A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Where are you and where are you going?
IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:02 am

All Signs Pointing to the Exit.

With each day I feel increasingly like there's less me pushing the plan forward and more of the plan dragging me behind it. That's probably a good thing because my stamina and resolve are definitely in an ebb.

I'm starting to prepare for a 4-wk vacation, the longest break for me since the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school. It is an unusual feeling, and one that feels connected to the larger convergence of events.

This morning I am grateful for the human capital I was given at birth. I am grateful that I inherited a non-financial legacy that started with my dirt-poor immigrant great grandparents. I am grateful I never really perceived an option other than owning my own shortcomings, mistakes, and failures. I am grateful that obstacles became opportunities to distill strength, even when it came in the form of scars and callouses.

It feels strange having in some respects made it to where what lies in front of me in all directions is the downhill side. From this foreign vantage I increasingly see things that make me feel, well, sad. I hope it is just a distortion pending my ability to adjust to a new perspective. I suppose I'll know in time. Having run out of words, the good kind, anyway, I suppose it is best to observe and accept in silence.

suomalainen
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by suomalainen » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:16 pm

I don't know what specific sadnesses you may be referencing, but from the vantage point of a guy who's read 3+ years of your journey in a very short period, I would assume it's a bit of what we would say as "haikea olo" in Finnish or a sense of the bittersweet. All choices require sacrifices and so many of your choices have pointed in the same direction, yet you, for some reason, seem to kick against the pricks. I can't for the life of me reconcile a continual series of posts reflecting on choices made towards the cabin, towards family, towards having more money than you need, and expecting the next post to be "I did it!" And then not seeing it, but rather seeing a post that you have two years left. I guess I'm not criticizing - I just sense a discrepancy and I don't get it.

Anyway, the tl;dr version is whether this is a head vs heart situation, and the question is whether that cognitive dissonance generates those emotions. Full disclosure: I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by my parents' anxieties and experiencing some of my very own, so I may be primes to read too much into the stream of your posts.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:52 am

Hi suomalainen,

Yeah, bittersweet or maybe melancholy. Through this whole multi-year process I've felt more pulled away than I have pushed away. In other words, the base motivation is moving toward something rather than away from something. I don't share the negative experiences many have when it comes to work, where I live (summer weather aside), etc. I'll be leaving long-term colleagues and friends behind. A substantial chapter of my life is coming to a close. It's well within my nature to grow somewhat pensive at such times. Rather than this being a purely intellectual exercise it's starting to get real; and reality tends to be a little messier than fantasies. Call me sentimental, I guess. :)

As far as the 654 remaining days, it's just a business decision. Working until I reach age 55 will earn me a nontrivial increase in retirement benefits. I can reasonably call myself FI now, but the bump in benefits provide a lot of margin through the out years. So the main head vs heart contest is the decision of picking the financially optimal time versus the most desired time to move on. The compromise is to carry on until 55 when I cross the threshold for the full suite of benefits, then leave immediately after. There well may be cognitive dissonance in the mix when it comes to my planning. I don't pretend to be a creature driven solely, or even mostly, by logic/reason.

suomalainen
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by suomalainen » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:27 pm

No, I get it. I guess in some ways it's the "more mature" way to go about it in the sense that you are making the transition in baby steps rather than impulsively jumping away from shitty X to the panacea Y. That statement reveals way more about me than about you! In any event, I wish you joy/mindfulness/whatever it is you want out of these next 654 days. And beyond, of course. I look forward to voyeuring along on your journey!

Shep
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Shep » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:12 am

Hi Dave, really enjoy your posts and progress. I am of a similar age and situation as you but new around here so have no posts yet. I have recently experienced a similar feeling of sadness. Mostly a realization that a significant chapter of my life is closing and now need to look ahead to all of the possibilities. Although, reaching 50, a bit of a terror sets in in realizing that there is so little time left. All the more reason to focus on FIRE. I was wondering if you have watched Boss of The Swamp on youtube. He is a pretty cool, authentic dude, living a frugal, self reliant lifestyle for many years that he passes along to his followers, very simply and clearly. He has a Cabin life series that you might appreciate and a cool dog Frankie. I have attached a link below though he has a channel spanning through the years with a variety of focus areas that are worth checking out.

https://youtu.be/3ODu2RZIuXk?list=PLRv9 ... y7d-H6UJUz

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:12 pm

Shep wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:12 am
... I was wondering if you have watched Boss of The Swamp on youtube ...
Hi Shep,

I have not seen Boss of the Swamp but I'll check him out. Thanks for the link.

Yeah, there's the realization that the amount of wick left in the candle is getting shorter, but that's not one I dwell on too much. I tend to couch it more in terms of how I expect my physical ability to hold up against the kinds of things I want to be doing rather than hitting the end of the line. There's even less time left for me to be doing vigorous young man things! Fortunately the overarching trajectory is positive for me in the sense that there are things I am moving toward rather than negatives I'm fleeing, so the regrets are part of the richness of life instead of a hindrance to it.

