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Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:45 pm
by Jin+Guice
Hello and welcome to my journal. My purpose for starting an ERE journal is twofold. I was considering starting an early retirement blog but after learning that there are currently over 5,000,000 early retirement blogs on the internet, remembering how intrinsically lazy I am and realizing that everything I had to say is pretty much captured in either the ERE book or on this very forum, I decided to start a journal instead. Given all of this I'm planning on writing some journal entries, which will likely be somewhat lengthy and possibly have titles, as if they are blog posts. I'm also interested in keeping an ERE journal in the more traditional sense, where I log my journey towards (possibly early) retirement and all my struggles therein.

I'd like to start my journal by giving JLF and the ERE community a huge thanks. I found these ideas at a time when I was a bit aimless and they substantially changed my life. Aside from providing me with almost limitless freedom, they helped me congeal seemingly disparate ideas (like being a cheap fuck and caring about "the environment") into a coherent philosophy. I'm really only beginning to grapple with how to implement this philosophy and deal with the new found freedom. I look forward to sharing the experience here with all of you. It's rare to find such a group of thoughtful, kind and smart individuals anywhere, particularly behind the safety of a keyboard on the internet.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:56 pm
by Mister Imperceptible
4,999,999 early retirement blogs but Jin+Guice ain’t got one.

Harry Browne admitted he was lazy, and that, too, was refreshing honesty.


Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:27 pm
by Scott 2
You've given me high expectations for this journal. Best of luck!

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:29 am
by Jason
Jin+Guice wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:45 pm
they helped me congeal seemingly disparate ideas (like being a cheap fuck and caring about "the environment") into a coherent philosophy. I'm really only beginning to grapple with how to implement this philosophy and deal with the new found freedom.
Interesting insight. No one comes in neutral, let alone tabula rasta (1). So it's in varying degrees clarification, conversion, and syncretism. Perfecting one's own cocktail so to speak.

(1) gangsta pun

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:08 pm
by Jin+Guice
A Personal FI History Part I (Family Values Tour):

I was primed for the ERE movement before I discovered it through the book and blog. All of the tools necessary were available to me by the time I was in my early twenties. However, I failed to connect the dots and even after discovering the FIRE movement, it took over a year for me to become a convert. My first few journal entries will chronicle when I was first exposed to the ideas of the FIRE movement and how I put the pieces together after exposure to the various FIRE gods.

The idea that one could live from investments alone, without drawing down on the principle, is something I have known for as long as I can remember. Money and economics have always fascinated me. The importance of frugality was instilled at a young age. My mom (who mostly raised me) and her family were the primary conduit of fiscal wisdom.

Their advice has always been simple and unwavering. First go to college and major in something practical (engineering being the most popular choice, but not strictly required), then get a "good" job and work at it for 30-40 years, saving a modest amount each year. Eventually retire with more than $1,000,000 in the bank. To achieve this get straight As in high school and participate in approved after school activities. Worship at the alter of your career. Along the way be very cautious and governed by fear. "Safety" is the most important achievement. Safety can be attained largely by having a high credit score and "owning your house" (in the 30-year mortgage sense). The house is guaranteed to ascend in price. The corporate bosses are to be feared and respected. Always have a job so that health insurance is maintained and no gaps in "the resume" occur. The rich and those who attend Ivy League schools are gods and if one plays their cards exactly right, they too can join these esteemed ranks.

Along the way, the implicit expectation was that a spouse with a similar degree and career would be acquired. 2.5 children, trained in the same fashion, would be produced. Each adult with driving capabilities finances their own car. A "nice" house (ideally a "reasonable" McMansion) in a "safe" neighborhood with "good schools" in the suburbs of a large city is purchased. The house is also financed but thanks to the high credit score a "low rate" is obtained. As a responsible consumer unit, 10% is saved for retirement. An IRA is utilized and money is invested in the "stock market" which has a guaranteed real return rate of 10-12% (ah the 1990s). This is THE plan. If THE plan is followed extra carefully, and wise decisions such as paying the mortgage off at a slightly accelerated pace and focusing on a career at the expense of health are made, "early retirement" may be achieved around 55. At this time and only at this time "riskier" activities such as art, a sport or going outside may be pursed.

