Ask the Readers: Do you take FI too Far? (I have)

Early in my pseudo-career as a blogger, a friend (thanks Wayne!) gave me the best writing advice: Write for yourself.

So I have. This explains all of the fart jokes and related silliness. My writing is a reflection of my personality. I’ve never done SEO or keyword research to try to get Google to like me better. I just write what I want to write.

In some posts, I go a little deeper. In these cases, I’m trying to sort through my own issues. Self-therapy sessions. Today’s question is one of those times.

One thing that I’ve been thinking about lately is that my obsession with financial independence (FI), saving, investing and frugaling has gone too far. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good direction and a wise way to live. However, I’ve approached the limits. When you approach the limits of anything, you’re asking for trouble.

Where are you going this year?

First though, let’s get to answers from last week. I’m currently in Nevada and Arizona, farting around in the Wild West (“wild” == drunken tourists on the Las Vegas strip).

Today, I went to an old mining town called Oatman in Arizona. Later this week, I’m going to Death Valley and Red Rocks.

Once you make it past the 54,948 gift shops, Oatman has some interesting things to see.

Once you make it past the 54,948 gift shops, Oatman has some interesting things to see.

Last week I asked you about your own travel plans.

Mike Hardy is going all over the place, with a small child(!):

We’re in Singapore now, then we’re going through Sydney, followed by a 5-week road trip from Christchurch through Auckland in New Zealand trying out campervans and a workaway there. After that we’re going through Guam to a 2-week stay in Palau to do a whole lot of nothing, followed by Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai for sight-seeing mostly as an stopover before we land for a month in Vero Beach Florida to hang with family.

Reader Amanda has some killer adventures lined up (she’s also FI as of June 2017; nice work!):

Currently diving and chilling in Zanzibar…back to the US for 2 months this summer to visit family and friends in WA, CA, OR, and UT. October hasn’t been sorted yet, maybe Slovenia or Rwanda (to see the gorillas) but December/January is Bali and a dive liveaboard in Raja Ampat.

Linda from Frugal Turtle is jealous of my travels and I’m jealous of hers. I love road trips and camping!

Wow! I’m jealous of all your travel plans.
Due to a very bad return trip home after our last vacation we are avoiding any air travel for awhile. Instead we have plans to camp and road trip around our beautiful state (MN) this summer. I love camping and checking out new state parks, so I’m really excited for it!

Done by Forty has some pretty great plans:

-We leave for Africa in May (stopover in Istanbul, then Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, and one night in Lisbon).

-And then Asia for Christmas (Japan, China, Thailand, and Cambodia)

We are going to try to squeeze in a trip to visit family in San Diego, too. But, in full Frank the Tank voice, I don’t know if we’ll have time.

Ya’ll (remember, I’m in the Wild West now) have inspiring plans. The FI community is incredible in so many ways and this is just another example of the superb lives you all live. I’m impressed.

 

On to this week’s question

One thing that’s been going through my head lately are lyrics from an obscure Smashing Pumpkins tune (The Last Song):

The shards of broken glass,
Sing the strains of a sad old tune,
We’ve made it at last,
But what we had is lost inside our past.

The last two lines are the important ones and reflect my situation.

I’ve made it. I have a wonderful life. I have enough money to last until I’m old and wrinkled. I’ll probably have enough left after I die to leave a trust to help my descendants out with school forever. I have a nice house and good kids. However, all is not well. Recently, Mrs, 1500 said this to me:

I feel disconnected from you.

I replied that I felt the same way towards her. The last couple years have been a death march of rehabbing a house while putting in lots of hours at a job that can have soul crushing stress, all while raising two girls.

Our lives are busy.

IMG_20160402_125049250_HDRSometimes, weeks go by with the Mrs. and I not having a really good conversation. Part of this is due to our children, who talk non-stop, but they aren’t the core of the issue.

Sometimes, when the Mrs. and I are alone, I’m not even sure what to say. By bedtime, we’re so exhausted, we don’t feel like talking. It seems like we’ve lost something. The natural rhythm of our lives is gone. Disconnected indeed.

We’re not headed for divorce court, but I should have taken my foot off the gas. Or not bought a rehab house. Or at least waited to do the rehab work until after I was done working.

It’s difficult. I’m a type A dude. I can work 16 hours straight for days on end, only stopping for sleep, potty breaks and food.  Finding balance is hard. Once I start something, I just want to finish it.

