Introduction to Live FIRE Better
Updated: Jul 20, 2022
Reading the pages of the online FIRE community’s most successful author-entrepreneurs, one might have the sense that FIRE is similar to Disney, a happy destination to be reached. There are pictures of smiling children (usually the author’s and with good financial rationale!), boats, real estate, palm trees, and any number of other diversions reflective of prototypical joy. For many, reaching FIRE is liberating, creating enough time to finally reengage with every neglected hobby and opening up a world of possibilities.
That has not been my experience.
I attempted to reach FIRE by following sound financial principals but FIRE was never my specific goal. In theory, I knew I was hoping to get there because, why wouldn't I want the additional freedom promised by FIRE? However, I never specifically tried to reach it and never sacrificed much to do so. I just ended up in a place that was supposed to be the finish line and found it somewhat wanting.
Suddenly, the bottom fell out for me mentally. I’d accomplished everything possible in terms of the values I was raised with. There were no more rungs on the ladder; I’d “made it”. Yet, I felt like I was supposed to be overwhelmed by my sense of freedom in the land of plenty, but instead I was stuck in a complete existential crisis. There was nowhere else to go; work lost its purpose and I didn’t have an alternative. I felt ashamed to talk about it with my support networks because it felt trivial to be complaining about the abundance of time I had. I could pick up hobbies but I’d be doing it alone during the day because everyone else in my life was still heading off to work.
It’s easy to feel like you should be happy when you’re living with an abundance of success, wealth, athletic/academic talent, or other platitudes considered favorable by a particular society. There are very few places to turn for help. When dissatisfaction creeps in, it’s easy to think about all the other ways you could be spending money to be happy, potentially even feeling like you should “unretire” to make more so as to finally be happy at the next tier! At the same time, that feels like failure, and thus the cycle is self-perpetuating.
If you’re struggling with dissatisfaction after reaching FIRE, you aren’t alone. If you are looking to get more out of FIRE, you also aren't alone.
It’s okay to struggle or to be unsure. FIRE was never the destination. Your life is the destination and FIRE gives you a tool to live it in a way that is more meaningful to you. So what do you want to do with your life? That’s the real question and it isn’t an easy one.
Our goal with this website is to help you live a better life by discussing some of the challenges those who’ve reached FIRE experience. We’ll intend to offer solutions when possible and to facilitate discussion otherwise. We hope to discuss interesting and innovative ways that FIRE might enhance your life. If nothing else, we want you to understand that you aren’t alone.