By the time I was up for the all important college decision I'd made a simple observation. Despite the fact that my family worshipped "the rich", none of them were "rich" and all of them worried constantly about money (some had poor savings, others were finding the amount of money required to "feel safe" a moving target). Alternatively, many of my friends parents had followed THE plan and had at least become McMansion holders who took cruise vacations. None of these accelerated suburbanites struck me as people whom I desired to emulate. This observation coupled with my parents bitter divorce (I guess some engineers like cocaine and extra-marital affairs) had me doubting THE plan.

I'm extremely thankful that I received this upbringing but didn't follow this path. It's now obvious to me that there are many other ways to live, but at the time it was a difficult decision to make. While my family is always "supportive" when I'm around, I know they disapprove of my decisions. I whole heartedly rejected THE plan (with the minor exception of attending college) and began looking for my own path. From a FIRE perspective, my rejection of THE plan had the important consequences of concurrently causing me to doubt the ultra-consumer lifestyle and also reject all forms of investing. While my family didn't teach my how to competently deal with finances or "life", these issues were at least discussed and frugality was emphasized heavily.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:36 pm
by Jin+Guice
A Personal FI History Part II (I Only Feel Alive When the VU is Flashing):

I first became “homeless”* in November 2009. I was four months out of college and had moved to NYC from upstate New York the previous month. I was pursuing a second degree in accounting and had two internships, one at a recording studio and one at a record label. I became homeless when my roommate (an old friend I'd lived with for years) suffered a nervous breakdown and decided to move back to our hometown. This was a bummer because we'd just signed a lease and paid three months rent up front. It was also great because we lived in an awful apartment in a terrible neighborhood. My friend had insisted we get a two-bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen as opposed to my proposition that we "find something weirder." Becoming homeless was sincerely one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.

I spent my first night sleeping in a Uhaul van that I'd used to move all of my possessions into my grandfather's house upstate. I slept on the mattress I'd had since I was five in the parking lot of the apartment I'd lived in during college. In the morning I woke up, shoved the mattress into a dumpster, returned the Uhaul, walked to the train into the city and took the subway to one of my internships. I spent the second and third nights in the 24-hour computer lab of the college I was attending sleeping on a couch. At 6 a.m., the campus opened and I slept on the lawn. I wasn't sleeping very well, and on the second day a groundskeeper nearly shredded me with a giant riding lawnmower.

"Holy shit man, I didn't see you there. You didn't even wake up!"

In response, I muttered some gibberish and stumbled off to the record label internship. Two hours later, I was hand-numbering Sun Ra albums and shrink wrapping them with a hair dryer. The fourth night, I slept in the recording studio I was interning at. On the fifth night, I entered "Williamsburg" into the Craigslist apt/housing section. I set a maximum monthly price of $600 and watched as 2,000-plus listings become six. I emailed all of them, and an hour later I was handing an oldish hipster $500 in cash for a less than 100-square-foot furnished room, complete with a dresser and a bed. Jackpot.

As I lay in my newly rented bed, I thought about the previous five days. I realized that though they were stressful, they had also been exhilarating. Perhaps I could escape the wife, 2.5 kids and suburban home after all? I found out the hipsters I was renting from were squatters when we got kicked out by the fire department a month and a half later.

On Christmas Eve, I was sitting in the fancy NYC recording studio I'd been hired by a month prior. I was essentially a paid intern. I made $7 an hour, minimum wage was $7.25. I didn't give a fuck; I'd done something everyone I'd ever met had told me was impossible. I had a paid job in the music industry.

I'd been called into the studio to do a mix recall. If you've ever seen a picture of a recording studio, it's a bunch of knobs, switches and sliders. A recall involves setting all of those to specific previous settings. This particular recall involved setting up a bunch of auxiliary equipment I'd never seen before. It was the first time I'd ever been asked to do anything that didn't involve ordering food, making coffee or cleaning a floor. It was exciting and terrifying—and I was out of my league. I started looking for the recalls. They were nowhere to be found. The previous assistant had simply not done them. This was good for my career advancement, but bad for my current situation. I recreated the mix by ear, which began a long series of angry phone calls with my boss.

The recall should've taken about three hours. After 12 hours, I was still working on it. Every half an hour my boss would call me to yell at me, "What the fuck are you doing over there, I can't believe how bad you guys fucked this up."

