Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Where are you and where are you going?
suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Fri May 04, 2018 8:50 pm

*highly, highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend. Other than that, no concerns.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Sun May 06, 2018 10:11 pm

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/opin ... r-40s.html
What exactly is this not-young age? I hear people in their 20s describe the 40s as a far-off decade of too-late, when they’ll regret things that they haven’t done. But for older people I meet, the 40s are the decade that they would most like to travel back to. “How could I possibly have thought of myself as old at 40?” asks Stanley Brandes, an anthropologist who wrote a book in 1985 about turning 40. “I sort of look back and think: God, how lucky I was. I see it as the beginning of life, not the beginning of the end.”
And age 40 still feels pivotal. “The 40s are when you become who you are,” a British author in his 70s tells me, adding ominously, “And if you don’t know by your 40s, you never will.”
I agree. We’ve actually managed to learn and grow a bit. We see the hidden costs of things. Our parents have stopped trying to change us. We can tell when something is ridiculous. And other minds are finally less opaque. The seminal journey of the 40s is from “everyone hates me” to “they don’t really care.”
And this new age is strangely lacking in milestones. Childhood and adolescence are nothing but milestones: You grow taller, advance to new grades, and get your period, your driver’s license and your diploma. Then in your 20s and 30s you romance potential partners, find jobs and learn to support yourself. There may be promotions, babies and weddings. The pings of adrenaline from all these carry you forward and reassure you that you’re building an adult life.

In the 40s, we might still acquire degrees, jobs, homes and spouses, but these elicit less wonder now. The mentors and parents who used to rejoice in our achievements are preoccupied with their own declines. If we have kids, we’re supposed to marvel at their milestones. A journalist I know lamented that he’d never again be a prodigy at anything. (Someone younger than both of us had just been nominated to the United States Supreme Court.)
What have we aged into? We’re still capable of action, change and 10K races. But there’s a new immediacy to the 40s — and an awareness of death — that didn’t exist before. Our possibilities feel more finite. All choices now plainly exclude others. It’s pointless to keep pretending to be what we’re not. At 40, we’re no longer preparing for an imagined future life. Our real lives are, indisputably, happening right now. We’ve arrived at what Immanuel Kant called the “Ding an sich” — the thing itself.
It’s not an easy transition.
This was a very interesting article for me. I definitely feel like it has been a challenging transition for me (I turn 40 this year). And I definitely want this to be "the beginning of life" rather than "the beginning of the end". I want to know who I am and I want to embrace it, design my life around it. These are the themes that flow through this journal, that have been omnipresent in my journey for at least the last several years.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Mon May 07, 2018 8:58 am

You might soon be getting a red convertible and driving off to the mountains as your wife chases you up the driveway with a rolling pin.

Campitor
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Campitor » Mon May 07, 2018 6:13 pm

suomalainen wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 10:11 pm
...I definitely want this to be "the beginning of life" rather than "the beginning of the end". I want to know who I am and I want to embrace it, design my life around it. These are the themes that flow through this journal, that have been omnipresent in my journey for at least the last several years.
Although there is no fighting the finite thread of life, growing old doesn't actually mean the end of life or new challenges. There are plenty of people who managed to put a lot of life in the autumn/winter of their lives. We don't do anything because we get old, we get old because we don't do anything.

suomalainen
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Todd needs something to do

Post by suomalainen » Tue May 08, 2018 9:04 am

@MI ha ha ha. I used to think that I wasn't "that guy", that I wouldn't be a typical mid-life crisis guy, with a young girlfriend and a red sportscar. But now I sorta see that it's a real thing, not because those who do it are stupid or pathetic or whatever, but because they're real people and "men get lost sometimes, as years unfurl" as sung in Don Henley's "New York Minute". We sometimes put so much focus in idols or pillars, be it cars, careers, houses, travel or trophy girlfriends, or SWRs even. None of those things really "mean" anything; they're all illusions that mean something to us, a simulacrum of the fulfillment of some inner want or need, yet none of them are truly "an answer" let alone "the answer". That's why I circled around like a turd stuck in a toilet bowl until I settled on this "deliberate mindfulness" journey. The only real answer appears to be to do what you love with the people you love. Hence, a web of pleasant distractions (and/or goals, if you prefer).

