Getting to retirement is this big goal that we want to get to. It’s amazing when you reach your FI number and you look at life or a job you hate and think it’s finally time to retire. But retirement isn’t the same for everyone and it isn’t easy for some. I think that’s why a lot of people in the FIRE community decide that they’re actually just going to continue to work even if they have reached FI because making it to the other side and putting in your 2 week notice and leaving the known to venture into the unknown can be really scary. It isn’t sunshine and rainbows unless you’ve already made the life that you want to live, but if you’re burned out from work and just know that all you want to and need to do for yourself is get out then it really is about making it through that rough patch post RE and figuring out what the reset early really looks like because a 31 year old can’t venture into retirement and think it’s going to be about sitting on a beach doing nothing else. Even this glorious idea that travel addicts like myself have about traveling the world is still a lot of decisions. You now have nearly 2,000 more hours of your year to fill. 2,000 hours of not working, not commuting to an office or dealing with the BS of your coworkers. What does one do with 2,000 more hours a year? If you love something enough would you still want to deal with it for 2,000 hours? Doesn’t it now turn into a job if you do pick it up at 2,000 hours?
What does this reset look like? For me, I’m terrified of it. Getting through it makes me feel like I’ve lost my purpose in life. I’ve never been unemployed. I’ve probably always been an overachiever even though I was never a straight A student, I always still was driven. I never would take off a day from work just to sit at home. Since travel was my happy place, when I’d finally get a vacation, I’d leave after work on vacations and come home late at night before I needed to go to work. I never spent time on vacation at home. So now I have 7 days a week that if I don’t motivate myself to do something, I’m at home. I am with myself and sadly I’m probably watching television. 40 extra hours a week and no real purpose. Right now my goals are getting rid of all my stuff so I can fit it in my SUV to drive it cross-country. Little by little, I’m accomplishing this, but the downtime is still a lot. I did almost a month of travel. Now I’ve been back for a week, I’ve gotten rid of some major items, but what did I did on this fine Monday? I slept in, ate , watched tv, took a bubble bath, watched more tv, made a smoothie, watched even more tv, read a book, talked to a couple friends for over an hour, watched more tv. It did snow in Reno which is kind of insane to think October 11th it snowed, just some flurries, but it still feels early. The cold is still coming. I’m less motivated to want to go outside when it’s snowing. Almost everyone else I know is working during the day, I don’t have a need to go shopping since I’m already getting rid of almost everything I own. Now what? What does my future hold? Why do I feel like my worth is tied to what I do or how productive I am?
I keep telling people that I’m jobless and homeless. One of my friends pointed out, I’m not homeless and when you go nomadic you’re actually more houseless than homeless. While this seems like a technicality, it is probably a better way to call it since I am not a traditional homeless person. It’s by choice, I can afford to stay somewhere, even somewhere nice. I’m FI, or at least I was until the stock market started dropping over the last couple weeks. I’m FI, but I don’t know what comes next with my life. I don’t know what my life holds. I still feel like I’m broke because I went from having disposable income to now living off a budget that is probably a smaller budget than I’ve ever lived off. Even with all that said, I still know the best thing for myself was to quit. It took incredible strength. Not sticking with a job you hate or a situation that doesn’t suit you, it’s terrifying to leave the unknown and to go against those societal norms. Well world, I am a strong, powerful woman so hear me RAWR! I don’t need my worth to be measured by my success or my title at work.
I need to look again at my wheel of life and see where I can build on relationships and a sense of purpose as opposed to a career. The wheel of life is a tool that was introduced to myself during life coaching, it helped to realize that there is a lot more to life than just 1 simple thing and they’re all connected. Going to the gym doesn’t have to just be about your health, if you find friends then it also can have a social impact. It also costs money so it’s financial and it’s taking you away from other aspects of your life so it can really bleed into other areas of your wheel. What I realized interestingly enough was that of all the items on your wheel the one that you can actually just fill up and not have to really think about again is finances although that also isn’t totally true because unless you’re a multimillionaire or billionaire, it will always play a part in your life and you need to be making smart decisions around these items. So how do I build a lifestyle that keeps all the levels of my wheel of life high. I want a fulfilling life. I want a sense of purpose. I want to be wanted and to have friends surrounding me. It just feels like I’ve pushed a lot of things away as I moved for work all the time and pursued my dreams surrounding this so where does this leave myself and my identity.
I’m an engineer. I’m a badass, smart, powerful woman with a ton of spunk and the ability to accomplish anything I set my mind to. I’m financially independent. I’m unapologetically me. I don’t wear makeup daily or focus on how I look most of the time. I still know I’m beautiful and men should be attracted to me for my personality and mind, but rocking some cute clothes also never hurt anyone. I’m able to talk to nearly anyone. I am a smaller city girl, but also outdoorsy. I love cuddles and glasses of wine. I’m also all the emotional feels, sad, lonely, happy, able to laugh at myself, I feel how others feel, I cry when watching movies because I get sucked into their emotions. I feel it when I am watching a car accident happen or about to happen (even if it isn’t involving me). How do I get to be all these things and still feel like I’m not enough?