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This story was written a month ago.
I am writing this post while sitting at a Starbucks.
You can call me cheap, but I went to a Starbucks at the mall and didn’t buy any coffee.
There are other people sitting in this open space without drinking coffee, so I don’t feel too bad about it.
Mr. FAF and I have decided to alternate watching Baby FAF so that one of us can go out and do what we want alone.
I’ve gone to a couple of Meetup events before. But today I wanted to have some quiet some for myself and get some work done.
I left home at 8:30 AM on a Sunday and told Mr. FAF and I wouldn’t be back until late afternoon (which could be 6 PM if I want to).
Mr. FAF had gone out with his friend the night before, and now it is my turn.
I have almost 8 hours to myself where I can do whatever it is that my heart desires. I decided to go to a nearby mall and take advantage of their free WiFi.
I spent the morning writing up and editing a post. I also read a couple of new posts, left my comments, and shared some other interesting posts on Twitter.
At lunch I went to get some salmon and avocado sushi.
Salmon and avocado sushi
Usually, I’d try bring some food with me from home and not eat at the food court. But today, I just didn’t care anymore. I wanted to enjoy my freedom to the fullest. I wanted to blog without interruption, eat what I wanted at lunch, and forget about the chaos at home.
In a way, I feel liberated from all the housework, baby feeding, and possible arguments with my mother-in-law (MIL) and Mr. FAF. In fact, my MIL and I just argued this morning before I headed out.
I think she wanted me to stay at home, but I needed my down time. Mr. FAF and I had agreed on that. That’s one reason why I desperately wanted to get out of the house even more and to spend time away alone for the whole day.
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I even thought about eating dinner at the mall and not coming home until 8 or 9 PM that day. I didn’t want to eat dinner at home. Home suddenly felt like a place where I felt trapped and unwillingly got involved in a lot of tension.
After finishing the sushi which I thought wasn’t as good as I expected at the food court, I went back to the coffees shop. I tried to resume writing the post I was working on earlier, but I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it.
My head told me to stay productive and get work done. But there was a resistant feeling in my chest telling my hands to not type a single word.
I opened and closed that document at least three times. I wanted to complete the post, but I was burned out from writing content nonstop. I wanted to stop.
I thought about watching a movie, but I didn’t know what to watch. Netflix was blocked at the mall. I went on YouTube to look up my favorite videos to catch up on, but I didn’t even want to watch them anymore.
I opened Facebook and quickly closed it. I just didn’t see anything on Facebook that I wanted to spend more time on.
I thought about watching more instructional videos about Amazon FBA and Etsy, two business models I wanted to pursue. But I’d read so much about them that I got tired of it.
I just needed to take action and start selling something. I was done doing research. It wasn’t because I had known everything about it. I was just sick and tired of reading. I then tried to force myself to create a product for my blog, but I didn’t want to do it.
In a nutshell, I felt so empty, lost, and unmotivated. This is the day I have been yearning for. I got tired of staying at home on the weekends doing housework and taking care of our son all the time.
Now I have the opportunity to go out and do what I want. Yet, I don’t know what I want to do, and I don’t feel any happier. What’s wrong with me?
The night before I was tired of blogging, so I took a break, gathered all of my old clothes, ironed them, and hung them up to take pictures and sell them on eBay.
I asked myself if I wanted to go home and continued that eBay product. And the answer is no. I don’t know what I’m doing at the mall, but I sure don’t want to go home. I need my break.
I just need to figure out what I want to do with the ample time and freedom that I have in hand. I’m at the mall, but I’m not in a mood to shop. I don’t want to spend money, and I’m trying to get rid of my old clothes at home.
I don’t want more clutter in my closet. There are at least 4 dresses I found yesterday night that I have never worn. Yet, they still manage to sit in my closet.
FIRE and the lack of purpose
What is it exactly that I want to do? In the personal finance community, we always talk about our wish to work on passion projects when we retire early.
I have a long list of passion projects I’ve always thought I want to do such as making YouTube videos, blogging, selling products online.
But now that I’m sitting in the coffee shop with ample time to do what I’m passionate about, I suddenly lost passion. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
The only thing I manage to do is to write about what I’m currently experiencing. And it’s because I wanted to be productive and produce something even in this moment of lost thoughts and actions.