I was homeless, I'd been secretly sleeping in the studio for a week, waking up every 10 minutes sure I was about to be excommunicated. It was Christmas Eve. I was alone and I was sure I was about to get fired. The next day I'd have to see my family, who'd assured me this whole music thing was totally impractical. I started crying. I don't cry unless I'm completely desperate. It's a last-ditch response when the situation has, in my mind, become completely untenable and irreversible. Think death of a loved one. By the time I'm crying, I'm incapable of doing anything else.

I lay down on the floor and cried for 15 minutes. I ran out of tears and lay on the floor coughing hopelessly. My boss called me back. "Listen, sorry about yelling all day, I know this was a pain in the ass. You did a good job given the circumstances. We've got it close enough. Turn the highhat down 5 dB (this was the initial goal) and send me the mix we have. This client is just some has-been who doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about anyway. If he's pissed, I'll just tell him we should remix it."

And like that, I was free.

I'll always remember December 24, 2009 as the most important day of my life. It was the day I learned that I could do anything I wanted. It was the day I learned that everything I'd ever been told about how a life had to be lived was completely inaccurate. Over the next two years I was "homeless" for a total of 13 months. For about half of those nights, I slept in the recording studio. I developed a network of friends who almost always had a couch for me to sleep on. I spent a few nights back in the computer lab, on the subway and in parks. I'd often work all night and then go sleep in Central Park during the day. I eventually traveled across the country by bus using the Couchsurfing website. I did this in nearly every city in the United States. When I moved to New Orleans, I lived on couches for another two years before moving in with my current girlfriend. I then began grad school and slept in my student office three nights a week for more than three years.

I'm sharing this story because, apart from being my favorite humble brag, it was the second half of my ERE training. My upbringing gave me approximately half of the ERE tools I needed. My family had given me the idea that money could be saved and that passive income could be used to live off, if only at some hopelessly distant point in the future. They encouraged me to attend and graduate from college. All of these revelations were sold to me as part of the standard middle class package. Becoming "homeless,” accidentally at first and then on purpose, led me to believe I could live an unconventional lifestyle I'd thought was impossible and gain the confidence that I could live life on my own terms. I believe that I needed both mindsets to be prepared to adopt ERE.

*I put this in quotes because my homelessness (except for the first time which was short lived) was completely self-inflicted. The entire time I was "homeless" I was either gainfully employed or had ample savings, had the option to live with several family members and almost always had a place to sleep inside if I wanted to.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:47 am
by classical_Liberal
Awesome stories!!

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:32 am
by wolf
Jin+Guice wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:36 pm
I'll always remember December 24, 2009 as the most important day of my life.
Wow, what a story about your background and journey so far, especially the part about December 24, 2009.

Thank you for shareing that Jin+Guice!

I wish you best luck and success with your current and future ERE journey.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:36 am
by Laura Ingalls
I enjoyed your story.

I had a early job (circa 1995) with a private office that would have been a great squatting opportunity. Too bad I never occurred to me until about a couple of years ago. :lol:

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:32 am
by BMF1102
I have never been homeless but I have dreamed about it! I look forward to reading more about your journey.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:09 am
by Dodo
Great start into your journal-journey, Jin+Guice,

thank you for the entertaining and at the same time enlightening write-up. In terms of minimalism and frugality, this self-imposed, voluntary homelessness is probably one of the most hardcore moves for a westerner! Kudos to you and stay gangsta. ;)

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:24 am
by Jin+Guice
A Personal FI History Part III (C-notes by the layers, true fuckin' players):

The first self-help book I ever read was Tim Ferriss's 4 Hour Work Week. I spotted it when I was home sick from grad school in my girlfriend's apartment. I couldn't resist that bastard title. Could we all work just four hours per week? When I read the book, I was aimless. I'd quit my dream of becoming a studio engineer in NYC and moved to New Orleans after a 3 month cross-country bus trip. I spent my first year in New Orleans accomplishing a lot of the goals I had for myself after quitting the studio. I took another long trip, started playing guitar more, made new friends, experienced Mardi Gras, started teaching myself how to cook and ran a marathon.

