The Reluctant Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by skintstudent »

I can really appreciate your desire for some sunshine during the UK winters. I don't know how those north of us manage. I had an overnight trip to the Netherlands last month for work. Although it was hectic and I got no time for myself, just walking to the business in bright sunlight was lovely (albeit freezing cold). The weather probably had a lot to do with it, but everything just seemed better.

Enjoy your holiday. Is it the Canaries?

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

Hi skintstuent,yes it really is great to escape to the sunshine and recharge in the winter.

Sitting here sipping freshly squeezed orange juice under gently blowing trees in a sleeveless t shirt....could it get any better?

I was determined to enjoy this break no matter what was thrown at me...

So I got a horrible stinking cold the day before my departure,and had to stache tissues all over in my pockets to be able to grab quickly as I overnight at the airport.
When I arrived the boiler for hot water would not work and a large outside stone ornament had been smashed by vandals???

But my cold has disappeared(probably from the sunshine) and as I had been listening to a Tim Ferris podcast about starting the day with some cold water immersion I decided that this was all fate and have started my cold water showering.

I have gone totally soft this winter and am feeling the cold and wet so much even though the winter has been very mild overall,so I think the cold showers will harden me up.I suppose it's easy do when it's over 20degrees outside so I will see how this goes when I return to the land of grey...

So now the boiler is fixed and I'm going to just scrap the stones and take it all as part of life.
The next thing I intend to do is start my 20 mins run while here in pleasant climes and hopefully keep it up when I return home.

I know I am so lucky to be able to travel to the sun in the middle of winter and am so thankful and appreciative of the opportunity that I don't intend to waste a moment of it.I am like a lizard basking and soaking up every last bit of energy the sun emits.I always just feel so much better in a warm climate.

The place is very busy with mostly older retired RVers from northern Europe.I don't think I'd really enjoy RVing as mixing with so many people really is not my thing.But who knows?

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

I need to reduce my work hours.

The taste of freedom I get while travelling is making my work life unbearable...just in a prison sort of way,the job itself is easy and hassle free.

I know I should just hang in there for another 2 and half years,but I am slowly dying inside bit by bit.
I think the travelling every month is making it worse...I was never one for the middle ground,I'm a kind of all or nothing person.The taste of freedom has made me totally unsettled.

I need to work this year full-time and can do that But then that's it.
I did up the figures and it will cost me 19,000 a year.I will work 100 days a year half-time instead of 168 full-time.

When I did up the figures I felt I would be losing too much and should stick at full-time for the next 2 and half years...but then I was listening to a podcast which spoke about the cost of "not doing " things...I hadn't thought about this.

What is the cost,to me,of not cutting my work time in half?

How does one calculate this?

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

My last trip went really well.

The weather was much better than in January. I really relaxed and enjoyed it all.

I did not buy a heater as I just seemed to adapt to the cooler house temperature and used a blanket if I felt cold in the house in the evening.

I had purchased extra car insurance but still did not drive anywhere.

The weather was just so relaxing that I did not need any luxuries or trips to entertain myself.I just read, walked and did yoga, all with the sun shining.
Overall I spent 203 euro again, on everything ie flights, car rental, food etc

Really I should be doing it all for 150 as this is the amount I cut my spending budget to allow me to travel for a week every month.But this is too little and I will try and make the difference up by being more frugal on other things.

I have persuaded the 2 teens to come with me in March and have April and May weeks booked as well.

My big issue will be running out of holiday leave But as I intend to work half-time next year, 1 week in work and 1 week off I should have loads of time to travel.

Anyway I am not going to worry about that this year and just stick to the plan,1 week per month abroad.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

It was a very LONG week at work this week,lots of BS meetings which had to happen.

I think they kill me the most.
The pointlessness of it all does my head in.Hours and hours of useless paperwork that nobody cares about or even reads,yet has to be there if we are audited.

I was completely drained by Friday,nearly back to my vegetable state like I used to be in the old job.
Not good...
But as Livingafi says in his recent post,"It could be a lot worse and the pay is good",that's basically how we numb our boredom and frustration.

If there was a system where by the more efficient you are then you can leave and not put in "the time" it would be great...
But no,the hours have to be done it's a government job.

My real frustration comes from feeling I am wasting the precious time I have left on this earth on rubbish.This is really hard to swallow so I just numb my brain when it starts telling me this is not OK,you are wasting your precious life energy.

That is where my mental suffering comes from,my very rational brain is saying "you can do better than this,you were put in to this world to create and give something back,not just exist in a numb state" and I am telling it "Just shut the hell up and get on with it,the last thing I need right now is you kicking up.Just because you are bored and frustrated doesn't mean I have to flush all my plans down the toilet and Oh yea,it could be much worse and the pay is good."