When Mr. FAF and I become financially independent, what will I be doing then? Will I be happy or will I be lost as I am now not knowing what to do with my free time? If Mr. FAF and I become millionaires today by some stroke of luck, would I feel different than what I do now?
Those questions start to linger in my head. I wonder about what I will be doing with all the money that Mr. FAF and I have saved up and invested so far.
We’ve been working hard and not wasting money for a future of financial freedom. I have been reminiscing the day when I was still single and could do what I want.
But now that I have that freedom, I just don’t know what to do with it. What if Mr. FAF and I feel the same way when we finally achieve FIRE?
The role of emotions
Sometimes I feel that my emotions are not within my control. My emotions tell me to work hard on my blog and then suddenly resist the idea of me writing blog content.
It’s so hard to predict my emotions tomorrow, let alone in 20 or 30 years. The only thing I know is that if I save and invest now, I will be financially secure in the future. I don’t know if I will be happier. I just don’t.
I always thought that Mr. FAF and I would be so much happier after he got his first full-time job, but we aren’t. We don’t worry about money as much as before, but I don’t think we feel like different people who are ecstatic about our household income all the time.
As I was typing this post, I realized that I’ve produced new content for my site. And most importantly, I’ve been able to put my confused feelings into words.
I have also reflected on what happened between my MIL and me this morning and tried to understand where she was coming from. Of course, I’m still not happy about what happened. But I’ve gradually been able to see the big picture.
When I had an argument with my MIL this morning, it was all about her against me. But now I guess I can see it as family drama – something a family goes through and just needs to figure out to stay together.
My feeling of emptiness is still there. I still don’t know what I will be doing after finishing this post. It’s almost 2 PM and I don’t plan to go home until 5 PM, so I still have three hours to spare.
Maybe I will just keep pondering and writing down my thoughts. It’s a good exercise for my mind and my personal and emotional growth. Or maybe I should just get up and go window shopping to keep my mind off things for a while.
I later went home at 4 PM, apologized to my MIL, and started preparing dinner for the family. I suddenly felt happy again. Sometimes happiness is just within reach, but maybe we just don’t realize it.
I do need a break, but maybe it doesn’t have to be the whole day. And I will continue to pursue my dream of financial freedom.
I realized that no matter how much Mr. FAF and I make, the most important thing that can make us happy at heart is spending quality time with our family.
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28 thoughts on “What To Do When You Are Tired Of Money & Life”
Thoroughly enjoyed the post, and something I have definitely been thinking about myself.
It’s good to have goals, however, making it all about goals will lead to the endless pursuit of “happiness”. It’s well known that once a goal has been accomplished, we’re already looking for the next big thing.
Money is a just a tool, just a number. It won’t really make you that much happier, especially once everything’s covered. It’s just something you’d rather have than not. In fact, there have been times where it’s made me more miserable.
Things like these are just life’s questions. Surround yourself with good company, and then fearlessly go after what you want. Yeah, it may take a while to figure it out, but that’s always been life.
Right now, I have money and stuff, but it’s lifeless and not going to help in anyway pursuing what I want to do in life.
Hi Will, I can relate to a lot of what you said. Sometimes I do question the purpose of money. Of course, I’m saving money aggressively and want to be rich one day. But I also wonder how that’d feel. No matter what it is, accumulating wealth is always good if we do it right. 😉
From time to time, I would feel trapped and unmotivated to do anything. No amount of money will motivate me when I am feeling gloomy. To get out of the his funk, I usually find any activities that can motivate me and make me happy and I will direct my attention to thiose activities.
In other times, I just need to stop everything and just clear my mind. I just need to keep my emotions in check and keep calm and just carry on.
Thank you for your advice, Leo! Taking a step back and reflect on our thoughts and emotions can definitely help. I’ve felt trapped and unmotivated myself, and money just can’t solve all the problems. 🙂
Wow Mrs. FAF. I’m sorry to hear you struggle like this. I think we all go through some of these thought cycles. I’ve read a bunch about finding your “why.” Why do you want to be fi? What would you do when you have total freedom? Brainstorm on it a bit. Turn those thoughts into goals. Accomplish them and live your dreams. Oh and it’s okay to change those dreams too. Things change. To me, the beauty of FI is the flexibility to keep chasing and changing our dreams.
