Early retirement is ruining my life.

Breaking Bad Bear By Lora Zombie
**Apparently I wasn't very clear that most of this was sarcasm. Please note that none of this stuff is really ruining my life, in fact I think everything I mention is a postive thing rather than a negative. I guess I need to work on my sarcastic writing tone more!**

I always thought it was silly that most people worked from 9 to 5 to 65. Society pretty much set this standard that everyone is meant to live by, and for some reason I haven't been listening to those rules. But a few years back I decided to save over 50 percent of my income so I could reach financial independence early. Only recently have I stared to realize how this is ruining my life, and I'm reminded of it every single day.

Because of my saving habits I don't have extra money to buy stuff that helps me fit in with my friends and co-workers. First of all, when I'm going out to meet up with them, many times I end up taking the bus or even *gasp* walking. When I'm hoofing it to meet up with them at a restaurant or bar I have nothing but time on my hands to think about the poor decisions that led me use my own two legs to get me places.

Then, once I'm actually out with people, I'm the only one that doesn't get to enjoy taking pictures of my food. I've hamstringed my life in such a way that I can't Instagram the shit out of it or post it on Facebook to show everyone what a good time I'm having because I'm lacking one critical thing. A smart phone. And let's not get started on snap chat, it's like a game that I can never play with my friends. Sometimes they let me look at something someone sent them if I'm around but for the most part it's like everyone is playing a game and I get to be the line judge just watching everyone else. I tell them that they can still send me a picture message through a text but they always say "it's just not the same." It leaves me on the outside looking in.

Even at work I'm treated like I'm some sort of social pariah, when everyone goes out to lunch everyday I find myself sitting in the kitchen area eating a sandwich that I actually made myself. I'm regularly asked what I had for dinner the night before. It's really embarrassing that people know I eat the same meal more than once instead of just throwing out what was left over.

I also only get to enjoy vacations to countries where the exchange rate is in my favor. "Goodbye Western Europe, hello South America!" I never got to take a gap year to just explore the world. I only get the standard 2-3 weeks of vacation time per year to satisfy my travel bug and figure out what I want to do with my life. (Yes, I'm almost 32 and yes I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life, I just know I don't want to do it working.)

My choices in transportation are definitely more limited with this lifestyle that I've chosen to shackle myself with. I will never be able to lease the car of my dreams for 3-4 years at a time. I'll only be able to own a modest car that gets reasonable gas mileage. My dreams of owning an SUV to take regular trips to the snow are officially shattered.

My iPad, iPhone, iLifestyle does not exist. I only get to spend about $400 on a computer every 3 or 4 years instead of having the latest model MacBook Air for $1k. I don't know what I would do if all of my electronic devices talked and shared with each other, the time that I would save by not having to turn on each device and use it separately would be staggering. Perhaps even enough time that I could write that novel I've always been thinking of.

And get this, I've always lived with roommates! I've never had an entire home to myself, how crazy is that! Having a place to come home to that was truly your own space would feel so freeing.

Oh wait, in all seriousness.... Maybe that last one has some truth to it.

20 comments:

  1. It can be a bit difficult to fit in with the crowd sometimes regardless if you have all of the gadgets they have and really it is never ending. But, there will always be something "new" or "exciting", and those friends will move onto the next phase.

    I can understand people at work shocked that you don't go out to eat. A few months ago I went to subway (using a gift card I got back in February) and my co-worker was shocked I was going out to eat... and that it was from a gift card I have had in my possession for several months waiting for a time such as that day where I was not prepared with leftovers for some reason.

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    1. I actually have no problems going against the grain on things. I think it comes natually amongst those striving for early retirement. But on the few days that I actually do end up going out for lunch people do comment that I didn't bring something since that's my routine.

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  2. Hey Zee,

    One you didn't mention, but is a big one for me, is TV. I don't know how many times recently I'll have coworkers or friends talking about the latest TV show and I'm standing there possibly knowing the name of the show but little else.

    Recently I was with a couple friends as they talked about Big Brother, and while my wife has watched it in the past, that was 6-7 years ago. They were talking house strategies, and it wasn't long before my mind started wandering off to other thoughts.

    Keep up the good work - I like your posts!

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    1. BGM,

      You're right! TV is one of those things that I'm usually a season behind on since it usually takes a year or so for it to make it to Netflix. But there are plenty of shows that I only know of by the references that I hear from other people.

      Currently the show that my friends tell me that I should watch is Fargo. I liked the movie back when it came out so I can see the appeal, but that's on a channel that I just don't get. Thanks for the comment.

      -Zee

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  3. Effective way of making the point and fun to read, thanks! One day you'll also be 'the oddball' among your contemporaries when they're all wondering how you can work part-time, at something you enjoy, when they're all still slaving away making someone else wealthier because they're still in debt up their eyeballs and have $12,000 in their retirement accounts!

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    1. Kurt,

      I like being the oddball :)

      I'm looking forward to when I can actually cut down to a part time job or just swap careers to something more fun even if it pays less.

