I have always been intrigued by the concept of ‘retiring early’, but have felt like an outsider for the majority of my time reading other blogs, forums and sub-reddits. The closest I’ve found is Mr. Money Mustache and I think the biggest reason for that is that I subscribe to work that is enjoyable or makes the world a better place is work worth doing at every income level.
That’s really the purpose of our FIRE journey; we seek a life that is filled with work worth doing. This can mean an infinite amount of things to different people, but I define work worth doing as performing a task that is enjoyable and has a positive impact on a life or the world. In my world this means putting the energy into growing our own food, raising our own animals to reduce worldwide emissions and suffering, spending significant energy on raising our children to be stewards of the world, etc.
Work worth doing is much more easily defined by the list of what it’s not. That list is just about anything that you do for ‘just a paycheck’. I have been an accountant for many years and while I enjoy helping friends solve their business accounting issues I absolutely hate doing the daily tasks that are associated with this career. No one is passionate about processing payroll, invoices, payables, managing a team of accountants, and a thousand other mindlessly stupid tasks that suck up my daylight hours in the pursuit of money.
If you step back and think of the most fun you’ve had doing work then turn it into a list I would bet most everything on that list was from volunteering or doing something for your family. At the very least, I’ll be there is little on the list you got paid for. Here is mine in no particular order
Basically anytime I spend energy and effort to solve a problem in our family’s life I feel rewarded far more than when I go to work and spend money to solve the problem. The truth is that I make a lot of money per hour to sit at a desk. It would be far more efficient for me to continue working as much as possible and simply spend money to solve every problem that comes up in life. I even tried this quite a few times and still there are problems that are not worth my energy and effort while I’m still employed (a full boiler replacement for one).
The American experiment is a facade and we are seeing it peeling away at a rapid rate. Doing mindless tasks for money to then use to solve your problems makes people feel dead inside and this process is reinforced by consuming. Get a higher paying job so you can buy more shit! Hire a housekeeper, pay someone to wash your car, grow your food, take your trash, exercise your dog, etc etc etc. If you aren’t happy maybe you just don’t have enough shit? The fallacy here is that cleaning your house or walking your dog are somehow tasks that are not to be enjoyed when the truth is that your 8+ hours a day in an office is what’s not to be enjoyed and if you didn’t have to work so fucking much you would actually be able to live your life.
Let’s all work together to end the consumer lifestyle. Stop outsourcing your happiness and live life. I’m working on it very hard and have been for almost 10 years. The end is in sight for us, but the process is not easy. You have to break free from society’s expectations of success. Just ask yourself if the consumerist cycle is working for you; I’d be willing to bet it’s not. It sure wasn’t for us.