Do you read Warren Buffett’s annual letter? I love Warren’s letters because they are filled with optimism. However. page 25 of this year’s letter is scary. More on that in a moment.
Ugly Business from two Weeks Ago
First, we have to get to the business from two weeks ago. And the business was not good. It was actually quite shitty (desperate times call for desperate words). I wrote about how my relentless pursuit of FI was coming in between Mrs. 1500 and I. We’ve been extremely busy with our jobs and our home remodeling project. We’ve let a whole lot go by the wayside, including our marriage. Some weeks, we almost live at Home Depot. Recently, I had this conversation with my youngest daughter:
- Me: Do you know who this is? (I showed her a Pink Panther toy)
- Daughter: Yes, he is on the boxes at Home Depot.
My kids probably know their way around Home Depot better than most adults.
Anyway, Mrs. 1500 and I both admitted that we felt disconnected from each other. Here is what you had to say on the matter:
Richard from FrugalityMagazine:
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.
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.
Richard and tyger are both right. I have a long list of crazy projects that will last me years. At least part of the problem is me. I have a very hard time dialing it back.
I can’t argue with Meneer en Mevrouw:
The investment with the best ROI is definitely your marriage.
This one from Reader anonymous strikes a chord (yes D minor*):
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.
…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?
I’ve always thought that the Mrs. and I have a healthier relationship than most. We’ve had some minor rough patches, but nothing serious.
That part that anonymous mentioned about people changing is interesting. Whenever I consider a marriage that has failed, I usually think that the cause was financial issues or cheating. I’ve never considered that some marriages fail just because people evolve. This actually sounds healthy and perhaps “failure” is the wrong word.
The Mrs. and I aren’t the same people we were when we met, but we’ve grown with each other. Our changes aren’t coming between us.
More wise words from Reader Judy (and nice work on 50 years!):
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 !
Mike Hardy mentioned something that I’ve been thinking; leaving my job/FI may be the cure to what ails us:
I was not able to relax until I had divested from company, house, rental house etc.
Many of you recommended that we make it a priority to schedule alone time. On Friday, we did just that. We had a neighbor watch the kids while we had a drink at a local microbrewery and dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.
I won’t say that everything is fixed, but maybe we’ve hit bottom. Our home improvement chaos is really almost at an end (I hope to finish by the end of May) and my time will free up then. If I let it…
Thank you all for your comments. I really appreciate them.
The only thing to fear is fear itself. -Franklin D. Roosevelt
More heavy stuff for this week’s questions! What do you Fear? Now that’s a broad question, but I’m limiting myself to topics related to FI (you don’t have to though).
Warren Buffett’s annual letter is usually loaded with great advice and optimism. This year was no exception, until you get to page 25:
The proliferation of horrible weapons and the rise of stateless, extremist organizations aren’t good. Nuclear bombs ended WWII. Will a nuclear detonation in a big city trigger WWIII? Perhaps.
Readers, what do you think?
- What do you fear? FI or otherwise.
- Is it silly to worry about extreme events?
Maybe I should just shut up and listen to the Blogfather, Jim Collins.
*According to Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap, D minor is the saddest of all keys:
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