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It’s Time to Stop Running… (January 05, 2015)

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rat-race-cage

The new year is just underway and I’m sure most of you are just getting re-situated at work. You know, the ol’ day job (aka rat race)… A game that I’m all too familiar with, since 2015 would mark Year 8 of my engineering career.

Before company shutdown, I started feeling sick… Not the usual cough or cold that goes away within a week, but all sorts of other symptoms… worse than usual. Afflictions that have added up and accumulated over the years due to constant stress and having to regularly burn the midnight oil. I’ll spare you the details, since I could ramble all day long about how toxic the modern workplace is. We all have our reasons for wanting to get to early FI… mine just so happens to heavily involve health. This isn’t something I’ve openly shared with readers, as I’ve preferred to keep certain aspects of my life more private.

For the most part, I can be pretty stubborn… When I start a task, I don’t like to cut it short half-way. So, often times, it’s full throttle or nothing at all. After giving it my all for so long, I guess you can say I’ve reached the point of critical mass — the body simply doesn’t want to (can’t) do this anymore.

If you want to use an analogy, we often compare the journey to early FI to that of running a long-distance marathon. Well, I’ve been running on a sprained ankle for quite some time now… and I’ve just about had enough of it.

During the first few years, I honestly felt like I had no choice but to keep running… My investment portfolio was still a work in progress, and I greatly feared the consequences of losing my high-paying tech job.

Through the years, the wear and tear just kept getting worse and worse. Still, I kept running. It’s accumulative damage, and every year (it seems), I just add more ailments to the already extensive list…. Definitely not how I ever pictured my 20’s to look like!

But I’m not sharing this with you today to gain sympathy… This is not a sob story, but merely the reality I’ve been forced to operate under. Not something I would ever wish upon anyone, but it is what it is.

With that said, I’m tired of running. I’m in constant pain and it really sucks. It takes away so much joy from my life… Yet it also is a blessing because it makes me truly value and appreciate everything that I do have. After all, how can you know what good is without the bad? Even with all the bad, life is still very much worth living!

Anyway, I’ve made more progress on the journey to early FI in the last 3 years than I ever could have imagined possible. For that I’m most grateful…

And now it’s time to face the music. Sure, I could keep running, but what’s the point? There’s no limit to greed… And I can always play the “one more year” game for perpetuity… At this point in time, the cons to keep running far outweigh the pros.

A wise man once told me, there are three ingredients to happiness:

1) Wealth

2) Health

3) Relationships

I’ve spent the last 3 years fixated on ONE thing… It’s about time I dedicated my life to the other two.

There’s more to life than $$$. I realized that today. When the body complains, you had better listen… I checked out of work early today. I may not go back…

Enough is enough.

I’m not certain what’s to come in the future, but I want my life back.

It’s time to stop running…

 

Photo Credit: https://goingplaceslivinglife.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/rat-race-cage.jpg

{ 48 comments… add one }
  • J. MoneyNo Gravatar January 5, 2015, 5:28 pm

    I do believe congratulations may be in order? 🙂

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 7:22 am

      J Money,

      I’ll let you know when the time comes. Get that champagne bottle ready 😉

      Cheers!

      • J. MoneyNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 10:13 am

        You know I got your back…

        • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 8, 2015, 5:56 am

          Appreciate it brother!

  • JamesNo Gravatar January 5, 2015, 7:49 pm

    Whoa, I feel like we’re on the verge of a big announcement here.

    Hope all goes well!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 7:23 am

      James,

      I’m playing it by ear right now, but there may be something around the corner soon.

      Take care!

  • LeighNo Gravatar January 5, 2015, 7:54 pm

    I’m sorry to hear this. Work stress definitely takes its toll on my body and on my relationships, this year much more so than other years.

    Good luck and take care of yourself!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 7:25 am

      Leigh,

      Thanks for the support. I’ll do my best to steer clear of the evil stress.

      All the best!

  • NickNo Gravatar January 5, 2015, 8:07 pm

    I hope all goes well for you. I have really enjoyed reading about your FI journey. I am an engineer (just had my 5 year anniversary). I can certainly understand the damage it can do to a person. Good luck with your choice. It never hurts to sleep on a major decision.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 7:27 am

      Nick,

      Thanks for the support! Yes, I’m going to take some time off before committing to anything major.

      All the best!

