A family father's path through life

Where are you and where are you going?
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Family father
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A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:37 pm

After a few years lurking around I finally decided to start my own journal. :oops:

Not because I think I have something particular to share (I am kind of shy, and don't have great social skills), but because I'd like to keep some record of my own path.

I used to think I wasn't on any path yet.. just trying to find mine, but after reading some of your journals (Jason, Bluenote, Rube, SavingWithBabies, Liberate Minds and many more I don't remember right now) I realize the search is the path.

Besides, I've come to respect the insights in many of this forum users.. :)

In my early 40's, married to an amazing woman and expecting to have our fourth (and last) kid by the end of February, I don't know which will be my destination...

Ran 15 years on the rat race till I got to my GM position in a small company two years ago... just to find my work would be amazing if I just didn't  suffer so much: I surely should fix that....

I do worry too much about future even though I realize control is an illusion, plus most of my work means dealing with perfectly reasonable demands from many different stakeholders and trying to reach agreements fair (but sub-optimal) to everyone... 

As Jason put it: "I have no rights or entitlements on this earth"

So, there we go!

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Jason » Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:45 am

So unless there was some unspeakable tragedy in the last 24 hours, you woke up today with the love of your life, three children and one more on the way. Although there is a underlying cryptic fault line running through your post, it appears to be of the "middle-aged, existential dread" variety than financial or health related.

A wise man once said to me "The key to maturity is to accept where you are, and do what you can do to make it better." With my startling profound, and uniquely insightful quote at the end of your post as the starting point, consider yourself blessed for what you have and work to make it even more prosperous. I used to want to throw those people who answered my "How are you" with "Better than I deserve" into oncoming traffic, but I have come to kind of look at it as a good way to view things.

For instance, you say you don't have great social skills, yet you find yourself in a position of constant negotiations with other stakeholders which I'm assuming is both family and business associates. So you can't be that bad at social skills. I mean you did get promoted to GM and a mere seven months ago that amazing woman you married allowed you to spend some sexy time with her as opposed to telling you to take your 40 year old sagging ass and go jerk off on the toilet. And if you just peppered the basic facts of your life with bag pipe playing, wind surfing or volunteering on some local bullshit committee, that's like 99.999 of the obituaries I read.

It's normal to worry. i can see from your post you might have some issues expressing yourself, so use this as an opportunity. Because quite frankly, I don't see what the problem is at this point other than maybe some ordinary self-doubt or lack of faith in things which is like kind of the basic human condition. Unless that is you want to be a cowboy or something which is a whole other thing.

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:30 pm

Hi Jason,

Fortunately, no tragedy has happened so far.. :D, but I'll admit a bit of that mid-life existential dread. :oops:
Jason wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:45 am
A wise man once said to me "The key to maturity is to accept where you are, and do what you can do to make it better."
I do think I've been extremely lucky, and do work to keep it that way.

OTOH there is also that quote: "afraid are only those who have what to loose" which does apply to me..

Anyway, somehow I don't like how our society works, how it focuses on consumerism and how difficult it becomes for people to adjust to all the changes happening... I have the feeling the "society" is loosing individuals at every turn and don't even cares for that... (being my brother and my little sister (who passed away a few years ago) two of them)

And that's probably my first challenge in this mid-life existential crisis: to adjust myself to that changing world and find my place on it, and try to find some clues that may help my children as they grow up to find theirs...

Thank you for your answer!!

P.S: If I understood right, you assumed I run a family owned business, which I don't.. I'm just trying to save a 40 year old company from closing down, and it involves taking some tough decisions... either I must learn to deal with them in a less harmful way, or I'll have to step aside and change my job..

(if I didn't understood right... :oops: sorry)

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Jason » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:39 pm

Sorry about your sister.