It always strikes me from journals that many, many people who FIRE go back to work. Some go back to their prior industry in a more flexible capacity and others work on new and dissimilar projects, whether personal or for-hire. It reminds me of a time when I represented a group of 100+ multi-millionaires in a distressed situation that could potentially impact them personally. We had a steering committee of 7 or so. One of them had been a CFO at a giant company and had been forced out a year or so before. On a call without him, some of the others were discussing his recent agitations to start bomb-throwing in this distressed situation, and one of them said "Yeah, Todd needs something to do." I guess we all need something to do -- it appears that what FIRE or just FI or just FU money (depending on the person) gives is the sufficient freedom, flexibility and/or confidence to do what they want to do. But why can't a person just do what they want to do right now? And with the right focus, you can avoid the expensive detour that is "getting lost" among the cars and women and career changes without also focusing so much on the "expensive" part. Whether you're myopic about buying expensive shit or about buying cheap shit (or not buying shit at all), myopia is the problem - money has become your idol - it's what you spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about. But at some (relatively early) point, money is a solved problem, so there's time to solve these other, more important problems: what do I want out of life? how do I appropriately, healthily compromise with my wife and family so that I can achieve what I want while she and they can also achieve what they want? These are much more challenging questions than money.

@campitor great stories, thanks. This growing old thing has been very strange for me. Like, when I was in my teens and 20s and early 30s, I could see people grow old and change and even die and I could intellectually think about it and know that at some point I would be the old and the dying. But experiencing it and feeling it has been completely different. Almost dying 4 years ago was a demarcating line in my life and to really know that the universe doesn't revolve around me...is...weird.
What is life, if not discovering what you enjoy and who you enjoy doing it with? Our time on this earth is short. What’s the better life? Growing old on the couch or fighting through the highs and lows of doing stuff you love with people you love. When I’m old and feeble, I’ll have plenty of time to sit around. While I’m able, I will always choose to hit that fast, swoopy, rock-and-rooted gnar gnar piece of ripping single track and to accept the consequences of that decision.
http://www.fatcyclist.com/2015/07/06/ho ... nus-hobby/

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Fish
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Fish » Wed May 09, 2018 6:22 am

Thanks for continuing to post in your journal and elsewhere in this forum, I usually find your thoughts interesting and relevant to my own journey.
suomalainen wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 3:35 pm
"SORRY I CARE ABOUT YOU" was her response.
A similar conversation has taken place at my house. :) Is your wife ESFJ or ISFJ by any chance?
suomalainen wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 9:04 am
Whether you're myopic about buying expensive shit or about buying cheap shit (or not buying shit at all), myopia is the problem - money has become your idol - it's what you spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about. But at some (relatively early) point, money is a solved problem, so there's time to solve these other, more important problems: what do I want out of life?
I find it helpful to make the following distinction. Either 1) money is your biggest problem, or 2) it is not. For those lucky enough to be type 1, personal finance is an appropriate focus (be it frugality, investing, increasing income, etc.). What I think happens is that people tend to misdiagnose themselves as T1 when they are really T2, thinking that life will be better with more money. I made the mistake of thinking that frugality(*) would make me happy (my reasoning: frugality ==> money ==> early retirement ==> free time ==> happiness) when really, frugality only leads to more money in the short term. For those with the privilege of playing the money game on easy-mode, the appropriate course of action is to focus on the larger non-monetary problems now and only expend leftover energy towards being frugal. That's how I see it anyway, after reading the book The Last Safe Investment, where it is argued that one should first fix their problems (find happiness), then increase their spending efficiency aka "happiness exchange rate" (be frugal). IOW, frugality comes second.

(*) For those of us who spend above the median, "moderation" is a more appropriate term for this easy-mode LBYM, whereas "frugality" should be reserved for those who actually spend below the median.
suomalainen wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 10:11 pm
I want to know who I am and I want to embrace it, design my life around it.
Being several years younger, I don't think I have a chance of imparting any wisdom on this subject but I'll try anyway. When I've had similar sentiments in the past, I think the "identity crisis" was really caused by being mildly dissatisfied with life and not knowing what to do next. It seems to be a problem that is invented at a time of being directionless and an annoying one to solve because it's so vague and intractable. At this point in time, I believe identity is a choice, which for myself is captured by the simple statement: "I am what I do." This is not particularly rigorous (my lifetime reading on this topic is extremely limited), but it works for me and is fair, i.e. I don't have a double standard where I judge myself by my intentions and others by their actions. It's also very present-focused.

That is to say, I don't believe that identity is waiting to be discovered. Instead, it's more like a process of constant refinement where identity is always being created and shaped through actions and decisions. I think it is enough to do the things you love with the people you love, and the sense of identity will follow. If it doesn't, then I'd argue that it's more of a life satisfaction issue rather than a failure to discover your identity, and that you should try different things, and/or different people. In the end, it's all the same, but framing it as a search for agreeable activities/companions is more productive than a vague quest to discover one's identity.

Then again, it all seems obvious when you write: "I've been consumed by work and family for 15 years and am working to re-find some semblance of myself."

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Re: Todd needs something to do

Post by jacob » Wed May 09, 2018 7:15 am

suomalainen wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 9:04 am
But why can't a person just do what they want to do right now?
I know some of these people who "did what they wanted to do right now". They acted like children well into their 30s and for them "money was never a solved problem" except those with mid-six incomes, enough to blow any number of holes in their financial ship and still manage not to sink it. High-income = good pumps. Consequentially, their lives began to increasingly resemble a slow train wreck, first to others, then to themselves. I suspect age did have an influence here. There were just some things they could get away with in their 20s like doing stupid shit in public while drunk or excusable ditto like getting bailed out by parents because of a budget failure that didn't work as well in their 30s+.