Life is getting better. We are almost done with the house. Time is freeing up. Soon, maybe we’ll be back to normal.

So, after all of that, I don’t even have a good question! Shit! Where was I going with all of this?

 

No matter where you are,
I can still hear you when you drown.
You’ve traveled very far,
Just to see you I’ll come around.

When I’m down.
All of those yesterdays.
Coming around.

No matter where you are,
I can still hear you when you dream.
You traveled very far,
You traveled far, like a star.

And you are.
All of those yesterdays,
Coming around.

Drown, Smashing Pumpkins

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72 Responses to Ask the Readers: Do you take FI too Far? (I have)

  1. I know how this happen. We have been caught up in it too. Running with the kids, and busy with all the other work life things. We had to set time aside for ourselves.

    Having met you and the Mrs. I’m sure this isn’t something that can’t be work out over a few craft beers.
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…Financial Literacy MonthMy Profile

  2. Mrs SSC says:

    We run into the same problem. Part of it is kids, part of it is long hours of work. We joke in a non-really-joking way that sometimes it feels like we are coworkers just running the business of our family. It’s hard work finding time to connect, and we do the best we can, but sometimes we have to constantly remind ourselves that life is hectic and we need to be realistic. At the base of it all is love, so we just try to recognize and appreciate the 5-minute connections, hold hands while we walk the kids to the park, and try not to sabotage ourselves by thinking that our lives should be filled with conversations that last until dawn and candlelight dinners. It is tough though.

    We used to think we were failing as a couple and then we talked to some friends, and more friends, and realized this is real life and all of our friends have the same thing going on. So, while it isn’t perfect, we don’t feel out of the norm anymore. Balance is hard for all of us.
    Mrs SSC recently posted…Making a profit by downsizing – Round 2My Profile

  3. Richard says:

    At the risk of being a “party pooper” my experience is that as soon as I’ve finished that big project I soon get itchy feet and end up starting another one. I just can’t help it – and wonder if you’ll start itching for a new challenge when life becomes “normal” again.

    These days I almost think “normal” is bad. These days “abnormal” has almost become “normal”.

    However I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. The studies of “flow” I have read all talk about being fully immersed in a big project you can really get your teeth into. For me, these big projects where I’m “busy” are really some of the best times of all.
    Richard recently posted…Living Below Your Means: The Complete Beginners GuideMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      “At the risk of being a “party pooper” my experience is that as soon as I’ve finished that big project I soon get itchy feet and end up starting another one.”

      Yep, I’m the same way. Often, I’m on to the next one even before the current one is finished. I think that one of the keys to a content life is to be busy with meaningful work, but I also think that I need to dial it back from 11.

      “The studies of “flow” I have read all talk about being fully immersed in a big project you can really get your teeth into.”

      I’d love to hear what you’ve read. Please do share.

  4. Jacq says:

    My friend and her husband went through this a few years ago. Between the wonderful kids, and his work (commuting to the city daily or Monday -Thursday travel or international trips), they were both tired at the end of the day. A weekends were family parties, scout or sport events for the kids. They have both put the effort in to make changes to make the time to connect. The benefit of work from home is his commute 1-2 days a week is coming upstairs & they both spend more time with the kids and each other. With video chat, he put his foot down at work about some of the travel.
    The key is to recognize what is happening early, and it sounds like you have. 🙂

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks Jacq! Yeah, I think we have recognized it early. We don’t fight and aren’t unhappy, but I can our current path leading there if we don’t change it up.

  5. Mysticaltyger says:

    I don’t have the “Type A” personality problem. But you have to be really careful assuming things will go back to “normal” if you’re this personality type….because there’s a pretty high chance you’ll just bit off more than you can chew in some other area of life and you’ll be back to working 16 hour days. You have to deal with the underlying emotional issue that’s driving the “Type A” personality. Having a great work ethic is generally good….until you take it too far. It seems like you went the opposite extreme of your parents. They eat unhealthy food and watch TV all day….and you’re a workaholic. Neither is good.

    • 1500 says:

      “You have to deal with the underlying emotional issue that’s driving the “Type A” personality.”

      Good thought. I have to do more thinking on this one (hike tomorrow), but I think at least part of it is money insecurity. I work hard to earn money so I don’t have to worry about it. Since I now have a good nest egg, I can dial it back a bit.