I think its worth remembering that at every stage of history, especially those epochs possessing rapid change, there was always a movement warning against the superficial nature and and vanity of consumerism/materialism. Whether it was some Stoic in a toga on a street corner in Ancient Greece, King Solomon, Christians during the height of the Roman Empire, Robespierre, Benjamin Franklin, the progressives of the late 19th century or JLF nowadays, a jeremiad has always appeared. It's a timeless concern. Just don't mention this to Mr. Money Mustache, especially when he's out in his backyard, shirtless and lifting free weights in the freezing cold.

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:46 am

Hahahaha!!

I haven't read much of MMM, but the image fits as far as I know! :lol: (I would be hugging trees instead.. :roll: )

I read somewhere that "technology" for one generation are "commodities" for the next one (just as washing machines are for us), so I'm sure next generations will find ways to adapt the society to our "technologies"

Anyway, it kind of comforts me knowing there's people already dealing with this "mis-adjustment" in a more sustainable (and solid) way than I am: it gives me both direction and motivation :)

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Jason » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:35 am

That is not a conjured image but one supplied by Mr. Money Muscle himself. I figure his wife shot it the morning of his TED talk. I can't help but compare it to the American Gothic JLF posted of himself in his $4 rake entry. I think it sums up why I spend my time here.

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:46 pm

I knew about MMM long after ERE, took a look at his site and found it... commercial?

By then I already felt very comfortable in the ERE forum and I felt it covered my needs :)

Besides, until I looked for it a moment ago, I didn't even knew MMM's face!

I imagined him like Daniel Day Lewis in "Gangs of New York":

Image

:lol:

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Jason » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:57 pm

With the exception of the hat, that’s pretty spot on. MMM’s head would never fit into something that small.

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:48 pm

I googled TED talks of him today and didn't find any :shock:. I found instead some videos on YouTube, and listened this one while driving:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txdyGgAGMwM

He does sound like very full of himself, and I don't like the way he sentences, but I must admit he says some interesting things..

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Jason » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:10 pm

I don’t want to MMM bash. Well I do, because he’s a monomaniacal cult leader and JLF is a philosopher but that’s not why we are here and it’s not the tenor of this board. The TED talk is on his site and it’s pretty much a recapitulation of his basic tenets for the stoic Starbucks hipster crowd.

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:41 am

Before 2016 I spent some years lurking around the forum and letting the ERE concepts slowly penetrate my brains.

In 2016 I tracked my expenses and registered in the forum.

In 2017 I kept tracking my expenses, introduced myself in the forum and even started my own journal.

I feel I'm moving in the right direction: slowly, but also firmly :)

Savings rate:
2016 - 53% (aprox)
2017 - 37% (not perfect, but more acurate)

SWR:
2015 - 51% (aprox)
2016 - 49%
2017 - 40%

Personal (not family) objectives for 2018

Financials:
-Reshape tracking sheet to make it simpler and more acurate in the main numbers
-Routinely track expenses weekly to improve data quality
-Zero spending in clothing
-Reduce transportation costs to job
- Stop eating out alone (work lunch)
- Decide about investing vs landlording (inflation effects, real costs/profits of index investing in spain, when/what to do when the market is hot?...)

DIY:
-Learn to patch socks
-Make a piece of furniture w/older son
-Learn to cook more take away meals

Mind/Health:
-Exercise once (ideally twice) a week
- Read more books-thinking stuff and less junk-news (with smartphones and Internet (and children :_) I've dropped from more than 50 books per year to almost none!!!)
- Allocate time to think and write something every 2 or 3 days (thoughts, messages for my kids in the future...)
- Reduce eating of processed food

Amazing year to come!!!

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:05 pm

I forgot my take away lunch today.. so I had a work lunch :oops:

It made me think if I had failed or not... and the final answer was not: my objectives aren't red lines I must not cross, they have a meaning for me beyond the actual words or facts.

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:48 pm

I read today an interview to a young woman who had lost a 1 yo kid to cancer.