An easy way to dissect a person is to use the parent-adult-child (PAC)-model of transactional analysis.

You can assign percentages (split the pie) between the three, just like you do with OCEAN/Big5 or MBTI between e.g. E/I ~ 15%/85% or whatever.

Unlike MBTI, PAC percentages are mutable. Whereas the Child is reflected in spontaneous emotions and YOLO attitudes, the Parent factor reflects the expectations of society, authority---in theory channeling one's own parents. The Adult factor is a conscious and rational decision making process corresponding to Kegan's 4th order of consciousness or self-authorship... the time when people began to see themselves as themselves rather than seeing themselves as what they want (child ~ 2nd order) or via relations to others---what they do---and the rest of society (parent ~ 3rd order). Kegan's stages are also mutable and the process takes time.

I don't have any solutions here other than it sounds like the Parent factor was dialed up to the max and that it is now in the way of developing the self-authoring stage. This problem practically defines the midlife crisis. There are a couple of ways to proceed. One is dialing up the child factor again, YOLO... that's the red convertible, the divorce, and the hot girlfriend. Another is contemplating the parent factor: Did I meet all of society's expectations and if not will I ever meet them? You can go full Kubler-Ross on that one.

(Add: I think it's well-known that the average person's happiness reaches its nadir in one's 40s. What's perhaps less well-known that the amount of autobiographical memories also reaches its lowest point in one's 30-50s. Apparently the average person becomes really uninteresting to themselves during that time.)

There's also increasing the Adult factor---which is where the psycho-professionals want you to go---but that's more complicated. Insofar "money is a solved" problem, there are at least more resources to deal with this, but it's not really a problem that can exclusively be solved with money. The causation between Adult factor behavior and income vanishes quickly around median income.

However, as someone who has been ahead, perhaps too far ahead, on the Adult factor having it dominate the Child and Parent factors very early on, it's my experience that this comes with its own problems. Some of those are also age-related. It's not easy when you hit the major milestones in your 20s and early 30s already when most people don't hit them until they're 60+ years with many never hitting them at all. Just think of the controversy with the "retirement"-word. That's a result of not pursuing the Parent-factor---what you're supposed to do---and finishing all your Parent "assignments" way ahead of [age-]schedule(*). It also eliminates the Child factor. I rarely experience any kind of wonder anymore. I don't do much of anything truly spontaneous. Instead, I might make it look spontaneous, but I assure you it was fully compatible with a web-of-goals like contingency planning... so I never feel spontaneous. It's hard to come up with exciting milestones to pursue, because those are all "solved problems" and solving them again is not the same milestone but rather one of persistence. That's the difference between being an explorer and being a bus driver.

(*) As defined by the Parent.

The optimal solution has to be in some balance between the three factors. I do not know exactly what the right balance is.

Here's a quote from Darwin's autobiography describing what I mean about the consequences of quenching the Child and Parent factor ...
Darwin wrote: I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost any taste for pictures or music.—Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. On the other hand, novels which are works of the imagination, though not of a very high order, have been for years a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often bless all novelists. A surprising number have been read aloud to me, and I like all if moderately good, and if they do not end unhappily—against which a law ought to be passed. A novel, according to my taste, does not come into the first class unless it contains some person whom one can thoroughly love, and if it be a pretty woman all the better.

This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies and travels (independently of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than mine, would not I suppose have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied could thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

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Re: Todd needs something to do

Post by J_ » Wed May 09, 2018 9:47 am

jacob wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 7:15 am
I rarely experience any kind of wonder anymore. I don't do much of anything truly spontaneous. Instead, I might make it look spontaneous, but I assure you it was fully compatible with a web-of-goals like contingency planning... so I never feel spontaneous.
"I myself, while writing these lines, try to avoid the tyranny of a precise and explicit plan, drawing from an opaque source inside me that gives surpirises." : Taleb page 63 Antifragile.

When I compare what Jacob feels now and what Taleb writes over himself I think: can it be that Jacob is victim of too much planning and thinking?

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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Jason » Wed May 09, 2018 11:49 am

My therapist mentioned that the capability of experiencing awe is a common factor in people demonstrating mental health. Maybe JLF can just work it into his web of goals. Set some time aside for "awe." I suggest he read my blog and stare at the stupid shit I write if he hasn't already.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed May 09, 2018 12:05 pm

Wow, great post @Jacob. That's a lot to think about for someone new to this concept.

Augustus
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Augustus » Thu May 10, 2018 8:29 am

Love the journal man. Two questions. 1. Do you have savings to cover a year or more of expenses? 2. Can you take a leave of absence? Cite family/medical/whatever. I guess three questions now, if they fire you after said leave, could you get a new gig in a month or two?