Being around my age maybe you'll understand what I call the "assembly line". Growing up so much seemed preordained: you went to school, stayed out of serious trouble, maybe got a degree, got a job, wore a tie, etc., etc. I never gave alternatives a serious thought until I contemplated ER. In that paradigm the major part of life is the career part, and deliberately breaking from the script is a significant disruption which tends to magnify the change.

George the original one
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by George the original one » Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:53 pm

IlliniDave wrote:
Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:12 pm
There's even less time left for me to be doing vigorous young man things!
I'm trying to emulate "Last of the Summer Wine" in that regard. Definitely am indulging a lot of the "I want to..." and "I don't want to..." sentiments of a kid.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:10 am

August 2017 Update

This entry comes whilst traveling. The last few days of the month were a little chaotic so I'm a little behind with all the numbers. Invested asset were up a little over $14,000. Another disappointing month for spending but I got hit with both some doctor bills and some overdue auto maintenance prior to my road trip. I think once I get everything tallied up it will push $4,000. Que Sera.

If I quit now my nominal estimates would be for financial asset growth of 10-11% between now and age 70, and accelerated growth thereafter. My approximate multiples are 37x (now to 70) and 50x (now to 80) average anticipated withdrawals. If things proceed roughly according to plan and I wait to 55 to bug out I project to be at 100x (age 55 to 80) anticipated average withdrawals.

I arrived in Illinois yesterday afternoon. My mom looks increasing frail, but less so than I was expecting from what I'd been hearing. She got the preliminary results back from a scan earlier in the week which are reasonably encouraging. The new drug appears to be significantly slowing the growth of the cancer, and apparently preventing it from spreading, and her quality of life is much better than with chemo. I suppose that's a win at this point: gaining more time with better QoL. She goess in to see the oncologist Tuesday so more will be known then. Dad's age is starting to show too. He's 78 now and I think things w/Mom are taking their toll. Still, he was able to complete the main grape harvest yesterday. I was supposed to participate but my trip got delayed due to my having to get some medical attention last week which caused a 2-day slip in my travel plans, and for winemaking the harvest window is very narrow and couldn't be delayed. Luckily he got some help from among my siblings and their SOs.

I'll probably head on up to the cabin Tuesday or Wednesday. Looks like it will be another solo trip. My brother has had difficulty nailing down some time off work. He started a new job this Spring and still being ineligible for paid vacation makes it difficult for him. I'm a little disappointed as I'd hoped to be able to share the cabin more, but going solo has an appeal as well. Photobucket is angry at me, and expects me to pay them to share pictures here, so I don't think I'll get to add any here.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:25 am

Q3 2017 Summary

Regarding Real Life

Today is my first day back to real life after 30 days of leave. Roughly speaking I spent 2 weeks with family up in Illinois and 2 weeks up at my Northwoods hideout. I had trouble settling into my edge-of-the-wilderness mindset. Back home my mom is still fighting the good fight, but the fight is taking its toll. My sister is showing some signs of improvement finally.

One of the nicer things about my cabin is that I always get a roomful of sunset. I spent many of those sunsets strumming a guitar and asking myself, "What are you doing?" For some reason my single-minded pursuit of ER has begun to feel like a dubious proposition. At the same time I do not want to continue working beyond the window I've identified.

Dull Numbers
September spending was about $3,400, my third consecutive fairly bad month. For the quarter I averaged about $3,870. Medical/dental bills, travel expenses, auto maintenance, yada yada yada.

Growth in invested assets for the quarter was a little above $22,000 for September and about $59,200 for the quarter. Growth in net worth for the prior 12 months was $205,900, which is the best 12-month growth I have on record. My invested assets are about 38.5x anticipated average portfolio withdrawals through age 70. If I look out to age 80 I'm just shy of 54x.

If I were to ER today and the future mimicked my nominal plan/forecast I'd expect growth of about 13.9% in financial assets by my 70th birthday.

My tentative launch date is 607 days from today.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:27 pm

October 2017 Update

Invested asset were up $15,700.

Although it is against my nature I decided to splurge a little this month. I bought a guitar whose neck was made from old growth sinker maple recovered from the bottom of one of the western Great Lakes (probably Michigan). Odds are the tree was harvested during the late 19th century from Minnesota, Ontario, Wisconsin, or Michigan. Perhaps felled by Paul Bunyan himself!! I just couldn't ignore the coolness of using a bit of Northwoods history dating back to its hay day for making music (to the extent I am capable). It was custom built for a guitar shop in Milwaukee by an extremely well-regarded builder and set me back a good bit; more than I ever thought I'd pay for a guitar. That plus ongoing expenses for sale prep of my house and a generally lax month for day-to-days left spending at around $6,800 total for the month.