At the time, I felt lost. For the past 7 years I'd had one goal: become a studio engineer. Once I lost that goal, I lost my identity, sense of self and sense of purpose. In fact, it was worse than that. When I was younger, I'd suffered from depression and low self-confidence. I didn't believe I was capable of doing hard things, plus I was socially awkward and unsuccessful with women. After the Christmas Eve epiphany, I got a huge confidence boost. I achieved a goal I'd been working toward for years. For the first time since I was a kid, I was excited to wake up in the morning. I didn't become a social genius or Don Juan but, well, a little self-confidence goes a long way. Some of these things were no doubt a result of some serious personal growth; however, I attributed it all to the job.

I became a major devotee of the church of work. Sound engineers, particularly in the post-Napster studio world, put in long hours in a highly competitive industry. Anyone who isn't devoted is fired. I believed, wholeheartedly, that work is a virtue and that working very hard is the path to (secular) righteousness. This sentiment is widely supported by American culture.

When Ferriss's clickbait title seduced me, I was a distressed devotee of the church of work. I'd spent a year not working toward any solid goal and failed at discovering a new purpose. In the absence of a purpose, I had applied to grad school and was in the second semester of an economics* graduate program.

I was disappointed by 4HWW. Ferriss's methods are not viable on a large scale (not everyone can employ his strategies), and I found them morally questionable. As had been my expectation, the book's initial idea was interesting, but its methods were shit. I was, however, intrigued by the idea that one could gain freedom from paid work at an early age. This option had never been suggested as achievable or desirable to me. Despite my supposed aversion to the book, I found myself bringing it up often with my girlfriend and discussing it with anyone who'd read it.
About a year later, my girlfriend asked if I would be interested in reading a book called Early Retirement Extreme. I was still skeptical of personal finance books, said no and refused to pay for half of it. But the title got me again! This book was different. It appealed to my already frugal proclivities. "Total devotion to the car is probably the American cultures greatest failing." Words that speak directly to my soul. However, the book was so extreme. $7,000 a year? Come on, man! Additionally, investment returns aren't guaranteed, and the book fails to detail exactly how $Y is extracted from a portfolio of ~$33Y.

A brief aside on my skill level and personal finance strategy at the time I read ERE: I was highly specialized and had very few skills. The attitude in my childhood household was that cars and houses wore down mysteriously, in a totally unpredictable manner. When they wore out, it was catastrophic and best handled by a paid specialist. Working at the studio, I was so highly specialized and devoted to work that I avoided most common problems. I was very frugal but spent 100% of my money on music equipment. When I started buying, I assumed I would be a sound engineer forever and should try to own the means of production. Then the stock and housing markets crashed at the same time. I'd been told that the stock market has a guaranteed return of 10% a year and the housing market "always goes up." All of my gear retained its value. I was convinced I had the best strategy. At some point this "business/investment strategy" became a consumer addiction.

When I read ERE, I didn't want to learn a ton of new skills and I didn't want to give up my gear buying addiction. However, I was not happy with my job (grad school), I lacked a clear goal and was running out of room for musical equipment. I was surprised to learn that pf books weren't all tips on how to improve your credit score or get rich quick. ERE was robust, and it connected ideas I'd assumed were at odds with each other. Namely that one could engage in an "unconventional lifestyle" while "investing" at the same time. The book reintroduced me to the idea that one could retire early from investing money. Even more exciting, this could be achieved in 5 years instead of 30.

A few months later, my girlfriend found MMM. Without MMM, I would've never adopted FIRE. $15,000/ year (in my mind this is the MMM single person number; I think I made this up) was something I could imagine doing. I really like MMM's writing style. I read the whole blog in ~3 weeks. The idea that FIRE was about more than saving enough to retire began to sink in. My biggest obstacles were starting from $0 in savings and a lack of knowledge about investing. However, I became convinced that saving was a good idea.

After reading MMM, I discovered Mad FIentist. My personal holy trinity of FIRE blogs are ERE, MMM and Mad FIentist. Mad FIentist's contributions about tax avoidance strategies and retirement account withdrawal strategies are huge. I now (legally) pay $0 in income tax and have free health insurance so... thanks Mad FIentist! Mad FIentist is also closer to my age than MMM or ERE and writes about intrapersonal issues faced by extremely early retirees.

