First off, I gotta say typhoon Nida was a new and unique experience for me. Luckily, not too much damage was done, but I think the typhoon really started picking up around 2:00 AM yesterday, and unfortunately for me, I didn’t get out of bed until around 7:00 AM. When I woke up and checked around the house, everything appeared to be in good working order… until I ventured into one of the bedrooms and found a pool of water on the ground.
Long story short, you can say I spent a lot of quality time with rags and buckets yesterday, trying to clean up the mess… Being in California for entirely too long, the only thing that I’ve ever really worried about in my life was earthquakes… Well, now I know what typhoons are about! I’m sure folks in the Midwest and further out east know a thing or two about crazy winds, but I can’t say that I did until yesterday…
Anyway, nothing too crazy for me to report, so all is good. The typhoon did leave some wreckage in its wake, so I just hope and pray that the damage was minimal.
By around 1:00 PM or so, the weather stations were reporting an “all clear” as the No 8 typhoon was reduced to No 3, which was affirmation that the worst was behind us and the typhoon had moved passed HK and was heading further inland to China and Shenzhen.
During the “downtime” I used the opportunity to try and get caught up with my e-mails. Unfortunately, I also tend to receive a lot of spam, so it’s always been sort of a challenge for me to try and to separate out the wheat from the chaff… Recently I did make the switch over to gmail, so hopefully I have the plugin on the “Contact” page setup correctly so that it can re-route any messages out to my gmail address, instead. For the most part, if anyone wants to reach me, I would say Twitter and Facebook are the best bets, after the gmail address of: fifightervideo @ gmail
Moving along, while I was sifting through e-mails, I came across one from a reader of this blog, let’s call her Q, who I had met before a few years ago in NYC. Q is an ardent real estate investor, and one of my favorites among readers I’ve met in person (I’m a big fan of everything she’s doing), so when I saw that e-mail informing me that she was in HK, I got really excited… Then I read further along and saw that the itinerary called for her to depart back home to the states at the end of July… I quickly glanced at my calendar and came to the sullen realization that it was now August.
I was pretty frustrated at myself for missing out on this opportunity and reading the e-mail too late… Nevertheless, I decided to respond back and ask her how she was doing… To my surprise, Q got back to me not that long after my reply, and told me that due to the typhoon, she was actually still stuck in HK! So, in this one instance, let’s call the typhoon a blessing in disguise!
It gave me a chance to re-connect with Q.
We arranged for a meet up dinner last night, and I got to say, it was exactly what the doctor ordered. I’ve been in kind of a funk lately, and really needed to sit down with someone and get some perspective on life again. If I haven’t made it abundantly clear on this blog by now, I really do get a huge kick out of networking and talking to other like-minded individuals. As a former engineer who worked in Silicon Valley for close to a decade, you could say that I’ve been deprived, so any chance I get to meet up with someone who is striving fiercely for early FI and are into things like real estate investing, stock investing, etc., etc., I just always seem to find myself in a pleasant situation, surrounded by people who better understand me.
Like, I always look forward to regular discussions with folks like Sabeel from Roadmap2Retire, Bryan from Income Surfer, Sharon from Digital Nomad Quest, Nick from MiningBookGuy, and recently I got into contact with Tyler from Dividend Hustler, who has been making efforts to comment on this blog, but his messages were ALWAYS getting caught up in my spam box! Arghhh!! My apologies to Tyler and all the other fine folks out there who I’ve missed due to communication issues! Anyway, the list goes on and on, but you get my point…
So, last night’s dinner was again pretty awesome. I kind of joked with Q that the next time we meet up again, it should be in London… The first time was in NYC, the second time in HK, so naturally, the next “uberly expensive” city ought to be in the UK right?
It’s kind of funny too… Like, I know I’m not a “baller” or “big time” by any stretch of the imagination, but because my lifestyle is so darn simple and uncomplicated, an occasional flight out (thanks in part to travel hacking) to basically anywhere in the world for a few days or week, should be doable (from time to time)… No, I won’t be living a lifestyle of the “rich and the famous”, but for an unassuming guy like me, that would already be more than anything I could have ever dreamed of.
During dinner, we talked a lot about goals, passive income, and investing. For me, though, the highlight of the conversation was when Q and I talked about life. Of course, I made sure to compliment her on all the kickass progress she’s been making because she’s seriously been putting the stuff I’ve done to shame, and it got interesting when she asked me, “So, what’s next for you?”
