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Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:21 pm
by pukingRainbows
I think, first and foremost, you need to get a better handle on what it is you actually want or more accurately who you are. I think that's the real route for you to figure out what you need to do. It seems like you are hoping your housing choice will address this more fundamental issue. My hunch is that you'll just end up feeling the same way in a different setting.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:38 am
by Lillailler
my quarter acre suburban hell
Can I ask what it is about your suburban situation that makes you call it hell? If you nail down a specific issue, you can work on a plan to solve it, otherwise, probably not.

Other advice would be to embrace the family situation, they are not their mother's kids, they're yours too. Have fun with the colouring books, building blocks, games of catch, teach them woodwork, electronics, forest skills. Get the most out of your current situation even as you try to build your future situation.

Oh and don't forget, real estate is a cost not an asset. Big house and lots of land means lots of expensive upkeep.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:58 am
by Eureka
suomalainen wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:05 am
But that leaves me with 5 years of having two high-schoolers, and I’m still stuck in my quarter acre suburban hell. Sure I might be able to cut out the work part, but I wouldn’t have the chance to do something really “different” (i.e., adventures like van living or extensive travel or living off the land) for 5 more years.
Of course you are not stuck once you quit working. You can go do extensive traveling and other independent stuff where you keep your family as the base, but don't stay there all the time.

Many families live like that, if one parent works at a drilling rig, on a container ship, goes for archelogical excavations, does a lot of business travel to the far east or the like. Also if one parent gets a transfer when kids are high school age, it is rather common that the spouse and the kids stay behind, and only the transfered parent move until kids have left school. There are so many different ways that families can and do live. Think out of the box and find your way.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:11 am
by suomalainen
@felipe I don't have to buy a tract of land. I am currently utilizing the abundant parks and trails in the area. The confusion comes from this "sense of freedom" thing, so this thread started as an attempt to clarify the dilemma between two competing senses of freedom (staying in current house and reaching FI earlier vs buying a more expensive house, still within our retirement timeframe, but extending the FI timeline).

@ffj yes, i like the shop idea. the problem is that there is very little space to do that. If we clean up the garage, I'll have a little space, but fighting to keep space clean with this brood is an impossible task. Ok, not impossible, but not worth the energy. I've given up on keep the yard remotely clean, but I have drawn the line at leaving my tools strewn about the yard. Not that that doesn't still happen, but at least I yell at them about it when I find a hammer under the swingset. I guess if it's important to me I need to accept that its not as easy as I would like and just suck it up. If it's important, I should be willing to shoulder the cost of keeping the brood from messing up the space.

@pR that is also the interim conclusion I am drawing

@lilliailler (so many ells) suburban hell = society's low security prison. I'm in cell block west. Yep, am working hard on the embracing the good and not focusing on the frustrations. Pointing my analytical gaze at the negative has been a weakness of mine. Absolutely agree re: real estate being a cost not an asset. I call it "pure consumption" in conversations with the wife.

@eureka I know. You're right.

I just also want to remind everyone that in addition to my preferences and my psychological bullshit, my wife has her preferences and psychological bullshit (maybe). She does, in fact, want to move; so part of this is accepting the inevitable that we will move (since a happy wife is a happy life), so part of this is debating whether to move from one suburban hell cell block to a slightly bigger one vs to a more expensive rural millstone about the neck. Everyone's thoughts have been very very helpful in separating the financial from the emotional. Funny how money and food (and probably lots of other things) get so tied up in emotions.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:04 am
by Farm_or
Yes it is funny how things get tied up in emotions. Life keeps coming at you no matter your situation. It is difficult to protect a positive outlook when all the negatives keep compiling and you tell yourself, "I need a change of scenery. Even if I still have 84 problems, at least they will be different problems."

I have achieved most of my personal goal of place. But I look around and see more and more negatives that I brushed over before. Keep thinking that something good has to happen because the past couple of years have been filled with disappointment. But it is really my frame of mind focussing on the negatives.

We have gone so far to shop a few places to move. That has benefited my outlook because it has been a bad trade off with every possibility so far. I haven't given up on another potential coming along, but it has redoubled my efforts to improve upon my current existence. And I have been cognizant of my mental state of dwelling on the negatives when there are so many positives that my past self has left for us...

