Eight years later
I felt compelled to post an update on my FIRE path, or more a story and perspective. I think mainly because writing down my thoughts is a means to organize them. I often revisit what I've written in the past, as a diary of sorts... or a glimpse into my mind from a different time, as a means to appreciate where I've come from.
I signed up for this site in 2012 (at the age of 29), but my fascination in financial insights stretches back to my early 20's... something my father said, and a professor in my last year in college just struck me in a way I wish I could bottle and feed to my own kids. It isn't what was said, but how it resonated, in me. I wanted to make money work for me.
Along the way I've met a lot of bumps in the road. I've learned a lot from my own mistakes, and some from others mistakes (those are truly golden... when recognized). I've been divorced, and remarried. I had a child born with a complex medical condition (nothing will shake you to your core, shining a spotlight on the important things in life, like this) who has endured three open heart surgeries before the age of 3 - 8 months in the ICU as an infant. She's a true gift, and has taught me more about happiness and joy in life than all the years I've lived prior to meeting her, my daughter is incredible. She is now 8, and happy, and healthy. Life happens... I suppose we get to decide which side of it we stay focused on, the sunny or the cloudy.
My divorce was difficult, embarrassing, as someone who prides himself on holding things together... I have to admit looking back, that I'm not quite sure how I held it together in 2013. I focused my energy onto my career, I distracted from the stress my realigning myself towards the things that might benefit my children and myself in the long run. I worked, hard, on understanding myself along the way.
Five years later, I was quite comfortable in my path. Being single. A lot of life lessons, introspection made me aware of how organized my life was, in my 20's, a product of my own up bringing. Desiring the family unit, as a means to create a family to mirror the one I was provided as a child. I realized, why I wanted family so badly... it was a testament to the gift my own parents gave me (such a great childhood). Marrying someone who wanted to have kids, and thinking that was compatibility (yicks... what little I really knew at 21) was a mistake, I wasn't prepared to avoid at the time. Life happened. I learned.
Those values can become deeply ingrained in our focus, who we become. The nurture side of nature/nurture. In 2017/2018 I dated, but as a means to connect, once I knew more about who I was... I understood who fit with me, and I stopped caring to fit with someone else. But this almost makes you feel more alone, to see so many and think you're too specific, in what you're looking for - they all know, they want to rush forward and sacrifice. I didn't. I had a clock, towards FIRE, ticking - I knew I would hit it in my early to mid 40's - that was soon enough - so I traveled, and enjoyed life. Watching that clock. I always wanted more then that though. Life's end isn't the point, it's the journey. I've read some amazing posts, golden insights, into the important things in life... right here on this site. Deeper than the cliche' but I started to appreciate and focus on things differently. You never want to feel you blinked past, moments in life. Time is valuable. So is happiness. You don't want to miss either, by chasing them.
As I dated, I focused as well... sharply on people's resume - their nature, their hobbies, their heart. How I felt around them. Finances being such a critical one too. The trauma of a divorce, can you leave you quite picky in not making a similar mistakes again. Lesson's learned.
Then I met a girl, that hit me like a ton of bricks, when I was least expecting it. A nurse, who had found her own property, followed her childhood dream of owning horses, and moved outside the suburbs. Living her dream - doing it on her own. The most beautiful women I've ever met. I noticed the chemistry, right away. It's intangible, really impossible to define. You just know, I guess they say. I knew.
The resume was still there too. Our interests and hobbies all aligned. It seems she was equally blown away by my focuses in life, the love I had for my daughters... the focus I had on adventure and travel, and we hit it off in a way that perplexed everyone around us - almost to the point of concern. Which made me appreciate how much those close to me really cared about me. We are both the careful types, who take our time... yet we didn't with each other.
I guess I'm still a young dreamer and optimist... and I think the more life I live the more I appreciate that part of my personality. She's an even bigger saver than I was, and she didn't know the term FIRE.
Our financial situation today
401K - $290,000
IRA - $267,000
Cash - $45,000
Equity - $142,000
Net Wealth: $744,000
My new FIRE date has shifted to my late 40's... but I can't complain. Life is good. We have a new house and a little one on the way ;D
Very nicely written. Iím very glad for you that youíve come through several really tough things and got to the other side with a positive attitude - and especially that your daughter is healthy and youíve found someone special. Huge huge accomplishments.
Great update, progress, and it's even a greater thing that you're living life along the way, and have found someone who fits with you, to share life with, and the kids!
My regret in my path to FIRE, is that I perhaps over-saved and under-travelled, and waited for the end, rather than living enough in the present. Well, water under the bridge, but I suspect that many here could learn a lot from you!
That is a great story of life and very happy for your future.
I'm in the same boat -- my "early" retirement dream is now, regrettably, somewhere in my late 50s/early 60s, but at least I'm not miserable in the present. I find that the more content I am in the present (particularly with my career), the less I yearn for and need to retire early.
Keep on coming back and giving us updates!
Lovely! It is the journey that matters and you have developed a special appreciation of that.
Best of luck to you and your your family.
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