Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Where are you and where are you going?
TopHatFox
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by TopHatFox » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:49 am

Lots of good stuff here. I think next step is to make a route connecting many of these and go on a sleep-in-the-car road trip in the summer. I have about 3-4 weeks vacation and the summer is pretty dead around here.

I think I would like to get a PsyD, as long as it's free. MPA + PsyD will let me do just about whatever an INFJ could want, and could offer opportunities after FI. So I'm thinking of applying at a job at a university where I can get that for free while I work there, continue to accumulate, and hit on the crunchy locals. <3

------------------

Had a random thought as I was riding the bus today. It seems that if you devote a part of your life towards future-building--which, let's be frank, is what we're doing when we sign up for FIRE accumulation--then eventually that "future you" you're saving for, becomes "present you." At that point, present you becomes happier, thanks to all the options--education, money, skills--now "past you" put in place. So maybe happiness increases as one progresses along the FIRE path, and it's probably lowest at the beginning. That probably also means that difficulty of the FIRE path decreases as one progresses along it.

For those further along the path than me,when did you notice that your hard work accumulating was paying off?

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:56 am

It happened in phases.

In 2015 when I first hit ~$100k in investments, I realized I could never contribute to retirement funds again, and still end up a millionaire at traditional retirement age.

Then in 2017 when I cracked $300k realizing I could draw $10-12k/yr and supplement the rest of my lifestyle working any job 2-3 days a week. That was a huge game changer in attitude toward the corporate world.

Now that I'm barebone FI, I'm questioning every decision to trade time for money. Which is a blessing and a curse :)

Keep it up! Most of your dilemmas are not financial in nature.

Stahlmann
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Stahlmann » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:18 am

it must be fun to live in your bubble.

TopHatFox
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by TopHatFox » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:19 am

I like bubbles. bubble bubble bubble

The real world sucks, but bubbbbbbles are the best. ^_^

theanimal
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by theanimal » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:39 am

TopHatFox wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:49 am
At that point, present you becomes happier, thanks to all the options--education, money, skills--now "past you" put in place. So maybe happiness increases as one progresses along the FIRE path, and it's probably lowest at the beginning.
There's plenty of evidence on this board and elsewhere demonstrating that the opposite is true. More money or freedom isn't going to make you happier if you aren't happy now. Happiness is internal.

Crazylemon
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Crazylemon » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:46 am

I am not that much further along than you (although 1 'stage' up from your cash descriptions).

The money doesn't make me happy. Hitting a milestone feels nice but that bit is somewhat of an automatic process, insofar as it is a number that trends up and at some point will be a sufficiently big ball of money I never need to work again. In theory.

What has made more happy is the other parts of ERE/my own life. Getting healthier (in which I include sleep/exercise/eating/etc.). Spending time with Partner/friends/family. Purposeful work. Slowly adapting to my surroundings and adapting them to me. It isn't perfect, but that is an impossible ideal.

In that sense I would disagree with @theanimal. Happiness is not entirely internal. Environment is a big part. It is hard to be happy when an environment is against your value and assaulting the lower rungs of the hierarchy of needs. If where you are is totally incompatible with you then looking elsewhere is worth doing. But it doesn't solve everything. You do have to put in the effort yourself. I would recommend 'How to be miserable' as a book that might be worth trying.

theanimal
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by theanimal » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:24 pm

I agree with Crazylemon.

I'm mainly advising to be wary of the idea that achieving FI is some magical cure all and all your problems are going to go away. If you're not happy now, there's a pretty good chance FI is not going to solve your problems. I'd recommend checking out the journals of C40, Akratic and M741 if you are looking for more reading on those who have talked about related issues.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:34 pm

Stahlmann wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:18 am
it must be fun to live in your bubble.
You know Stahlmann, a lot of the people I thought in my twenties were living charmed lives compared to me have gotten rocked in the last few years. Unemployment, ruin, drugs, death.

You have to persevere.

Scott 2
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:44 pm

Yep, FI is a false idol. No reason the days heading there should be miserable.

The biggest sums of money I've needed so far, have been $30k to get a loan on too much house and $18k to buy a very comfortable car in cash. The one time I stopped work for six months, a little freelancing came my way and covered expenses.

IMO at $100k of net worth, I had long passed money as the limiting factor for happiness. Mental burdens were self imposed, driven by fear and inexperience in life. The changes I made, to harvest benefits of my "financial freedom," could have been done anyway. Money was not the limiting factor.

I am not any happier at FI than I was at 21, freshly graduated with $50k debt. Barring terrible childhoods, life increases in challenge with age. At times those challenges made me less happy, typically when I prioritized other people's stress. It doesn't take money to choose not to do that.

I do think being poor sucks. Maybe 2 years of expenses is where money stopped removing stress.

Scott 2
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:47 pm

I assume Stahlmann is referring to the financial opportunities available in the US vs. his country. Yes, it's fantastic. You might get shot at the Walmart, or bankrupted because you get sick, but getting money is stupid easy.

prognastat
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by prognastat » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:02 pm

I don't think I'd say I'm unhappy, rather my wish for FI stems from a wish for the freedom to do as I wish. My emotions are generally quite tempered lacking extremely high highs, but also not tending towards low lows without significant environmental influence. As such my goal is rather to remove elements in my life that bring lows, I don't believe it in itself is capable of producing highs. However removing lows will boost your average experience of life. From there it's up to yourself to improve your life to increase the highs. Things I do currently are participate in hobbies I enjoy, improve my physical health through diet and exercise, and improving my mental and physical health through improved sleep. I'm also looking to improve my social life through participating in hobbies with a social element and being better about initiation conversations with people and hopefully improving the amount and quality of friendships through this.

