FI Life and an Agreeable Wife
On Monday one week ago, I hiked Longs Peak. It was a last-minute decision. I looked at the weather on Sunday evening and it was going to be a great day, so I decided to forget about my list of stuff to do and go for a walk in the woods (and tundra). FI life and an agreeable wife let you get away with stuff like this.
I woke up at 4am and was on the trail before the Sun was ready to present herself:
Above 9,000 feet, it wasn’t even 40 degrees, but I started working up a sweat. I stopped to take some layers off and have a drink. I was still in the trees, but noticed that the sun was now up.
Soon, I was above the forest.
And I was treated to an amazing view of Longs Peak.
I hadn’t planned to summit, so I stopped at 12,800 feet, 1,400 feet shy of the top.
I’ll be back to complete the hike, maybe in late September.
As great as the hike was, I wasn’t in the moment like I should have been. I kept on thinking about tasks I had to complete. I took my phone out at least five times to take notes. At one point, I even considered cutting the hike short and heading home.
I wish I wasn’t like this. I started thinking about my life and came up with three reasons why I so often fail to appreciate the moment:
Overcompensation: I’m still overcompensating for leaving work. I feel like I have to prove my worth by getting stuff done. Somewhere deep down, I think I’m not worthy of
wasting spending the morning on a hike. (Or reading fiction)
Boredom sucks: I like being busy with work and meaningful activity. This is how I’ve always been. While this trait served me well for investing and becoming financially independent, it is keeping me from enjoying life now.
Focus: This is the third part of my problem. I’ve spread myself too thin. More on this in a moment.
Ask the Readers: Sleep
Last week, I mentioned that I have issues falling asleep. I was surprised that no one mentioned the nuclear option:
And I’m thankful too. While I know some folks who must take this to fall asleep, it’s a path I don’t want to go down.
Here are some of my favorite tips:
Mr. Freaky Frugal was the first to suggest meditation:
Try meditating just before going to bed. It will slow down your brain.
Reader Kent suggested music:
I have a go to fall asleep album for nights where my mind won’t stop thinking (Miles Davis, Kind of Blue). I just focus on following the notes of the solo’s and that helps me stop thinking about anything else just because I’m so intensely listening.
The PoP’s swear by
smelly gym socks valerian:
The best thing that I have found that helps me quiet these thoughts and get some rest are valerian root capsules. It’s an herbal supplement that’s sometimes recommended for anxiety and sleep. My doctor recommended it years ago. Yes, the capsules smell like gym socks that have been used for several days and spent the rest of the week ripening at the bottom of a laundry hamper… but I just swallow them and wash my hands to get rid of the smell on them.
Crazy Sleepy Kicks rubs it in:
These days I’m more worried that I sleep too much. Is 10 hours a night excessive?
Tonya from Budget and the Beach:
Not only can sleep affect your motivation, but it can cause hormones to be released that make you want to eat more…and not carrot sticks.
I can totally relate to this. I feel like hell I’m tired.
When there is something particularly stressful that just keeps pulling at me sometimes I just have to let it take hold with a conscious thought of “Can I work through anything valuable right now?” Sometimes big things need some quiet time away from distraction for you to work through it mentally and the dark right before sleep can be a good time to tackle things and go to bed at peace. Sometimes you have to tell yourself “Thinking about this right now isn’t productive. Sleep is more important.” and consciously set it aside.
This comment hits close to the core of my issue. I just have to tell my brain to shut it down. Along the same lines, Reader Wendy had a great suggestion:
Use a paper notepad or journal to jot down anything on your mental ‘to do’ list or that is worrying you…trust that your morning-self will take care of it
I didn’t realize the importance of changing my alarm clock, but that’s a factor. A habit is built from: trigger => action => reward. It operates below the level of conscious thought. Thus a new alarm (in this case using a new iPhone app as an alarm) triggered me to get up, and start walking on the treadmill for 20,000 steps BEFORE I could wake up enough to realize I was exercising. The reward was seeing the little Fitbit animations (silly, i know) move to green with activity.
There is a lot to chew on here and this will be an ongoing experiment. One thing I’ve tried for the past couple of nights is counting and telling myself I must focus on that. It isn’t easy because my brain wanders, but it seems to work. Maybe if I can do it for a month, I can reset myself?
Spread too Thin
I’ve been thinking of my life since I left my job in April and I’ve been trying to do too much:
- I went to Wisconsin to visit my friend Jim Collins and buy a silly car.
- Mrs. 1500 and I visited the Penny Planters in Florida to watch the Berkshire meeting (Money Nerds Unite!).
- We went on a trip to Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin to visit family and the Physician on FIRE.
- We went to Maine, Vermont, New York and Scotland.
During our four years of home construction, we let things slip. By that, I mean we have a lot of clutter. We could remove ten items from the home every day until the end of the year and still have a lot left to do. It’s slowly getting better, but the work is time-consuming and tedious.
Writing here and my new side gig is time-consuming. To the outside observer, it may not look like a lot of work, but it is.
I need to take a step back and focus. It’s time to prioritize my life and figure out what’s important. I was talking to the Mad Fientist recently and he said this:
Don’t trade hours for dollars.
This is a good starting point since I don’t need any more money.
- Give myself more time (I have many years to declutter)
- Hire out (I could pay someone to work on cars and bikes)
- Let stuff go (do I need to write 3 posts a week or have side gigs?)
How about you? What’s important to you and what’s your filter? How do you decide what to focus on?
*I hope that I don’t come across as a whiny baby. Life is good. I’m so fortunate to have these “problems.”
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.