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.
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.
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.