3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

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ertyu
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3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Hi all and thanks for giving this a read. I'm 38 and currently half-way through the accumulation phase.

It's been a three-day weekend here.

The first day, I was tired, had a headache, all I wanted was to sleep.
The second day, I was still tired, but some hope and light started to filter through: why not sign up to these forums? Maybe I can get somewhere. Maybe there will be help. Re-reading my post yesterday, it still sounds so mopey.
Third day: hmm, this is starting to take shape. Maybe I could try this--or maybe that will work. I look around my apartment, and I feel like I like my life and this feeling of cautious hope.

Tomorrow is Monday, and I am back at work. Strength will start being sapped from me until the weekend, but most weekends aren't three days and there isn't time for the hope to set in.

Vacations and time off are how I make it through. If i am very very frugal, I still have 28 months of this (36 at current savings rate).

Here is what I want:

To wake up, and to know that my days are my own.
To not be dependent on an institutional environment that is always by definition hierarchical and where fear for your survival is used to keep you subjected. Where you constantly need to relinquish your agency and execute as you are told, or else.
To not have to control anyone, and to not be controlled by anyone.
To be free to pursue any interests as I arise. To have the time and the bandwidth to read if I want to, to write if I want to, to walk, to learn, to craft. No lofty ambitions here. Just to be left to my own devices and to have power over my own life.
For my life force to slowly return. For the desire to be productive and create and achieve goals in my own life, on my own terms to return.

What currently worries me:

That I will not be able to stick with my job. That I will remain in this state forever and then I will die.
That something will happen with the economy or the stock market and I will lose everything and I will need to keep working. That I will make a stupid investment decision and will have to keep working. That my family will do something that will require me to give over my savings and I will need to keep working. God I don't want to keep working.

Zanka
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by Zanka »

I want to see some numbers!! :)

taemoo
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Location: Madison, WI

Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by taemoo »

Looking forward to read your progress. Being FIRE’d has exceeded my expectations so it’s worth the effort. What are your post FIRE plans? Planning/researching my post FIRE life helped me through the daily grind.

thrifty++
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by thrifty++ »

hey welcome to the forum, good to see your journal.

When you answered my question about moving overseas you mentioned being in a similar state of FI feeling to hard or far off. So am surprised to see yo only 3 years to FI. Where are you based?

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Thanks for the replies, all.

@Zanka, I am 63% to target savings. I aim for 3% withdrawal but lean spend after retirement. If I manage to last it at my current job, I will need to work 2 or 3 more years depending on what returns I can make in the market. Being able to last it at my job isn't a given. The next big perfornance review cull is 6 months from now, by which time I will be 70% to target at 3%.

@bigato: it's a matter of personality. Some people have a harder time than others being directed and sacrificing their natural drive to self-directed work and play. Also, there is something inherent about the state of subjugation that bothers me. Someone having power over me. Realistically I know I am a small pawn in a society, someone would always have power over me, but still. I guess there's nothing inherently bad about being in a hierarchy, it's just a matter of personality. I, personally, am not sure I can be happy if I am not spontaneous and self-directed. Spontaneity is another one that many people don't find important, in fact, schedules and clearly outlined goals work very well for many. tl;dr: beats me, personality.

@taemoo thanks for the suggestion. I will keep researching. There's something to be said about having your eyes on the prize and keeping in mind what you are working towards. As for what I will do, I only have short-term plans. As of now, I hope to live somewhere cheap Eastern Europe as I know the area, focus on health, focus on learning to invest, and spend time outside. Reevaluate 6 mo to a yr and see where that gets me. I am really looking forward to my authentic interests emerging now that all my life plans wouldn't need to be optimized with respect to how I can be gainfully employed.

@thrifty, I am FI only given I accept that I will live somewhere low-cost in a developing country. This is not an unrealistic plan for me as I have traveled a lot and lived in many places, I am confident that I'm not talking out of my ass as is often common with the "I'll just move to the beach in Thailand" crowd.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

_December 02, 2019_

Began a frugality experiment today: live without a fridge. I am currently not a strict minimalist, currently. I have many expenses that can be considered frivolous. For instance, I buy coffee outside on a regular basis and I don't travel to work as cheaply as possible; I spend 2 more dollars a day than necessary to get to avoid coworkers on my morning commute. Even the no refrigerator thing is not that spartan in context: I am only doing it because I can justify running my space heater at high temp (I live in a studio so a small 30-dollar space heater is keeping the space quite warm. I like this aspect of living in a small space. A lot can be said for having a loft bed, too. It's the first time I have one, but the temperature difference from downstairs is perceptible. Much warmer up here. Recommend.)