After MMM and Mad FIentist, I was a committed blog reader. I struggled to find more interesting blogs to read. I read more FIRE blogs for fun but none of them contained any new information. I was also struggling with my chosen mode of investing: passive index funds. Everyone in the FIRE world suggested this, with few dissenters. I treated MMM's advice as gospel (this has mostly served me well) and started investing with Vanguard. However, the methodology seemed flawed. I was aware that Japan's stock index had stagnated for decades. I was reading Jim Collins** blogs when he uttered the famous last words of investing: "the stock market," he claims, "always goes up."

In my search for dissenting opinions, I googled "early retirement, index fund" and was lead back to the ERE blog. I read the blog in its entirety and bought the book (my girlfriend sold her copy after we both read it). I realized, through ERE, that FIRE is more than just a way to retire early. It's a guide for how a meaningful life ought to be lived. Finally, I'd found what I was looking for. I'm still grappling with these ideas today.

Achieving FIRE is a huge goal, represented by a single number. It requires years of work and dedication. In its most basic form, FIRE accelerates the current retirement paradigm, and is most easily achieved by compressing the specialist career into a shorter period, through the means of a high savings rate. Of course, if this is the only take away, the point is ultimately missed. I feel the most important idea is that, for most first-world citizens, freedom is achievable. This is not the way most of us are taught to think. The next step is learning how to use that freedom in a fulfilling and responsible way.

*I studied Agricultural Economics. No one knows what this is, and most think the focus is on farming techniques, so I say I studied economics. The emphasis is on the economics and not agriculture. For reasons that have never been made clear to me, agricultural economics (as opposed to health or developmental economics) is its own major. As far as I can tell, the majority of AgEcon's current projects involve rural development and environmental economics (they have largely captured the environmental sub-field). I applied to the AgEcon program because of an interest in nutrition and economics. AgEcon programs are generally less competitive and easier than standard Econ programs. This was a plus for me, as I had little mathematics or economics training prior to entering the program.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:41 am
by wolf
Jin+Guice wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:24 am
I feel the most important idea is that, for most first-world citizens, freedom is achievable. This is not the way most of us are taught to think. The next step is learning how to use that freedom in a fulfilling and responsible way.
I support each sentence 100%!
It was a valuable discovery for me too.
And it is my challenge these days.
Thanks Jin+Guice for sharing.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:17 pm
by Jin+Guice
Thanks for reading @wolf. It's a serious challenge and something I currently think about everyday.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:11 pm
by Jin+Guice
In the spirit of ERE Journals I'm going to start cataloging my progress towards ERE in terms of years of expenses accrued. However, I face a methodological problem in doing so. Which version of expenses do I use? My current spending is high due to money making ventures aka a job. Cutting out expenditures on a car (never owned a car before current job required one/ split it with my gf) and the meals I buy at work seem fair enough.

It would be easy for me to cut my housing expenditure by 1/3 but, my gf owns our current house (her dream which took years of effort), we have an air bnb (master bedroom) that more than covers this extra spending and it functions as an imperfect rehearsal space/ recording studio. I'm going to include this extra housing expense in the number I use to calculate years of expenses saved, though I could easily reduce it. I won't include it in my "bare-bones" expenditures. I'm also not including taxes in expenses. I pay no income tax due to use of retirement accounts but I'm pretty sure I can remove the income tax-free as well (more on this in a later blog post journal entry). I do pay self-employment tax on all income, but I won't have to pay this on the backend.

Another note, I used to budget obsessively but after reading ERE and MMM I stopped doing this. I was already very frugal and I realized budgeting was just wasted effort. I also don't track spending for the same reason. Thus all numbers are estimates from my old budget. If anything they are likely over-estimates.

So given this:

Bare-bones: ~$7800 or $600/ month.
$300 Rent
$150 Food
$150 Fun/ Misc

$300 rent (including utilities) would be hard to achieve, this number might be $400 now. Alternatively, if I could go back to some of my old couch situations I could probably reduce this to $150.

