takes more than money to make men rich. - A. P. Gouthey
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:13 AM   #7
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I understand what you are going through (it's also in my sig line, sort of). It's easy to fall into a trap in that extreme, though -- imagining *every* expense, no matter how much you can afford it, in terms of how much it will delay your being able to escape w*rk. And thus, utterly being unable to spend any discretionary income or excess cash flow, no matter how much you can afford it.

Though a bit morbid, I remind myself that our cemeteries are loaded with people who were living completely for the future they never got to see. So I do make it a point to remember to think about today, since we know we have a today to enjoy and we don't know we'll have those tomorrows.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:27 AM   #8
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I understand and have BTDT. The first few years at a job are fun and interesting. After that, vacations are not just a luxury. They are a necessity.

Maybe you need more, shorter vacations spread more evenly throughout the year. Otherwise, I would consider either the catfood and 2016, or changing jobs. Sounds like something's got to give.
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities. - - H. Melville, 1851.

Happily retired since 2009, at age 61. Best years of my life by far!
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:44 AM   #9
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If you truly have a 95th percentile job, you are the envy of the masses (or those employed and job-seeking at least). Do your job, clock out and go home. Rock it out at night and on the weekends. Wake up Monday morning and go back to work.

One thing I have done is simplify my saving, investing, and money management to the point that it is on autopilot. Don't waste time on things that are unimportant. Focus on the big picture and don't sweat the small stuff. I know that is generic canned advice but very pertinent if you feel your life is wasting away "waiting for FIRE".

Pursue your dreams and interests NOW, because life isn't waiting for you. One day you will wake up dead.

I was guilty of "living for the future" for a while (and still do to a certain extent). But once I realized I'm not getting any younger, and wealth basically accumulates itself on its own, I moved on to indulging myself now.

Take the vacation(s) you want. Spend a little bit on it. Pursue interests that you want. Try out a new hobby or pastime. Reconnect with your spouse, family, friends, etc. Learn a new skill. Whatever you want to do, you have to do.You will hopefully have some epiphany at some point that gives you the motivation to "live in the now". For me it was watching my kids grow up and realizing that each day of their youth is a day that I can never experience with them again. As a result, I make my time with them quality time. Whatever you find yourself doing, make sure it is a good use of time.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:09 AM   #10
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That is a long time to coast. And retirement is so much more than financial--if you have nothing now that makes your heart race other than the distant retirement, what will you do with all that time when your cards fall into place and you can retire?

Is there something you were passionate about when you were in high school or college? Can you return to those interests?
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:20 AM   #11
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Be careful about spending too much energy on your FIRE goals and not enough on living your life. I had a major reality check this week when DW and I lost a good friend to cancer at the age of 30.

Even before she found out she was terminal she knew how to LIVE. While my FIRE goals are still important to me, I don't want to sacrifice my life for them. We'll still budget, save and invest but I'm sure we'll be spending a bit more time and money on us and the things we want to do.
Rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt. - Benjamin Franklin
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:46 AM   #12
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Bestwifeever and Eyerishgold are in the camp that I am...

Don't give up everything today to try and reach a goal in 10 or 15 years (or even later)... you have to have balance in your life... enjoy the NOW while also saving for the future...

If you are having a problem with a job that is better than 95% of the people, YOU need a reality check... because no job will be good enough... heck, I have a great job and am happy to do what I do and get paid... yes, I do have my down days, but that is normal life...

BTW, an employee of mine just found out she had pancreatic cancer and only about 6 months to live... at age 42... so your plans can change quickly if you get bad news....
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:49 AM   #13
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You are already half way there in terms of a solution to your problem because you recognize what it is that you are missing. I'm only 45 so I don't have the years of experience and the wisdom that comes from it to draw on, but I can say that you need to intentionally make an effort it live in the moment right now. That means doing things that you enjoy, living your life now- a life of no regrets. It also means finding joy in the life you already have, treasuring the day to day moments.
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:02 AM   #14
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Sticking with a j*b because it is perceived as better than most, I think is enough of a depressant. Since you are not planning on kids, that alone can provide for freedom.

Finding out what gives exhilaration at 30 can be interesting activity, once found acting upon that gives pleasure.

