mooretrees journal

Where are you and where are you going?
mooretrees
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@AxelHeyst Been thinking about this last post and another one of horsewoman's. The beautiful reality about ERE is that I feel like I'm getting back to my younger self. I think I needed to experiment with some 'normal' behaviors (career, owning a house, etc) partly because I was a weirdo for most of my adult life. I was raised middle-class and while I was always the dreamer/oddball in the family, I think I was curious about that lifestyle. Now that I've sacrificed personal freedom for five years in a career, owned a home and generally lived the middle class lifestyle, I'm ready for a 'return' to a simpler life. DH and I've played with the idea of a tiny house since the beginning of our relationship but I had some mental hurdles to overcome before I could really envision pulling the trigger on it.

Money stuff:

It's too early for an end of month update, but due to my diligent tracking, we're on record to spend around $300 for groceries at home. I was stressing about money yesterday and updating the google spreadsheet and was pleasantly surprised to see how low our food at home spending has been. This is without really chasing or stressing a goal to DH-he does most of the food shopping.

I'll do a bigger post about all of the spending later, but we are making strides in reducing our spending without any deprivation. The downside is that I'm mulling over purchases over a lot, which gets tiring. I've been wanting some overalls and I've put a lot of effort into trying some on, reading reviews and thinking about them. I used to just buy it and not go through this deeply analytical process. But, I think this might be the new reality? It feels weird because I'm thinking SO much about these stupid overalls. I'm almost to the point of being over the idea of them just because I'm tired of thinking about them!

Mental Health Update:
I've gotten two nights of decent sleep and my outlook is MUCH improved. We'll see how work goes, but I am not dreading it. Also, I hate to say it, but freaking lady hormones are the worst. TMI WARNING: I miss the days of my low level dose of progesterone from my IUD, my monthly hormones were much more stable.

mooretrees
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I was poking around on the ERE blog and found these three posts that have been very useful

https://earlyretirementextreme.com/how- ... erism.html

This next post is what I wish I had read before trying the buy nothing quarter (mostly a failure, but a good learning experience) https://earlyretirementextreme.com/the- ... erism.html

And this last one:https://earlyretirementextreme.com/the- ... erism.html

I think I was a standard consumer before ERE. I also think I'm still struggling with it. The linked posts are really helpful as guides to getting over it.

mooretrees
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

End of Month recap:


Expenses

Food 341
Gifts 20
Health 57
Home + util: 1,311 (981 when rental income is included)
Car Fuel 115
Personal 63 (mostly Nordic skiing passes + massage thingy for DH)
Pets 49
Travel 1,389 (tickets for three to Florida)
food out 98
Car Ins 58
Books 15
Son 120*
Clothes 61
Total: $3,657
* includes modifying our bike trailer to put it on skis, DH did it DIY, the kits retail for around $200 and night time diapers -he's potty trained otherwise, and ski googles)

Income: 4118.96

Savings 811 (includes rental income of 330 and xmas money of 250)
401k 399 (doesn't include employer contribution)
HSA 430

Savings rate: 35%

I knew this would be low due to the plane tickets. If we had saved that money instead our savings rate would have likely been 62%.

Money spent without travel: 2268. If I take away what the renter contributes to our mortgage payment: 1938. At the end of the day, we still spent the money on travel but it is useful to get realistic numbers for day to day living. I'm excited to have the beginnings of a 'rolling average.'

My take way from this is that we're making progress. Our eating out was high and mostly unsatisfying. One time was really me being too tired from work and poor planning. Feb will be less.

Tickets to see my parents were high as we opted to fly Southwest and now have to buy our son a seat. This is not a recurring expense and usually my parents will split the cost with me. I didn't ask and they didn't offer this time as they had just forgiven me my loan of $3450. They are in good health and are really great about coming to visit us so it's fine with me to reciprocate.

I was really surprised at how low our food at home was, and am encouraged that we are becoming more efficient at eating what we have and better meal planning. More gains can happen there I think, especially if we start making our own bread and yogurt.

I can tell we are starting to spend more money on our son. Mostly used books and some ski gear, but he's getting more curious and wanting to play more. He's been a pretty cheap kid to date, especially since we've gotten most of his clothes as hand me downs and we don't pay for day care. While my parents group really didn't pan out, we have potentially started a one day a week nanny share with one of those couples. Our kids are pretty close in age and have a lot fun together. This nanny share is really to give him some fun time and us a little break. Especially once the building starts, it will be nice to have him safely away during some of the week.