You seem to really want some time off. I'd just do it. Calculate how much time off you can afford without eating all your savings. Minimum 3 months, ideally 6 mos. Plan on maybe needing to find a new job after. Keep kids in school/daycare. Show wife you're responsible and there's enough money and earmark the time off money.

That's what I did last year, wife freaked out a little, but after it sunk in we weren't going to go bankrupt and my skills are in demand and I can get work she's pretty cool with it now. She said I was the happiest/horniest I've ever been since she met me, which didn't hurt haha. Stress sucks... My thinking is I want to get some of my time back as soon as possible, because the energy I have now to do things is more than it will be in say my 60s. The window for me to do certain activities is closing.

That said... Beware of a coming recession and it's impact on jobs. But if you did it now I think you'd beat it.

suomalainen
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Re: Todd needs something to do

Post by suomalainen » Thu May 10, 2018 12:51 pm

First off, thanks for the responses. I usually feel like this journal is a bit of a clusterfuck, given that demographically and philosophically (and financially) I appear to be on the fringe, so this journal has become more "psychological problem solving" than "financial problem solving" (having largely surrendered on the latter). I would/could just write this into a private journal and work it through with my shrink, wife and friends (most of whom I bet are tired of hearing about it), but I thought "fuck it, I'll post publicly" to (i) maybe get something useful out of it and (ii) maybe provide something useful to someone else. Once again, I'm blown away by (a) the fact that anyone could stand to read this shit (voluntarily no less!) and (b) the very thoughtful and insightful responses. It's very helpful to try to see things from respondents' perspectives and to work through my resulting thoughts/reactions.

@fish, wife appears to be INFP while I'm somewhere in INTFPJ-land.
Fish wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 6:22 am
At this point in time, I believe identity is a choice, which for myself is captured by the simple statement: "I am what I do."
Interesting. But do you choose what you like to do? The "finding yourself" is really doing different/new things, to find out which of the doings you enjoy and how much. The prior problem was that I was working myself into a tizzy trying to solve an unsolvable problem (what would be my perfect unicorn life? Discuss.) So, I feel like my journey's been a little bit of learning this: "If you can't live the life you love, love the life you live." Or, put another way, rather than trying to change/perfect my life until I'm satisfied, try changing my attitude so I'm satisfied with what is. Features, not bugs; acceptance, not becoming, etc. Fixing the broken thoughts/expectations/attitudes has to come first, because you filter your entire existence/experience through them and they fuck EVERYTHING up. Now, with some measure of not being a total dumbfuck, I have the freedom (from my own bullshit) to find out who a mentally healthy suomalainen* is.

I agree with you re: T1/T2, except if you're in T1, you might be "lucky" if you're on the higher income side of the spectrum (like me), but if you're on the poverty side of the spectrum...I can't imagine anything more everyday stressful than poverty + family (excluding illness, war, etc). But yes, assuming my situation, my reasoning was essentially identical to yours, but now I think my viewpoint has shifted towards the family vs single question. When you're single, things are fairly simple - you think about yourself, make a decision and do it. Easy! This applies to both the money part as well as the happiness part, so the T1/T2 distinction isn't as big a deal. You can sorta do both (money and happiness) without getting drained. When you're married, it gets a little more complex - now you have to think about yourself and her (and she herself and you), and then consult on the four dimensions and decide together. When you have a baby, there's a bit more added complexity, and so on. But by the time you have 3 kids into their middle school years...well, you're just fucked - there's like 80 dimensions to consider. NOTHING results in everyone being happy and EVERYTHING costs money. So you end up rotating so that the same people aren't always unhappy. (Side bar: compromising ALL THE TIME ON EVERY SINGLE THING is hard. At least for me. "Why can't it be easy, just this once?" I've been heard to whimper on more than one occasion. But this is just another "rock in my shoe" I have to get over - compromising is a part of a large family - a feature, not a bug). It requires energy to manage, making the T1/T2 question sort of fade into the background as you're just trying to survive the whirlwind of familial activity - especially for an introvert! Again, this assumes that you're out of poverty and money isn't your biggest problem on the low/unlucky side.

@jacob yes, I would say that the Parent factor has been dialed up to the max for quite a while (forever?). I have been learning to "Adult" more in the small personal spheres I have or see. I feel like the majority of my life is taken up by roles like work and parenting, that I might consider "Parent" pieces of the pie (at least when formed), even if now there's a little bit of wiggle room inside those pieces to "Adult" decide how I'm going to play those roles going forward. I do also want to Child more or "have more fun" or "play more" as my therapist puts it, but in responsible ways rather than the ways you first noted. I don't think I could do the drugs, the red convertible, the girlfriend, etc., (although, men get lost sometimes...), so it's more about being outside and doing sporty things both alone and with others, taking personal trips to visit friends who ALL live elsewhere (sigh), etc. Very interesting "Adult-only" perspective, thanks for sharing, definitely not something I've experienced! I do think finding balance is what is needed, but hadn't previously viewed it through this PAC paradigm. I am obviously still searching for that balance.