  6. The investment with the best ROI is definitely your marriage.

  7. Mysticaltyger says:

    I wonder how well this description of a workaholic fits Mr. 1500 Days, especially the part:

    Many workaholics are forced too quickly into adult responsibilities because of situational circumstances such as a parent’s illness, a death in the family, or separation of the parents. Others come from families where there is a doing-performance-oriented value system where conditional love is granted if the child exceeds expectations, and makes the family proud. They are often the “good kid” who does well at school, excels at sports, and doesn’t cause much trouble.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-workaholics/201112/understanding-the-dynamics-workaholism

    • 1500 says:

      Interesting. I don’t think this directly related to me, but I do have daddy issues. My dad drank a lot and sometimes ignored us kids, so I was always trying to impress him to get his attention.

      Now that I reread this, the alcoholism did make me grow up fast. I remember being only 7 or 8 and trying to comfort my mom when dad was out at the bar getting loaded instead of coming home for dinner.

      After typing all of that, maybe I realize that I could use some psychotherapy!

  8. What a personal and honest 1500s. This happens a lot, and although we have only been married a few years…..I can see how it can happen. I’ve been working hard to develop a “common struggle” that my wife and I can both get behind. We also decided when we got married, that if we were blessed with kiddos…..we couldn’t both work full time. So we haven’t. Life, kiddos, work, fun projects, travel, it can be exhausting! I can only imagine completely rehabbing a house on top of it.

    For most of us, I know both you and me, a big part of why we are chasing FI is to spend more time and flexibility with our families. It would be a shame to get there and loose the family…..or your health. Balance. I’m not very good at it, but balance is needed!
    -Bryan
    Income Surfer recently posted…Struggles on the RoadMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Yeah, balance indeed!

      “we couldn’t both work full time.”

      This is part (maybe most) of our problem. The Mrs. went full-time and my plan to dial it back to part-time hasn’t been successful…

  9. Name changed to protect the innocent says:

    Your comment about getting back to normal really hits a chord for me – one that’s in some ominous minor key. Think something on an organ in an old vampire movie.

    After 12 years of marriage and 16 years together, my ex-spouse asked for a divorce after we made it through a really tough time. And, I want you to know, we were the couple everyone – myself included – thought was together forever: we never fought, we were good to each other and respectful, we supported each other’s dreams. We expected things to get back to normal when we were finally able to resolve the problem.

    The situation was a different of course: ex-spouse had a terrible experience, the details of which I won’t go into. I’ll just say that it was horrible: it took years to resolve and forced both of us to change just to survive.

    Now, obviously, the 1500 family’s stressors are different, but what I wish someone had told me and my ex is this: don’t assume that things go back to what you think of as normal based on the past. That normal was a shared dream, and dreams evolve over time.

    Embrace a sense that there will be a new normal – and then, things will change again, and you’ll have another new normal after that. During forty or fifty years together, people change – and they should! Who would want to be the same person they were at 12 or 20 or even 36 for the rest of their lives?

    A lifelong marriage comes unraveled when one or both partners start seeing each other as a part of a problem instead of a partner in a shared adventure.

    Oh, and the best advice I ever got from a therapist was this: love is spelled T-I-M-E. Get a babysitter on some regular schedule and go on dates with each other.

    • The Roamer says:

      Ditto!
      I once heard some one say quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Everyone like to say it’s about quality not quantity, but everyday, every date every conversation can’t be a winner(high quality) so you do have to work in a good amount of quantity in there too. So that you give yourself the chance to have those quality moments.

      Sounds like you want to spend more alone time together and I think that is a good goal!
      The Roamer recently posted…Minimalism without wasteMy Profile

      • 1500 says:

        Yeah, we do need more alone time. This is difficult because family is so spread out (kids see extended family only a couple times per year).

    • 1500 says:

      Wow, thanks for sharing. Your story is scary because I’ve always thought that we’ve been the strong, successful couple too. After reading your comment, I’m now thinking that is a dangerous assumption and that I need to tread more carefully.

      “Embrace a sense that there will be a new normal – and then, things will change again, and you’ll have another new normal after that. During forty or fifty years together, people change – and they should! Who would want to be the same person they were at 12 or 20 or even 36 for the rest of their lives?”

      Yeah, I like this a lot. I wonder how many perfectly good marriages end because of one or both people change? You always hear about marriages ending because of cheating or fighting over money, but ending a marriage because one or both people have become someone else actually sounds healthy.