Feb will have some larger expenses due to the last heavy work of the basement remodel (sheet rock) and renewing DH's crossfit membership. He's loving it and since we've been together (8 years) this is the most he's ever worked out. I anticipate that our savings rate will also be low, but I think that with our tax return and finishing the basement, we'll be able to start looking for buses to purchase. Fingers crossed!

mooretrees
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I goofed off at work today and somehow ended up on a lovely website consisting of letters of various people. I almost cried several times. Especially with this letter, http://www.lettersofnote.com/search/label/kenkesey. If you don't want to read a letter about someone's son dying, don't click it.

I recently read Escape Everything (thanks G+J) twice and while I was poking around reading these letters, I realized I was going to quit my job. Likely in the next year. My whole body relaxed and the deepest feeling of rightness poured over me. Two hours later I started getting scared of that reality. Which is appropriate, but doesn't take away the truth. I don't know the details of yet it but that's the direction I'm heading.

bigato
Posts: 2348
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato »

That’s touching and all that, but remember that you don’t really want to do math using your heart. Be sure to analyze it in a more comprehensible way that includes the other important factors other than how it feels.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Yeah, but: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/6123 ... culations/

I’ve always felt that it’s my heart’s responsibility to point me in the right direction (and away from the wrong direction!), and it’s my brain’s responsibility to handle the logistics and planning to make sure I go about that path in a safe / appropriate manner, manage risk and consequence, etc. We’re probably saying the same thing in different ways, @bigato, to maintain balance, but the emotional component of Big Life Decisions is and must be central. I think.

@mooretrees thanks for sharing. Isn’t it incredible how the inspiration for moments like these can seem to come from anywhere? Like, there’s a certain amount of energy or momentum growing in you, but you might or might not even know it yet, and then there’s a flash of inspiration or something else that makes it all seem to happen at once. How long would the epiphany have taken if you hadn’t read those letters? Would it have happened quick like today from something else, or would it have dawned slowly?

Your story also makes a strong argument for taking the time to ‘good off’ and be idle regularly, to give space for these kinds of epiphanies to happen.

bigato
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato »

I don’t think we’re saying the same thing nor do I believe the article you linked helps your point. My position is that a more comprehensive analysis should be done and that should take feelings into the equation, but I think it’s far from guaranteed that your feelings will point you in the right direction; rather I think they indicate something but the conclusions we take from them are often wrong.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

I don’t think that emotions can be disentangled or decoupled from decisions. I thought you were implying they could be, so I linked an article that suggests that even highly analytical activities like chess have an inseparable layer of emotionality to them.

I agree that we often make erroneous conclusions from our emotions, but that’s “just” a matter of emotional intelligence. Emotions can’t be wrong in the same way we can make a math error. But our interpretations of those always-true emotions certainly can. The answer isn’t to disregard our emotions with distrust, but to develop a nuanced, fine tuned ability to understand what it is our emotions are guiding us towards, and integrate that understanding with our “higher” faculties to make sure we don’t do something we’ll regret later.

So I agree: comprehensive analysis with emotions considered. But I caution that attempting to rationally integrate emotions is a great way to neuter them. It is like, I don’t know, trying to figure out what “ballet” is all about using Matlab.

mooretrees
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I think that careful analysis is required to make my heart and mind be on the same page. I have a child and a stay at home dad that I'm supporting. I won't do anything to jeopardize them, I think that's what you're getting at @bigato? I realized yesterday that there is an end in the near future (depending on the comprehensive analysis!) to full time work. While my heart is providing a clarity, it's not the be all in deciding what to do.

After that realization at work, I wrote down a few fears that came up.
Fears (limited answers to fear in parenthesis):
1. Health insurance- DH has regular medicine he needs and semi-regular appt (beef up HSA and research Oregon ACA)
2. Not enough money in old age (keep working, just not full time)
3. Can't provide for our son, not just college but other activities (be more creative as a parent!)
4. We'd be poor (gain more skill with living frugally)
5. Life would be harder (life is hard now, it will always be hard....just different problems, read Stoicism, be brave)

I don't have all the 'answers' to these fears yet, but that's my next bit of homework. Also, there is a point at which my comfort with risk will be the deciding factor in leaving full time work. I've been middle class, on food stamps poor and we're slowly working our way down to a lower cost of living now. I think the living middle class lifestyle has been the most stressful for me. I've always been able to squeeze money from something (selling things, getting a job) so the dirt poor lifestyle, while temporarily stressful, had some quick fixes. The middle class lifestyle has had tons of debt, tiredness and so much loss of free time.

I knew when I went back to school to get the degree for this current career, that I was sacrificing my freedom. I'm ready to get some of that freedom back. Back to the risk tolerance bit: I do think I'm comfortable with a higher level of risk than others I see here on the forum. Not in the 'universe provides' way, but in the 'I'll work my ass off to find solutions' way.