@augustus Even with the extreme leakage of last year, I have 4 or 6 or 10 years of expenses saved, depending on how you count (i.e., liquidity). And yes, I could quit now and get a law firm job again fairly easily, I assume. At the very least, I was offered one sort of out of the blue last November, but
- the legal industry isn't nearly as flexible as the IT industry (which I assume is yours).
- Also, I would lose 6 figures of unvested RSGs/stock options, so the cost of buying that one year would be astronomical. Golden handcuffs.
- Also this is a great job (for a job). I didn't take the November job offer because I didn't like the terms (lack of flexibility).
- Also the kids. I can take all the risks I want. I don't worry about running out of money when I'm old due to spiraling medical costs because I can always just die, problem solved. I can't do that with my kids. So I need health insurance for them (and my wife isn't doing paid work). Yes, I could buy cobra for a year, adding even more to the cost of that one year.
- Also the wife - she wants stability for the kids and for herself, so she won't agree to uproot us and live in a van down by the river. And I don't think she handle me any hornier!

So, because I'm not a TOTAL asshole, I'm trying to find a compromise we can all live with, trying to find my happiness and my satisfaction with what I've got. Do more of what I enjoy with people I enjoy, even if my best friends have all flown away which requires me to make new friends and/or accept lesser existing connections. Next year I'll buy an extra week of vacation. At some point, I'll ask for a few extra weeks off to go on the big New Zealand trip we've been saving for for 10 years. Maybe I'll try to go 80% time if I can find the balls to deal with the awkward conversation with my boss and all my clients. Maybe that circles back to @jacob's point about being an Adult and defying the workplace expectations and just carving out the life I want. Hmm. Sometimes, you gotta look in your pants and see if you have any balls.

*Hint: it's an oxymoron.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Todd needs something to do

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Thu May 10, 2018 2:05 pm

suomalainen wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 12:51 pm
Maybe I'll try to go 80% time if I can find the balls to deal with the awkward conversation with my boss and all my clients. Maybe that circles back to @jacob's point about being an Adult and defying the workplace expectations and just carving out the life I want. Hmm. Sometimes, you gotta look in your pants and see if you have any balls.
Hit me right in the feels.

If I could get a guarantee that my job will be here in 12 months, I would take the gap year in a heartbeat.....but that uncertainty is scary as fuck.

suomalainen
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Time of a poor quality

Post by suomalainen » Sat May 12, 2018 4:55 pm

It was a good week:

On Sunday, I played 27 holes of disc golf, and I made some pad thai.
On Monday, I tested out the previously-injured calf on slow 1/4 mile runs x 4.
On Tuesday, I rode my mountain bike for the first time in 10+ months.
On Wednesday, the whole family rode our bikes a few miles to the kids' school art show in the evening.
On Thursday, I tested out the calf again during lunch and then I played 9 holes of disc golf after work, finishing an hour or so before sunset. Perfect weather too.
On Friday, I got dropped from the group road ride at the first small hill, but I felt ever so slightly stronger than last week's group lunch ride.
On Saturday, we went to see a screening of Puffs, which is a bit of a Harry Potter parody/spoof. Funny. As of now, I've had too much to drink.

I went to work and all that stuff, but the above is what made me feel alive and happy.

When I was in Idaho, my friend, who works from home, mentioned that he doesn't just go out and fish or do whatever in the middle of the day because he likes to "be available" to his boss (across the country) during business hours. So even if he's got nothing pressing and it's a beautiful day out, he won't go do something in the middle of the day and catch up later if need be. It really struck a chord with me because while I do that at work, it's expected and what I get paid for, so it's fine, but what isn't fine is that I do that at home in the evenings with my family! When the kids were younger, we were the center of their universes and they constantly wanted mommy/daddy time, so I played with them, read with them and snuggled with them as many evenings as I was home (I worked a lot tho). Now, they're doing their homework or playing with their friends or whatever and they don't even look at us unless they want something, but I feel trapped at home, like I have to "be available" in case something comes up so that my wife isn't always having to be the one that is available. I'm trying to be better about (i) "being available" a few days a week so they can approach me on their initiative, (ii) taking the initiative to suggest doing something with them regularly (once a week or so), and (iii) also allowing myself the freedom to take an evening or two a week to have some quality time for myself, where I'm "off". Taking that quality personal time recharges me and helps me feel happier and therefore a better husband and father. When I don't make that effort, the time just "being available" is largely unproductive so it doesn't really benefit the kids and it doesn't recharge me at all. FWIW to any aspiring parents, babies are easy, kids are not. Good luck and god bless.

