mooretrees journal

Where are you and where are you going?
mooretrees
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

Ok, I've had my rant and pity party. I think I figured out one of my problems, I'm hanging out with the wrong people. We had dinner with a lovely couple and their daughter one evening and then a kid birthday party on another day this weekend. Both events were nice (not so much the kid party but it wasn't awful). But all of these people are fully engaged with business as normal, nice homes and furniture, toys for kids (so MANY toys!) and toys for adults, drinking and general indulgent norms.

I need to be around more weirdos with crappy free furniture who don't give a shit about their paint job or faucets and who drive older cars and who want to make music or be outside more. It's not that these people are bad, it's just that I don't want to fix my house up and make it beautiful and unique and have nice art on the walls. And then I feel sorta bad/off about my house and it's shitty kid marked up walls and beat up floor. Mostly I don't care, or just can ignore it. But when I'm around these folks with their nice houses and toys, then I feel...left out? That doesn't feel right, but I don't really want that stuff, but I feel outside. And maybe this is the normal thing I've read about here, that feeling of not belonging? Anyway, I've got a healthy kid and I've got plans to get out of this cave, my husband still thinks I'm hot and I'm having homemade fries and a big slab of beef for dinner. My kiddo is currently playing with a sponge and a lid, don't think he feels deprived because he doesn't have a ton of toys.

I feel better, thanks for listening all you weirdos!!!!!

ertyu
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by ertyu »

mooretrees wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:27 pm
I feel stuck. I had an up and down weekend, fantastic Nordic skiing one day and the next day I was aimless and irritated for no good reason. I hated going to work this morning, really had to drag myself in and wasn't on time. Last night I almost cried that I had to go to work. Seems pretty silly to write now, but I felt trapped.
fwiw, i feel you. i have had this feel, and i know it, intimately. When I take sick days, it's because I can't get to work, because of this feel. If I don't have it, I am grateful that I was able to do what I've got to do with less suffering. No idea what to do about it or how to make it go away, it doesn't ask me before showing up. But you're not alone.

classical_Liberal
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Glad you're feeling better. I wish I had some advice to help. All I can really say is that this disconnect hasn't really gotten any better for me, so learning ways to deal with it is a proper use of time. Of course, who you spend time with is a big part of that picture, IMO.

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Alice_AU
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Location: Sydney Australia

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Alice_AU »

Oh, I soooo understand the feeling.

Before discovering ERE, going to work 5 days a week seemed like inevitable evil, something that sucks but is not worth over-thinking. Like “winter replaces summer... every human will grow old and die... I need to work for a living... whatever...”.

Now less than a year into this wonderful new (to me) philosophy I’m still predicting long 16 years from being able to retire but definitely noticed a change in how having to work feels. Much, much worse than before. Every day I am so aware that “I want my life back”, and wish it could happen sooner... like tomorrow)))

Days off, on the other hand, are even more enjoyable now. I don’t need anything else to make me happy on a weekend, just knowing that I have this glorious day full of free time ahead of me :-D

mooretrees
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

Thanks all for the comments and commiseration. I know I'm not alone in these trenches. I've been doing some hard day dreaming as I don't think I'll last too many more years in this job. It's taking too much energy and draining me on my weekends off. To date we're at $2043 for normal living spending which included some one-offs (shoes and pants plus some snow gear for our son). Our spending has been covered by my first paycheck and in a future month, the second paycheck will go to savings completely. For now, it will cover the mortgage and putting more away for the skoolie fund.

We've got $2500 saved for the school bus and have been talking designs and layouts, materials and the like. Most evenings after our son has gone to sleep (and I'm still awake) we watch a van or school bus conversion video and talk about ideas. We've talked about getting the bus mostly ready for living and fine tuning it as we figure out what we need. I'm not convinced we need a shower, DH doesn't really agree. I think we'll give living with a cooler a try and use the solar to power the intermittent energy needs (lights, cell phones and occasional grinder and potential hot water heater).

Last year I sorta got a job offer at the local wholesale plant nursery where my husband has worked on and off. The owners are in their mid-sixties and ready to retire. We have talked about buying their business but I can't stomach going into such debt. However, they recently got an inheritance and paid off their house. They are looking for a manager to run the business so they can work less. They supply native plants to government agencies and non-profits doing restoration or big construction where they have to replant. I don't know their business well at all and it would be a big change to leave this job and move on to that type of work. I manage people at my current position and I think I am decent at it, certainly I could learn more. They are in Ecuador right now because they don't work in the winter. Which sounds amazing.