A short story:

I have a friend that grew up in a really stressful (bipolar mother who committed suicide) Appalachian poor situation, like really in Appalachia. Years ago when I was panicking about taking on a lot of student debt before going back to school, I called her to get some soothing. She wasn't soothing. Instead she said she thought my parents had done me a huge disservice in how they raised me. They didn't raise me to be self-sufficient and to understand that I could do hard things. I thought she was a gigantic asshole then, got off the phone and called a different person for the support I wanted. But she was right. I didn't know that I could work hard, I didn't have that sense of myself as someone who could deal with difficult situations and get through just fine. I know these things now. I have a partner who knows how to work hard, can make things, is willing to change how we live and be a full partner through this. I know I can do a dozen different things for money. I am starting to learn how to live more frugally and I see great examples of other people who have figured this out with families to boot.

I don't have a date for quitting, it will depend on how living in the school bus goes and how low we can get our expenses where ever we live. But I have a clear direction. Bring on the comments and suggestions, I appreciate it all!

bigato
Posts: 2348
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato »

I didn’t mean to imply anything regarding your responsibilities. It’s only that the way you first wrote, it seemed like you were taking that huge decision on an impulse after reading sad letters, which to me sounded pretty much like the emotional equivalent of going shopping while you’re hungry; not exactly wise. Now in this last post you seem to be describing a much more pondered approach, which sounds reasonable. I’m sure you can do it.

mooretrees
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@bigato, Ha, that does seem like an easy way to understand that previous post, sorta dramatic when I reread it now. Oh well, I can always get better at communicating, that's for sure.

I'm sure I can do it too, thanks.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1252
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

mooretrees wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:37 am
I've been middle class, on food stamps poor and we're slowly working our way down to a lower cost of living now. I think the living middle class lifestyle has been the most stressful for me.
Agreed!
When I was in banking, I had a really good mentor (for banking anyway). I remember having my best sales quarter ever, I was super stressed out with all the work, etc. I sat down with my mentor for a little advice, and he was helpful, as always. What I remember most though, was saying something like "I can't wait till this stuff closes, because I'm gonna take it easy for a few months afterward". He looked at me like I was crazy, I was making it in the biz and I wanted to slow down. He gave me some advice about how not making enough money was way more stressful and that I should keep plugg'in away. He was wrong. I basically took the next quarter off, didn't try to generate more business, and didn't start again until my boss had "the talk" with me about low sales. I never felt better than that summer I took it easy, even though I barely generated enough income to pay the middle class bills. It was a stepping stone for me quitting completely a year or so later.

AxelHeyst wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:44 am
I agree that we often make erroneous conclusions from our emotions, but that’s “just” a matter of emotional intelligence. Emotions can’t be wrong in the same way we can make a math error. But our interpretations of those always-true emotions certainly can. The answer isn’t to disregard our emotions with distrust, but to develop a nuanced, fine tuned ability to understand what it is our emotions are guiding us towards, and integrate that understanding with our “higher” faculties to make sure we don’t do something we’ll regret later.
This is an interesting outlook. Where did you come across these ideas? Can you point me in the right direction for a "noob" to gain a little insight into this thinking?

AxelHeyst
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

@c_L, I might not be able to but I’ll have a go at it. I’d be interested if anyone who considers themselves highly emotionally attuned thinks I’m way off base here. But, my thoughts come from these interrelated sources:

Observations from my childhood. My father was emotionally obtuse, and would ‘randomly’ lash out. He thought being Rational about everything was the best way, but he was wrong - this led him to be blind to his emotional reality and suffer for it. My survival/coping mechanism involved becoming more attuned to his emotions than he was (not difficult), but also becoming attuned to mine, and people around me, so I could figure out the pattern and avoid the lashings.

Reading Non-fiction books about emotional intelligence. The book, Emotional Intelligence, isn’t a bad place to start.

Reading non fiction books about male/female or masculine/feminine intimate relationships. There’s a lot of trash out there, but some of it is gold, and I learned a lot about how differently people can experience the world, and about my own emotional structures. The Way of the Superior Man By David Deida comes to mind.

Mindfulness books and practice (meditation). Lots of Buddhist stuff but also non specific stuff. The practice of meditation and yoga led me to understand the nature of my own emotions better, as I was better able to impartially observe them as they happened, rather than immediately identify with them. ”I am experiencing anger right now” rather than “I *am* angry right now”.

Literature, in particular anything Maria Popova has ever recommended, including her book Figuring. Her website and newsletter is brainpickings.com

Thousands (and thousands) of hours of hashing shit out with girlfriends.