Anyway, on the no refrigerator deal:

It's starting to get properly chilly outside. Not freezing, so cannot keep food outside long-term, but parking a sealed glasslock box on the floor of my small balcony is enough to store already prepared food for about 48 hours.

I live alone and work provides a free cafeteria lunch, so I am thinking it's fine if dinner is light - e.g. a couple of pieces of fruit with a handful of peanuts, a salad with a can of beans/chick peas, etc. Lentils, rice and quinoa can be boiled comparatively quickly in single-serving portions. I do not plan to cook meat as ample meat is often provided at work lunch. In fact, lack of veg is the problem there. So even if I only had chopped veg with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, that would still be ok.

The con is, of course, no ability to meal prep for a full week and no ability to do a whole week's worth of grocery shopping at a discount store. This might be a blessing in disguise, when I shop for a week at a time I somehow always end up wasting and throwing away produce. There is a small, albeit slightly overpriced, convenience store that stocks fresh fruit and veg that I can drop by on my way home from work.

Other frugal things I do well:

- I don't smoke or drink, I am not a bar or a restaurant person. (I am, however, a Starbucks person, but that remains to be reevaluated).
- Clothes, shoes, etc. and household belongings/appliances are in a steady state. No spending on new items currently required.

This means that save for my caffeine/starbucks sandwich habit and my crumudgeonly ways of getting to work, my savings rate is quite decent. 75% of monthly salary currently directly deposited into savings. Could definitely bump this up to 80%, but I think it is good to have a couple thousand bucks of a cash cushion in case of emergency. Currently have 1k. The goal is to always have enough cash for a plane ticket to country of origin, where I have about 1k USD in a cash emergency fund, too. 1k USD is enough to rent a studio and live on for a month while I reshuffle other savings.

Bad: I want tattoos. Tattoos are the opposite of frugal.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

It's been a week since I last wrote, and I'm thinking making a post once a week can help keep me on track with goals etc.

From last week: did not miss refrigerator. Did not make any changes in how I eat either, which makes me think I didn't need it in the first place. Problem is, I don't eat that well to begin with. So, refrigerator stays off, space heater stays on. As the refrigerator is quite large and has a freezer section, I am anticipating net savings in my electricity bill.

We're almost a third through December, and while I am not religious, my company has 10 days off for Christmas and new year so American expats can go home. I don't have anything much planned and I'm really looking forward to the time off. I will spend the time between home and Starbucks, learning about options. I've gotten some books, old and therefore cheap, with titles like "Profiting from Weekly Options" and "Trading options: using technical analysis to design winning trades" which on the whole sound kind of iffy but I figure would serve as a good layman's intro to the subject.

The next logical step for me to work in the process of unfucking my life is food. This is a large one for me. I don't drink and I don't smoke, so food is where all my self-medication has centered. I seem to have a very strong psychological resistance to fixing the situation, too. Part of it is the usual. Lizard brain expects it to entail not having things that are tasty and expending effort that it sees as unnecessary when it can just have pizza. But I think the self-medication (work, general angst) and the avoidance-of-unpleasantness are just the surface. I seem to have a block around becoming a healthy person in general, re. both eating and exercise, and I need to dig into why that is. Feels like a can of worms, not too eager to open. Made a post about it in the health thread, maybe some useful ideas will come out of there.

I'm not sure what an appropriate goal would be for next week. Also, I find myself very reluctant to write down and share it this likely part of the can of worms. But oh well. Let's see how the week ahead goes.

anesde
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by anesde »

Having read your previous thread, I would suggest using your 10 days off to start getting into an exercise routine.