As is typical, I usually find myself perplexed and lost when thinking about the future, because so much of it is not set in stone, and I have no one or anything to guide me along anymore… I am my own boss and there are no longer any rules and regulations that I must follow… I made a brief comment along the lines of:
“You know, it’s kind of fascinating how life works out sometimes… Like, I never could have planned any of this… Most people follow a somewhat predictable path — Go to school, get a degree, get a job/meet someone, get married, have kids, build a future together/invest, etc…
In my own situation, it was something along the lines of — Go to school, get a degree, get a job, invest, retire… Umm, now what?”
While I struggled in a state of confusion, Q was quick to point out to me, “You’re in such a wonderful situation in life right now… You have all the time in the world to do whatever you please. You can literally be wherever you want and surround yourself with whoever you want.”
And then we started talking about things like dating, and I said, “That’s something that’s going to prove to be extremely challenging for me… Like when you’re in school, most of your peers are doing similar things to you, so it’s easy to find common ground and to relate with someone… For me, it’s hard enough finding even just friends who see eye-to-eye, so it’s probably going to be even tougher to meet someone out there who really understands me.”
Hmm, maybe I was being too pessimistic?
Q quickly got my thoughts re-calibrated. She said, “You can use anything you want as common ground. Most everyone you meet will be so focused on 9-5 lifestyle, they won’t have time to indulge in any of their hobbies and passions… So, find out what the other person likes, for instance a favorite TV show, or music artist, and in your abundant free time, go embrace that stuff so that when you guys get together again, you’ll have so many things to talk about… You can become such an interesting person, during this whole process. You can’t help but become interesting…”
That’s what I needed to hear. Just like it kind of had been during my fight for early FI, sometimes the best way you make progress towards something is to stop focusing on it so much…
With dating, I shouldn’t be wasting time wondering about things like, “What are the odds I meet someone who understands early FI?“, but instead, I’ve just got to keep on making efforts on getting out there and meeting people, going on dates with no expectations, and just having fun, really…
I think it’s human nature to feel the need to have to worry about something, especially the future… For instance, most people worry about paying the bills, investing, pay raises, etc… Since I don’t have those fears anymore, I guess by instinct, the next runner up for me would be to worry about dating and where I’m going to meet my future life partner…
She’s out there somewhere, I can’t wait to finally get the chance to meet her, and I am certainly most confident I will find her, someday…
And Q’s points just further re-affirm and validate early FI and why it’s such an amazing goal to be chasing, for anyone, regardless if you’re going about it yourself, or if you have the luxury of sharing it with a supportive partner.
In my case, just because I’m retired, decoupled from the Matrix, and now somewhat “different” from most everyone else, I’m really only as “different” as I let myself be… Again, with the benefit of now owning excess time (relative to anyone else who is still dependent on a day job), I can be pretty much whoever and whatever I want to be…
There are no restrictions and limitations… except my own mindset.
If anything, I’m only making things harder on myself by over-analyzing… Really, I just need to go out there and make it happen! This means, continuing to focus on my health, exercising, getting out there and meeting up with readers (still got a few appointments I need to schedule in and I’m really looking forward to them), joining meet up groups, experimenting with new hobbies, and just getting consumed with living and loving life.
Man, it was so good to get to talk to someone (who I have only met twice in person!), and she like totally understood me, and had so many nuggets of wisdom to share…
And I just want to add, in many instances, I’ve met up with readers and they are quick to compliment me for the work that I’ve put in here (which I appreciate most humbly), but no one should ever forget that the benefits are mutual… For instance, with last night’s dinner, I would argue that I was the party who gained the most from the encounter… My point is, even though I’m a blogger and am fortunate enough to have access to a wonderful pool of like-minded people out there, I’m no different from anybody else… I’m still a human being (first and foremost), and I’m very, very much still trying to learn as I go.
Why am I sharing all this with you? To give readers a perspective on some of the things someone thinks about when they are retired and living the post-FI life… The fight never stops… Right now, I’m working on building up health and relationships… Despite early FI, no, I most definitely do NOT have life figured out and on many occasions, I feel very lost and hopeless… still…
I know that there are readers out there who really appreciate these type of “lifestyle” posts, and others who are here more for the “investment” articles… To try and stay balanced, I tend to alternate back and forth between the two… I’ve always believed that when you strip away everything from someone, all that’s left is their humanity. So, let’s never forget to be human first…
Each and everyday, we’re just trying to do our best to get better and better.
Thanks again Q, you saved me from myself last night.