A quick copy and past from the above noted Introduce Yourself entry
To quote @jacob I think this will clearly define the part that is hardest right now to move beyond my self assumed WL5ish ranking.Through reading some of the forums the last several years and then really digging into them the last year it was finally the time to create my own account here on ERE. I have thoroughly enjoyed the ERE website since 2013 and bought Jacobs book in 2014 reading it twice while I consumed everything Financial Independence, Minimalism, Simple Living and Early Retirement. I of course went hard on the FIRE path religiously reading MMM content until he stopped producing new and helpful content relevant to FIRE journey as it was more post RE life. Through that time I of course would pop back to ERE and read the rotating previously published posts as they are such good evergreen content.
I signed up for the MMM forums in 2013, locked in with a tight group of friends in the journals section and even created my own massive thread that spanned 5 years. I finally left work in 2017 and since then have enjoyed getting paid for outdoor adventures by spending time on my hobbies and fun that turned into a very mellow small income stream. The past 4 years have been a wonderful journey of decompressing, seeking solitude at times and then battling ego, identity and then of course main stream consumption (FOMO).
As I strive to work up the Wheaton Level hierarchy I have found myself needed to move beyond the MMM level. I find that my ecological impact our lifestyles, consumption and footprint is too important to not acknowledge and that what we think is very little money is in fact so much. We can live an amazing life with less money, less things and of course a lot lighter on the planet. Naturally this means moving up to ERE levels and in the future beyond.
and thisWhat's difficult is walking AGAINST the stream that has become industrialized consumerism. Being able to live differently when everybody around you is telling you otherwise. It takes a certain person with lots of agency as well as some competence to decide to break out of that herd mentality and decide to start doing things differently.
I am involved in social media for my freelance side hustle incomeIf I was presented with a blank slate that didn't suffer the headwind of previously conceived notions of the rest of society + the problem of being constantly surrounded by advertising and "this is how we usually do stuff", it would be much easier. That's almost never the case though.
I am involved in consumer society as a small business owner for my mostly passive income
I am involved in the business community as a chair of a non-profit which markets retail/services
These things cloud my future vision and allow a lot of self-enabling and justifications to still spend money loosely such as coffee shops and my outdoor gear. Much of it works out to be write-off expenses etc as part of doing business, networking and creating content/research. The reality is that i wouldn't need that extra passive income of the biz or freelance gig if I didn't justify the spending. It is a vicious circle in my opinion.
If I were to stop at the FIRE or MMM level where I am at then things are fine and I could just keep it in cruise mode and keep the blinders on.... but I have a gut feeling that urges me to do better.