This can and should be relatively lightweight - don’t go hard initially as you’ll just get excessively sore and not want to continue. Rather, try for a habit whereby you do 15-20 minutes of light body weight exercise each day. If you’re looking for ideas check out Freeletics. The app has a series of free workouts before moving past the paywall that would be fine for this purpose.

To mentally prepare just reiterate that there is no excuse now that you’re off from work. Set a goal, accomplish it, and repeat. I believe if you commit it will be easier to continue when you return to work and it will pay dividends towards giving you more energy moving forward.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

After some thinking, I have decided to bump up my monthly savings target. Before, I had 70% of my pre-tax salary automatically deposited to my bank account, and was aiming to hold another 9.8% in cash. Well, I'm holding back another 9.8% and going to 90% SR.

Why this will work:

- work lunch catered
- transportation to work provided if one is willing to wake up at an ungodly hour
- waking up at an ungodly hour and getting to the office earlier means I get to start the coffee pot. I can have my first coffee at the office, on company dime
- instituting naps directly after returning from work.

Factors helping for December specifically:

- 10 more work days.
- Grain + legume etc. stash in drawer

___

Non-negotiable bills

- rent: pre-paid for another 6 months thus not counted in salary or spending (so basically, 90% = (savings) / (pre-tax salary - rent)

Why pre-tax salary: no idea what taxes are. They change month to month.

- bills (water+electricity): around 1% of monthly salary [this has been consistent. fridge turned off to compensate for space heater + water heater].
- phone/internet: 0.6% of monthly salary

____

Discretionary:

- if I take independent transportation to work in the mornings + have coffee outside: 2% of salary

It was interesting to do this write-up because I am having a "where the fuck is my money going??" moment, and I know very well where it's going: impulsive purchases and delivery orders of sugary, junk-food-y, and caffeinated things I'd enjoy to eat or drink. Plus a 16-tangerines-at-a-time fruit habit, which i'm telling myself "isn't so bad" 'cause it's fruit. I would call this last category "bullshit spending."

Why: At 90% SR, I'd be 33x v. lean/ 24x lean/ 18x "middle class/unthinking spending comfortable" FI by the time of the next performance cull this early June. Even if it turns out that I need to pull the plug either because I'm fired or because I can't work any more, I'd be pulling it at a good place. If I do survive the performance cull, it would be a pain in the ass to replace me for another 9-12 months, so provided I make it, I can rely on another year of full time employment. So May '21, age 39, god willing, if I sustain the 90% SR, I would be 33x lean.

It feels good to have a target date.

I seem to have invented a cure for Sunday-evening-ism: instead of dreading work, fantasize about immature things like getting visible tattoos (not allowed as per contract/dress code) and being all like, yea bitch you can fire me if you want to :D :D. Yea it's lame but shut up, it lifts my spirits :D

____

Targeting the junk food habit, thus, emerges as the main problem to tackle. On the benefit side, it will allow for increased savings - or at the very least, for spending the same money on healthier coping strategies should I change my mind about aggressiveness of SR. It will result in at least some health benefits and increased energy, which will hopefully make job easier to deal with. But most importantly, I think, what needs to be dealt with here isn't food or spending per se, but rather my approach to self-soothing and managing my own emotions on a day-to-day basis. The junk food thing is a symptom of a bad strategy for dealing with life rather than a central problem in and of itself. Psychologically, I need to start doing life differently.

I should write out my goals and motivations and keep them by my bed and re-read them every morning. Hopefully, this will keep me focused through the days and will help me not sink into that morass where it all seems hopeless because work seems interminable. Remember: 10min/10hrs/10yrs and "My main goal today is to get one day closer to ERE." The freedom to learn what I want and do nothing if I want to. Boy that would be sweet.
Last edited by ertyu on Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Immediate tasks to accomplish:

__ See how to transfer money from checking account to other checking account where the off-limits cash will go
__ Phone: chase up ways to reduce bill. That's 6 Starbucks trips, work for it, you "out-of-my-comfort-zone" fucker!
__ Gather paperwork required for money transfer. Where on earth is my labor contract ??
_X_ Wash the fucking dishes you slob

Update: washed the dishes but oh wow I'm a slob. All kinds of science in the sink. Ended up washing the bottom with toilet detergent 'cause i felt like i needed industrial strength biohazard liquid
Last edited by ertyu on Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

anesde
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by anesde »

I think OP might be accounting for rent in that his 33x/24x/18x isn’t based on current spending but projected one (which isn’t described but meant to be back in home country). That’s what I gathered from this and the previous thread anyway.