One other thing -
Scott 2 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 2:49 am
I have repeatedly made the mistake of chasing an idealized self image, rather than embracing my true authentic self. Doing the latter is much more fulfilling, even if it leads to fewer total years.
Well said, 2nd Scott.

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Family father
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Family father » Mon May 14, 2018 7:48 am

I don't have much to add (yet), but I'll thank you all for this very interesting conversation..

:applause:

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Sat May 19, 2018 6:37 pm

It was a tougher week. Really highlighted the importance of the deliberateness of "deliberate mindfulness". I still got out a couple days this week, but injuries and work and family commitments and whatnot made it busier and less satisfying somehow. Life. Whaddyagonnado?

I did do some thinking about early retirement. Work was really hard this week. Just didn't want to be there. But those are just zombie processes that I had to focus on force quitting. I watched "The Barkley Marathons" last night and there was a guy that mentioned that his father worked his whole life looking forward to his world-travel retirement only to die a year before he hit his retirement age. Reinforced this idea that life might not be ideal and having a non-ERE spouse and family to support might not make some of my personal fantasies a reality, but this is the only fucking life I have. Live what I have to the best of my ability. Work isn't so bad, family is "not fun, but it's enjoyable" as an old grumpy religious leader once liked to harp about religious service obligations, and I have the flexibility to squeeze in some personal time. This busy-ness is a phase. I will enjoy other aspects of other phases so may as well suck the marrow out of the shittiness of this phase. Mmmm. That's some tasty feces.

And as I type this on my macbook, one child is playing minecraft on our several thousand dollar imac; another is playing minecraft on our old mac mini; a third is playing fortnite on our tv and his xbox one (he paid for it!); my wife is watching a show on her macbook. Pathetic! Yet "normal"! Weird fucking world we live in.

EDIT: I still find myself stuck between the reality that when people tell me they're pregnant with their first, I laugh at them (inwardly, while saying "Congrats" outwardly) and this idea that we're programmed to procreate and those that don't may find themselves terribly pained at their bad luck (or however they describe it). I dunno the answer. Maybe "be the dandelion you are and try to enjoy wherever the wind blows you" would be my current philosophy and the advice I would share with anyone contemplating parenthood? I dunno. Maybe we're far less in control than we think we are. I dunno. Something, something, what existed before the big bang, something, something.

Augustus
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Augustus » Sun May 20, 2018 8:03 pm

I still think you can swing a few months off, and it would do a lot for your sanity. You do have a positive savings rate right? If it's 25% you can take 1 month off a year and sock some away. I dunno, if I were you I'd be attacking the highest cost bills. I'm assuming that's either rent or education? Downsize! If you can hit 50% savings rate, then even if you have to work the next 2 decades you can slip 6 month breaks in there every few years as you switch jobs or find an employer willing to put up with that, or strike out on your own. I've been independent for 9 years now, I could never go back.

Anyways, it sounds like you need to find a handle on what's pissing you off, then make a move. Low expenses give you options and freedom to maneuver. The risks are only daunting until you dig into it. Now I see w2 work as scarier than contracting. As an independent I can go find new clients while working with shitty ones which makes switching easy. In the past I would juggle 2-3 clients/income streams, which is much more robust than putting all your eggs in one basket. Its gotten to the point where I enjoy firing bad clients, because they are expendable, not me.

Along those lines, here's on scenario that may make everyone happy. Save up 3+ years expenses. Tell your wife you're pursuing your dreams and starting a business, same with your boss. Tell your boss you'd love to contract for him, you want to pursue your dreams, blah blah, you may come back begging in a few months if it doesn't work out. BAM you're free. You're "working" for yourself. Try to find clients. If it fails you go looking for a job when you have 4 months burn left to go. If it succeeds, you work from home and take as much or as little work as you want. Can't beat that. You'll have lots of free time for a couple months while you find new clients. Just make sure to actually be looking each day. Write up a marketing plan and prepare ahead of time so you don't fail.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Sun May 20, 2018 10:10 pm

