Friday, 4 October 2019

Human being and a 2019 Q3 review

Bottle TreeAt the end of June I concluded that a potentially positive step forward on my FIRE journey was to focus on being a ‘human being’ rather than a ‘human doing’ for a while.  No action plans, no agendas, no need to be busy...  During this time I woke when my body was ready, enjoyed a non-time limited breakfast, took advantage of the British summer by spending as much time outdoors exercising as possible, read and even just spent time reflecting.  No contribution was made to the world but at the same time nobody was harmed in the making of this drama.  I just was.  At the start I admit it was incredibly difficult but amazingly as time went on my body and mind really started to accept what was happening and even change for the better.  Importantly I’ve also now started to hear and see things about the world I’ve never really noticed before.  In a good way.

As summer then started to fade bags were packed and time was spent in a far flung land.  It sounds so easy and not so different from what many do in the summer, which is take a summer holiday, but this time it was different as it was for a month which not that long ago it would have been impossible for me to do given my job.  Time was spent with some long lost potentially meaningful friends and family which was surreal, educational and importantly thoroughly enjoyable.  At one end of the spectrum an old friend had cried enough and is in the process of rapidly downshifting his life.  He’s already sold his mortgaged detached home and bought a townhouse, got rid of the car loan and instead has gone for something 10 years old, retrained into a career that pays about a quarter of what he was earning and amongst all this I’ve never seen anyone more happy and positive.

At the other end of the spectrum time was spent with a family member who is frantically trying to climb the greasy career pole and doing everything a good consumerist should be doing.  He has the massive mortgage, 2 smart executive lease cars, every branded item you can imagine, amazingly every TV/music streaming option I know about plus one I didn’t and a willingness to drive 10 minutes out of the way for a coffee at his favourite place rather than making a fantastic one at home with his posh coffee machine.  Oh and to go with that his job (work?) has just been put at risk.  I’ve never seen anyone looking so haggard and tired.

The parallels between the two were so surreal as to be quite disturbing and they certainly helped me further cement what’s important going forwards.  It also made me truly thankful for what I have done as that family member could so easily have been me if I hadn’t pursued FIRE.

Within an hour or so of that meaningful friend we have also identified a possible FIRE location where we could build ourselves a dream home so some time was spent understanding land prices and getting some building quotes.  The good news is that we have plenty of wealth to move this idea forward.

Not sure my finger would be as green as this potential neighbour
Click to enlarge, Not sure my finger would be as green as this potential neighbour