I brought it up to DH at breakfast this morning as something to talk about. Of course everything about that job would be so much better to me right now because I'm unhappy currently. But that's not a good reason to leave and I want to make a smart decision. A recent post or two from Gin + Juice and Horsewoman made me pause. There was a lot of discussion about how people can stay too long in bad situations to have money that they don't need. I haven't come up with a magical 'number' that is where I can stop work. Partly because all the numbers sound so high and far away, and partly because I don't have good data about what we actually need to live on. I have been doing a good job tracking money (this month) and so that's just an ongoing data collection that will help. I see this year mostly about saving a little bit of money and getting our alternative living situation set up. I don't think I want to hold on to this house after we move into the school bus. I kinda think that once we're in the bus and we are okay with it, I might not be able to stomach full time work.

Really what I'm rambling on about is that I'm looking for my escape hatch from full time work. I am not going to wait it out till I have a certain number, as I'm not opposed to working a little bit and DH can certainly work at some point too. Reading horsewoman's post about being unwilling to give up her freedom for more money was inspiring. I miss my freedom.

classical_Liberal
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Please don't wait until you are completely miserable! OTOH I bet once you get from planning to physically moving on the schoolie your attitude might brighten up a bit.

You know, one thing that has always helped me from a mental-financial mindset was looking at my "traditional retirement" as a separate entity from the ERE before it. No offense, but you and DH are not spring chickens (ie about my age), so Social Security and any small pensions or the like that you have accumulated are not that far off. Have you guys seriously calculated where you're at for those benefits? SS is currently funded at about 3/4, even in the worst case. If those things cover your base living expenses, then you only have to look at funding 20-25 years of early retirement. Which is a lot easier than 50 years. Particularly if you throw in the part time work or whatever. The number for base living starts to get pretty low to fund a couple of decades. Or you can look at just saving enough for the regular retirement with 20 years of investment growth and plan of fully funding your ERE lifestyle with work as you go gigs. Goals become easier to shoot for if they seem more attainable, just say'en. You can always choose to chicken out later and demand a 3% WR (like so many of us here), after you've reached the first one, if you want. :D

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

You, sir, on right on the mark! I'm normally fairly easy going and bounce back from annoyances pretty quickly so this long unhappiness is unusual. I think I'm coming out of it....sunny skies and sleep help.

I have looked into SS but nothing that I remember. I'll check into it again because, you are correct, we're not that young! Especially DH :lol: . He'll be 48 next month....

I won't wait til I'm miserable, this is just a rough patch that I should get over soon. It helps that we're going to visit my folks for 9 days in sunny Florida. They will pamper us and we'll scamper around on the beach. I do love winter, but I'll be happy to have more sun.

I think this in-between phase is really frustrating. We don't have enough money saved to make progress on the skoolie and that's heavy on my mind. But, if I've learned anything from people here, patience in this day and age is the real skill to hone for success. So, being patient is what I'm working on. That and making oatmeal choc chip cookies with an adorable little man.

horsewoman
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by horsewoman »

Wow, I'm honored that my post was inspiring to you! Like I said in G+J's journal, personal freedom will always be a primary consideration in my case, but I'd like to differentiate a little, since it is not all puppies and roses (apart from my three puppies of course, but one of them regularity pisses on my rose bush, so... :) The path we are threading is lonely one, I don't want to make light of this circumstance. You seem to be more extroverted than me, so this could be a real pitfall for you when it comes to prioritizing personal freedom. Having difficulties to relate to other people or to find common ground with is one of the "trappings" of normal life I largely do without. I'm about to celebrate my 40th birthday soon and could only think of 15 friends I'd like to invite to my house for this occasion, while I only spend time regularity with about 8 of them - 6 of those are my band mates. So even with most of this 15 people I have only one common denominator, like kids the same age. Since I have my hubby and daughter, and I like to spend a lot of time on my own this is fine for me, mostly. I do have phases where I wish for more like-minded people, but my husband remarked recently, that I seem to have found them on this forum :) And even here I often feel a little like the odd kid on the school yard, but I'm used to that since early childhood.

What I'm trying to say in my usual long-winded way - it pays to think very carefully about one's priorities, because focusing on one area will always impact other areas. Moving into a school bus will take your family pretty much out of the mainstream, so maybe going to work like a "normal" person makes it easier for others to relate to you. Mind, I obviously don't know you personally and can only assume from your writings here that you would like to have more human interaction in your life compared to me. If you have followed the "mens fashion" thread you will be aware that I place more value on being yourself than on fitting in, but like I wrote above, it is often not easy and lonely to be the odd one out. So it is probably not a bad idea to wander into increasing "oddness" in small increments to see how much you and your family can handle. These considerations get even more important when your son grows up and you need to consider how your lifestyle choices impact his (social) life.