Thank you, Jason! I’m glad I’m not the only one asking all these questions. Sometimes I read other PF blogs and see how assertive many of us are, and I just can’t help but doubt myself. Moving onward while reflecting on our life purposes is definitely the way to go! 🙂
These are definitely some real struggles I think all of us go through at some point.
Re: FIRE specifically I’m in the same boat. It’s semi-encouraging to know I’ve got 15-20 years to figure it out, but at the same time when I get there I know I’m not going to want to do anything. My goal is to retire and just decompress for a few months.
I don’t think you need to be concerned about figuring out what you want to do now. I have an idea, but like you said who knows if you’ll want the same things when that time comes?
And there’s nothing wrong with kicking your feet up and enjoying the rest of the ride you’ve got left, if that’s what you decide. 🙂 I feel like in the FIRE community especially, folks who quit and don’t do anything are a bit of the odd-ball out. Sometimes they’re even attacked for not pursuing something they’re passionate about or something productive. But the truth is, a lot of us still don’t know, and need to go through that boredom and self-discovery that only early retirement can offer, in order to find out what it is we want to DO in early retirement. It’s a bit paradoxical.
I’m looking forward to plenty of R&R, some home projects, and just generally not giving a damn about anything. 🙂
That’s a great insight, Dave! I do wonder if I’ll want the same thing and have the same goals when I retire. But there’s no telling what the future will be like, so I think I’ll just try to figure out what my short-term goals are first and enjoy some fun projects as you mentioned. ^.^
I think we all feel that way sometimes. We have all these ideas in our head and things we’d like to accomplish if only we had more time to devote to them. But then when we have some extra time we suddenly don’t want to do them right then. I think burnout is real and you need to take a break to recharge every now and then.
I think you are right, Mike! I was totally burned out from blogging a month ago. I felt better after taking a break. Recharging is so important sometimes. 🙂
I see that all the comments you’ve gotten so far are from men. And that’s cool! It’s awesome that they are engaged and making good suggestions. But I read this post (and couple of your others), and I just want to tell you something Mom to Mom. Being a Mom is a role that can leave you feeling depleted, ambivalent and alone at times. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your child dearly, it’s just that you aren’t sure what happened to the “You” that used to know. There’s a reason there are so many Mommy and Me type groups. It’s not for your baby’s “socialization” or just something to occupy bored stay at home moms. It’s so you can talk to other women, sharing the same feelings about motherhood and life, and be understood, supported and reassured. This is something that your husband and mother-in-law can’t really do for you. And probably neither can blogging about it. If you can find time to make a few connections with other young moms, who are at the same point in the motherhood journey, you might find it’s more help to your frame of mind than time spent alone. Also, I recently read the book “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver. A dark, compelling story, that totally nails the sometimes not-so-nice feelings about motherhood and the lost sense of self that might accompany it. Anyway, I really hope I’m not getting too personal or making unfounded presumptions, I just want you to know you are not alone in trying to make sense of all of the changes to yourself that your growing family brings. 🙂
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Kat! Being a mom can bring so much joy yet can invite so many judgments from other people sometimes. If we do it right, it is taken for granted. But if something goes minorly wrong, moms are the first to be blamed. Getting together with other moms is a great idea! 🙂
We all need a break sometime. I’m sure we all felt disconnected and worn out sometime. I’d feel a bit lost if I have the whole day to myself. What would I do? Life has been revolving around the family for so long. I’d probably read and take a long nap to catch up on my sleep. 🙂
Napping always helps me feel more refreshed too. I don’t read books as much as I should >_< But it's definitely a relaxing activity to take on! 🙂
Aw I remember that day. I don’t even remember what I told you but I was happy you’re finally getting a break from all the housework, babysitting and blogging. Splitting off between parents sounds like a great idea – your MIL is probably more traditional hence the drama.
Oh and they call the “feeling like home is a trap” thing as “going stir crazy.” Well that’s the American vernacular. It’s what new born moms go through a lot of the time. Don’t worry, it’s normal once in a while to feel this way.