      I know I’ve changed, but it hasn’t really changed the marriage dynamics. If anything, I think I’m a stronger person and that has made for a stronger marriage, but I need to think on this one a bit more. I have a solo hike scheduled where I’ll do just that.

  10. NMD says:

    I do not think this is so unusual in any marriage. Life gets in the way. We get distracted. We change as we age, and perhaps find we do not have that much in common anymore. Finding the way back is tough. This is a sad statement for many relationships.

    This does not mean all is lost. You have opened your eyes. Mrs. 1500 has opened her eyes. There is work to do here, just not FI, but PI (personal interdependence). Enjoy the journey back!

    • 1500 says:

      “We change as we age, and perhaps find we do not have that much in common anymore. Finding the way back is tough.”

      And for some, perhaps the change is too much to overcome and the healthiest option is to go separate ways.

      I don’t think that this is the case with us, but still something to be cognizant of.

      “There is work to do here, just not FI, but PI (personal interdependence).”

      Love it!

  11. Eric Bowlin says:

    I like this post…It’s very personal. Sometimes on the march to FI a lot of things can be pushed to the side in pursuit of our mad dreams…hoping when we get there that everything will be good. Unfortunately, if you damage things en route, you may have nothing but pieces left when you get there.

    For some, perhaps it’s important to take a slower approach to preserve other areas of our lives.

    For me, I found that I have to mandate fun time and vacation time. Even though I could spend life on my couch and never work again, it’s not the life I want. I love being productive, but to an extreme… To slow down I have to tell myself “today I’m spending with my kid” or “I will go on vacation next month” in order to do those things with the fam.

    • 1500 says:

      Yeah, the time mandate is something we’ve been doing lately too, but it rarely revolves around just us: “Saturday, we will spend the whole day with the kids instead of working on the house.”

      I need to take the mandates up a notch.

  12. Ah, the good old marriage funk. You always hear that marriage takes work but it’s hard to remember to continue routine maintenance on the relationship with the person you sleep next to.

    These valleys are never fun. It’s good to know that others have similar issues even if I wish that we could all avoid them.
    Chris @ Flipping A Dollar recently posted…March 2016 Profits – Minimalist ListerMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Perhaps it’s all just part of the cycle of life? Everything can’t be awesome all the time. The “lows” are needed to make the “highs.” You just have to be careful so that the lows don’t become unescapable…

  13. Mr. 1500 – When you are wired as a serial achiever you have a burning need from deep within to make sure:

    You’re Producing.

    You’re Creating.

    You’re Planning.

    You’re Teaching.

    You’re Taking Massive Action.

    Rinse & Repeat!

    I am wired in much the same way. That is why it is so important for people like us to remember why we do what we do.

    It is so easy to get consumed with building our financial lives that we forget to actually live and be present.

    I have found that it helps to take mini vacations with my wife and completely disconnect. Typically this means choosing somewhere we know won’t have internet.

    It is critical to be self-aware and to throttle back when you feel the connection becoming intermittent. As we all know momentum is awesome, but it sucks going from a standing still position. Think of the fly wheel, it take a lot of effort to get that thing going, but once you have it going it takes much less effort to keep it in motion.

    All I am saying is don’t let your relationship with your wife lose momentum.

    Cheers!
    Gen Y Finance Guy recently posted…March 2016 – Detailed Financial Report #15 – Net Worth $368,985 [+16.1% for 2016 YTD]My Profile

    • The Roamer says:

      I totally get where you are going. What I don’t understand is why that type A motivation isn’t just redirected at this issue.

      Taking a step back to relax and take it all in makes sense. But if you already are wound up kind of go go person why not just redirect? Instead of reading about finance and stocks and home remodels you can read about relationships, marriage, the art of conversation.

      Instead of a 30 no spend challenge. Have a 30 day spouse “fill in the blank” challenge.

      🙂
      The Roamer recently posted…Minimalism without wasteMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks Gen Y, all of this makes a lot of sense. We need to go find a cabin somewhere and if it has Internet, unplug the router as soon as we get there.

      Maybe this is why I enjoy camping? I get to reconnect and not worry about all the other shit that is going down.

  14. We had a come to heart in February about a similar issue. We are making an effort to spend more quality time together. We are doing much better.
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted…Corporate FogMy Profile

  15. Katy says:

    Like everyone else has said, I don’t this is uncommon. And yay for recognizing it now and not five years from now!