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:43 am
by suomalainen
To wrap up my thoughts of the last few days, I have a few takeaways (written here as a reminder to myself):

1) I tend to conflate my emotions with immediate action, to develop meaning out of my emotions, and I then obsess about it.
2) Ergo, my sense of freedom w/r/t early retirement means I should get there as soon as possible. "Why am I not there yet? God this is intolerable! I hate my insufferable life! I am simply wasting my life as a worker drone!" I petulantly exclaim.
3) Also, my sense of freedom w/r/t open spaces as we've looked at new housing means "I should buy a house with giant open space no matter the price! Living in this warm, safe, cozy, functional home is fucking suburban hell, stifling the 'true me'!" I blindly react.
4) Thereby nicely tying myself into an emotional knot.
5) Alas, my emotions protest too much.
6) My sense of freedom really means two things:
a) Rather than meaning immediate action is required, it really is simply an affirmation of things I value or enjoy. I value financial independence. I value natural open spaces. Emotions in connection with those values are something that I should pay attention to, but an emotion by itself doesn't require any particular action. I get to rationally decide how to address the things emotions have revealed that I value or enjoy.
b) And I can patiently work towards those things while focusing on, and enjoying!, the present instead of shitting on the present as a vulgar roadblock to my vision of eternal bliss.
7) I am free right now to do the things I want to do. Yes, I have certain constraints now (work/small suburban lot) that I potentially won't have later (retirement/large rural lot), but to be free, there is no requirement to exchange my current constraints for other constraints or indeed to make make the things I value and enjoy more accessible/convenient. There will always be constraints; to imagine it being otherwise is totally irrational.

And anyway, convenience is a dumb thing to spend your money on.

Adulting is hard.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:02 am
by 7Wannabe5
You might also want to consider the possibility that your feelings are based on hormones that are actually trying to trick you into migrating to a different locale in order to father more children with a different female. If your youngest child is over the age of 7 then this is a good possibility.

OTOH, the desire to achieve dominance over a greater acreage might be reflective of the current size of your family unit and/or the population density of your current locale and/or competition for control with your spouse. Are you also finding yourself generally more irritable lately? Sometimes people fight when they ought to meditate, and sometimes people meditate when they ought to fight.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:17 am
by suomalainen
Hmmm. Well, I won't discount the hormone theory. I joke about how I have "menses" from time to time. Thank god for my vasectomy! :lol: And also the wife's not into poly and I'm not into divorce, so we have arrived at a stalemate. Well played, wife, well played.

I'm actually generally less irritable lately due to my intense effort at living in the present. Wife and I still have some pissing matches, but they are much less intense. Even if her self-awareness is triggered "off" by certain things, I'm working very hard to keep mine always "on", so I don't get dragged into fights where NEITHER of us know what we're really fighting about. At least one of us should know and preferably both.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:49 pm
by Jason
Father more children on a larger piece of land in order to retire early. I guess it was only a matter of time before someone parlayed JLF's teachings into a cult.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:39 am
by Fish
@Finn - I'm taking an interest in this thread because I'm dealing with similar emotions. Although I have zero desire to own 15 acres of wilderness, I believe I feel the same kind of dissatisfaction that led you to start this thread. Things are starting to crystallize.
suomalainen wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:56 pm
Long backstory, but to the extent I even HAD a self, I certainly lost it with the kids. I suspect the truth is that I've never been a person; I've always been a role. But that's a pity party for another time. What I am certainly trying to do in the midst of all this financial stuff is to self-actualize, I guess.
ffj wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:59 pm
It sounds like your wife is getting what she wants (think of the children) and you are left scrambling for any kind of sanity in what remains. [...] It's very easy to get lost in other's expectations of oneself.
I don't have a very strong sense of identity. Unlike those driven individuals who just *know* from a very young age that they want to be (for example) an astronaut, and then devote their entire lives to the fulfillment of that aim, my preferences are simply not that strong. Additionally, unlike the vast majority of the human race, I don't define myself or measure my self-worth by what I do, what I have, or even what I think and believe... so there's nothing much to anchor to. Fastforward to having kids, and I'm finding myself totally overwhelmed and lost.

For the record (and I'm not saying this to be PC), I love my kids very much. If given an opportunity to do things over, I would choose the same outcome; I do love them that much. But I believe there has been a misapplication of our culture's prevailing "children-first" values, at least in my household, and it is causing me much grief. My wife expects that, if we are not at work and the children are awake, we should be doing some productive activity with the kids, e.g. reading to them, playing with them, taking them to activities, etc. My counter is that I believe that our children should be the highest priority, but not the only priority. And I'm losing this battle. We set aside time for the kids, but not ourselves. DW keeps adding kid-related activities until we both feel positively overwhelmed. :evil:

DW has very strong motherhood tendencies and my weak sense of self leaves me vulnerable to being taken over by that unless I establish some barriers. Any attempts to recharge during normal child-business hours get met with hostility because it's in conflict with the kid-first directive. Even my choice to take the bus to work (at a cost of 1 hour/day over driving) gets portrayed as an attempt to "escape" from the family. :roll: Hence my fascination with FI/RE. The fantasy that if I didn't have to work, I might have some quality time to myself while continuing to fulfill my family duties in a satisfactory manner. But given our track record, I don't believe that FI/RE will be that answer. It's a lifestyle (or emotional?) problem, not a money problem. Which then leads to my obsession with ERE. If I am constrained to have no choice in what I do (i.e. working this specialist job, maintaining the comfortable suburban kid-first lifestyle), then I am determined to assert my freedom in how I choose to do what must be done.