My MIL is definitely very traditional, especially when it comes to household roles. That has caused some tension between us for sure. But in general, she’s a good MIL 😉
I always tell couples who don’t have kids yet to travel and enjoy life. And I’m tempted to tell you and Jared the same thing hehe.
Yeah, I can relate Mrs. FAF … MIL’s suck! There’s not a lot that can be done to fix that. She seems to have really “gotten to you”.
Your lack of energy for your passion projects is a little hard to understand. I always have way too many projects happening at once. I don’t have nearly enough time to work on all of them, despite NOT working anymore.
Sure, we can all get burned out sometimes. Maybe you just need a break to recharge?
Thank you, Mr. Tako! I think I just needed a break from blogging and housework at the time. I’m feeling much better now and will def continue to pursue my passion projects. 🙂
We can all relate Ms FAF!! It’s just one of the those days that you feel their no purpose to being financially secure and maybe question if it is really important to be financially independent. I think we all have that unmotivated feeling. But once you air out your feelings and emotions by writing or talking to somebody you feel a sense of urgency to do keep pushing yourself again.
I’m glad you can relate, Kris! I didn’t know others experienced the same feelings. I just felt totally lost and wanted to express my confused emotions on my blog. Taking a break definitely helps. 🙂
Thanks for sharing. You’re right – what’s important is family. That’s why it’s called Financial Independence, not Financial Happiness. Money doesn’t make you happy – it just provides freedom and flexibility.
I totally agree with you! Money can give us the freedom and flexibility that we otherwise wouldn’t have. ^.^
Sorry to hear you are feeling like that. I agree with Kats comment- it can be difficult to be a new mom! Figuring out your new identity and trying to retain your old one is difficult. I know when I had my 1.5 hour alone time at a coffee shop a few weeks ago I felt a bit guilty leaving my husband and son while on vacation but at the same time I found it recharging. Maybe you felt more unproductive and unmotivated because of the argument with MIL? If she was supportive of your day off from housework maybe you would have felt her support and would not have the “lost” feeling.
Having an argument with my MIL definitely wasn’t a perfect way to start my day out. But we resolved the issue in the end. I can now take a break when I want as long as Mr. FAF and I agree on how we want to take turns taking care of Baby FAF. 🙂
Thanks for your honest post. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns is it? We all have our own expectations but really the most insignficant remark or sideways glare can make us curl up and wish to escape. I think you handle things well just by taking a break and that doesn’t have to cost $$, I spent last night very lazy and overdoing both the wine and food all by my glorious self–yep, I felt selfish, felt guilty, felt awesome and now, I get up and get on with my responsibilities, including work, home and holiday.
Don’t feel bad about taking some time out for yourself. I’m a dad of a 4 year old, and handle all the child-rearing (cooking, cleaning, bathing, oral care, laundry, education, planning, etc) and all other chores and money-making duties. Thankfully, I am FI so can just barely handle all these duties. You have a full-time job, your husband should share in household responsibilities, that’s my personal opinion. Having a mother-in-law help with some household stuff should help too.
I am raising a daughter, it took me a while to understand taking care of a little girl, but any dad can learn. And I absolutely love taking care of her despite having little time for myself.
“It’s so hard to predict my emotions tomorrow, let alone in 20 or 30 years. The only thing I know is that if I save and invest now, I will be financially secure in the future. I don’t know if I will be happier.”
Oh my gosh! Are you me?! These are literally the things I journal about and have written verbatim at one point or another. When FIRE seems so far away, it makes me wonder if it’s even worth it. Of course it is because what’s the alternative? But I thought when I started this journey about 3 months ago it was finally the sense of purpose and direction I needed and ALL my problems would be solved. That lasted like a week…after you set your savings goal and budget your expenses…there wasn’t much else to do… that high wore off and the grind settled back in… now what?
A lot of FIRE bloggers do not give much emphasis on the emotional side of the financial/ or any decisions. Maybe it’s different for them. Also, it’s important to remember that the well known ones already achieved FIRE and started the blog after the fact… or at least that’s what their most recent posts reflect.
Keep going, it’s tedious journey!
Just came across this post at random. I can tell you from personal experience, more than likely – even reaching fatFIRE will not make you any happier. It seems that the goal post keeps moving higher, especially when you have little ones like us!