I like your optimism. It's like the yin to my yang (or yang to my yin? I forget which is which).
Augustus wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:03 pm
if I were you I'd be attacking the highest cost bills.
So...murder my family? Not really my cup of tea...Really and truly, if my wife were on board with something more...creative...we could live an unconventional life. So far, she isn't, and I'm tired of fighting her, so conventional it shall be. As it is, I'm stuck in this awkward spot of NEEDING $100k in income for 10 years just to live even if I don't technically need to save another dime. Once the kids leave, I'm instantly FIRE on just my current savings alone (my wife claims that she'll follow me wherever I want once they're gone). I just don't know that many 6-figure part time jobs.
Augustus wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:03 pm
If you can hit 50% savings rate
Spending was pretty level at about $72,000/year for 2010-2015 (less cars, tithing, mortgage and other debt, all of which has since been paid off / ceased payment). The last two years were $90k and $103k, deliberately, I guess, with the extra going to the kids, travel and some home improvement. Even with that, savings rates have been like 60%+ (if you count the principal payments of debt). It's just when you start $400k+ in the hole, it takes a few years to get back to even.
Augustus wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:03 pm
, then even if you have to work the next 2 decades you can slip 6 month breaks in there every few years as you switch jobs or find an employer willing to put up with that, or strike out on your own.
Oy, this sounds terrible. Did I mention that I have a very cushy job as jobs go? Sure, I put up with my fair share of bullshit, but it's WAY less than what I used to put up with. Job hopping sounds horrendous. Cost/benefit.
Augustus wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:03 pm
Anyways, it sounds like you need to find a handle on what's pissing you off,
What's pissing me off? Life, I guess. Kids. Responsibilities. Being a "Parent" (in @jacob's usage) or finding the "Adult" and the "Child" in me for the first time in my life and allowing them free expression for the first time and they're trapped in this "Parent" life.* I have good days and bad days and this really isn't a curated journal; it's just presented as is, which has been a lot of bad days, but I'm working on it. I really truly think it's the zombie processes that I have to weed out. I keep fighting to want something I can't have. So just gotta let it go. To paraphrase @Scott2 from the quote a few posts back, this is no idealized life, but it's the only one I have and I have to make it work. That means I have a better chance of changing me than I do of changing my wife. C'est la vie.
Augustus wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:03 pm
Low expenses give you options and freedom to maneuver.
Now you're just teasing me.
Augustus wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:03 pm
The risks are only daunting until you dig into it...
That all sounds fantastic! And if I had any balls or skills I would totally do it! But I don't have the entrepreneur in me, both temperamentally and skill-wise. Hanging out a shingle as a lawyer...no thanks. I despise retail, and all the corporate law gigs are not that flexible (or I'm not yet ready to really push the boundaries). Hopefully the industry is changing, but I took a swing 6 months ago and struck out. If that firm wasn't going to be flexible with me, no one would. (They know me well and think very very highly of me, for some strange reason).

It's definitely something that's stewing in the back of my mind, how to swing some sort of semi-retirement gig, but "the risks" that are daunting are the ones close to home. But I very much appreciate your enthusiasm, optimism and courage. If only I were a different person, I could totally do it too!

* I know @jace is going to have a field day with this, but a year or two before I got hit by the car, I met this girl/woman (she was 26 and I was 34 or so) on RAGBRAI. She blew me away, I just couldn't relate to her. Her name was Melanie. She had a boyfriend, but she was on this week-long bike ride by herself without a care. She was ready to make plans with another guy we had just met to do a ride across America the following year just because it sounded interesting. She just did not give a shit what anyone thought, even her boyfriend. I love that woman. Not necessarily romantically, even though she is beautiful, but that sense of fierce independence (while remaining quite kind, etc) was just...amazing. She was just unstoppable. I so admire her for that. I had never met anyone like that before in my life, and I have never since met anyone else like her.

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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Augustus » Sun May 20, 2018 11:22 pm

If I had those expenses I'd be paralyzed too. Where does it all go? Rent? Wife allowance? Daycare? Got to be a way to get creative and cut those.

Rent - downsize
Wife allowance - lead by example
Daycare - I'm banking on public school to solve this for me in 2 years, and is the reason I'm still working as well

To me, it seems like you're mad because you have golden handcuffs. If your expenses were lower, you wouldn't need so much income, and you could take more risks.

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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Fish » Mon May 21, 2018 1:53 am

@Augustus - Here's my perspective, it might help you better understand S_. I imposed a sort of involuntary frugality on my spouse after first learning of FI/RE. It proved that our family of 4 could survive on 30k/year (not counting healthcare/childcare), but even though the lifestyle was still physiologically comfortable, it resulted in so much conflict that I can't consider it living well. :evil: Giving DW a blank check results in spending that is 2x the survival-level, but at least we don't argue about money. So we're trading dollars for peace. I think something similar takes place in the Finn's house, except his kids are old enough that he also needs to keep the peace with them too.

In addition to losing 6-fig golden handcuffs (I got them too), the cost of a gap year also includes loss of salary and healthcare... so in total it's like a negative 250-300k difference in NW vs. continuing to work. At some point in the future, we would be wealthy enough to walk away from that, but not yet. Because kids would be in the mix, a gap year is not as awesome as it might seem. We're already immensely satisfied with our family lives and trying to carve out more time for personal exploration and experiences. There's only so much that can be accomplished on that front when tethered to home with daily parental responsibilities. :?