Regarding the savings/money issue, I agree with @c_l - my two main pillars in old age are our paid off house and social security. When I started to read here I was getting increasingly nervous for our future because all this people have so much money invested and think it is essential to do so. It does not help that my (super smart and well-meaning) brother pokes at me all the time with this topic. Only I cannot seem to get interested in investing, try as I might. But writing out all my thoughts in my journal and in other threads has given me back my trust in doing it my way - I see the next 20 years, where I reasonably can expect to be able to do PT work, as a time frame to perfect my systems and get my expenses down consistently - organically, so that will not feel like I'm making sacrifices. With the intent that by 60 I'll need very little money at all.

I'd also like repeat what I've said before here in your journal - tracking money very closely is key if you don't earn much. I know where every single Euro of our income goes, so it is easy to see what is necessary spending and what is stuff we could do without in a pinch. There is no guessing involved or glossing over expenses, I know exactly what's going on. This is very comforting. I hope this further reflections have some value for you as well :)

bigato
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato »

horsewoman beat me to it as it often happens lately, but I’d like to say it anyway: I got alarmed by the fact that you are considering quitting your job without having at least one year of expenses tracking. If it’s risking your health go ahead, but at the very least, you should have precise tracking from now on.

ertyu
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by ertyu »

I would chime in against the importance of tracking in this particular case. Tracking helps and has many well-acknowledged benefits, and that isn't in question. But like me, @mt + family anticipate a very different life post pulling the plug. I live and work in one country, and plan to retire in another. mt + family live a settled life now, but plan to travel on a schoolbus. The situation "before" is not necessarily indicative of the situation "after" - except in terms of developing the tracking habit so it is in place once one pulls the plug, I guess.

horsewoman
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by horsewoman »

Sorry @ertryu, but this argument does not hold up. While living in the school bus might be less expensive in the long run, conversions are not cheap. Plus, IIRC there is still a mortgage on the house, which will eat up the rent for a while, so less income. Tracking your expenses for a few years has zero downsides. Especially if you are considering great changes in your life, knowing for sure that you can actually afford them, takes a lot of stress out of the whole process. Imagine quitting a job and afterwards having to scramble to pay your bills because your estimation was off. That's not beneficial for mental health at all, even less so with a child involved.

@moretrees is very wise to pay attention to the alarm signals her body and state of mind are sending her. Still, she wrote above that this is likely merely a rough patch.
If the dissatisfaction with the current job stays, looking for a less stressful gig while still employed is the responsible thing to do. Pulling the plug from an almost empty bathtub will have you sitting naked and shivering in an empty tub pretty fast, unfortunately.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@horsewoman, wow, thanks for the thoughtful post. I've read it twice and I am letting it sink in. I am being very good about tracking! Wandering slowly into 'oddness' that's so great! I think this recent slump and sorta toughness connecting to people is not just because of money stuff. You are right, I am an extrovert, though maybe not as much as I've always thought. I can talk to any stranger and find connections somehow, but I really think that I was/am a little burnt out on working. Not so much that I need to 'rage quit', but I need some plan to hold on to as my escape hatch.

When my son gets old enough to have independent ideas good or bad about living in a school bus, we'll have to have some flexibility to accommodate him. I do think that we have a lot of years before that (he'll be three in a few months). But, we do talk about home schooling, which is one more degree of oddness to add to this mix. This career of mine does have the potential for part time work and we have one old timer who might be retiring soonish who only works three days a week, 8 hours at a time. That would be amazing. I won't try for it though right now if he does retire as I don't think it is the right time.

@bigato, thanks for your concern and I totally agree. I want to be as smart as possible about these decisions and have a lot of information about our spending before I pull the plug. I think I can sort out this momentary unhappiness and go back to my normal happy go lucky self soon. My job is a good one and sometimes I can make a huge positive impact on someones life. Sometimes it sucks to see people in trauma and suffering too. I won't miss leaving that behind someday.

@ertyu yep, great point about tracking money. I can see that we're likely to spend money differently, but how exactly remains to be seen. But, I think just the habit of tracking at my stage is important as a pillar of financial independence.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

One of our pre-school bus projects is getting the flooring ready. A year of two ago the local elementary school was torn down. Before the big wrecking ball came in, the public was allowed to take whatever they could out of the building. The night before he went in with his bucket of tools, DH was so excited he had a hard time sleeping. But he spent the better part of the day pulling up the gym flooring, a very nice maple. Yesterday we spent about two hours denailing it. The first board took me a frustrating five minutes until he showed me some tricks. Luckily he is a good teacher and we don't mind learning from each other. The next board was much faster! We made a lot of progress and got about a quarter of the wood sorted. We are saving money on flooring going this route, but it sure is time consuming. But very satisfying. I think we'll leave the wood as it, colors and all. It will look really cool and funky once it's installed.