Current, no-job ~$12,000 or $1000/ month:
$600 Rent (includes utilities and estimated house upkeep costs)
$200 Food (includes booze purchased at the store and cat supplies)
$200 Fun/ Misc

Current, job $15,000 or $1,250/month:
$600 Rent
$200 Food
$200 Misc
$250 Work Bullshit

The work budget is almost all car and meals I buy at work. The car is hard to estimate. I sincerely loathe cars. One of my life goals was to never own one, so I failed. I initially figured something like $1,500/ year based on government milage rates, but I'm pretty sure I beat this, especially since I reduced the amount of days I'm working. I gained the option to bike to work sometimes, I'm hoping to execute this more when it's less than 80 degrees at 5 a.m. a month from now.

I have no budget for healthcare or transportation. Currently I get almost free healthcare from Obamacare and my employer covers the rest. Shoe leather (I actually go through soles pretty quickly) and bike stuff is included in the misc category and is quite cheap (I can do the basic bike maintenance stuff). I realize healthcare may go up in the future but I'm pretty confident in my abilities to keep expenses low or decrease my budget in another area if healthcare costs increase. If I was within a few years of FIREing I'd take a closer look at my healthcare strategy, but I'll cross that hypothetical bridge when I come to it.

This journal entry is way longer than I wanted it to be but it should set the stage for shorter updates that look more like this:

Current savings/ investments = ~8.3 years of expenses.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:05 am
by classical_Liberal
Sincerely still loving the journal. Good story telling!

Are you using the Current with job or no job for the years saved?

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:53 pm
by Jin+Guice
@c_L: Thanks! I'm using the current no-job for years saved.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:41 pm
by Jin+Guice
In another thread about healthy diets, someone suggested the best thing to do is an n=1 self-study about what works for you. I've struggled with weight for most of my life and I also received pretty crappy advice (thanks 1990s boomers) when I was a kid about diet and exercise. What follows is a journal entry about my personal struggle with weight loss.

In my second and third grade class pictures I'm pretty thin, but I don't remember not being fat as a kid. My first memory of being fat is run the mile for the first time in 5th grade. The oldest picture I've seen of myself being fat was halloween when I was 12. I'm really fat, I'm suppose to be George Harrison, which somehow meant that I wore an oxford blue dress shirt and I look like a fucking blue berry.

The first time I lost weight I was in 8th grade. I counted calories and it worked as it was supposed to. I was mostly eating premade food that came from a box or bag, so keeping track of calories was easy. I'd write the number of calories down and subtract the number I ate everyday from 2,000 everyday. 3,500 calories are supposed to equal a pound and every time I was under 2000 calories by ~3500 I'd lose about a pound. Counting calories really sucks though so I was fat again within about a year.

The next time I lost weight I was 14. I was pretty much a total wimp when I was a kid and I never learned how to ride a bike. My friend Dave, who was a total badass, got tired of walking everywhere and taught me how to ride a bike when I was 14. I had always been so embarrassed that I didn't know how to ride a bike, I think I rode around my driveway for like 24 hours straight. I started taking daily bike rides for exercise. My mom was pretty strict but the exercise bike rides allowed me to be out of the house for 2-3 hours unsupervised everyday. I think most teens associate learning how to drive with liberty, but for me learning how to ride a bike equalled liberty. I could finally hang out with my degenerate friends without my mom's approval and I could indulge my new found hobbies of smoking weed and trying to get laid as I pleased. I biked around the suburb where I lived a lot and took a fair amount of real exercise bike rides too. Consequently I lost weight again.

When I was 15 I got my first girlfriend and when I was 16 I finally lost my virginity. Until I started reading FIRE blogs (around age 28) I'd never considered that there was much of a point to being in good shape beyond getting laid. The combination of friends with cars and steady pussy had my waist line expanding. I think this was actually my fattest point or at least the most I've ever weighed. I'm 6'0" and I think my peak weight was around 225.

When I was 17 my girlfriend cheated on me. The best diet is heart break. I couldn't eat solid food for a week and dropped below 200 lbs almost overnight. I also started cycling more now that I wasn't spending my evenings fucking.

I kept this up through going to college. I didn't have a bike at college and so I started running. I also became a vegetarian the summer after my freshman year. This kept me pretty thin all through college though my weight did fluctuate as sometimes I'd fall out of the running habit.

