The only thing I don’t get about reaching FIRE

The only thing I don’t get about reaching FIRE

While scanning through a lot of personal finance blogs and implementing the relevant changes in our life it seems there is a recurring topic which is discussed all over and over again, but I cannot really understand how can this even be a concern. This topic is the fear about filling all the free time you will have when you reach FIRE. Maybe it is only me, but I see a myriad of opportunities to chase if I ever reach that point. To release my inner organizer I can classify these activities into four main groups which have the potential to fill your life one by one alone.

Look at all that freedom I cannot handle

Get more social

Do you have a family?

There is a chance you spend already a huge amount of your time with people you like hanging out with, but there is always space for improvement. Humans are social so it is a field for endless opportunities. This category could fill my entire day alone.

Do you have a partner?

Spend more time with her/him. Bring your significant other on a long-awaited trip, an always postponed date or just make a coffee, relax and have a deeper conversation as usual.
If you are single maybe there is the time to start getting acquainted.

Do you have kids (or do your kids have kids)?

They are the ultimate solution filling all your time you don’t know what to do with. Just ask them what to do and move with the flow. Children are thousand times more creative than adults, you just need to adapt their vision of the world (that would not hurt anyway).

Do you have friends?

Ask them what is the thing they really wanted to do together just never had the time and go for it. It does not have to be a big thing, maybe just sit down with a six-pack of beer on the shore, hang your foot into the water and tackle questions you never asked before.

Start hobbies & develop skills

If you have any hobbies right now you can get more advanced in them or just pick another one and learn new skills (frugal ones are the best).

Fishing is a great hobby which I used to do a lot as a kid but did not hold the rod for years because life always gets in the way. There is a week-long fishing trip on my bucket list already.

I am experimenting with gardening in my backyard since we moved to our house. The results and the feelings are a mixture of success and regret, but when I will have the time to educate myself into a badass organic gardener superhero that could provide some true benefits both for myself and my environment.

Can you think of anything you always postponed, saying “someday I will do it”? That someday is now. If you are anything like me you would probably spend some days finishing off Diablo III in campaign mode with the Demon Hunter (because of nostalgic reasons), transform your basement into a microbrewery, then learn to play the guitar and form a punk band.

Travel the world

You always wanted to visit a tropical island, see penguins in Antarctica or just throw some stuff into your car and kick off to a country-wide road trip? There is the time to do so. You can escape for a day, a long weekend or move to another place permanently. There is no boss, meeting schedule or mandatory tasks to finish keeping you away from doing this anymore.

I was not a big traveler so far, just been to a handful of places, but this is an area where I would definitely chase improvements in the future.

Work on projects you are passionate about

You know that feeling. When you see people living their dreams, achieving unbelievable results and having fun all the way. Maybe they even make a living or a fortune doing it, however, it was not a goal. Meanwhile, they make huge changes in the life of others or shape the way of our thinking. Don’t you envy them? I do.

Becoming a programmer was intentional for me and while I am not enjoying my current job too much a coder always remains a coder. I never knew any programmer without a pet project. Having a handful of ideas myself it seems there will always be something to work on just for fun or for creating value. There are a couple of them on my bucket list.

What if I am not after a change?

If you really like your life as is then the absolute worst case scenario is not changing anything. Actually, you even cannot prevent your current situation to improve because reaching FIRE will provide you with the freedom to do everything exactly the same way while knowing that you can change everything upside down in a blink of an eye if you want. What is power over your life if that isn’t?

“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”

/Luis CK

How about you? Do you have these concerns or you know exactly how would you spend the rest of your life on FIRE? Please share in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “The only thing I don’t get about reaching FIRE

  1. I think if people say they don’t know what they’d do if they retire, it just means they haven’t found out what they’re really passionate about yet. And that’s okay, not everyone knows right away.

    Like for me, I didn’t really know – and then after I started blogging I realized I loved helping people learn about money and how to handle their finances, and about creating strong, healthy relationships with others. I’ll likely write some and perhaps do some sort of coaching/counseling and volunteer work to fill my time.

    But first, probably a bit of down time where I don’t do anything for about a month or two. 🙂

    1. I agree that it is ok, but there are some people out there who use this as an excuse to rationalize their lack of effort towards this goal (not my business btw) or even worse, offend/distract others who are working towards FIRE.

      Sounds like a plan. 🙂 For me, family time would come first connected with hobbies and travel. Then in the free time can come value creation.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. I think that lack of direction is frightening. For me, my work is often open ended. And I can genuinely attest to the fact that sometimes open ended is as hard as it gets!

    Of course open ended is filled with all the magic of your imagination, but when it comes to FIRE, I think that what fills people with fear is the fact that they never before imagined being so free (or that it would even be possible).

    1. Still, I think that that fear should be only temporary and then the lucky ones should be busy with filling their life with that magic of their imagination 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  3. Trust me, man…after thirteen years of retirement, I know boredom well. It’s inevitable. Doing your best to fill your time with various projects is good; bear in mind that as you Tetris those blocks of time together, you WILL leave gaps.

    I think the real danger isn’t these blocks of unstructured free time, though…I think it’s the danger of feeling guilty for filling those blocks with so-called junk food pastimes. Some people think gaming is junk food, others think binging on Netflix is junk food, still others think surfing Facebook for hours is junk food. I personally don’t judge. If you’re not hurting anybody, do what you like.

    Life is short, however, and at some point you have to reconcile yourself with the fact that whatever you fill your free time with, you won’t get those hours back. Guilt, then, may arise from thinking or overthinking what you have to show for all those hours.

    All that’s a fact of life, of course, and it applies both to people who have left the workforce and to people who haven’t.

    1. Oh, Dude, after providing us so many insight of your life, journey, and retirement through your posts I could believe you almost anything.

      If you had not finished your comment with that line I would. I experience this very often (not anywhere close to ER), the guilt for not using my time the best possible way. However, I try to remind myself that we are just mortal human beings, probably not designed to burn with high octane all the time.

      It is similar that you cannot succeed all the time. You experiment and you fail sometimes. Through the years I discovered some activities which became part of my life and others did not. I have my share of regrets about them, but how would I know that I don’t like and don’t profit from them if I don’t even try? Sometimes you know at the first sight if something is not for you (like Facebook for me). Sometimes you have to do it for a while to find out (like MMORPGs for me). Still, sometimes if I decide to watch a specific film and turns out that it is crap I become upset and I ask myself that how could I get back that 90 mins of my life? So I hear you on feeling guilty.

      I have read your post about gaming lately and I think the most important thing is to have the controller in your hand. But the same stand for watching movies, reading books, drinking coffee, alcohol or even smoking weed sometimes. Until you have control over your actions, you enjoy doing it and you don’t hurt anyone (including yourself) I am ok with it.

      Thank you for your comment!

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