Wrapping up the year with gratitude

Wrapping up the year with gratitude

Howdy fellas!

Long time no see.

As anyone can tell, this second half of the year wasn’t my most productive period in terms of blogging and otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, I am not apologizing and have no regrets. Many times I exchanged “blogging time” for simply hanging out with my wife or playing late with my daughters. Life is about priorities and we all have the same scarce resource of time which we decide where to invest. After all, I am just one of the grey pigeons of financial blogging, writing gibberish to random strangers on the interwebz. In some cases, a discussion arises and we get to know each other even more. Sometimes we even get friends. And when this happens it is wonderful.

These days there is a lot of criticism about (financial) bloggers in general and especially about this phenomenon I like to protect, the FIRE movement. Some arguments are legit and some are invalid. I have my opinions but who am I to judge? Perception is a wonderful thing after all 😉 All I can do is that I try to be honest with myself and others and stay on the righteous side. While I left the consistent publishing schedule far behind (if I ever followed it…) making all the SEO and blogging gods fretful and probably acquired some bonus points on the “worlds worst blogger” contest, I really wanted to publish something meaningful as the closing post of this year.

Gandalf
Wisdom is always welcome from trustable sources

Don’t run away I will not pull out my red pencils and count the achieved and failed blogging goals for the year. Neither will I introduce you to the secret five-point list which will bring you the ultimate new-year-resolution-maker-goal-setting-process. In a recent discussion, I stated that “the best things what you can earn in this community is friendship and knowledge I think”. Then somehow the long discontinued Gratitude series on 1500days.com popped into my mind and I thought that I will combine these two thoughts and wrap up the year with a gratitude post.

I believe in the power of words and I love when I get introduced to new (or at least new to me) words or expressions. For one of these words, I am grateful to a fellow Hungarian investor, David. I learned a lot of other things but one of my favorite expressions also came from him. It is “selective contrarian”. It is widely used in investment terms but I think you can also use it for your overall outlook on the world. When I spend my time as not a creator but a consumer of content (most of the time) I always searching for such unique voices in the big mass of ideas, teachings, and preachings. Every now and then I find one. And when this happens it is wonderful.

So, I wanted to say goodbye to this blogging year by expressing my gratitude to all the folks who are kind to my heart and enriched my life on a way. Their contributions are sometimes ideas I found interesting, entertaining or educating. These brought me smiles, improved my thinking or even drove my financial decisions. And in some rare cases, the ideas brought me epiphanies or left me seriously thinking about my life and my future. While the former is important too the revelations brought by the latter are game changers.

you da real mvp

Without any further ado let me introduce you to the voices and ideas which contributed most to my mindset this year. The list is probably not complete and there is no importancy, alphabetical or other ranking, just the order they pop into my mind.

J$

Let’s kick off the list with a true rockstar. To be honest I never expected that when you ping a top blogger he will actually answer. But Jay did. Every. Single. Time. With a joking tone one-liner or a longer description if I asked something. And sometimes with a much-needed encouragement.

In terms of wisdom, I can point my finger on two things.

One is that sometimes you have to “Let It Go”. Even if that is a big project which was built by yourself from scratch. It does not matter how much you want to keep it if it keeps you away from things which are most important to you it is time to say farewell.

The other thing is his weirdo obsession with cemeteries. While I don’t totally share this emotion I can relate to the feeling and nothing puts your life more into perspective than facing your mortality and remembering that sooner or later the road will come to an end.

Mr.1500

Carl is another awesome guy, whom I also thought is out of my reach but interestingly he replied to my emails every now and then. I cannot really point on a single idea of his but his story as it flows gives me inspiration. And peace. There are dozens of posts out there about the fear of retiring because folks just don’t know what to do with their life. Carl’s post-retirement life is the living example that I should not worry. He kept coding, he improved his health and did all kind of fun and cool stuff with his family. Let’s talk about mapping fulfilling future…

Chris Durheim

Chris is also a programmer and a fellow father with daughters. You see a pattern here? Yeah, I like to search for like-minded folks, let’s go on. So, Chris took a one-year mini-retirement and then extended it. Most of the times you read only the good about such stories. But where is the bad and the ugly? Well, Chris had to realize that it is not always rainbows and unicorns. But still, the take-home message is that if you go beyond your comfort zone you can find personal growth even if you fail on a way or succeed on another.

