FIRE.195 Retirement Drift

Are you on track?  Are you moving along the path you have planned or the path you want to head down? 


Like in surfing, where you’re sitting in the lineup, outside the break, you feel like you’re stationary in one place.  Yet, after a while, you notice the current has drifted you up/down the shoreline.  Sometimes your position is a few feet in one direction, and other times you are many, many yards from where you paddled out.

The surfers who know what they’re doing (not me, not at all), stand on the beach and pick the break that they want to ride that day and paddle out.  They have a target break that looks the best for that session.  But what happens when the current has shifted you away from your planned target?

I don’t know exactly what my FIRE lifestyle target was.  I knew I wanted to set my own schetchle—to exercise when I wanted, and to do whatever activities I wanted each day.  I don’t think I really had any projects or travel goals lined up in the immediate honeymoon period (maybe I was a $lacker all along?).  I did maintain a calendar that generally had a weekly schedule of exercise and dates of travel to our different home locations for the upcoming year, but nothing too grand.

The Opposite of Drift

I’ve come to appreciate my FIRE groove.  I feel like I’ve locked into the pocket and just rock each day in the manner I choose.  It’s truly outstanding.

Lately, however, I’ve started to wonder: “As I’ve stayed in my groove so long, is it wearing deeper and deeper turning into a rut?  I did an interweb search and found that a rut is: “A habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.”  Uh oh.  Am I dull and unproductive?

First, I’m not unproductive.  Yes, I definitely am less productive than I could beBut not too much less productive than I want, or need to be.  To help with that pressure I changed the name of my ToDo list to a Don’t-Forget list.  Pressure removed.  Bonus: memory management process implemented to help not forgetting things.

Second, am I dull?  Well, my wife would say I’m much more of a pain in the ass than dull.  Does that count?  I am kind of boring and quite far from the “normal” people and conversations I hear around me.  My appearance and interests are not dull, but maybe my lack of overall activities are.  I really wish I did better at our We-Day/Wednesdays.  Those were supposed to push us to do more, be more, live more, more, more, more.

A new “L” word

When I think about doing more, or the lack of it, I think about the term languishing, 

Languish: lacking vitality.  That seems like an old retired guy classification, doesn’t it?

I then thought, well if one is in a state of languish, then is that not anguish?  Or leading to anguish?

How to flourish

I don’t want to be that old guy, or at least THAT old of a guy, right now.

I want to be super sure that I’m loving (most of) every week I have in my LifeInFIRE.

I want to be sure I feel the reward of our FIRE position.  I want to feel the reward of an amazing wife and family.  I want to be sure I recognize and do some of the things I love each day and each week.

I want to recognize doing something outside my comfort zone may be freaky, but may turn out to be great.  (that’s a totally glass-half-full position, vs “turn out bad”).

Full Speed?  (At Times?)

When we went race-karting last month, turn #2 was a nasty full-speed 180.  In our three races (38? Laps) I must have tried at least 25-30 different attacks on that turn.  I never once felt like I nailed it.  It was a challenge every single time.  Sometimes there was traffic in front of me, sometimes it was people chasing me (aggressively), and others it was me all alone, but I still thought about that turn ahead of time and wanted to best it, or at least better it.

Is life not any different?  We go outside our comfort zone—like racing karts.  Some of us are full-throttle, using very little brakes, and still want to improve.

Far From Conclusion

So, are we drifting in our activities in FIRE?  Are we floating off our planned course?  Or are we following a natural path of change? 

I dread the thought that at 53 I’m sinking into a nice rut of life/routine that I’ve built without seeing what other tracks are out there.

Keep exploring life.

*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice.  I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be.  You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.

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