Through a combination of these improving the positives in my life and the pursuit of FIRE reducing the negatives and also increasing the time/energy available for the former I believe it is possible to improve your happiness some. There's also some indication though that a large portion of your happiness is internal and very hard to change long term. That there's a certain level of happiness you are pre-disposed to experiencing.

Scott 2
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:20 pm

I am finding an absence of lows mutes the highs.

prognastat
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by prognastat » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:44 pm

What about voluntary lows vs involuntary ones though?

Taking on challenging things and struggling can be seen as a low or the lead up to a high depending on your perspective. I wouldn't consider these actual lows. They are very different to the lows that are forced upon your by others/your environment.

I would agree if you even excluded voluntary lows this would reduce the amount/mute the highs. But I haven't experienced the reduction of involuntary lows to affect my highs.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:20 pm

I fluctuate between ecstasy and depression. I suppose this makes me a terrible Stoic.
Scott 2 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:47 pm
I assume Stahlmann is referring to the financial opportunities available in the US vs. his country. Yes, it's fantastic. You might get shot at the Walmart, or bankrupted because you get sick, but getting money is stupid easy.
If the US bubble pops it will be to the detriment to those who thought it would never end. And those who were depressed beholding others ecstatic should be ecstatic to find everyone depressed.

Scott 2
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:16 pm

I suppose there is a spectrum between voluntary and involuntary low. Sure, removing a splinter from your finger will only be positive. Avoiding a big event because you don't want to deal with traffic, it's a trade off. Pay the premium for an Uber to drop you, you might find out that half the fun is parking a mile away and walking with your friends. Perseverance through shared adversity feels good.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Kriegsspiel » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:15 pm

I think when I first started working I was the most satisfied life-wise, because I felt like I was doing something rewarding and important. I was also happy because I was around a lot of similar people. At the time I didn't know anything about FIRE, or investing (didn't even know what a stock was, or interest rates or anything), so any money I didn't spend just accumulated carelessly in my checking account for years on end, so accumulating wealth had zero effect on my well-being. I wonder if a lot of people are unhappy because right out of the gate they work at a corporation with people who have been soul-killed? I think working in a university could be a good thing for you.

Jean
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Jean » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:08 pm

Working in an university was the worst experience in my life. A nice comany can be much better.

Salathor
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by Salathor » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:25 pm

We've got enough money to be FIRE if we sold and moved somewhere cheaper, although it would probably be tight. I don't feel any wealthier or more relaxed than I did when I had less money.

I feel relaxed/at peace when I take time to focus on happiness itself--the thought of it, being grateful for life/family, etc. Focusing on DOING things that make me happy (games, skill learning, etc.) has never really helped. As I get older I'm becoming more and more convinced that joy is really a thing that exists outside of daily circumstances, and one can be just as joyful in FIRE as at work. That said, I still think FIRE would be more FUN than work, so it's worth pursuing--but I'm no longer allowing myself to push back joy until then, because I'm more convinced than ever that it won't help.

wolf
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by wolf » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:57 pm

I couldn't have guessed that you are an introvert TopHatFox. That's quite a surprise to me, because you seem so extraverted in the forums. INFT is quite an interesting personality type. I read a detailled description about it. What does your introverted intuition say to all this? I mean with moving to another city, happiness in life and decisions in life in general? What are your most important values in life?

classical_Liberal
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Re: Fox's Journey: And Onto the Sunlight!

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:22 pm

Credit to an old book I read some time ago, Happiness is a Serious Problem: A Human Nature Repair Manual. Missing tile syndrome. A person can have a beautifully constructed tile floor, and if only a single tile is missing or damaged all of our focus is drawn to that singular spot.

I say this partly to reinforce what @theanimal and others have said about contentment coming from within. There will always be something missing, something that could be better. We have to learn to accept the missing part and enjoy the remaining hundreds of tiles. OTOH, we can certainly take action to improve the external, but should do so carefully. Second order effects can leave us worse off than before AND it's very important to understand externals are not static. We can bore of the job we once loved, or some people from our awesome social circle may move away, etc. If too much energy is focused on fixing the one missing tile, we can lose out on the enjoyment of everything else while it's in place.

More pragmatically, I would advise anyone who is content with life to enjoy this period of their life, because it will not last. Do not focus on the glaringly missing component while things are going well, enjoy the present. As we float down the river of life, externals will change. When this happens do not hesitate to make changes to reinvigorate contentment. I think this hesitation, or focus on what once was, is what gets most people who have otherwise learned to ignore the missing pieces(mastered internal). This is the point to work on what was missing before, choose a different area to have a missing tile in the next phase of life and see if the external is better than the last. We can have almost anything we want, just not everything.

For someone who is definitely currently discontented. First, learn the internal (ie there will always be missing tiles, how will you cope?). Then the external (ie how do I want to set up my next floor, and where should I place the missing tiles in the next experiment/phase of life)

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