      -Zee

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  4. Hey Zee, The snow is over rated anyways. Saving 50% of your income seems almost impossible for so many people so that's pretty amazing. I could see where a social life would suffer in this sense though. Do you turn down concerts with friends? When you go on dates, do you go dutch? Do you avoid nice restaurants or just avoid dating all together? How do you handle birthdays? Holidays? Valentines Day? Christmas? and any other pressured retail event? It would be difficult without hurting people's feelings I bet.

    I don't understand why people are asking you what you ate for dinner the night before and there is nothing wrong with leftovers. In fact, I have always liked it when people eat leftovers and not spent their money on an overpriced meal. (Breakfast and lunch are my two least favorite meals to eat out. I think it is a total waste of money usually). Also, would you really take pictures of your food anyways? You seem to have different motivations in life rather than trying to impress people with your "stuff". I don't see how these things are ruining your life. You probably get more daily exercise in, you are likely not on your phone during dinners so you are more respectful, and let's face it, snapchat is for teenagers who are constantly making poor decisions they don't want to be held accountable for and for people who want to send nudes, but don't want it stuck in someone's digital library.

    It doesn't sound like you are ruining your life at all, but having to find real ways to make it more fulfilling than being on a smartphone every waking hour. Those friends you see on their phone are probably anxious little bunnies who may have forgotten how to sit with themselves and others for long periods of time. I say kudos to you for holding out.

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    1. Well, my social life does not suffer from any of this and I don't really think I'm ruining my life with any of these things. I know what social norms are and I'm not so tight fisted that I don't spend money at all.

      As for eating leftovers people are used to me doing that. When I actually go out for lunch is when people comment these days. That's the true break in the pattern.

      I wouldn't take pictures of my food either, but I know that a lot of people do so I just wanted to pretend that I was going to be missing out on something. I also wanted to make fun of the whole "taking pictures of your food" thing just because I don't understand why people care enough.

      -Zee

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    2. As a person who enjoys food presentation and the art of food plating, I enjoy seeing some of the creative ways people use their artistic skills to plate their food. Side note: NPR actually reported on a study that showed how people thought food that was presented nicely actually tasted better, even though it was the same food. With that said, I think some people just want to tease starving people. Perhaps people should start taking Instagram pictures of used condoms to tease these foodies back.

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    3. There's nothing wrong with a well presented meal, I appreciate a meal that looks nice as compared to something that's just slopped together. I just don't know if I feel like I would ever need to take pictures of it to show people that aren't there. I know that on my death bed when I look back at photos of my life I will never care about meals that I ate.

      Of course I've never had one of the most pretentious meal presentations ever that perhaps is worth recording:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwTNS0nioFg

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    4. That's ridiculous and personally I dislike Jackson Pollock and anyone who uses food to knock off his work is even more idiotic. Little harsh, but whatever. AI do actually take pictures of food I prepare sometimes since again, I like to be artistic with my presentations at times. I find that I end up deleting most of the restaurant food pics I take and never upload them, unless I put them on Yelp for people to be like, "Oh! That's looks yummy". But I will post something like once I had a sushi roll where each piece was almost as big as my head. That was me saying, "wtf?" and letting people join in on the amusement of such absurdity.

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    5. I may be eating my words sooner than I thought.... I am actually just planning a vacation right now and I'm almost sure I know where I'm going, and it may end up being a place where I might actually take pictures of food. We'll see!

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    6. Can I come?

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  5. Fun, edgy article. And that bear from Breaking Bad....your pics are some of the best in he blogosphere. At a certain age, the roommate situation becomes long in the tooth. Living where you do...and saving as you have...it makes sense. Someday perhaps it won't. Great writing style...keep up the solid wok.

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    1. Thanks, the pictures I use are typically just art that I like (or sometimes own). I decided a long time ago that generic stock photos don't really add much to my posts so I figured I would mix in another one of my passions into this blog, art! So there's usually a link to the artists website with each image. Thanks for the compliments and thanks for stopping by!

      -Zee

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  6. Well placed sarcasm can really hit home. Not having "The Facebook" is actually very entertaining. People feel sorry for you. Oh, you don't have The Facebook? Oh, why not?" I do have an old iPhone 4 on Ting. It isn't fancy, is kind of slow, but it works and is cost effective. Thanks!

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    1. Hey Wade,

      I actually do have facebook, but I don't really use it for much. It's the easiest way for a lot of people to get in touch when there's things like birthday parties or BBQ's so that's the main reason I have it. It's convenient to keep in touch, but beyond that I'm not much of a FB user.

      -Zee

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  7. Hey Zee,

    I sensed the sarcasm and enjoyed reading the article. I just added you to my blogroll. :)

    I'm not a big fan of Instagram. I don't really see a point in snapping every second of my life and letting people know about it. I'm only into Facebook because of my blog. I don't use it in real life. I used to, but I found it more of a time sucker.

    I have a smartphone which is probably now considered an antique smart phone: A Blackberry bold. It does what it needs to do. I mainly use it for texting and emailing.

    I, too, am in my early 30s and still not sure what my destiny is...lol

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    1. Hey Karen,

      Thanks for adding me to your blogroll, I appreciate it!

      The more that I use social media for my blog the more I realize I hate it, I didn't understand twitter before and now.... now I just realize I don't like it at all!

      -Zee

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