I couldn't hold my tears as I read it (I don't think any parent that loves his children could) and despite the obvious conclussions about living your life in full, I liked her answer to one question about "what would you say to parents of a dying child?"

Love him well: ask him what he wants to do -she said- Don't seize a live that is not yours ...

It made me think about how we educate our kids: trying to help them build a life on their own but (unconciously) transmitting our values to them, and one of the things we transmit is wich is the time frame we keep in mind when making decissions...

Until I was 35 my time frame was "Larger Than I Have Lived" and, as years come by, I realize I have changed into the "Very Long" frame (since I've already past the half of the average life expectancy).

In the next years I suppose my time frame will be switching into shorter ones, but her answer made me realize we must be aware of this time frame, and change it according to circumstances: surely you would allow different things to someone about to die than to someone who is not!! Not because of pity, but because his time frame is different, and that time frame can make a same decission good or bad

I also realize my time frame changed in auto-mode: at some moment I realized it had changed, but didn't feel like a big change (it wasn't: natural changes will happen progressively).

I want to remember myself:

1- Be aware of your time frame, and adjust it by decission (not by omission)
2- Whenever judging decissions taken by others (and you know you shouldn't: you'll be happier accepting than judging) at least try to take their time frame into account

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:54 am

Progress,

This week, together with my 7 yo boy we learnt and successfully patched socks (not very beautiifully, but a success anyway), and I feel VERY good at that!

No matter what you want to do with your life, it's a skill that makes sense to develop in a sustainable society (until better technologies come), and doing so together with him feels great :D :D :D

I plan to keep patching things for the next weeks, until anything that needs patching at home has been done: then we'll move into something else :)

I also decided to track spending weekly and simplified the spreadsheet I use (it was far too complicated for what I need to track).

The thinking part.. it seems to have a direct relation with the posts for me: even though what I write may be un-interesting to everyone, it takes a lot of thinking on my side :lol:

As IlliniDave and Suomalainen say: "I think too much" too :oops:

One step at a time ;)

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Demosthenes » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:21 pm

Congrats on the new skill! I've been meaning to learn that as well, but I always seem to wait until it's too late, and there's more hole than sock.

Do you literally "patch" the sock? Or just sew it back together?

The more you think (aloud on this forum), the more benefit for us! Keep it coming :)

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:55 am

Thanks!!

I just sewed it back together: it was my first attempt :)

Once we finished sewing three of them (one oversock with too big a hole, but it would be in the bin otherwise :D ) DW had a look at it, and suggested to sew them.. inside!! so it looks a little bit nicer :oops:

Ok, it makes sense: the next one in the inside :lol:

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:41 am

A few hard days have gone by.. trying to cope with them the best I can.

Stress and uncertainity kept me unfocused (and thus not very productive), but also made it difficult to sleep (and tiredness resulted in some bad "parenting days" or "bad parenting" days as Suomalaisen says) and made me spent some time trying to unplug my mind with TV et al.: I need to learn to shape my mental processes to deal better with that...

Fortunately, at least, I keep the weekly expenses tracking and not eating out on my own :)

I also read this post in the ERE Blog:

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/angry ... -poor.html

Where I found some very interesting thoughts:
No, I’m talking about the cases where you give someone a webpage/book/printout to the classical DIY laundry detergent recipe that cuts the price of detergent to near zero; they’re broke; they’re struggling; two months later you ask them if they tried it: No, they didn’t read it yet and yes they just spent $8 on a new bottle of detergent or worse… paying 50c for a cup of detergent per wash at the laundromat all along.

The problem with pulling oneself out of whatever is that it assumes that some capital is already present, namely the ability to teach yourself using books—because that happens to be the cheapest form of education available. For some, this capital does not exist.
To pull yourself out of xxx you need to invest... you need to think about what you do now and why, and then think if this is the best way or to find a better way suitable to you, and then the effort to change... you won't get change in the direction you want unless you do so.
Those who are not intellectual(*) or educated in the book-college-sense need to learn them in a different way. I don’t know how, because my sole way of communicating is bookish in nature, even text-bookish in nature. Obviously the school system which could teach children simple things like how to make a budget, how to cook dinner or even fry an egg, and how to not go into debt, is doing practically the opposite. Ever wonder why?