Climbing. This kind of fits under mindfulness practice, but when you start doing traditional climbing (as opposed to sport or bouldering), you get realllly attuned to the relationship between emotions and decisions. For example: when you’re 40ft above your last piece of pro, and it was maybe questionable, and you’re not 100% sure you’re on-route, and your 8 pitches up, and the sun is setting... you’ve got emotions. Fear, anger, etc. They’re not wrong: they just are. You have to use your higher faculties to deal with them. They’re telling you “Jesus dude, we could literally die right now. Wtf are we doing up here?” Your options are freeze, go up, go down, go sideways for the ledge. There’s no right answer, because you don’t have enough information to know with certainty what the right move is. The next 10’ looks kinda blank and then you can’t tell but there might be a place to sink a #3. But if you’re wrong, you’re looking at a 100’ whipper on a piece of protection that Might or might not hold. There’s a ledge down there that might kill you. But if you decide to bail, that means you’ve got to rap 8 pitches in the dark, which is where a ton of lethal accidents happen. Your level of fear is indicative of how our of your depth you are. If you don’t listen well to it, you’ll get yourself killed.

Point is, climbing trains you to have a really close and functional relationship with some pretty intense emotions, and a lot of my thinking and understanding of emotional reality and decision making comes from it.



That’s as best I can do I think. I feel pretty strongly that modern society is infantile when it comes to emotions. Were either encouraged to be ruled by them at a very gross level, like Idiocracy, or encouraged to distrust and depress them because “Be Rational”. I think that our logical brains are mostly a device that rationalizes the decisions we make at an emotional level (this seems to be backed up by neuroscience) no matter how much we like the idea that we’re all Mr Spock. And, if we understand this and work with it, neither pushing it away nor refusing to Do the Hard Work with our emotions (some people impulsively do whatever they think their emotions are telling them to do, which is irresponsible), we’re going to have far richer experiences in our lives.

I think one reason we’re distrustful of our emotions is because most of us suck at listening to them and accurately discerning what they’re saying, where they’re coming from, where they’re nudging us to go. And we wrongly blame the emotions themselves, rather than our inability to deal with and understand them.

This is why I had to chime in to Bigatos original remark: it seemed to me that mooretrees had had one of these beautiful experiences of being given an intense emotional response to an idea about her world, the good (feeling of rightness and peace) and the challenging (fear, doubt), and was going to have a rich time sorting through what it all meant and what to actually do about it... and I felt bigatos comment was condescendingly dismissive of this whole experience, encouraging her to ditch the emotions. I doubt that’s how he intended it, but I can be overprotective of even other people’s genuine emotional experiences. Because it seems to me our culture has been at war with the ability to even *have* rich complicated emotional experiences, spotting one in the wild feels like spotting a Snow Leopard or some other nearly-extinct species.

mooretrees
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I'm rereading Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton. I highly recommend it and am getting quite a bit out of it the second time around. As we get closer to getting super weird with the school bus, I'm steeling myself to deal with other people's opinions. I'm not immune to friends/families opinions. But, de Botton has some great strategies for dealing with status anxiety. His five main solutions are: philosophy, art, religion, politics and bohemia.

I would say that ERE (the book and Dear Leader Jacob) deal with being different through philosophy (rational thinking) while Escape Everything author Wingham uses bohemia. From the amount of f-bombs (and forum handle) that @Gin+Juice drops I would say he is a combination of art (music) and bohemia.

Given the above thread debate between bigato and AH, I found it amusing to read this passage from Status Anxiety shortly after they wrote their posts: "Left to their own devices, our emotions are just as apt to push us towards indulgence, uncontrolled anger and self-destruction as they are towards health and virtue....philosophers have counselled us to use our reasoning faculties to guide them to appropriate ends, asking ourselves whether what we want is really what we need and whether what we fear is truly what there is to fear."

I'm leaning towards bohemia as my 'solution' and the school bus is pretty odd, even if it is enjoying sorta an 'in' moment.

To date our expenses will be higher than last month for several reasons. Our vacation was more spendy than I assumed it would be. We used going out to eat/beach to get time alone away from my parents and some activities we paid for that we wouldn't normally do at home. Also, some health bills for DH came due and we renewed his crossfit membership. Lastly, while we were gone our poor room mate dealt with the crazy floods in our town and our basement. He sorta freaked out and moved to a friends house because his room was wet. So we'll not have his rental income to offset our housing costs. Not sure if he's going to move back, he doesn't want to move again until he is on spring break. We pulled out the carpet from the basement and will finish the rest of the sheet rock next week? It's sorta nice to not have a room mate, but I do miss that income. Also, as I am wont to do, I lost my dumb phone. I can't keep things sometimes and so I'm going to try using an old iphone with a cheap mint mobile service for a few months and see how that feels. I'm not really interested in a smart phone for apps, but I do find it easier to text with than the dumb phone. I'll likely use it more to actually communicate than I did with the dumb phone, which is good I think.

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