    One thought: Maybe try something like John Gottman’s Art and Science of Love home workshop (https://www.gottman.com/shop/art-science-of-love-home-workshop/) NOT because anything is broken, but because it gives you a structured way to reconnect and rediscover your shared relationship wants and goals. It gives you something to do together that’s focused on your relationship.

    Similarly, we love going to relationship counseling for a few times every year or every other year. Especially when nothing is “wrong”. We always find something to talk about/through and it’s “sacred” time that we have together to focus on our relationship (with 3rd party insight). After those sessions, I feel so much closer to my partner. Also, this counseling is often covered through work health insurance! Worth checking…

    P.S. You can find copies of Gottman’s home course used for cheaper 😀

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks Katy! I hadn’t considered either of those! So maybe I need a relationship P90x…

  16. Kyle says:

    Find more and more we have in common, I’ve been on a Smashing Pumpkins binge for the last 2 weeks. I was probably listening to them when you wrote this. Next time I’m working in Highland Park, IL I was thinking about checking out his tea shop. Are you a fan of Deftones, Tool and A Perfect Circle as well?

    I’m definitely a type B relaxed laid back type of person. I think about the past a lot and think about how I’ll look back at this time in my life in the future. The way I constantly feel like I’m loosing something important nonstop with the march of time, the things I could’ve done. A lot of Corgan’s songs make sense to me.
    The marching of time and the short time we have on this planet makes me realize how stupid many couple’s fights are, how pointless stressing out over things can be and how important it is to “stop and smell the roses”. I’d do something simple like take your wife to a secluded park, hold her and talk about random things like how you met, your past, your two girls, future plans. Might help connect and put things back into perspective and you get to enjoy some therapeutic time outside. I find watching the stars at night extremely therapeutic, last night was a beautifully clear night.

    Sounds like you and your wife need to unplug for a bit, I really enjoy reading your blog but I also know how much time it takes to keep up with. I’d gladly volunteer to help you finish your house faster if I lived near by.
    Kyle recently posted…Deep in Thought: How We Relate to PeopleMy Profile

    • Kyle says:

      PS. I have my home brewed beer in the keg carbonating, I’ll bottle a six pack or two for you and the Mrs.
      *Also, don’t underestimate the power of touch, simple holding hands, hugs, cuddling, quick neck massages, etc. Physical touch changes the chemicals in your brain, makes you feel loved, cared for, connected, etc.
      Kyle recently posted…Deep in Thought: How We Relate to PeopleMy Profile

      • 1500 says:

        Oh man, you rule!

        And yeah, neither of us are touchy-feely type of people, so this is something we need to work on.

    • 1500 says:

      Ha, I do like all of those bands! Man, Judith and 3 Libras from A Perfect Circle’s debut are heavy tracks. I even used some of the lyrics from Judith in this post: http://www.1500days.com/10-questions-by-me/

      Smashing Pumpkins were always one of my favorites though. There were so many good songs on those CDs that you never heard on the radio (Galapogos, Muzzle, Silverfuck, Pug…). Probably the best convert I ever saw was a warm-up show SP did at my school for the Melon Collie debut.

      “I find watching the stars at night extremely therapeutic, last night was a beautifully clear night.”

      Yep, laying on your back in the middle of the lawn, staring upward, watching for satellites, the space station, shooting stars, looking at the cloudy milky way, is pretty great.

      Yeah, unplugging indeed…

      • Kyle says:

        Smashing Pumpkins is definitely a band I need their albums, many of my favorite songs aren’t their popular ones. Same with A Perfect Circle. Last year I felt I hit “writers block” with the music I write and decided playing guitar riffs of music I like might be a good muse. I picked 3 Libras as the first song I’d learn to play in a long time. Beautiful simplicity, but no one seems to know the song. I always felt Taproot was a highly under-rated band and they have great albums, you’d probably like them and Corgan actually helped on one of their albums.
        Kyle recently posted…Deep in Thought: How We Relate to PeopleMy Profile

  17. I love it that you quote from Voltaire’s Candide at times and now the Smashing Pumpkins. They were one of my favorite bands back when I was in high school. In any case, I can empathize although my wife and I only have one kid though another on the way. Plus, the one we have is a toddler so he requires so much attention. After work with a long commute, house chores, etc and weekends spending time with family (grandparents constantly want to see their grandchild!)…there is not much time left. I thought financial independence was supposed to solve this problem…no?
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Hidden Costs of Living in a High Cost of Living AreaMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Ha, we must be wired similarly! SP had a load of great tunes.