So I always know when I am off centre and my mind is burning itself up,I usually start eating bowls of sugary cereal in the evening and watch travel programs on tv for hours.

To get back in sync again I walked outside for hours listening to Tim Ferris podcasts with the meditation/mindfulness experts.
It seems to have worked and I'm going to try meditating again listening to Tara Brach talked through meditations all free on her website.
I'm not holding my breath (excuse the pun),but something has to give,as I have too long left to work to be allowing it to suck the life out of me through basically... boredom.

The really good thing to emerge from all this is that I learned to download podcasts to my kindle as my iPod shuffle is not co operating.This is major for me as I will spend forever walking outside while listening to stimulating conversation.

Whenever I am totally bored and frustrated I just go numb and disconnect from my soul/centre.Work or too much extroversion can do this to me.

So as the saying goes,another day another dollar...But what are those dollars costing me? And do I REALLY need to pay that price? ...alI I want is to be off all the time...

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by inchicago »

1taskaday wrote:So as the saying goes,another day another dollar...But what are those dollars costing me? And do I REALLY need to pay that price? ...alI I want is to be off all the time...
I agree with this 100%. Time freedom has got to be the best thing.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

Going to try meditating for 30days and then review if there has been any benefits.
I have 6 days done so far.
I think I am getting into it because as soon as I hear Tara Broch's voice I find myself relaxing.But I will wait and see.

I have found a method of taking a large number of weeks off a year unpaid without having to commit to reducing my work hours permanently...this may suit my plans for travel much better as I can take the weeks 3 times a year en-bloc.

I can start this next year.The good old advantages of working for the "family friendly" government.Using this system I could just work 30 weeks a year but more importantly take blocks of time off together to disappear.

This may satisfy my needs much better as I am still stuck until teens finish school.

Got a bad flu that has floored me energy-wise,can't wait to get away to the sun again.
I am just putting it down to bad luck...if I get any more I will have to rethink my diet,lifestyle etc.

Savings took a hit as I had to pay for my flights for the year and teens school trips...funny I don't seem too this a good or bad sign?

I think if I travel a good amount every year there will be no big desperation to leave work...I will only know for sure when I try it out.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

Sitting in the sun again,my addiction.

Just completed a Tara Broch meditation,so relaxed here away from it all.

I kept the meditations up for 6 days but then lost interest or just didn't want to do them anymore until to-day.Funny I seem to be able to give things up a lot easier,(like coffee,alcohol) than actually make myself do things.Interesting...

The teens are with me and actually enjoying it as the weather is so nice.I love having them with me and enjoy their energy so much.You would have to laugh at their attitudes to life,so naive really.But were we not all that way once...before we became cynical and wearied by it all.

I definitely want to live out here mid-October to mid-March.DH is fine with this and will visit as much as he wants as winter can be his busy time with his side-income/hobby.I now realize that if he wasn't doing something he would crack up and crack me up also with his boredom.He is just one of those people that has to be busy,so that is just the way things are.

Work is killing me a bit lately,not stressful but just resenting the time suck involved.I really don't know what I'll do next year;drop to half time or take unpaid leave en bloc.I keep debating it in my mind back and forth.But one thing is for sure I can't keep going as I am.Mentally I think I would just crack at the thought of full-time next year.

I had a visit to my old work place recently and OMG have I escaped my definition of hell! They haven't moved on an inch,still bitching and competing against each other for NOTHING!

I just can't understand it,how could anyone stick that long term? no wonder I was miserable working there.What is it all about? Surely it should be about just doing your work,minding your own business and living your life...but the power plays and jealousy that goes on wouldn't be found in kindergarten.It really does baffle me and I feel so negative after listening about it,I really am so lucky to be out of there.

So far I have kept to my plan and spent a week January,February and now March.I only go home for awhile and am back again in April.My DS is coming with me again in April,a real treat for me to spend more time with him.

My only concern is that I am using up all my annual leave but what the hell,as all those short term planners say YOLO...if you can't beat them why not join them for the parts that suit.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

The holiday with 2 teenagers is hilarious.

There is no more car radio music.
I have competing music downloaded on to mobile phones,one on in the front seat one booming from the back.
My DS photographs everything he does,at least 100 selfies a day...where he uploads them to (or worse still if I'm in them) I have no idea and don't want to know.
I am a complete privacy freak and would never even join Facebook or any thing that would expose any part of my life.I upload details here as I think I will never be traced,(probably naively).