After college I got a job working in a recording studio. I was working a lot and wasn't able to run everyday so I got a little bit fat again. However, once I locked down my position I started running again religiously. I'd been trying to up my mileage for a few years and finally started getting to around the 5 mile a day mark. At the height of my "homelessness" I belonged to a fancy gym in Soho a few blocks from the studio and had access to the beautiful Hudson river trail that runs up the west side of Manhattan.

I eat when I'm stressed and when I'm not sleeping much. My weight fluctuated a bit at the studio but I was pretty thin when I left. One of my goals after leaving the studio was to run a marathon. I started training for a marathon towards the end of the 3 month bus trip I took across the States to decide where to move. I finished the training in New Orleans. I ran a marathon in January of 2012. Thus began my longest period of being thin. Marathon training is pretty intense and I kept a pretty aggressive running schedule afterwards. I could run 5-7 miles more easily than I could run 1 mile a year after I started running. I was also biking a lot at the time.

In 2012 I started dating my current girlfriend and also started grad school. Over the course of the next 2 years my running schedule slowly degraded and having my carnal needs satisfied on a daily basis had me adding pounds again. Starting a PhD was the final nail in the fatass coffin. I went from weighing around 160 right after I ran the marathon to 199 at my fattest. In the month after I got kicked out of grad school I lost 7lbs. I was less stressed; running, eating and biking more; and eating less. I didn't expect to drop down to marathon runner weight, but I thought the pounds would come off more easily. However, I've had trouble getting below 190 and usually hovered around 192. I experimented with Ferrsis's slow carb diet and I also tried to do the warrior diet. Both took off a pound or two but I had trouble sticking to them.

This is where I was until a month ago. I was having trouble changing my eating habits and nothing was sticking. I was getting pretty frustrated and pretty much resigned to being slightly overweight forever. About a month ago I took a trip to Argentina and staid with someone who was intermittent fasting. The combination of hanging out with her, not having to do any work and being in a country where ordering food was a struggle naturally brought me onto an intermittent fasting schedule. I realized I could do a warrior diet light with 2 meals and an 8 hour eating window.

When I got back from Argentina I was stunned. I'd lost about 7 pounds in a week of eating pretty much only empanadas. It was easy for me to slip into an IF eating schedule since I was already used to it. I've been able to stay around 187 since leaving and seem to be, very slowly, progressing downward.

My most recent exercise regime has me trying to gain some upper body strength. There's a lot of running hate on these forums. Running has been very good to me. I really enjoy running and my body is well suited for it. However, it's not good for upper body strength and I've always had small arms and somewhat flabby chest. I've started doing more upper body exercises in addition to running and am already starting to see some results, though I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who can see them.

There was a period from about 23-26, after I went through what my friend Buffy calls "The Manning" where I was very attractive. I would like to get back to that state. Through ERE I've been introduced to the (obvious) ideas that bodies are use it or lose it as they age and "moving well" is as much of a goal of personal fitness as "fucking often." I'd like to get to a steady state level of fitness where I can easily achieve the functional fitness goals in the ERE book. Currently that would entail losing a bit more weight (aka eating less), holding cardio health steady and gaining more upper body strength.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:01 am
by 7Wannabe5
Yeah, it kind of suck when attractive people still want to have sex with you even when you are at a level of chubby that violates your own aesthetic :lol: Seriously, I have the same problem. I wish I was motivated towards fitness by an intense desire to be the most powerful player on my senior women's division field hockey team, but that will never be me. I am also only very intermittently motivated by the desire to be able to slip into something in a size 6 at the mall. Even longevity doesn't work, because very little of my fat is mid-body internal, so I have zero symptoms of metabolic disorder, and I am still producing fertility level estrogen at age 53, giving me rational expectation of setting my death clock to 93. (sigh)

Since you like music and sex, I think taking some dance classes might give you some fresh inspiration towards fitness. Also, based on my experience dating men much older than you, if you don't want to have to eventually give up your favorite hobby, or finally have to resort to injectables, a focus on overall fitness moving forward is a very good idea.

Re: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:50 pm
by Jin+Guice
@7w5: I've considered dance lessons but I'm always a bit short on time so boring push ups and pull ups it is for now. I do enjoy running which is supposed to be pretty good for the penis, at least that's what the runners say.

As far as injectables go, no dope no soul.