      Yeah, time. Before I was married, but when I had my first job, I remember coming home from work at 4 or 5 and having the next 5 hours to do whatever the hell I wanted with. Now, it’s all about trying to squeeze out 15 minutes here and there. Hopefully, FI changes all of this.

  18. Jason says:

    I don’t really have anything profound to say except for I think all of us can relate at some point. You are running a mile a minute to accomplish something, you look up, and realize that there is always something more to accomplish. There is always something more you can do. The key, as you said, is balance. For me, balance is really difficult. I put all my efforts into work and it harmed my relationships. Now I am focusing more on FI and my relationships and I feel guilty for not doing as much work. I don’t know when/if I will reach balance. I am sure you will get there. And then you can be a polestar for the rest of us.
    Jason recently posted…Traveling When You Have DebtMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Yeah, balance is hard! I hate myself when I’m playing with the kids, but then my mind starts drifting to the next project. Life is a work in progress. As long as we’re cognizant of it and trying to improve, maybe it’s OK?

  19. Judy says:

    Mr 1500, you have already slayed the dragon by recognizing that you both are feeling unconnected. Having been married over 50 years, there are so many highs and lows to come yet in your life, do not fret over the occasional strain. Look forward to time together on your vacations, and enjoy your children while they are young. Small children, small worries – bigger children – well, you get it !

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks Judy! I was terrified just the other night when I was thinking that my oldest child is already 9. That alone made me think that I need to step on the brakes RIGHT. Now.

  20. Christina says:

    I want to mirror a lot of the comments up here that scheduling in some time for just you and Mrs.1500 would be a safe bet. Block it out so that you don’t miss it! It could be watching a netflix movie together or trying out a new recipe. It doesn’t have to be just sitting and talking together (but it also could be!).

    I get into the rut sometimes too. I’m so focused on watching my accounts go up that when I look up sometimes I notice that I’ve not been living in the moment. I get tunnel vision looking at the future for when I achieve FI, when I have a house, when I have more free time… I’m not there yet and I should be enjoying my time living (relatively) responsibility free with AJ right now! I just feel so much pressure to set myself up the best I can for the future that it’s hard. Adulting is hard.
    Christina recently posted…Lemon BlossomsMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      “I just feel so much pressure to set myself up the best I can for the future that it’s hard.”

      That is the balance that is the core issue with us FI folks. I find myself spending too much time thinking about the future: “In summer of 2017, we are doing this, this and this.” I need to settle down and enjoy the present.

  21. Tawcan says:

    Great reminder to write for yourself, this is exactly what I’m doing on my little blog. Hopefully it’ll become as popular as yours one day.

    Interesting stuff that you and Mrs. 1500 feel disconnected. I can definitely see that though, as Mrs. T and I are feeling like that from time to time. With work, kids, and daily things, it’s easy to feel disconnected. That’s why we always try to sit down together for dinner and have quality discussions. No phone, no gadgets at dinner time. We’ve also decided to tell each other one thing that we are really appreciative of the other person each day. This will help reminding us what we’re doing to help each other.

    Overall, I think finding quality time to spend together is very important. It can be as short as 5 minutes of sit down and having a heart to heart conversation.

    Here’s an exercise that Mrs. T and I did a few times – sit down together and just look into each other’s eyes for 2 minutes without saying anything. It’s amazing what you’ll feel after.
    Tawcan recently posted…The Financial Freedom FormulaMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks for the thoughts Tawcan! You have your marriage dialed in a little better than ours and I appreciate the thoughts and suggestions.

  22. Mama Breeze says:

    Oh my, Mr. 1500 I can totally relate. I am Type A as well always working on the “next thing”. With little ones and projects Mr. Breeze and I can go weeks with out a real conversation (other than who is handling bedtime and taking out the trash). This is a wake up call – heed the warning and spend some time reconnecting! Seriously find a babysitter and spend 4 hours in bed talking and doing “other things”! It is so healthy for your relationship. You will find new things that you are both passionate about and build from there! As much as we Love our kids they will move on someday and we have to make sure our life long partners are still connected with us! Thanks for sharing! Tonight Baby Breeze is spendjng the night with the grandparents and other than enjoying a nice steak dinner at home – I am going to take my own advice and put down the devices and spend time with Mr. Breeze!