(*) Also in this “information society”, there’s an almost direct correlation between how much information you process and how many resources you have.
I must find a way to help my children to think about and decide by themselves how they want to live their live instead of assuming the "standard life" is the one they should have...

I also liked Bob's comment on the post:
Privilege is being born into a first world country with electricity, running water and non-violent politics.

Unprivileged is being born into civil war, conscripted into an army at the age of 10, suffering from famine and disease, eating grass and tree bark to survive.
It's so easy to forget that in first world...

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:38 am

January update:

Started with a lot of energy, but it somehow faded the last weeks...

Personal (not family) objectives for 2018

Financials:
-Reshape tracking sheet to make it simpler and more acurate in the main numbers (done)
-Routinely track expenses weekly to improve data quality started
-Zero spending in clothing ok
-Reduce transportation costs to job checked some alternatives.. no advance yet :(
- Stop eating out alone (work lunch) almost there
- Decide about investing vs landlording (inflation effects, real costs/profits of index investing in spain, when/what to do when the market is hot?...) a lot to do yet

DIY:
-Learn to patch socks done, but just once: need to improve
-Make a piece of furniture w/older son DW decided to buy the furniture on mind, and workshops where you were supposed to be able to go and work didn't reply.... seems like this one will fall :oops:
-Learn to cook more take away meals Some imrpovement: practicing on jar salads :)

Mind/Health:
-Exercise once (ideally twice) a week failed.... no comment
- Read more books-thinking stuff and less junk-news (with smartphones and Internet (and children :_) I've dropped from more than 50 books per year to almost none!!!) failed.... no comment
- Allocate time to think and write something every 2 or 3 days (thoughts, messages for my kids in the future...) let's say orange :lol:
- Reduce eating of processed food little improvement.. but some :)

It has been a tough month jobside and I've lacked the motivation to take action...

Anyway, after a month it's good to re-read those objectives.

Homework for the next serious post: set objectives for the next week/month

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:45 am

To think about later...
jacob wrote:
Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:53 pm
I updated the typos.

Image
To do asap:
m741 wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:07 pm
2 months out

Anyway, I also developed a very comfortable, productive work routine. Leaving aside the todo and goal stuff: I stopped snacking, and eat just one meal, a salad, on most days. Almost every day I go to the gym at work, where I take a boxing or plyometrics class. I also meditate for 20 minutes every day, keeping a notepad in front of me in case any tasks or ideas (personal or professional) surface. I drink more water and in addition to the meditation I've set aside 10 minutes before heading home to reflect on work at the end of every day: what excites me, what could I do better, what did I learn, or what do I want to learn?
Objectives for this week:

- Exercice one day (at work if possible)
- 10 minutes before heading home to reflect on work at the end of every day
- A little meditation 2 or 3 days
(thanks m741)
- Patch something... anything!! :lol:

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by m741 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:33 pm

Glad I could be helpful :)

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:04 am

You surely were!

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:36 pm

I definitely do feel like the search is the path. I read a lot of the forum but I don't always comment. But I often take something away to think about and mull it over in my mind. By reading here, I'm fairly certain I know where my stumblings are in terms of if I wanted to go more to the extreme approach to ERE/FI. But interestingly, some of the threads pushed me more in the other direction too. To consider more carefully the cost of what I would be doing. So lately I've been thinking a lot about the path that balances the quest for ERE/FI and life. I do not want to add multiple decades but a year or two I would be okay with if that meant a dramatically better quality of life while on the path.