  • Mr. FrugalwoodsNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 4:59 am

    As the lead for a team of software engineers who develop and maintain a high availability web service that moves many millions of dollars… I know _exactly_ where you are coming from. While technically someone else gets the first page, from a practical standpoint I am on call 24/7/365. It wears on you after a time.

    It’s one of my main reasons for working towards FI. I honestly don’t know that I could physically handle the stress for a typical 30 year career. And I’m a naturally low stress person!

    All that to say… good for you for recognizing that health is more important than a bit more cushion in the financial model department. I can’t wait to hear about what’s next!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 7:30 am

      Mr. Frugalwoods,

      Yeah, I can’t imagine a 30 year career in tech either… It’s very impressive how so many are able to do that. I’ve met a number who have no complaints either and feel terrific.

      More power to them, but it’s not the life for me. Just getting through 7 years has been a huge challenge for me.

      I’m allergic to cubes… 😉

      Take care!

  • EricNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 6:06 am

    I’ve been reading for your blog for over a year now. I’ve thought such an announcement has been overdue… 🙂

    Good luck in your decision!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 7:32 am

      Eric,

      Thanks! There will most likely be an announcement coming in the very near future…

      2015 will be exciting for sure!

      Cheers!

  • Andrew@LivingRichCheaplyNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 6:06 am

    I’m with James…I feel like there’s a big announcement on the horizon… You kind of left us hanging, but that might be intentional. The three ingredients of happiness are accurate and sometimes we ignore some of those ingredients. Good luck! But I’m sure luck is only a small part since I’m sure extensive planning is what is behind whatever your decision is.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 8:23 am

      Andrew,

      Yes, at this point I’m still not sure what I’m going to do exactly. I just know that I can’t keep pushing myself as I did before… It’s not healthy and I need to be smarter with my health.

      Over the course of the year, I’ll start revealing more of my future plans as early FI gets closer and starts to take shape.

      Cheers!

  • SavvyFinancialLatinaNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 6:49 am

    It’s crazy how work takes a toll on you and people still keep doing. There are so many expectations that sometimes it’s hard imagine an end to it. I’ve very early on my path to FI, but I hope for the best for you!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 8:26 am

      SavvyFinancialLatina,

      Yes, work keeps on going and the stress adds up over the years. Unfortunately, the work ethic culture we have ingrained here is one where you keep going until you can’t go anymore… Then they find someone to replace you.

      We must protect ourselves since no one else will. I’m trying to do that now.

      Take care!

  • Zee @ Work To Not WorkNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 7:50 am

    Whatever you decide on doing I wish you good luck. I hope you start feeling better, having your body start to wear down on you is a horrible thing.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 8:31 am

      Zee,

      Thanks for the support! Health is extremely important… You can always make money later, but good health is never guaranteed so we must take care of ourselves. I’m trying to learn and do that now.

      Take care!

  • ElroyNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 7:59 am

    So […] are you back at work?

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 8:32 am

      Nope

  • Mrs. BugNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 9:20 am

    So sorry to hear about your health issues. It’s truly awful the things we put our bodies through day in and day out at our jobs. I desk job is on of the worst for your body physically and the demands of jobs and the stress that goes with it definitely creates more health issues than ever before. I look forward to reading what your next step will be. Good for you for taking control of your life!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 8:34 am

      Mrs. Bug,

      Thanks for the support! Health is most important so there should be no need for us to ever have to push ourselves to the breaking point, day in and day out. I’ve done my best to invest wisely so that I won’t have to anymore in the future.

      Too much work is not a good thing.

      All the best!

  • MikeNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 11:46 am

    This calls for celebration! Pop dem bottles of Cristal…ino.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 8:35 am

      Mike,

      Not quite yet, but we are getting close to that day! 🙂

      Cheers!

  • Even StevenNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 12:10 pm

    I think at the very least a sabbatical is in order, but I’m guessing there might be more.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 8:36 am

      Even Steven,

      That might be a wise thing to do… I’ll look into it and see what’s possible. Full time work is out of the question for me now.

      Take care!

  • Mr. Captain CashNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 2:50 pm

    I do believe we need to celebrate if you have decided to never return to your job and declared FI!

    I am looking to hear what your decision is FI.

    Get feeling better,

    Mr. Captain Cash

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 8, 2015, 5:58 am

      Mr. Captain Cash,

      Not quite declared early FI yet, but that day will be arriving soon.

      Thanks for the get well wishes!

      Cheers!