Doing this denailing was so fun and rewarding. We had considered going Nordic skiing, but then I realized that I would like to feel some progress on the school bus. I think we're down to about the right amount of clothing that will fit easily into a few drawers now. We hardly have any hanging clothes (besides jackets). The decluttering continues in fits and spurts. The next big area to work on is the basement, which is hard now because I don't want to be in the darkness anymore than I have too.

AxelHeyst
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Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

I was homeschooled (and also lived in an RV ~13yo), and I’ve always been super grateful to have been homeschooled and had an ‘odd’ upbringing. I don’t know if my personality was such that I would enjoy the oddness anyway, or learned to enjoy it because what other option did I have. For what it’s worth I don’t know many k-12 homeschooled people who wish they hadn’t been. As long as you’re not like crazy fundie parents. :)

I built out my rig before I was into ERE, but something to watch out for: I had a ‘buying stuff hangover’ after construction, because I had habituated buying all the components and materials. I had to retrain myself to not buy stuff all the time after I was through. Expense tracking would have helped I imagine!

Sounds like you’re off to a great start with the flooring. I wish I’d taken the time to find more salvaged materials.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@AxelHeyst, good to know both about homeschooling and the buying hangover. Since I'm still so fresh to ERE and recovering from consumerism, I'll really have to watch out for that. Plus, there won't be anywhere to put stuff! I don't want to live in a cluttered space. And we are certainly NOT fundie parents. We actually vaccinate our child too!

AxelHeyst
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Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Whoa, vaccination, that's a bit much isn't it?! ;)

I was thinking about the extraversion and not feeling connected thing you mentioned a few posts ago. It seems to me there can be a weirdo* gap that a person can fall in to. If you're normal, you fit in with the normal people. If you're a total weirdo, you fit in with all the other weirdos. If you're only a little bit weird, but maybe you're neauvo weirdo, or you're just beginning on your path to full-blossoming weirdo, then you might not fit in with either the normal people *or* the full-blown weirdos (because to them you seem still a bit too normal).

This is an oversimplification, and there are so many different kinds of weird and some mix and some don't. But I feel it can almost be easier to 'fit in' and make friends and deep connections once you yourself are settling nicely into your unique weirdness, than when you were a normal person, because once you're in a sort of minority like that, that affinity creates an instant strong bond. "Oh, hey look, a fellow weirdo over there, just like me! Hey weirdo! Let's be friends and talk about how weird we are!"

For example, whenever my DW and I are out on the road in our rig(s), we make instant friends with anyone else we run into in an old or super custom rig (it doesn't have to be nice, just has to not be a new $printer that someone else built out). Wherever we go, it's not too hard to find a community of people who are going to "get us", at least one dimension of us (nomadic, rig life, etc).

Also, once you start to let your freak flag fly a bit, a lot of normal people will express interest and/or enthusiasm, because deep down they want to do that too but lack the courage or maybe have a good excuse. ERE might be an exception... but if you're already on the skoolie end of the spectrum, it fits. I think a lot of the pushback against ERE has to do with folks who ERE and maintain a normal-ish looking lifestyle. People can't even imagine how to live on extreme low money in a house, in a city. But in an old school bus? That kind of makes sense that you could figure out how to live on $10k/yr or whatever. You might find people are more accepting of the ERE stuff if your lifestyle is so visibly/obviously different, and get even normal people to connect in a different way than when you were in the Weirdo Gap.

*I use the word weirdo as a term of endearment, zero negative connotation at all. My humor tends towards dry and darkly self-deprecating.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@AxelHeyst Been thinking about this last post and another one of horsewoman's. The beautiful reality about ERE is that I feel like I'm getting back to my younger self. I think I needed to experiment with some 'normal' behaviors (career, owning a house, etc) partly because I was a weirdo for most of my adult life. I was raised middle-class and while I was always the dreamer/oddball in the family, I think I was curious about that lifestyle. Now that I've sacrificed personal freedom for five years in a career, owned a home and generally lived the middle class lifestyle, I'm ready for a 'return' to a simpler life. DH and I've played with the idea of a tiny house since the beginning of our relationship but I had some mental hurdles to overcome before I could really envision pulling the trigger on it.