It's interesting that frugality and time away from work are being proposed as solutions to what appears to be a lifestyle balance problem. It just seems like a really indirect way to address the issue. One of the YMOYL techniques is to ask yourself whether each expense was worthwhile, and whether spending on that item should be more, less, or the same the following month. If I were to hold a YMOYL retrospective on my time expenditures, I'd want to increase the personal time, decrease the family time(*), and hold work constant (it's not that bad). Hmmm. I might be on to something there! 8-)

(*)On the whole it's a huge net positive for happiness, but the marginal utility is currently negative as a highly active/involved parent given my temperament and preferences.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Mon May 21, 2018 6:38 am

Augustus wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 11:22 pm
Where does it all go?
If I only knew
Augustus wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 11:22 pm
Wife allowance - lead by example
Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. That $72,000? That's WITH the wife (and me) being on an allowance! I'd always end the year with a thousand or more dollars of my allowance saved and she'd be a thousand or more in the hole.

I'm mad because I want what I can't have. I'm mad because there's no such thing as magic. But like I said, I admire your optimism.

suomalainen
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by suomalainen » Mon May 21, 2018 6:48 am

Fish wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 1:53 am
(the whole thing)
See, when you write it, it comes off as reasonable and well-balanced. When I write it, it becomes so infused with my emotional attachments, it comes off as unbalanced and "mad".

But that's ok. Ever since the accident, I don't mind my emotional life being more of an open book. Some (all) would say I'm TOO open. But, to maybe close the loop on the thought with @Augustus, I'm "mad" or "pissed off" because of learned helplessness. Rat stuck in a fucking cage that can't get away from the electric shocks. @Fish is able to be more mature about it, or at least write in such a way as to appear to be so. Maybe it was a process for him to get to that point or maybe he's just naturally more...whatever the right adjective/characteristic. I'm immature about it and don't varnish that inconvenient fact. I guess I chose my genetics and my parents poorly (on at least this one dimension) - causes a great deal of work later in life to repair that shit. Sigh. Off to work!

EDIT:
Fish wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 1:53 am
(*)On the whole it's a huge net positive for happiness, but the marginal utility is currently negative as a highly active/involved parent given my temperament and preferences.
And oh my god, the most perfect footnote ever conceived! I can get too focused on the "negative marginal utility" when I'm speaking about my family life that people get the mis-impression that I see it as a net negative for happiness, but this is precisely what I'm trying (and failing) to convey. "I love my kids even if they drive me crazy half the time" is what a normal person would say. I just go with "I hate my kids and you're a fucking idiot if you think having one is a good idea." Tomayto tomahto?

EDIT^2: The first edit may be why a religious leader is once reported to have said "Suomalainen has problems" after reporting back from a conversation he had with me.

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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by ThisDinosaur » Mon May 21, 2018 8:35 am

My wife is also my biggest obstacle to FI. When we are fighting over money, I just say "I have to do what I think is right, just like you do." And what is right for me is putting the future financial security of the family before consumer discretionary spending. There is a possibility that this attitude will break my marriage. That would suck. But the alternative is me caving into her and becoming bitter and broke. So I'm willing to bend it until it breaks. Its not always easy, and I still cave in sometimes. Because I like getting laid and I hate living with passive aggressive anger.

As for the kids, I think keeping them safe, financially secure, and helping them grow up to be *self-sufficient* is what will make me a good parent. That might involve a little free-range parenting, which also might give me some alone time. That will either have a good or bad effect on their opinion of me. I prefer that they remember me as a good dad, but that's not what drives my parenting decisions. If they hate me but they grow up safe and awesome, then I win. If they love me but they are totally dependent on me, then I've lost.

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Smashter
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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by Smashter » Mon May 21, 2018 9:02 am

ThisDinosaur wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 8:35 am
If they hate me but they grow up safe and awesome, then I win.
I don't have kids, but speaking as one of three adult siblings who has felt a lot of hate towards their mother for some awful parenting decisions she made, I would be very careful about having this attitude. Of course, context is everything, but me and my siblings grew up safe and are "awesome" at least in terms of having college degrees and good jobs and stable relationships, yet we all have pretty icy relationships with our mom.

Whenever my mom complains to me that my brother doesn't speak with her, she says "what did I do so wrong, you all were happy, you got everything you wanted, I don't get it!"

Now, I highly doubt you are an emotionally abusive narcissist so this isn't an apples to apples comparison. It just sent up a big red flag when I read that part about your kids hating you, because I could imagine my mother thinking something similar and now very much regretting it.

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Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Post by ThisDinosaur » Mon May 21, 2018 10:17 am

@Smashter
Order of preference would be:
Love+Awesome>> Hate+Awesome >> Love+Lame >> Hate+Lame

Sounds like you fall into the second group from the left. Subjectively, I've seen this pattern. Immature parents cause some fraction of their kids to rise to the occasion, becoming very responsible but "damaged" adults. I think this contributes to the birth order effect, since first born children will have less mature and less organized parents then their younger siblings on average. The first born ends up having more household responsibility (at the extreme, having to earn income to support the family) than the other siblings.

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