OthalaFehu

If you would ask me to point my finger on a true badass in the community I would pick him. His posts are not long winded so I will try to wrap up his wisdom the same way:

Change is possible,
Discipline is important,
Preparedness is golden.

ChiefMomOfficer

Liz is an incredible person, a true energy bomb. Sometimes I start being suspicious if she had a secret interview with Hermione Granger for her Woman On Fire series but she never published it to keep the fact in secret that she passed on that time turner to her so she can have more than 24 hours a day. 🙂 She published dozens of educative posts but the one which is closest to my heart tells the story of their fight with death. Yeah, sometimes it is sobering to remember that bad things can happen with good people so having an emergency fund and a plan B at hand is always a good idea.

Mr. & Mrs. Groovy

As I told you I like learning new expressions and the “teat sucking layabout” could be the expression of the year. But there is more wisdom here than a geniusly fabricated expression. The biggest lesson for me in their story is that you can be different. You can take ownership of your stuff and you can change things if you really want. Mr. Groovy worked a government job for a long time, despite we share a similar disgust about how they are running their(?) business. He was able to make a difference just by changing his mindset, taking over control and improve himself. As a result, they enjoy post-retirement life in a location of their choice in a home they built recently. “Don’t embrace the sloth” is huge take-home message here.

MisteryMoneyMan

MisteryMoneyMan is the other MMM whose posts I like to read. I am also a follower of his insider email series where he shares his adventures as a hustler. While I am collecting the ideas from his reportings the reason why I added him to the list is an act which is not so common, even in the FIRE community. Recently, instead of rushing on the good old corporate ladder he just simply climbed down a little to regain some of his time and freedom. I am not working in such a hierarchy where this would be something I could do, but the idea of giving up a bigger opportunity for the greater good is something I want to keep in mind just in case a situation will ever arise. 🙂

AbandonedCubicle

Cubert is a true joker, I always like to read his writings but despite he is playing with FIRE recently the area he widened my view is real estate. He owns some rental properties which he renovated mostly by himself and running an experiment with Airbnb. These are topics which are picking my mind because of future investment possibilities so it is good to have insights on how others solve issues and share their raw numbers.

CheesyFinance

Mr. CF is a cheerful guy and I really like his original ideas and thought experiments. The “should you buy a…” series brought his name to this list. The idea of actually buying a boat never crossed my mind (there aren’t many wooden pirate ships out there for a reasonable price) but I have to admit that buying (or building) a castle did and his numbers in this post confirm that it is not absolute insanity (like my wife thinks). An island would be an equally awesome thing but the financial rationality wasn’t really backed by the numbers. We have some more work to do here 🙂

WhatLifeCouldBe

Mr. & Mrs. White (and their kids) are charming people. The types you sit down with for the first time and five minutes later you are having a conversation like if you know each other for ages. After I discovered the European FIRE scene through FIREHub.eu and read about their life on their blog they were the first people I was speaking with in real life via Skype. When it turned out that I cannot attend the FIWE, their annual conference we agreed that we will meet sometime in person as we are living only one border away. This happened this summer and we spent a wonderful day chatting, biking, walking around, having a nice lunch and some drinks. The kids also had a great time and I am looking forward to repeating the occasion sometime next year.

Besides this great experience, I wanted to emphasize Mr. Ws’ incredible mindset about handling obstacles. He believes in making a difference and that it can be started on a small scale, locally. I am always impressed when I read about such endeavors of his. He is the living example for the saying “when there’s a will there’s a way”. We should all learn that letting our priorities drive our lives and fighting passivity are some of the best places we could invest our times.