  • No Nonsense LandlordNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 2:51 pm

    As someone who works full-time, manages 25 rental properties, does my own maintenance, plows snow in the winter, runs a mowing/fertilizer business in the summer, HOA President and Grounds Manager for a 120 unit complex, I know what it is like to burn the midnight oil. 80 hour weeks are routine.

    Hang in there, things are not so bad they cannot get worse. You made a lot of headway, but are swinging for the fence which gets frustrating at times. Slow the pace, digest what you have, and look for ways to be more efficient. FI will be there, but the system is designed to take 30 years, not 10 years. Of course, there are shortcuts if you take the Zuckerberg approach.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 8, 2015, 6:03 am

      Eric,

      That’s incredible how you are able to fit all that into your schedule. Kudos to you!

      Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to take on something 1/2 that. For me, right now my health is a top priority and more important than making more $$$. If I wasn’t battling this problem, I most likely would stick it out at the company for another 3-4 years…

      But I have to be smart and face reality. When the body says it’s enough, it’s enough.

      Cheers!

  • MUNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 4:30 pm

    All the best to you in 2015. Waiting for your big announcement.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 8, 2015, 6:04 am

      MU,

      It will happen sooner or later this year 🙂

      Best wishes to you in 2015 as well!

  • TylerNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 4:52 pm

    Nothing left to say that hasn’t already been said by others, but for whatever it’s worth, I think a simple, happy life will trump a wealthy, busy life any day of the week. So if you decide to fore go the typical silicon valley pursuit of excessive wealth in favor of a peaceful, purposeful life in pursuit of meaningful relationships and activities that you love, I think you’ll find that your current net worth and cashflow situation has set you up nicely for that decision. Though you may have to move to a less expensive part of the country.

    In either case, take some time to focus on your health. Best wishes from a long time reader, infrequent commenter.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 8, 2015, 6:07 am

      Tyler,

      I totally agree with you there. The simple, happy life is all that I’ve ever wanted all along.

      Yes, I haven’t figured out the location side of things yet, but making it work in Silicon Valley would be extremely tough…

      Appreciate the support and comment!

      All the best!

  • KalieNo Gravatar January 6, 2015, 8:01 pm

    Relationships are definitely what the good life is about. FI will not be freedom if your health and relationships are destroyed. I like to think of our financial goal as flexibility instead. We want to be wise with our money so we can take worthy opportunities as they come our way, rather than living to build wealth without experiencing what makes life joyful along the way.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 8, 2015, 6:11 am

      Kalie,

      Good point, and I agree. Those two very important items are things I need to do a better job of attending to. I’m not so concerned with building wealth anymore.

      Let’s bring joy back into life! 🙂

      Take care!

  • FerdiSNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 8:31 am

    There’s a reason the wise man you quoted lists 3 things. One cannot just focus on 1 (or even just 2) of them. You have to strike a balance between all three of them. Take some (extended) time off before you decide what to do.

    All the best with your decision!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 8, 2015, 6:20 am

      FerdiS,

      Agreed, a balance between the three is needed. It’s time for me to re-focus on the other two.

      The extended vacation is just what the doctor ordered.

      All the best!

  • FFdividendNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 9:16 am

    “Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.”
    ~BOB MARLEY

    good luck to you on what you decide.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 8, 2015, 6:23 am

      FFdividend,

      Love the quote and so very true!

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Mrs. WWNo Gravatar January 7, 2015, 11:20 am

    Wow, how exciting/scary! It reminds me of a dream my husband told me this morning. He dreamt that he’d been fired. He thought, “Wow, I was thinking this would be a good thing because it would be clear that I should move on but now I’m scared!” Now, it was just a dream and we aren’t ready for FI yet but any such step is a huge one and scary- even if it is a good step!

    Of course we all want you to be well. We want you to not have to slave away any longer. We want you to be free. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, realize that fear is actually excitement, and take that step. We’ll cheer you on.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar January 8, 2015, 6:25 am

      Mrs. WW,

      Thanks for the support! I’m going to take a week off, take that deep breath and think things through.

      Life was pretty hectic, so now it’s time to slow things down.

      All the best!

  • Financial SamuraiNo Gravatar January 21, 2015, 11:45 am

    Ah, I missed this post. Burnt out yeah? Just take a sabbatical and relax.

    In retrospect, was taking this new job for more pay the wrong move? OR, is it a great move b/c it makes you stick to your promise of exiting by 30??

    Sam

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