Why the obsession with Starbucks? Is it the coffee, atmosphere, feeling of escape, etc? If you can narrow down what value you’re deriving from it then try and replicate that at home for a lower cost. For example, if it’s just the brew you can definitely make better coffee at home. There’s a whole rabbit hole you can go down over roasting your own beans, grinding yourself, etc which isn’t (or at least doesn’t have to be) very expensive.

If it’s the atmosphere then make the coffee yourself and head to a bookstore or library and enjoy it there. Same for the feeling of escape, etc.

I use that more as an example to identify other things you enjoy but can replicate at a lower or nil cost. This is a different mindset then simply “going without” which can save money but leave you feeling like you’re sacrificing and thus miserable. It’s a nuanced difference but an important one.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

anesde wrote:
Sun Dec 08, 2019 11:19 am
I think OP might be accounting for rent in that his 33x/24x/18x isn’t based on current spending but projected one (which isn’t described but meant to be back in home country).
Correct
anesde wrote:
Sun Dec 08, 2019 11:19 am

Why the obsession with Starbucks? Is it the coffee, atmosphere, feeling of escape, etc? If you can narrow down what value you’re deriving from it then try and replicate that at home for a lower cost. For example, if it’s just the brew you can definitely make better coffee at home. There’s a whole rabbit hole you can go down over roasting your own beans, grinding yourself, etc which isn’t (or at least doesn’t have to be) very expensive.
It's not the brew, I'm actually fairly unpretentious about coffee as long as it's not instant and it's got caffeine in it. I am already making coffee at home, so I don't consume all my coffee at home. But I consume less than is strictly frugal (cut the coffee shop habit is one of the first suggestions made to people who save money, yet I've currently switched my fridge off but still go to Starbucks). There is something in the ritual of being alone and focusing on my work or learning while surrounded by others and drinking coffee. When I've lived at a place where a bookstore was anywhere near close to accessible and possible to hang out in, I that used to be one of my favorite activities. I would get the cheapest brewed coffee, a stack of books to look through, a journal, my laptop, etc. and off I go. Libraries do not work as well for some reason - the best hang-outy libraries I've had access to have been when I've been in college/grad school and it wasn't the same. But if there was a coffee shop inside the library, you could reliably find me there.

Whenever I move somewhere, one of the first things I'm drawn to do is find what coffee shops are accessible for me to hang out at.

It's not Starbucks in particular, it's just that coffee shops seem to be a thing with me. Starbucks just happens to be a name known to everyone which is available where I am and which can be shared without disclosing my location. Starbucks is everywhere, so people will know what I am talking about.

If possible, I don't want to eliminate coffee shops from my routine, pre- or post- ere. I hope that they will stay affordable. I would probably develop an inferior workaround, but I would really rather be frugal elsewhere and - not.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

I came to write here today because today was really hard to go through at work. The desire to escape and run away, and the feeling of being trapped, were stronger than usual. At one point around 4pm, something bubbled up in the center of my chest, a strong sense of, "please no more, I can't take this". Like something inside me was begging not to have to do this anymore. I felt a bit better after, but I was surprised at how strong the feeling was and how seemingly uncorrelated with the reality of my job. Yes, I would rather be pretty much anywhere else and I often actively dislike client interaction, but objectively and aside from my feelings, there are many worse jobs and ways to save. Many other people work the same job and don't have such a strong reaction to working. Why do I? I am already working on ere and have made it my goal to stop working. The feelings emerge in me spontaneously. I can feel them come up in my body. They make my life really hard, and harder than it needs to be. Out of the desire to escape, I procrastinate on trivial work tasks which start feeling like Ultimate Suffering And Drudgery and pile up in a way that makes me later cut corners with quality in order to somehow scramble to get things done in time. Colleagues see me as incompetent and lazy, but I feel like I am making a lot of effort to keep showing up and keep completing my tasks. Inside, it feels like I am working really, really hard, whereas if you were to observe me on the outside without knowing me, you would probably see a slacker. Even doing so little work, it weighs on me so hard. I am still working on it, trying to use mindfulness/focusing/self-talk/whatever, but I really wish I could work and not be this miserable. Is the misery because subconscious thinks that if I am not miserable I will keep working? I don't know. Still not sure about what the key is to sorting out my psychology here.