RetireInProgress

I discovered Mr. RIPs’ blog earlier this year and at first, I have only read some of the latest posts. His writing style and humor caught me and I started to dig deeper. That’s how I found out about his origin story and it blew my mind. A life packed with challenges, struggles, victories, dreams achieved and left behind. The very important lesson is that even reaching to the top, getting many coders dream job does not automatically skyrockets you to lalaland and when the magic starts to vanish you realize the golden handcuffs on your wrist. His approach to dream, work for it, test and dump it if you don’t enjoy it anymore is something more of us should adopt.

{in·deed·a·bly}

The biggest lesson here: don’t use Google when someone told you so… Jokes apart, {in·deed·a·bly} is a late discovery but instantly jumped to the top of my favorite list. He is one of the few bloggers who excels in storytelling and using it to make his posts more colorful. It is not just the appealing design of his blog but a very unique perspective is what sucked me into binge reading his posts. Hard to pick a single best one, I haven’t found any which isn’t inspiring, educating, entertaining or the combination of these. Maybe the most thought-provoking is which provides the framework for financial planning and the funniest is the story about the creativity of his kids. Looking forward to consuming more delicious thought food of his in the future.

EarlyRetirementDude

I had a professor back at the university teaching us Calculus I. He was a mean guy with an individual sense of humor. He was trolling us all the time and joking on our unpreparedness. I became a drop-out for the first time because of his class. But I started over and tried again. I passed his exam for the 10th time with a lot of effort and help from others. Then next year came Calculus II and he became not just the professor but the lecturer also. After a couple of lessons, I realized that I was totally wrong about him in the previous years. He wasn’t the douchebag we thought he is but we were the idiots who did not take life seriously enough. He just had a particular way of mocking us and trying to make us face with the harsh truth that we should stop whining and start working harder if we want to achieve our goals. Looking back now he may have been one of the best teachers I ever had.

The reason I started this introduction with this flashback is that after I started reading ER Dudes’ posts I felt the same. At first, I thought that this is an extremely smart grumpy guy who spreads his wisdom with a pinch of sarcasm all the time. Then I realized that he is just an extremely smart and extremely honest guy who shoots his wisdom towards you without a single sprinkle of bullshit. He taught me many valuable lessons about the origins of the FI/ER movement or the true nature of the 4% rule. Still, there was one thought which made a huge impact on my thinking and made me look at my job through a completely different set of lenses. Please read the quote and there will be no need for further explanation.

“Your job’s a business transaction. You may want to sell your time to these people and they may want to buy it from you…so when you feel desperate for the door – really desperate – remember: if you want your freedom that badly, the door’s right there. Nobody’s hiding the keys. All else is a matter of compromise.”

The interesting thing is that this single quote freed me up from worry. It gave a joker card in my hand. Maybe you would expect that as a result, I turned in my notice. Actually, what happened is quite the opposite. I enjoy my job more than ever. I took ownership of my stuff and I am not just drifting anymore but dictating the direction and don’t shy away anymore from saying out loud what I am thinking. When you realize that the door is actually there, you can leave whenever you want, nobody’s hiding the keys and nobody’s holding you back you will experience freedom. It is like having the FU money… except I don’t have that FU money but I know that I could find another job or I could indulge in entrepreneurship and still would be able to provide to my family. In a way I guess, this is similar to the freedom of after FIRE life.

Financial Independence Europe podcast

Last but not least I wanted to add the one and only podcast to the list which I was able to stick with. I have to admit that I am not a podcast listener. I rarely do activities which makes a great fit with podcast listening. Tried to follow some in the past but until now there wasn’t a single one which was able to get me listening episode after episode. I cannot really emphasize a single piece of wisdom as all the episodes are interesting on a way. So, thank you Araminta, Matthias, and Alvar for treating us with many fresh ideas and perspectives. I see a big potential in reaching your goals with the podcast.

Thank you all! via Giphy

It is almost sure that I have left out someone or something. When it will hit me I will come back and update this post, but for now, my dear reader, this is it. Hope you found something which is interesting, entertaining or educating for you too. And if you are anything like me, maybe you had some epiphanies too.

With this, I want to thank you all for reading my silly think soups this year. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and I hope the discoveries, on both side, will continue next year.

Take care!