Your quote from @m741 is quite good. I missed that. I should really try to put some of that into practice. There has been a leadership upset at my current employer that most of us found out about today. It has been some time in coming but I didn't know actually change was coming. So I'm optimistic perhaps things will improve.

I'm looking forward to reading more about your path.

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:44 am

SavingWithBabies wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:36 pm
I read a lot of the forum but I don't always comment.
Me too ;)
SavingWithBabies wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:36 pm
By reading here, I'm fairly certain I know where my stumblings are in terms of if I wanted to go more to the extreme approach to ERE/FI. But interestingly, some of the threads pushed me more in the other direction too. To consider more carefully the cost of what I would be doing. So lately I've been thinking a lot about the path that balances the quest for ERE/FI and life. I do not want to add multiple decades but a year or two I would be okay with if that meant a dramatically better quality of life while on the path.
Lots of individual work there for everyone, and I agree: the reading here helps a lot! (I also follow your journal :))

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:46 am

I'll try to stick with the week tracking habit :D

- Exercice one day (at work if possible) nope (not sure these are the weeks to do so..) :oops:
- 10 minutes before heading home to reflect on work at the end of every day 2 days
- A little meditation 2 or 3 days 1 day
- Patch something... anything!! :lol: DONE!!! :D

For this week:

- Check alternative route to work
- 10 minutes before heading home to reflect on work at the end of every day
- Patch something // Fix something // Declutter something
- A little meditation 2 days
- Exercice one day (at work if possible)

Besides, I liked Astra's summary of her GP "lessons to learn":
Astra wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:24 am
Lessons to be learned from my grandpa
  • Live significantly below your means, save and invest in what you understand
  • Learn to DIY as much as possible, never outsource services you could possibly learn yourself
  • Continue to learn new skills and challenge yourself
  • Think critically about advertised products
  • Don't spend a fortune on your wedding and honeymoon - all you need is love!
  • Reach out to likeminded people for help and expertise (instead of “buying” a solution)
  • Travel light while working and see the world when you’re young, then settle down where you feel most comfortable and build a self-reliant life
  • Don’t give a F about appearances (clothes, car, house), but do what serves you and is practical
  • Only spend time with people that appreciate you (for being a penny-pinching polymath)
  • Be humble

Lessons to be learned from my grandma
  • What you have in abundance, give freely (veggies + fruit, flowers, time, sage advice…)
  • Don’t forget to enjoy life, and spend money on the things that are important to you
  • Establish and uphold good relationships with your neighbors and friends, and you will never lack a helpful hand or ear
  • Show your love by home cooked meals and personal talks
  • Embrace new things (technology, innovations, cuisine)
I must think how to make them visible in my family's day to day.

I also liked Wolfs quote about getting SO on board with ERE:
Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote:If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Last friday my wife bougth me a pair of trousers in the sales: the sale was huge and she said that in her opinion some of mine were not "in good shape" and should be disposed (in our case given to charity).

She also said that she knew and respected my "no buying" goal and that she would return them if I prefered so (I am sooooo lucky :oops: ).

We had a conversation about wich is the criteria to discard clothes.

My criteria is: it is something I won't wear again because either I don't feel comfortable with it anymore (I have a high degree of tolerance when it comes to this) or because it doesn't fullfill it's purpose anymore (wich is quite wide for clothing and a little bit less for shoes).

She argued that the image you project with them also has something to say: it may project lack of cleanliness (to some, even if it's not the case) wichh naturaly affects your social relations, and most important, your image also affects your SO...

I don't use to give a F about what anyone who doesn't really know me thinks about me: I'm quite extreme on this, but she has a point about where the minimums should be if you live in a comunity...

I DO care a lot about how she feels about me, and thus that point deserves deeper thinking...

It is, surely, a conversation to be continued...

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Jason » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:15 pm

Really? Going full blown Talmudic over this? She bought you a pair of discounted pants not a Lamborghini. Just wear them and make your wife happy. She’ll remember and this will allow you to call the shot on the next one.

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