My Termination 6 Month Anniversary – Thinking and Dreaming But Not Yet Doing

The question of, “What do I want to do with my life” doesn’t go away. Ever.

One of the main reasons for writing this blog is to document my thoughts and feelings throughout this journey. I hope it can be helpful to both myself and to others who may start this journey after me.

It’s now the 6 month anniversary of my termination from my company. I’ve already written posts of my 1-month, 2-month, and 3-month anniversaries  so you can see the evolution of my thinking.

Once things started to settle down, I settled into a routine that actually was eerily similar to a typical work week.

Even my wife started saying that I was as busy (or even busier) than before. I began to realize that I still had the mentality of an employee,  even though I had no employer to  pay me!

But in the last couple of months, that started to change.

Everyone has heard of the quintessential question, “What would you do if money weren’t an issue?”

In the past, I would just answer with lofty goals like: found a start-up, travel the world, end poverty, save the whales, etc.

But now, even though I’m not quite FI, I’m feeling out possible answers to that question. 

Continue reading “My Termination 6 Month Anniversary – Thinking and Dreaming But Not Yet Doing”

The Chains of the Mind

We become prisoners of our mind long before we become prisoners of our body.

Many people expect that once they reach FI, they’ll just be happy. They usually have plans of travel, volunteering, founding that start-up, or even just a long staycation.

All the things they told themselves and others that they would do if only they had enough money and time.

But then what?

I’m not FI yet, but I have glimpses into that future for myself.

As it turns out, life actually doesn’t change tremendously, because you’re still you… with pretty much all the same problems and issues (except with fewer money-related ones).

How can this be?

Continue reading “The Chains of the Mind”

A Life Driven By Fear

Unfortunately, I realize that I am driven by fear more than anything else.

I want to talk about fear.

Because, unfortunately, it has been the greatest motivator in my life. Not love, hope, greed, or joy. But fear.

My favorite quote about fear is from the classic science fiction book Dune, by Frank Herbert.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

– Paul Atreides, from Frank Herbert’s Dune

Hopefully none of us will face the same torturous life and death circumstance that made the main character Paul Atreides repeat that mantra to himself. But fear is a real obstacle to people living a fulfilling life.

In my meditation practice, I’ve learned to identify my most basic fears and try to develop strategies to overcome them. Still a work in progress!

For those who want to see the scene on YouTube from the 1980s cult classic movie Dune, here it is:

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My Own Why of FI: My Parents’ Twilight Years

I came back to New York City to take care of my parents in their twilight years.

One of the main reasons for my wife and I to return home to New York City was because of my parents. They were getting older and started to physically and mentally decline. As the youngest (and only) son , I was expected to be around to help them. And, eventually, take over their affairs.

But as much as I tried to get them to plan, my elderly parents simply refused to take action. And I don’t think this is unique to them.

So when the critical event does happen – a sudden medical emergency, such as a fall or a stroke – you are almost always scrambling to do damage control after the fact.

If I weren’t (almost) financially independent, I don’t know how I could possibly have managed things.

Continue reading “My Own Why of FI: My Parents’ Twilight Years”

Cancer, Death, and the Gift of Clarity

The prospect of our inevitable death should make us appreciate our life so much more.

The prospect of our inevitable death should make us appreciate our life so much more.We all think and act like we will live forever, or, at least until some far off, future date that we prefer not to think about.

This is very much how I thought of my time on this earth. As a child, I was obsessed with academic performance. And then for almost 20 years I was obsessed with my career and compensation. In the past few years, I’ve been obsessed with financial independence.

But this was always in the context of balancing an enjoyable and fulfilling life now with an even more enjoyable and more fulfilling life in the future.

What if that future turns out to be only 5 years later? or 2 years? or 1 year?

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Avoiding the Regrets of the Dying, Regret #4

Can one really have friends for life, outside of spouses and family?

I’ve been doing a lot of contemplation and reflection on palliative nurse Bronnie Ware’s 2009 viral post in which she listed the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. These are my reflections.

I am chagrined to say that lifelong community is something which I only recently have started to long for.

#4 I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

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Avoiding the Regrets of the Dying, Regret #3

Just writing this blog is an act of courage for me.

I’m writing a series related to palliative nurse Bronnie Ware’s 2009 viral post where she listed the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.

Fear is something that I’ve written about before, and this third most common regret is really a manifestation of fear.

#3 I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Continue reading “Avoiding the Regrets of the Dying, Regret #3”