Although I'm not quite satisfied with the present situation, I have zero grounds to complain about my wife. DW contributes half of our household income, does 2/3+ of the housework, and takes the lead on a lot of the kid stuff. She's a stellar partner to have on my life journey, and I fully appreciate that. Because she's already selflessly and tirelessly working on the behalf of our children, it only seems appropriate to step into the role that she's designed for me. She's giving it all her effort and energy, and all she wants is for me to do the same. That's fair right? But strangely enough... even though I have been an I-don't-know-what-I-want type my whole life, I am discovering that I do have my preferences, and at the very least I do know FOR CERTAIN that this is not what I want for myself. :shock:

I don't know how this is going to be resolved. It's a very "stable" equilibrium in the sense that we're both too exhausted to make any meaningful changes to our lifestyle. How can I hit the pause button on life? It's so hard trying to navigate an unfamiliar place while moving at full speed. Sorry for depositing my personal problems into your thread, Finn. I do hope something in this post makes things click for you.

Edit: To avoid further contaminating this thread with my problems, I request any discussion that is specific to my personal situation take place here: Career Advice For Fish

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:51 am
by jacob
It's my understanding that the concept of "childhood" is a fairly recent innovation (last 100-150 years?) and that children used to be thought of as simply smaller, less experienced, and less competent persons valued in the same class as all people. Start as a midshipman at age 12 and if you're smart enough, you can be a captain of an Atlantic schooner at age 20, whereas if you're a dimwit, you stay a midshipman all your life. A farmboy would be considered useful for fieldwork starting at age 6. (Plowing is less complicated than raising sails.)

Whereas now "childhood" is considered some kind of "special period" in one's life that must be "experienced". Here wealth in the form of time and money is spent to purchase as many experiences as possible---it becomes a new consumer-project. Age has become a factor (not competence or performance) and you're probably not going to captain that ship until at least a decade or two later. It seems like childhood keeps getting extended. Right now the average age of the end of childhood based on competence and behavior seems to be around age 23-25. Not much more than a century ago, people that age were majors and colonels. Now, same-aged people tweet their frustrations with basic life-skills using hashtag #adulting.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:24 am
by Jason
Post WW II America is amongst other things, the rise of youth culture, specifically the adolescent/teenager as a distinct demographic and consumer.

I have a Pastor friend who specifically will not indulge his teenage kids in this mindset. He gave them childhood but now they are men.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:38 pm
by 7Wannabe5
I agree. Infancy ends around the age of 6. I've recently had the pleasure of sometimes working as assistant to a Master teacher of kindergarten. Children that age are capable of a great many more tasks and a higher level of critical thinking than most people would expect.

In retrospect, I ran the household in which I raised my own children very much on the model of a low-rent bookstore/cafe. I just made sure the kids each had a stack of books and a plate of cookies, and then I was free to go back to my own stack of books and plate of cookies, until one of them would attempt to alert me to some sort of problem with a leaky ceiling over his assigned reading sofa, or giant spiders in the drafty bathroom, or that their father was out of beer. Somehow they both managed to grow up to be literate AND quite slender.

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:35 pm
by suomalainen
I'll comment more specifically on the Career Advice for Fish thread, but generally speaking...trying to find yourself while raising a family fucking sucks. Been there, doing that. It is a slightly different (albeit similar) issue to my specific issue that started this thread, so I will continue on viewtopic.php?t=9285

Re: Life Advice for a Confused Finn

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:14 pm
by suomalainen
jacob wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:51 am
It's my understanding that the concept of "childhood" is a fairly recent innovation (last 100-150 years?) and that children used to be thought of as simply smaller, less experienced, and less competent persons valued in the same class as all people.
Isn't this itself a fairly modern idea, perhaps attributed to Renaissance painters (in how they painted kids as "little adults") and then further expounded upon by psychologists from 1850-1950, primarily? I tend to think that many tenets of psychology are really founded in that time period even though humans and human groups/tribes/civilizations have been around much longer than that. I would think that "childhood" would have a fairly elastic definition that morphed through time. I recall learning about Native Americans many years ago and at least some tribes had a tradition that at some age (probably around puberty as I recall), there would be a ceremony marking the transition from "boy" to "man". Perhaps there was something similar for females, but I don't recall the details.

EDIT: But to be clear, I agree that today's length of childhood (or I would say adolescence) is probably the longest it has ever been in human history.