We never move outside the house until about 1 o clock as my DS sleeps till at least 12 pm as he reads/watches tv till 3am.
This suits my DD as she can spend from 10am till 1 o clock "getting ready" for the "outing".
The first outing is usually an internet cafe for about 2 hrs so they can catch up with friends,all free from their mobiles some how...I have no idea of the technology they use and am definitely from a different era.

But I find it so funny instead of "living it" they live it to "show" they are living it.

One good thing to come from the break is that we have all started going for runs,so I should be fit enough to keep it up when I get home.

All in all we are getting on fine,spending away more than if I was on my own but so much fun being with them.I am really lazy and their routine suits me.

I definitely need to learn the local language as my neighbour,a lovely young lady tried to have a conversation with me about our adjoining wall but I had no clue what she was saying,and just smiled and nodded.

I suppose if I had a definite plan to move here at some stage I would be more motivated...but I waste so much time watching tv at home after work when I could be learning the language.

Where is all the "fire and hunger" I used to have to achieve things when I was this what getting old is ?

I am kind of putting together a list,(hate the word bucket list) of things I want to do when I retire.

I want to become a confident wine connoisseur,(but I never want to drink alcohol this possible? )
I want to learn line dancing,ballroom dancing and salsa dancing,(I am the most self conscious person alive with no rhythm and 2 left legs)
I want to speak this countries language fluently,(I always have these great ideas when away but as soon as I go back to work,I am energy less and find it hard to motivate myself to get out of bed in the morning for work).

So how can I motivate my lazy butt to do anything other than "exist" when I return to my work sure beats me as I fail EVERY time....

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

Back from the break/holiday.Had the best time.Much better to go with people than alone,and definitely much better to go with people "in sync" with one's own interests.Obviously I have the mentality of a teenager,who knew?

Spending was way up as I really did not say no to anybody's wants.I wanted the teens to enjoy it so that they will come back with me often(I think the word is bribery). I usually spend about 200 Euro for 1 week for myself.This time for the 3 of us the total was 715 Euro.The flights were expensive as it was Easter break.

Despite this it was well worth it.I came back buzzing with energy and vitality and as I am going back soon with my DS this feeling will last.

Going for 1 week a month this year has changed my life immensely.I love the change from the daily routines.If there is one thing that sucks the life out of me it is routine.I hate it.

So bottom line is I put nothing towards my savings for this fortnight...and I don't care....

So what is this about? Does it mean that if I continue with this lifestyle,(which I am really enjoying),that I will live like most other people,working and spending on luxuries.

If I do ,what is wrong with this...I could maintain weeks of work if I got my trip away for a week quite often...maybe this will suit me fine as right now I'm kind of stuck anyway with the teens still being dependant.
I don't know what to think,I am a bit mixed up but happy with my life right now.

I am also trying to improve/control my mind more.
I am dabbling with meditation,yoga/pilates,cold showers and the iceman's breathe techniques.
I am also doing the 2:5 fasts intermittently when I feel they are required.I also have the no caffeine or alcohol and barefeet(teva sandals) stuff going on.

The joke is that I want incorporate these techniques into my life but I want a really SIMPLE lifestyle.

I listen and research huge amounts of information on increasing mental and physical well-being and want to concentrate it all down to very simple daily habits or probably more likely, an arsenal of weapons I can pull out and use to increase my well-being when required.

So I'm going to continue on this path as my mental and physical well-being improves vastly every year,(even though I cannot scientifically measure it).
I measure it by my clear skin,energy levels,happiness levels,patience/empathy towards other people etc.These are really subjective BUT as they are the goal of all this experimentation I am very satisfied that I am achieving and moving forward in this area.

The only doubts I have are:
My job change to an easier stress-free one has caused these benefits...or the fact that my kids are older and more independent and I have more time and freedom to do as I wish...

Anyway I am going to continue to experiment and even though I know there is no ideal life or lifestyle,as life happens and throws what it wants at you,I should be better able to deal with unexpected events -more resilient I think is the word.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

I have decided that I am going to stop counting/noticing my spending/money.

I am going to move on from this,it has served it's purpose and got us into a financial state that my DH can retire without us having to sell any of our assets (for now, as we have no clue what we are going to do long-term).

I live very lightly with no real wants that money can fulfil.
The only real exception to this is my monthly trips abroad which can be very frugal if I travel alone and not so if I travel with others.I intend to just spend as I have for the last 5 years and stop tracking and cut planning of saving amounts.

I want to be able to accept life "as it is" and stop wishing time would pass so that I could stop working.I basically want to stop wishing my life away.