Truly at thirty I did not give a thought to retirement, early or otherwise. I have a far better expression but it would not pass muster with good housekeeping.

It is good to live somewhat LBYM. I found that having interesting and challenging w*ork that involves getting to weird places at empl*yer's dime is/was most rewarding.

If you can't enjoy life/w*rk in your thirties, you are loosing out. There will always be time for miserable empl*yment and other hassles. The shorter the misery and closer to retirement the easier to handle.
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:35 AM   #15
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I know the feeling. I'm 35, and ER is around 10 years away, presuming things go right in the next decade.

If GoodSense is in the same mental place I am, the issue isn't a lack of hobbies or interests. I'm passionate about martial arts (taking 10-12 hours a week), have a high paying job, am happily married with plans of never having kids. I have other hobbies as well.

But the problem is the nagging feeling in the back of my head that I'm not doing enough. The plan of retiring in 10 years makes me feel that my life is on hold until then -- I'm just passing time until the "real" part of my life begins. And every little thing that happens -- $1000 on car repairs or whatever mentally translates into a few days or a week that ER gets pushed back.

I need help on this myself. Intellectually, I know there's no race. I'll get there when I get there. And my life will be happier if I just sit back and enjoy the ride. But the dull grind of going to work every day just wears on me.

My only suggestions are to take days off. Not even necessarily to go on vacation, just stay at home for the day. Catch up on some movies. Do some niggling chores around the house if the mood strikes. Just allow yourself to take a breath. Sometimes going on vacations away from your house is more tiring than your normal routine, so those vacations don't quite recharge you enough.

I was much better about taking mental health days last year than this year. For a while there I was kind of working 4 days/week, and you'd be amazed how much 4 days on and 3 off helps. Right now I'm feeling a bit too stressed, so I should follow my own advice. I'm a consultant (though one who has a steady 40 hour/week job), so I effectively get as much vacation as I want -- but I don't get paid for time off. And that makes it tough for me to take as much vacation as I want.

I feel you -- I have a happy life when I just allow myself to realize that. ER will make it even better, though, so it is tough not to fixate on that.
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Old 09-01-2009, 12:12 PM   #16
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4 years into ER and I feel like I´m wasting an oportunity that many people envy. I´m sedentary and lazy by nature.... if I don´t have pressing obligations, like when I worked. I am moderately happy doing nothing important or simply nothing. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking of what else I would like to do that would have me engrossed.

As I come up with nothing really aoppealing -and not artificial- there´s this annoying thought nagging at me that I am ashamed for not having the hobbies that all of you have, that keep you busy and enjoying every minute of our privileged status.

Right now I have the feeling that I am merely passing time. I fear what will happen to me when, in a few years, my abilities/capabilities/energies diminish and I won´t be able/won´t have the heart to practise my very few hobbies (playing the guitar, reading, cycling...)

You can´t imagine the good this forum does to me. Thank you all.
I get by with a little help from my friends....ta ta ta ta ta...
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Old 09-01-2009, 02:32 PM   #17
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Retirement is nice but it is not the end all that you are imagining it to be . There are so many other things to do especially at your age . Explore the world , go white water rafting ,hike , dance till dawn and enjoy life now !
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Old 09-01-2009, 02:39 PM   #18
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Don't be so focused on the end goal that you don't enjoy the journey. You need to find a balance between saving for FIRE and living know so you don't ever feel like you lived a life full of regrets.

I be a girl, he's a boy. Think I maybe FIRED since July 08. Mid 40s, no kidlets. Actually am totally clueless as to what is going on with DH.
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Old 09-01-2009, 03:28 PM   #19
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I just started reading this book, but, you might find it interesting and helpful.

Curious? by Todd Kashdan curious?: Books
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:49 PM   #20
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One the one hand, I do tend to spend a lot of time thinking about reaching FI, which can seem to make time drag slowly toward the goal ...

... on the other hand, sometimes I look at my toddler and how cute he is and I just want to hold on to these days forever and stay exactly where I'm at, yet the days seem to fly by.

I guess between the two of these feelings, my sense of time is probably pretty balanced.
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