    • 1500 says:

      “As much as we Love our kids they will move on someday and we have to make sure our life long partners are still connected with us!”

      That is a powerful thought! If your life and time is built strictly around the children, your life will be a hollow shell once they move on. Yikes.

      Thanks for the comment! I need to do some thinking on this…

  23. Markola says:

    Just my .02 to try to connect the post back to your FI comments: I find it really darn confusing to work toward FI aggressively because achieving freedom from bosses, human organizations and all their garbage is obviously a superior state, while also knowing full well that money doesn’t make one happy. Talk about cognitive dissonance. How to square that circle?? The problem is compounded because the process of achieving FI puts one in an increasingly rarified peer group. Other bloggers who have expressed surprisingly paradoxical outcomes of FI, including very real agony, are JD Roth, Living A FI, and Todd Tressider. Roth: Divorce, and a feeling of creeping isolation from his readers as he literally “grew rich slowly”, causing his circumstances to change from his readers’; Living A FI: He has a terrific piece about simultaneously growing rich while increasing his visits to his shrink; Todd Tressider: Cashed out of his hedge fund business, traveled to Europe and became absolutely miserable living the “Pro Leisure Circuit.” The 4 Hour Work Week author (blanking) also talks about achieving success online with Brain Quicken, causing him to have a nervous breakdown.

    I don’t know you and whether any of this applies, but I can tell in my own life as I achieve increasing levels of FI that there is a price to pay in daily loneliness, isolation from other friends still grinding away with bills and debts I don’t have, lack of direction in life, and who knows what other problems? Also, one gets very little pity from anyone else, because “Problems? Him? That guy is rich and doesn’t even have to work. I’m the one with problems!” For myself, I plan to take these concerns seriously and transition to meaningful part time work as a buffer between all out work and full blown FIRE, which is a truly weird state to be in as a younger American, and which has rarely- experienced and, therefore, explored challenges. Good luck to you and your spouse!

    • 1500 says:

      Wow, I don’t know where to go here, so I’ll just focus on one part while I digest the rest:

      ”For myself, I plan to take these concerns seriously and transition to meaningful part time work as a buffer between all out work and full blown FIRE…”

      I’ve read some of those other stories too. Most of the reason I’m still working now is because I want to transition to meaningful activity and I haven’t figured it all out yet. The longer I go, the more I think that writing will be what I do, however, I want to be sure. A life of leisure like constant travel sounds horrific to me. Now, if it’s constant travel, but working on a book or blog or something else meaningful for 30 hours/week, that is doable. Of course, that “something” has to be something you’re passionate about and can be done on the road.

      Thanks for your comment. I have to read it a couple more times and then go on a hike to take it all in.

  24. amber tree says:

    Hearing that phrase is hard: “I feel disconnected rom you”.
    Happened to me also. I was a little shocked. In the end, she was right. Iw as too focused on work, finance, blogs, household work…

    We decided to make some changes like screen free Wednesdays, a gratitude log… It helps a lot. We recently also went on a nice family holiday. A new kids free wekend is planned and we have date nights now!

    Reading this post and the comments, It is good to realise I am not alone. There are some good tips and tricks to find here.
    amber tree recently posted…Passive Income – March 2016My Profile

    • 1500 says:

      “Reading this post and the comments, It is good to realise I am not alone. There are some good tips and tricks to find here.”

      I wish we all lived next to each other. Most of our lives are already pretty great, but I think they’d be even more awesome if we were all neighbors.

  25. TheMoneyMine says:

    I could hear my wife say the same thing.
    Maybe like you, I am very results oriented and when I have something in mind, it just needs to be done. Like many of us in this community, it seems.
    We’re doing this because we want more than what the “conventional” life has to offer, because not only is it fun and challenging, but also because we want a happy family with more options, more freedom.
    So keep doing what you’re doing but keep in mind why you’re doing it.

    Now, it kinds of worries me : how bad will this get when I have (multiple) kids? 😀
    TheMoneyMine recently posted…Challenge Yourself. Do Something HardMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      “So keep doing what you’re doing but keep in mind why you’re doing it.”

      Yes!

      “Now, it kinds of worries me : how bad will this get when I have (multiple) kids?”

      I love both daughters dearly, but the youngest one thinks that it’s the natural state of a human to be talking. I think that more often than not, words are coming out of her mouth. Even when she is playing by herself…

  26. Team CF says:

    “I’ve never done SEO or keyword research to try to get Google to like me better. I just write what I want to write.”