15 thoughts on “Wrapping up the year with gratitude

  1. > At first, I thought that this is an extremely smart grumpy guy who spreads his wisdom with a pinch of sarcasm all the time. Then I realized that he is just an extremely smart and extremely honest guy who shoots his wisdom towards you without a single sprinkle of bullshit.

    Wow, man…in all sincerity, this might be the nicest thing anybody’s ever said about my work. Thank you *so* much. Yeah, I can be a crotchety guy who’s prone to venting his frustrations in his little corner of space, but it’s the idea that I’ve provoked thought that’s the most fulfilling. And if/when you catch me out in bullshit, please call me out. No ego in that whatsoever. It’s a process of continuous improvement.

    And yes, YOU ARE FREE.

    1. You are good in thought-provoking, I think that is your superpower. I was not able to point even the smallest piece of excrement so far but I will report it if this ever happens 😉 I am also a fan of continuous improvement.

      I think that the fact, that “YOU ARE FREE” is so basic/simple that many of us tend to forget about it. Then you are bombarded by the myriads of distractions and temptations and you slowly build those imaginary walls around you which keeps you a slave in your own life. Tearing down those walls is not an easy task, the longer you are building them the harder it will be.

      Sometimes small things (like a few lines of text) open your eyes and suddenly you start to see a crack. Then when you try to examine that crack further you start to feel that something is wrong with the walls. And so the journey begins…

    1. Me too, my friend. Unfortunately, I see no opportunity in the near future but in the long term jumping over the pond and having a road trip in that brave new world is definitely on my bucket list and I will knock on your door when I will be around 😉

  2. Wow, thank you for the incredibly generous praise HCF. If torturing computers doesn’t work out for you, then you can have a job as my publicity frontman!

    I share your sentiment that the most rewarding aspect of blogging is all the interesting people you get to know as a result.

    1. Not really sure about what would the job description include but send me an offer and I will think about it 😉

      It is the most rewarding aspect indeed(ably).

  3. Thank you for the kind words. I speak for us both as Mr. G is out in our garage doing something with power tools! (He’s improving himself, again.)

    It’s been great getting to know you a little better this year. Have a wonderful and happy 2019.

    1. Until you can hear him working there shouldn’t be any problem 🙂

      Thank you and I wish the same for you. Enjoy your new environment as much as your “neighbors” 🙂

  4. Truly honored to be one of the bloggers you mentioned. I’m not worthy! In all seriousness, though, it really made my day. It’s also an honor to have you on my list of must-read bloggers. Every time I come here I read something that makes me think. And that’s a very wonderful thing. Hope you have a kick-ass 2019, my friend. Cheers.

    1. Thank you, Mr. G. You are definitely worthy. It is also good to hear that I have regular readers and that my writings make someone think:D I cannot really ask for any more.

  5. Thank you for the shout out, my Hungarian brotha! I am truly playing with FIRE, aren’t I?? It’ll be a topic I pick at more in 2019, rest assured. If we all hated our jobs, we’d find a reason to hate our lives while not working too…?

    The Airbnb Experiment wrap up is on tap. It was a good year. Hope you get some worthwhile nuggets from that post. Cheers!!

    1. You are welcome 😉 You do indeed, but I don’t think you should afraid of anything. What I see is that boredom and uselessness lead people to strange and daunting places. Not sure later how will this be but as a father, with small kids, I cannot really recall a moment when I was bored in the last 5+ years 😀 And there is so much out in the world just waiting for discovery. Don’t you doubt that I envy you for getting so close to the finish line 😉

  6. First time here and enjoying reading your blog! Fire away! and yes, Techies rule!
    even if they don’t code anymore 😉

    Btw, that quote ‘Do or Do not….’ was not by Dumbledore, it was by YODA!!! May the force be with you!

    1. Welcome, hope you will return every now and then 😉

      Of course, I know… also, if you look close enough you will realize that on the picture it is Gandalf 😉 I saw once this image and the text was like “how to offend three fanbases at once”.

      “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” – Albert Einstein

Leave a Reply to HaltCatchFire Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *