I was on a Zoom gathering with some other FIRE friends recently when I was reminded that it’s okay to change plans no matter how concrete they felt when written. The reason this struck home is because for the last couple years Jeff and I have struggled to find our path post financial independence. We have a “plan” but only to the extent that we want to be in Boone in the summers and somewhere warm for the winter. That’s been our plan.
What this plan doesn’t provide us is a path for when to quit working and what life will look like in retirement. Up to this point on our journey to FIRE, I’ve been so focused on the numbers that I forgot to live. I forgot to relax. I forgot to enjoy family. Not on purpose but because I didn’t realize designing a life worth living is more important than never having to work. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am very grateful for being financially independent. I just wasn’t prepared for the transition from work life to retirement.
I’ve tried to think about why the transition has been so difficult and why I didn’t prioritize lifestyle design over FIRE, But all I can come up with is fear. I feared that if I pulled back on the FIRE throttle I wouldn’t achieve it. Then once I was on the journey and I did see the benefits of FIRE, ie financial security, I feared being broke again. It was a constant push for more. More money and more security.
So I am writing this post for you and as well as for my future self. To remind us that no matter how permanent our plans seem it’s okay to change them. In fact I am learning that the more flexible I am in life, the more life provides even more lovely surprises that I could have never’ve dreamed of. I will continue to have plans but I will try to be more adaptive to changes.