I’m typing this early in the morning at the coworking space that I co-own. I like coming down here before anyone else has arrived. I begin my day by finding a quiet spot and meditating.
Five years ago when I left work, I never would have anticipated what life would bring:
- Mindy and I moved from the home we thought our kids would live in until they started their own lives
- I have a podcast
- I’ve been able to see awesome parts of the world
- I gave a talk to a room of over 500 people
- I’ve made some really great friends
I used to fear uncertainty. I took comfort in knowing what my life would be like far into the future. Endless planning and mental bandwidth.
But planning is toxic. It’s best not to outline future chapters of your life. When you don’t plan, it leaves the future open to embrace people and opportunities that have a funny way of floating into your life when you least expect it.
Not planning also helps you stay anchored in the present. I like to take walks and look at the flowers and ball bugs. If you’re always looking forward to some future thing to make you happy, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself what is so wrong with your present.
I’m a better, happier person because of the experiences I’ve had. Having a podcast has made me a better speaker. Seeing places like Maine, Vermont, Greece, and Edinburgh has been awesome. Being able to experience all of these places in the company of friends made it way better. Public speaking has given me confidence. Regarding that last point, a friend told me this recently:
When we first met, you were shy and reserved. Now, you’re the opposite. You’ve reinvented yourself.
This wouldn’t have happened without FIRE. None of these things would have happened without FIRE. I just wouldn’t have had the time.
Sometimes life is so good that it feels surreal. I feel like an impostor and that I don’t deserve it.
What is going to happen to take it all away?
Probably nothing, but I’m a worrier which is another poor personality trait, but I’m working on it.
And if something does strike me down soon, at least I’ve lived a good part of my life true to myself.
What Is The Point Of This Post?
These words are not meant to be a brag-piece where I regale you with tales of my life. I’m a pretty ordinary person with a great life circumstance; lots of time. Time is power.
If you’re still working, have you considered what you would do if you had your freedom?
It’s important to consider just how good it might be because many will try to talk you out of it:
- You’ll run out of money!
- You need work to give you purpose!
- What about health care?!??
- You’ll be bored.
- Have you lost your mind?
If it doesn’t work out, you can probably go back to work.
One thing you can never do is get back your time.
No Going Back
A couple of months after leaving my job, I thought that maybe I’d go back for a short stint if they gave me a raise.
One year out, I was far more disconnected. Perhaps I’d go back, but the raise would have to be a ridiculous amount of money that no one would ever pay me.
Now that I’m 5 years out, I’d never sign on for a gig where I lost autonomy over my time.
Too many words left to write. Too many walks left to take. Too many places left to see. Too many friends left to make.
What about you?
If not now, when?
If something is stopping you, what is it?
If someone is stopping you, are their goals and values consistent with yours?
Instead of making excuses for why you can’t, figure out how you can.
It might be scary. Change is hard. Comfort zones are warm and fuzzy. The unknown isn’t the easy path. But sometimes, you have to leap. I’m so happy I did.
More 1500 Days!!!
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Beth S. says
You’ve now been retired longer than 1500 days!
Thanks for all the inspiration.
Mr. 1500 Days says
Whoah, you’re correct! The time goes by fast.
Congrats on those great words!!
Im still in the grind but with my eyes on the goal! 😉
One of theses days ill visit you guys at Longmont 😉
First congratulations on 5 years of Financial independence and retire-tainment (I am going to trademark this word haha ) .
I have been reading and following you a little more than 2 years now. From 10,000 feet, I cannot say if you have changed or not. But if I look closely, you have done amazing things.
You have made the kitchen and basement work all by yourselves. You have given a talk in front of 500 people. Your comic timing is improving and I seriously think you can be a stand up comedian. For your kids, you are always there. From being a guests at podcasts, now you co-hosts a podcast. You talk about health and fitness.
I have not seen (met) a polite and down to earth person like you. You and I talked about Austin Tesla factory opening and then I got busy with life. But you remembered and pinged me that you were trying for me to get in as well. Who does that who has hundreds of thousands of followers around the globe. I wish you all the success and happiness. You are truly a friend I want to meet badly and a guru from whom I want to learn more.
Thank you ??
Alan Donegan says
Carl, Congratulations on the journey you’ve been on after getting the financial independence! I’ve been so impressed by how you have embraced new experiences, tried new things and been on adventures! You’re an incredible person.
I’m sorry “ball bugs”?! I think you mean rollie pollies
Mr. 1500 Days says
Rollie-Pollies!! Hahaha,,,love it!
It’s been just over five years for us….
Month One- Naaaaah…I’m not sure I could consider coming back….
Year One- Nope, not coming back….
Year Two- Oh hell no!….
Year Five…There’s simply not enough freakin’ money left in the whole wide world to give up this incredible freedom! No way! No how! No chance!
Lol! Enjoy your life Carl! We’ll deserved!
Everyone else…start living your best lives asap!
Corwin @ Engineering Your FI says
I think because I heard about your blog towards the beginning of our FI path, it feels like it’s been much longer than 5 years. Hard to believe.
So I’ll admit that 6 months after leaving my job last fall (and fully FI), I am hearing the siren call of getting a job again. I made the mistake of leaving my Linkedin profile up and a recruiter messaged me about a fully remote position (rare in my field), and I’d get to use a ton of the career capital I’ve accumulated (see Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You). So we’ll see what salary they offer 😉
Part of the appeal is that it’s a startup that could easily fail, but since we’re FI I can take “risky” jobs like that without concern. And they’re offering equity, so if it takes off, I’ll have even more money that I technically don’t need!
Mr. 1500 Days says
If you’ll be happy there, go for it!
But, be careful! Those golden handcuffs are hard to remove!
I am about to start FIRE in two months – and the closer it is for real the scarier it feels – even with all numbers in place, with the margins, with last year 8-months sabbatical to try. Am I stepping out during the downturn? I thought it will be easier no matter what market is doing in that particular moment, but its not 😉
Mr. 1500 Days says
I don’t envy you! The markets have been nutty lately. But, this too shall pass and in 10 years, it will be a little blip in the rearview mirror.
Great post, and very inspiring!
I’m close to FIRE but always ask myself what if this or that happens? I’ll be screwed! Then I remember, I’m only 45! Lots of time to earn income.
Mr. 1500 Days says
And, all of that stuff that you worry about probably won’t happen! Trust me, I’m a worrier! I have backup plans for backup plans. However, life has a funny way of working out well.
Gary Grewal says
Love the inspirational post, Carl. That’s what are working towards is freedom towards our time. Have been enjoying the banter between you and Doug on the podcast and how much you’ve gotten comfortable having deep conversations and difficult questions.
Now you can use those speaking skills to talk yourself into finally getting your Tesla!
Haven’t checked in for a long time.
Glad to hear you are still enjoying life to the max 🙂
This reminds me I need to write my 2 year update post!
I’m semi fired for 2 years pretty much about now and I agree on the not going back. I may have to get a proper job at some point as we are not techncially FI, but at the mo loving doing self employed part time work which is still bringing in more money than my day job did anyway so seems pointless even looking right now.
Maybe if inflation keeps on a tear I may have to though, but it will be painful haha.
All the best dude!
Congrats on the first 5 years !
About planning being toxic, i am not sure what to think. It is a bit of a paradox. To achieve FIRE you need lots of calculations and planning, you’re not going to simply wing it. Off course when you are already wealthy that is not necessary.
I’d rather plan because this way I reduce the risk of running out of money.
Mr. 1500 Days says
Long-term financial kind of planning is OK because there isn’t really much to do. Max out your accounts and rebalance every once in a while. Set it and forget it.