Frita
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by Frita »

Ah, the early-rising to continue the previous day’s rumination overthinking cycle... I have some experience with this. One thing I have noticed is that it’s counterproductive. Instead of solving the issue, it creates more problems (I.e., fatigue, caffeine dependency, increase of emotions that fuel more of the same). Stepping away from this is easier said than done when in such a storm. Acceptance of what is without massaging it to the point of restarting the cycle seems to be the moving target.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Frita wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 10:44 am
Ah, the early-rising to continue the previous day’s rumination overthinking cycle...
I am not in your timezone.

Sounds miserable, though. Wish you good luck in overcoming it as much as possible.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

I didn't think I'd be able to get myself to work this morning, but I did. Then I didn't think I'd be able to meet my Friday deadline. At a couple of points it really seemed like it. But then I thought of a couple of workarounds, 20% of the work gets you 80% of the way style, and I managed to finish the week, even with supervisor being unhappy with the formatting on a project and me needing to spend half an hour figuring out how to format it. In the end, I ditched the content I had selected for quality, and took shit from somewhere else which was crap, but hey, it was formatted how supervisor wanted it so supervisor was happy.

This is a couple of times now that in one way or another, supervisor has revealed themselves as someone who doesn't care about the quality of work but about the appearance of work, which is maddening to me. My values are quite different. I will not miss this once I quit. Another thing I will not miss is supervisor requiring unnecessary work so they will look like they can make us grunts do work. Yet another thing I will not miss are the interminable meetings, invariably unnecessary and replaceable by an email, and inevitably scheduled after the end of the work day on Monday as it is the only time we all have time. No shit everyone has time then, Sherlock. It's after. the end. of the fucking. workday, and you're taking an hour from me just so you can appear hardworking and your boss can see how much work you do.

But hey, I finished this week, and the next week, the last before the holiday, will be lighter.

Good news ahead: 10 days off, bless the Americans. May they all enjoy their flight home and have a wonderful time with the families that all sorts of blogs seem to want to teach them how to stand, starting mid-october and ending january 10. In the event my grouchy miserable ass ever meets someone, I hope they're estranged from their family. Or maybe post-employment I will start loving people and the world, I don't know. I certainly seem to have more to give to others when I'm not spending all my energy on trying to make myself go to work, and once there, not quit.

That said, during this week I was observing myself and my actions. People were saying I just blame my job, but I don't think they're right. It takes effort to go and stay there, and to keep up with tasks. Often, a lot of effort. It almost feels like I'm out of effort by the time I'm home and it's time not to order the pizza. I have fought all day, and I don't have much left in me for yet another fight. Or sometimes, I'm still tense with shit from work and know that cheese will be a reliable tranquilizer. I don't think it's a stretch to think that without the job, I'll be able to do things differently. To be tested over the next ten days (after the last week of work is complete). I've been counting down like I'd be retiring on december 20 lmao, and it's only 10 days, it'll be gone in a blip. But it'll be curious to see. My usual pattern is, the staring into the empty space persists for 3 days or so and then I start reconnecting with hopes and ideas and desire to actually do something for myself in my life. What if I could just be? Sounds so wonderful.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

It's the weekend, so you get spam.

Reviewing my decision to increase saving, I managed it for a couple of days then flaked off. What did I spend on? Pizza, Subway, Starbucks, Ritter Chocolate bars, rides to and from work and morning coffee at the place next to my job. Total bullshit spending for the week about 120 bucks - I range between 100 and 150. Rides excluded, all this spending is on, basically, grazing on bullshit food as I go through the day. I was watching myself today: I am not hungry, but the thought of Subway arises. I notice it, hopefully let it pass like a mindful guy is supposed to, then a couple of minutes later here it is again and I resent having to reject it, but I let it pass, then it comes up again, then finally after an hour and a half of this I end up ordering Subway and suddenly I relax - I realize how tense and tight my body has gradually gotten.