    And this is exactly why many people (like us) keep coming back, it just great fun!
    Thanks for the great blog!
    Team CF recently posted…March 2016 Cheesy IndexMy Profile

  27. Mike Hardy says:

    I was not able to relax until I had divested from company, house, rental house etc.

    I have to finish jobs. I like to do things as correctly as possible. I like mastering skills (not just becoming sufficiently proficient). I will frequently overextend myself if I’m not trying hard not to.

    These are powerful traits for success and I’ve certainly enjoyed the fruit and want to instill them in my child, but right at THIS moment my children and family are the unfinished project and I realized there was no way I’d magically find balance with all the stuff I had (businesses, houses, etc) that were taking over my life with their need for maintenance and improvement

    Luckily there’s an easy solution because stuff doesn’t have feelings. Get rid of the stuff.

    What I have learned so far in the last 2 years of FI is that frugality eventually equals FI by virtue of math but frugality plus real minimalism (or maybe essentialism, I travel with an f’ing racing bicycle after all) is freedom. And FI without freedom is just beating off.

    I’ll admit following that, I have way more time and undivided attention but parenting is still just harder than I imagined and the wife and I are frequently too busted on a daily basis to have meaningful conversations for days too. But now I am not sad about it as I can easily say I really am providing undivided attention – i.e., there’s no guilt or what-ifs lurking around which is liberating because I can focus entirely forward.

    I feel like I wrote this comment or similar on 1500days a year ago though when you publicly contemplated burnout! #include

    • 1500 says:

      “I was not able to relax until I had divested from company, house, rental house etc.”

      I hope that once I’m free of a conventional job, I can settle down a bit too. We’ll keep our home, but that won’t consume much time once I finish it.

  28. Having not yet gone through the child raising conundrum, our lives are already hectic and we are starting to carve our those minutes here and there. So once those kids are added, and our shifts change at work, we are able to weather it. It won’t be perfect and we can see the half of it.
    Amanda S @ Passionately Simple Life recently posted…When Temptation Strikes…My Profile

    • 1500 says:

      And maybe most importantly, you’re aware of it.

      And kids are mostly a joy, but when they fight… Or are cranky because they didn’t sleep well…

  29. Someone once gave me some good advice, “Appreciate the things you have, not the things you are missing. The things you have will be gone soon enough.”
    Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes recently posted…Visiting Hawaii On The Cheap: Part 2My Profile

  30. Sabbaticalia says:

    Not sure it’s a “taking FI too far” as much as “not noticing when you’re straying off-course”. An autopilot can’t tell you if the course it’s holding is no longer the right course; you have to keep monitoring and making adjustments when relevant.

    I’m with you on “start it, finish it”. I found I had to set up and honor other boundaries too, such as “to bed by a certain time”. Otherwise, I’d be like my wife and have no control over my time.

    Try a weekly date night, and maybe a regular family meeting. These should help you spend more time together, and surface concerns more quickly.
    Sabbaticalia recently posted…Life Is What HappensMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Yeah, a weekly date night is a wonderful idea. We have no family near us, so that can be difficult. We need to start swapping babysitting more with other families with kids…

      • Date Night is an untouchable line item in our budget and, as you’ll see when I finally publish our next post for our annual spending, kind of a big expense. But it’s probably the most important. Having money to spend for a real date has allowed us to spend cash to get time (and the most important: time together). With most other things, we spend the time to save money…but we need to flip that script when it comes to our relationship. Plus, as a bonus, we get fancy dinners. 🙂
        Done by Forty recently posted…I Miss My Tax RefundMy Profile

  31. Wade says:

    Ever notice how you have your “to do” list. You cross of the last item. Whew.

    Suddenly you have 7 more things on the “to do” list.

    My favorite saying right now is “Doing nothing is doing something.”

    It takes hard, hard work to “do nothing”. Every single thing you are involved with (work, school, church, clubs, organizations, sports) wants all your time. Demands all your time.

    Of course, my idea of “doing nothing” is much different than my wife’s.

    Is reading a blog “doing nothing” or “doing something”?

    My sister flips houses. They are always, always either working or working on their flip. During the flip they are stressed and frazzled. They only want to be done. They finish, sell the flip. Ah, right where we wanted to be. Then they quickly forget and buy another flip within a week. Lather, rinse, repeat. Frazzled again.

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