Money stuff:

It's too early for an end of month update, but due to my diligent tracking, we're on record to spend around $300 for groceries at home. I was stressing about money yesterday and updating the google spreadsheet and was pleasantly surprised to see how low our food at home spending has been. This is without really chasing or stressing a goal to DH-he does most of the food shopping.

I'll do a bigger post about all of the spending later, but we are making strides in reducing our spending without any deprivation. The downside is that I'm mulling over purchases over a lot, which gets tiring. I've been wanting some overalls and I've put a lot of effort into trying some on, reading reviews and thinking about them. I used to just buy it and not go through this deeply analytical process. But, I think this might be the new reality? It feels weird because I'm thinking SO much about these stupid overalls. I'm almost to the point of being over the idea of them just because I'm tired of thinking about them!

Mental Health Update:
I've gotten two nights of decent sleep and my outlook is MUCH improved. We'll see how work goes, but I am not dreading it. Also, I hate to say it, but freaking lady hormones are the worst. TMI WARNING: I miss the days of my low level dose of progesterone from my IUD, my monthly hormones were much more stable.

mooretrees
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I was poking around on the ERE blog and found these three posts that have been very useful

https://earlyretirementextreme.com/how- ... erism.html

This next post is what I wish I had read before trying the buy nothing quarter (mostly a failure, but a good learning experience) https://earlyretirementextreme.com/the- ... erism.html

And this last one:https://earlyretirementextreme.com/the- ... erism.html

I think I was a standard consumer before ERE. I also think I'm still struggling with it. The linked posts are really helpful as guides to getting over it.

mooretrees
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

End of Month recap:


Expenses

Food 341
Gifts 20
Health 57
Home + util: 1,311 (981 when rental income is included)
Car Fuel 115
Personal 63 (mostly Nordic skiing passes + massage thingy for DH)
Pets 49
Travel 1,389 (tickets for three to Florida)
food out 98
Car Ins 58
Books 15
Son 120*
Clothes 61
Total: $3,657
* includes modifying our bike trailer to put it on skis, DH did it DIY, the kits retail for around $200 and night time diapers -he's potty trained otherwise, and ski googles)

Income: 4118.96

Savings 811 (includes rental income of 330 and xmas money of 250)
401k 399 (doesn't include employer contribution)
HSA 430

Savings rate: 35%

I knew this would be low due to the plane tickets. If we had saved that money instead our savings rate would have likely been 62%.

Money spent without travel: 2268. If I take away what the renter contributes to our mortgage payment: 1938. At the end of the day, we still spent the money on travel but it is useful to get realistic numbers for day to day living. I'm excited to have the beginnings of a 'rolling average.'

My take way from this is that we're making progress. Our eating out was high and mostly unsatisfying. One time was really me being too tired from work and poor planning. Feb will be less.

Tickets to see my parents were high as we opted to fly Southwest and now have to buy our son a seat. This is not a recurring expense and usually my parents will split the cost with me. I didn't ask and they didn't offer this time as they had just forgiven me my loan of $3450. They are in good health and are really great about coming to visit us so it's fine with me to reciprocate.

I was really surprised at how low our food at home was, and am encouraged that we are becoming more efficient at eating what we have and better meal planning. More gains can happen there I think, especially if we start making our own bread and yogurt.

I can tell we are starting to spend more money on our son. Mostly used books and some ski gear, but he's getting more curious and wanting to play more. He's been a pretty cheap kid to date, especially since we've gotten most of his clothes as hand me downs and we don't pay for day care. While my parents group really didn't pan out, we have potentially started a one day a week nanny share with one of those couples. Our kids are pretty close in age and have a lot fun together. This nanny share is really to give him some fun time and us a little break. Especially once the building starts, it will be nice to have him safely away during some of the week.

Feb will have some larger expenses due to the last heavy work of the basement remodel (sheet rock) and renewing DH's crossfit membership. He's loving it and since we've been together (8 years) this is the most he's ever worked out. I anticipate that our savings rate will also be low, but I think that with our tax return and finishing the basement, we'll be able to start looking for buses to purchase. Fingers crossed!

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I goofed off at work today and somehow ended up on a lovely website consisting of letters of various people. I almost cried several times. Especially with this letter, http://www.lettersofnote.com/search/label/kenkesey. If you don't want to read a letter about someone's son dying, don't click it.

I recently read Escape Everything (thanks G+J) twice and while I was poking around reading these letters, I realized I was going to quit my job. Likely in the next year. My whole body relaxed and the deepest feeling of rightness poured over me. Two hours later I started getting scared of that reality. Which is appropriate, but doesn't take away the truth. I don't know the details of yet it but that's the direction I'm heading.

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