This process is nothing new. I realize that I do not make the thoughts come up, nor am I able to stop them from coming up or will them away, eventually I give in. But this inability to control my spending is something which makes me afraid to pull the plug on work. How can I reliably be frugal if I cannot control myself? Some immature foot-stroppy part of me is of the opinion that I am already denied so much in life - the ability to do what I want, but also, love by an ideal partner, as imagined, and respect by others. (Yes I am aware how immature this sounds, but the truth shall set you free, etcetera - no one benefits from me pretending it's not there when it is just because I am aware it makes me sound spoiled and immature).

It's for reasons like the above that I am not a fan of the tactics - make a goal - follow a schedule approach. I am not derailed in my goals because I don't have a schedule; I am derailed because all parts of my psychology aren't congruent. The part of me that can't see why we can't just sit on the couch watching porn and eating pizza is stomping its foot, and pretending it's not there is about as effective as pretending I don't want Subway. There is a part of me that doesn't want to exercise or save or wake up and go to work on a schedule. It's saying something like, "I've already had to accept and deal with the fact that happiness may be possible for other people but is impossible for us, so I refuse, refuse, refuse, to give up the things that give me comfort, too." It doesn't concern itself with logic or rationality or reasonable arguments like there being a point to delaying gratification or to actually working towards happiness. It sees working towards happiness as pointless drudgery because it sees happiness as fundamentally impossible regardless of the amount of effort thrown its way. In fact, it sees working towards happiness on the same level as working at a job: something other people say you should do because they say you should when we know no actual fulfillment would result from any of these efforts - save from redirecting earnings to pizza. I am not actively suicidal as in actively planning to end my life, but this feels similar: screw your plans for the future, we're giving this up for a bad job. We're surviving day to day with our only immediate priority to avoid the suck.

Needless to say, this is not the sort of mindset which brings people to financial independence. But it is where I am and what I need to face.

ertyu
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by ertyu »

Reading: finished Fumio Sasaki's "Goodbye Things" which was mentioned by conwy in the Konmari thread. Being a professional expat, I am no stranger to reducing my life to a suitcase or throwing shit out, but to me belongings seem to mean something very different than they mean to FS. FS speaks a lot about using belongings as a vehicle to compare yourself to others or to want to make others think of you in a certain way. For him, giving up his belongings was liberating party because giving up belongings was a stand-in for giving up on the obsession with how he compares to others and with the image others had of him, for which things were a prop.

That is not something I do. Minimalism is appealing to me, but mostly from the pov of what he speaks of tangentially in three paragraphs: things (exercise mat, clothes you're not throwing out, that journal i never write in, the foreign language books that are good for my brain, the juicer, etc.) all represent what I [i[should[/i] be - yet more work I should be doing, yet more burden I'm putting on myself. I seem to be attracted to the idea of unstructured time where I have nothing I have to do, either because job said so or because it's what a modern protestant ethic ascetic needs to do to fit the joyful happy healthy productive ideal [a pig in a cage on antibiotics - smart dudes nailed it]. It's this abstract sense of being "good enough" that weighs on me - the obsessive productivity, constantly working on yourself one. Getting rid of things appeals because then I wouldn't have to study language or exercise: i could study or not, exercise or not depending on my inner state of flow. Having to feels like "clogged" inside, whereas not having to feel like something has unplugged, like there's flow.

Minimalism of this sort, though, is innately unfrugal. The frugal option is to spend 15 bucks on a yoga mat then pull up a bunch of youtube exercise videos, not sign up for a yoga class where you could go or not depending on your mood. And no, I don't know why I feel this inner imperative that I must discipline myself to do matwork regularly and on schedule, wake up early every morning, bla bla. It's so common for people to want to achieve these "habits" and all I see there is being forced, a trap, a drudgery and a limitation of the flow of my life, of my freedom.