Had Halloween been my last day before retiring I might anticipate about 15% growth in my invested assets between now and age 70 should the future replicate my assumptions. My approximate multiples are now 39.5x (now to 70) and 55.2x (now to 80) average anticipated withdrawals.

Autumn has finally come to my corner of the Southeast. Since we didn't have a drought or three during the summer it's much more of an all-at-once autumn than is typical. Usually the shedding of foliage extends from late summer until about Thanksgiving. This year it's only been in about the last week that trees turned--so color is much more concentrated than normal. That means I'll be probably be having a full dose of my usual fall melancholy.

I admit a small twinge of guilt over throwing money at a guitar, but it's done and now I have nothing to do but enjoy it. If nothing else it's prompted me to learn how to do all the setup and maintenance on it. It's such a unique and irreplaceable instrument I do not want to leave it with anyone to do that work for me, so it's yet another burgeoning skill that will do very little to feed me in a pinch, but as long as the world is going good it should bring a lot of enjoyment.

saving-10-years
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by saving-10-years » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:43 am

Congrats on the financial progress. Enjoy the guitar. I buy spinning wheels and some of these can be relatively expensive but when one comes in another goes out to help fund it (or _could_ do so). I look at it as research towards finding out what is the perfect match and how different wheels work. Sounds like you will really enjoy this guitar and learn new skills during ownership. A lovely companion to keep you company in your cabin?

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7Wannabe5
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:59 am

I was recently thinking that there is room in the industry for a new Gordon Lightfoot. Global climate change should be bringing on umpteen events appropriate as subject for deep-voiced, melancholy, complex lyric balladry. Consider the purchase as an investment towards potentially lucrative new hobby-career.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:33 pm

saving-10-years wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:43 am
Congrats on the financial progress. Enjoy the guitar. I buy spinning wheels and some of these can be relatively expensive but when one comes in another goes out to help fund it (or _could_ do so). I look at it as research towards finding out what is the perfect match and how different wheels work. Sounds like you will really enjoy this guitar and learn new skills during ownership. A lovely companion to keep you company in your cabin?
Thanks. Yeah, I will probably tote it around everywhere with me. I brought my old guitar up with me this year and was happy I did.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:37 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:59 am
I was recently thinking that there is room in the industry for a new Gordon Lightfoot. Global climate change should be bringing on umpteen events appropriate as subject for deep-voiced, melancholy, complex lyric balladry. Consider the purchase as an investment towards potentially lucrative new hobby-career.
I've got the melancholy down at times. Complex lyrics I could do. Moderately deep-voiced. The balladry though, especially the implication of singing, that is something no one should hold their breath for. ;) :lol:

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:14 pm

I got a call at home last night, relatively late for my phone to be ringing. Looks like I'll be back to my old job assignment next week. Should make the next 1.5 years go by faster.

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jennypenny
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by jennypenny » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:49 pm

Were you trying to get the old job back or was it a pleasant surprise?

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:03 am

The original arrangement going back 2 years was that I was supposed to continue my old duties and just add some new ones at a low duty cycle. But inter-company politics and customer aimless machinations had fouled that up so bad I called FUBAR and assumed I was permanently put out to pasture. So what happened last week caught me completely off guard. I had finally grown to accept a work life of easy (albeit boring) wandering around the pasture until the end--so I'm not as thrilled with this as I would have been 18 months ago. But as they say, "$hit got real" all of a sudden, and it looks like I'm back in the band. I feel like I'm someone's fallback booty call. :)

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:45 pm

November 2017 Update

Invested assets were up $19,200 for the month. Spending was $2,204, marking the second time I've had a month come in below 1/12th of a 3% withdrawal rate based on my current invested assets at the time. Hopefully that occurrence will begin to be commonplace going forward.

Had 30 November been my last day before retiring I might anticipate about 16% growth in my invested assets between now and age 70 should the future replicate my assumptions. My approximate multiples are now 40.6x (now to 70) and 56.8x (now to 80) average anticipated withdrawals.

I forgot to put up a "vacation pic" from my recent trip to the Northwoods. Since this may be the penultimate status entry for this journal, thought I'd do that since all my linked pics from the past are blocked off thanks to photobucket (now they are spamming me to pay them for an updated account, ha!). The one I'll link was a finalist for my homemade Christmas eCard. Hope everyone makes it through to the new year safe, happy, and warm.

Image

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jennypenny
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by jennypenny » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:04 am

Does your company ever offer early retirement packages? It seems like you'd be in a position to take one if offered.

Love the pic. :)

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:24 pm

Hi jennypenny. Thanks.

In the last 10-15 years the only thing they've offered to my knowledge is voluntary layoffs, which come with a seniority-based severance (up to 6 mos. pay) but no consideration to bridge the gap to minimum retirement age (for those still below it, like me). Hence I'm biding my time until I get to 55 (minimum retirement age from employer's perspective) despite having the wherewithal to be FI. If they offered a real early retirement with at least a token incentive I'd probably jump at it.

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