If there is something that I wish to experience and it involves spending money then so be it,no more putting off for a future date,the time is now.

I really can't trace back as to when this change in my attitude started to take place but it definitely has cemented due to my trips abroad for a week every month and whilst there, all the deep thinking and reading I do into the mind and consciousness.

I kind of get it now...that all of this future planning and thinking that I can control my life in any major way is futile and will not work.It will actually only bring me suffering(if when I finally quit my job and something else comes along to limit my freedom), and it is also a waste my precious time in this world.

Going away into a sort of retreat/bubble existence for 1 week every 4 is such a luxury.Long term this is my only plan right now,just to be able to maintain this and enjoy it for as long as I can.

I am listening to a lot of Tara Brach's talks on her website.Amazing stuff if you are interested in learning about meditation and living in the present.A lot of the mind issues she talks about I definitely recognize in myself.Constant escaping the present with future planning,making myself numb with things that bore me(just wanting time to pass and it to be over),not really enjoying anything as I constantly think there is better to come etc,etc.I love this stuff and am so at peace listening and understanding it.

I want to leave the watching of the amount of money I spend behind me and concentrate more on living life more fully-whether this involves spending more money or not.

I see myself on a different journey now,one of "seeing the tiny purple flowers at the side of the road as I walk by" instead of constantly planning for my future life of freedom.

I don't know maybe this is the next stage of ERE or maybe I'm just another drop out before I've reached the goal...of retirement.

But I couldn't care less as the journey I am on now makes me happier than I've ever been.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

Just a quick update for my records.

My half of mortgage paid off-6 years 5 months paying off 127,500.

I went from being able to pay off 400 extra per 2 weeks ( while job sharing),to now being able to overpay by 950 every 2 weeks from full-time work plus overtime.All while pumping in 1000 per month to my AVCs.

When I paid off the mortgage I was at a crossroads about what to do next.....

I could cut down to half-time again and only work about 10 days per month with no weekend or overtime.
My savings would drop to 400 every 2 weeks with no money going to AVCs.

This would be a great quality of life but I would be still stuck at home with no travel as the teens will not be at college until another 3 years.So my freedom would be limited...

So I have set myself a new goal...I will save 950 per 2 weeks,from full-time and overtime,and keep putting 1000 in my AVCs per month.

This will mean that by Dec 31st 2018 I will have 60,000 in cash savings,a pension lump sum of 100,000 tax free and a pension payment of 1000 per month.I will then be 50 years old and can decide to work part time or just retire.

So head down for another 29 months in a cushy job.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by jennypenny »


It probably makes sense to keep working as long as the job remain low stress. It's nice to know you could walk now if it changed. :)

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

Just read the "Deliberately coasting to FI " thread and it has cemented my decision to cut to a 4 day week.It will prolong the time it will take me to reach my goals.

Also not renting one of holiday homes next year as we plan to sell the house we live in now and move permanently to this house by the sea.We will be "testing the water" as to how it will be living there permanently.I'm a little apprehensive about it as it is near family....a thing I've deliberately steered clear of all my life.

It took me ages to reach this decision ... a loss of 8,5000 ...but as my smart DD told me,I can always revert back to full-time work and house renting for the next year if it does not work out.

Just a bit nervous that I'm switching to a more leisurely lifestyle prematurely, before I have reached my goals BUT the decision is made and the paperwork gone in.

I am very excited and know I will love all the extra free time.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by anomie »

a little apprehensive about it as it is near family...
I of course do not know your situation, but I am wishing that as we get older we were located closer to aging parents. It is very difficult to maintain a semblance of relationship over years when parents & in-laws are 1,500 miles away, and I do not want to spend $ on the travel to visit them...

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

Majorly enraged...
My application for my 4 day week,(which I had finally talked myself into),has been refused.

I am so mad that there is steam coming out my ears.
Family friendly BS from the government...the advantages of a government job my foot.

Obviously the universe wants me to be pissed off about it all.

I could try and battle the decision but I just don't have the energy and fight in me anymore for this BS.

So I suppose I will just suck it up and grit my teeth.

So back to plan A : retirement in 24 months,at least this cannot be refused.
So much for easing into retirement.

So pissed off.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by sky »

Hang in there, your reward is coming soon.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

So I finally know that there will be no crutch for me to lean on doing parttime work while I ease in to being FI.

I will have to go cold turkey,bite the bullet,pull the trigger and just retire.

The problem is my monthly pension will not cover my monthly expenses.

I am part of a family of 4,(2 teens) and therefore not in total control of my expenses.

I am not willing to spend anymore energy or time arguing over cutting expenses further.