On the other hand: I do not like giving things up. I am amazed that FS spends the entire book not mentioning this, but belongings are a moat against existential dread. If you have a stash of clothes or grains or tools or an extra bottle of cologne, that feels safe: if something happens, you will not be without. The pile of belongings feels like something that makes my continued existence more secure. One of the reasons why I don't want to quit my current job (not a main one, but certainly a reason) is that I will have to give up my belongings yet again (and be cheap and deprived when buying new ones, because now we're in drawdown, I must be as frugal and sparing as possible or the money melts melts melts). I am afraid to quit my job because the stash of savings I have accumulated is the only thing between me and peril, and as soon as I stop working, the drawdown starts. I already experienced this the last time I tried to quit and change careers, the only thing I managed to accomplish is set myself back - but I did realize exactly how precarious existence is, and the extent to which you are prey once you drop out of the middle class. Stayed with a buddy to save money for two weeks until I found my own place. I used to hang out with this dude when we were kids. He does speed, gets mad a lot, drinks. It was actually frightening being around him. I realized that without the money, I depend on the kindness of strangers, albeit not quite blanche du bois style due to gender etcetera. But that experience, having to depend on others for favors and how precarious that felt--and exactly how much free-fall space there is until the bottom--will stay with me for a long time. There but for the grace of god (squalor, smokes, booze, and speed, construction job) go I. The only thing between me and poverty is my savings and my job.

This might be hitting harder because we were poor when I was young - food insecurity, clothes stolen from the second hand store, no jobs, economic crisis, roaches. Peeling everything. I was a child, and then a teen who never knew anything else, but now as an adult, it feels like the rug can be pulled from under my feet at any point. Like my existence is precarious, and only a little nudge is needed to get it over the edge. Might be why being unable to cut bullshit spending is getting to me so much, too. And it's definitely why I have such a fear of quitting work at anything above a 3.25 wr. Would be awesome if this somehow motivated me to work my job and be grateful for what I've got, but no: I desperately want to escape the only thing that keeps me safe.

Last but not least: if you have actually read until here, be a decent human being. Don't explain to me that my thoughts are irrational or illogical. The moment we can logic ourselves out of the legacy of our personal history and rationally eliminate our addictions is the moment when the obesity epidemic stops, all shrinks go on unemployment, and Eli Lilly goes out of business. I am where I am. The only way out is through. No one ever crossed a river by pretending it doesn't exist. Don't be a cunt.
Last edited by ertyu on Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by jacob »

It's interesting how you see stuff as increasing your sense of security because I'm the exact opposite. I see stuff as a threat multiplier. DW can tell whenever I feel stressed because I go on a "lets get rid of some stuff"-spree. Perhaps this is because in my case, changes (whether positively or negatively induced) have always required moving somewhere else. An excess amount of stuff or commitments prevent me from that. It might come down to the archetypes of nomads vs homesteaders. Leaning nomad, my sense of comfort with a situation is proportional to how difficult it would be to leave.

To me stuff mostly represents an ability to do more things. Think tools and parts. In the FS sense---I think he was into cameras---I wouldn't own the camera in order to send the signal that I'm a artsy photographer; I'd send the signal by taking artsy pictures ... but I'd have to own a camera in order to do that. The renaissanceman problem is that being widely skilled tends to come with lot of tools and parts. This creates the tension with the nomadism. The minimalist question for me has always been if whether the delta skill/delta encumbrance factor was worth it for a given activity and/or item. You can see some of that struggle and possible resolutions in the ERE book although I don't think I was that explicit about it.

I think these attitudes are deeply rooted and rather hard to change deliberately.

bostonimproper
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Re: 3 yrs to FI: ertyu's journal

Post by bostonimproper »

Might be why being unable to cut bullshit spending is getting to me so much, too. And it's definitely why I have such a fear of quitting work at anything above a 3.25 wr.
One of the things I try to keep in mind when I go through an anxiety spiral is that, while my anxiety on the one hand is trying to protect me, it can also color my view to justify its own existence. I found, for instance, during my quarter-long period of unemployment, that I was moment to moment experiencing less stress than I would have expected not making money, whereas at work I stress graze on snacks out of the sheer desire to escape even for a moment. With a job, I often go into checking-my-accounts-on-PC mode; without I was surprisingly blase about how fast we were burning through our savings. That is to say: sometimes the thing your anxiety is telling you is bad/scary/etc is not actually the thing triggering it.

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