Just not going there again,life is too short - especially with the amount of time we will have teens living with us.

So I have basically 2 choices :

1. Stay working until I am 52,4 more,Hell is,cannot do this.
I could manage this with 3/4 day work week but not full-time.


2. Earn a side income.
I will need approx.500 extra a month to bolster my 1000 pension.

I will have a big nest egg when I retire.It will last me (dipping into it monthly) possibly 16 years.

But I would never feel comfortable eating it all up while knowing I could be short from age 66 onwards.

I have been reading blog and love his stuff about working for oneself.

I have 24 months to set up earning an income of approx 25 a day,5 days a week when I retire.

I never wanted to have to work after leaving my job But this seems my only choice now if I want to leave at 50.My DH already has his side income/passionate hobby set up...I will need something to keep me psyched every day.

Will I actually get off my lazy butt and put the effort into organizing this?

Or will I just languish in my "cushy" prison feeling safe and secure while taking no risks and not growing?

We will have to wait and see....the longest journey starts with just 1 step...1 step a day for the next 24months WILL get me there.

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

Did nothing about trying to earn a side income or even get one started.

But did have another cheap fantastic trip abroad... so relaxing.

I am trying to dig deeper into why I have resisted taking any steps on earning a side income.

I have come up with the following procrastinations (is that a word) :

1.I detest the thought of being answerable to anyone or having any demands on my free time once I am retired.I think I have earned it and should be able to spend it anyway that I wish.

2.I have so many different projects that I want to start,(none of any that will pay anything) that I doubt I will get any time to be doing paid work.They are mostly travel plans and sports goals.

3.I do not want to be restricted or tied down in anyway.I simply want to be free....

So the solution to my problem when I retire will have to be;

Dig into my lump sum which will last 16 years and then bum of my DH so that he pays the majority of our expenses.

Maybe after a few years of freedom/doing nothing workwise I will be dying to start something that pays money.

We can always sell a house and then I can start using up my half of that lump sum.

I think I have been a wage slave or student for so long that the thought of "hussle-ing" turns me off.It's just not in me.

My DH does it and he loves it.But to me he seems to be always on the end of a phone in case any customer comes along... that is just not the way I want to live.I get irritable anytime my phone rings always thinking "Oh no,who wants what now".

I obviously need to change my mindset but I don't seem to have any motivation to do it...

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Re: The Reluctant Journal

Post by 1taskaday »

End of year wrap –up.

Work sucks just can’t wait to be free of it. Still not as bad as the last place but still tedious and frustrating sometimes. I suppose the biggest issue is that I just don’t want to work anywhere anymore. I want all my free time for myself....I spend hours and hours staring at my work rota notebook trying to plan maximum time off with the annual leave days that I have. I cancelled my 2 away trips in Nov and Dec as I ran out of annual leave. It nearly killed me to work 5 days a week for Nov and Dec ... cannot do this again!

I started a 16 week exercise schedule up to Christmas. The golden rule and break through for me was the half hour rule. Another rule was that I could eat whatever I liked as all free time would be put in to exercise and not food preparation. This meant that I ate loads of carbs,a no no at my age but that was part of the experiment.
I have no time (like most other full time working mothers plus as much overtime as I can do), so I decided as nothing else means as much to me as being healthy and fit, I would make this my priority in life. So while always having “no time”, I could find pockets of time here and there of 30 mins.
So now I run, bike, do Pilates and wgts all for just 30 mins.This has been the secret of my success for my 16 week schedule. Everybody can find just 30 mins a day. I am now fitter than I probably ever have been as I alternate the exercises so much. This is my only joy in life at the moment.
Weight wise I am still the same as I always have been But I am full of energy and feel very strong and healthy. If I stayed off the carbs I would lose weight but this was never my goal and would take up too much time constantly cooking alternatives. I really want to gain more muscle and may up the kettle bell 30 min weight sessions next year.

The saving schedule is on target as well as when I have unexpected major expenses I cheat by doing extra overtime so that I can still save my 950 every 2 weeks. This needs to go on for another 2 years.

All in all I am sad to leave 2016 for many reasons:
I finally paid off my half of my mortgage-took me over 6 years.

It was the year of the monkey in the Chinese calendar- supposed to be a financially good year for me, which it was.

I finally got my fitness level nailed to a level that I have wanted for a long time.

My kids are getting older and more independent-allowing me to go away on trips alone without much hassle. I also have a lot more free time which is joy itself.

Could 2017 really be any better? ........ as I am still working full-time.....

Work the bane of my existence and the greatest time and energy sucker ever invented....

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