Welcome back to My Early Retirement Journey. In case you’re just joining us, here’s a little bit about me. I am a single 30-something, openly Christian, hesitantly immigrant-y, human woman. I love watching TV while eating takeout, and I want to retire early. I currently work as a consultant in a tele-health call center making around $40/hr. I started my professional life in 2015 at the ripe ole age of 31 after a few false starts. I spent 2016 paying off about $10,000 worth of credit card debt. I spent 2017 paying off about $20,000 in private student loans; I still have about $300,000 in federal student loans for which I am currently on an income-based repayment plan for the next 25 years, give or take. I started really getting into savings and investing late 2017 when I stumbled upon the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community. In 2018, I made the decision to try to save for a sabbatical and maybe if all goes well continue the journey to early retirement. Along this journey, I give weekly updates just like this one. Come along with me, I urge you!
Monday – Oh what a weekend! Flew to Tampa after work on Friday, May 11, 2018. Got to the gate with minutes to spare. Almost boarded a plane to Phoenix in all my frenzy. I guess that’s why they check those boarding passes. Day 3 of being a pseudo caregiver and I know it’s not for me. I want to contact Jillian at Montana Money Adventures and see how to plot a mini-retirement. Because I love milestone dates, I was thinking of pushing through until my next birthday (March 2019) and just taking a year off, FIRE be darned. But since my lease is up in October 2018, I’m thinking why wait. Well these are daydreams, of course, because I’ve been plotting my escape since Work Day 1. 😐
Got my evaluations from the class back. That put a little sour in my spirit. Overall, most of the comments were good. But there was one mean-spirited one. Like a human, that’s the one I’ve decided to dwell on. Mostly because I get tired of just taking it. You know, sometimes you just want to fight back.
Tuesday– A few days with my aunt and I’m back to planning my escape. Her jailbird (adopted American) daughter is coming “home” in December 2018. I want to be as far away from wherever “home” is. Considering my aunt is likely her home base and my aunt is currently displaced this has put an urgency in my desire to relocate. Brain (what I call my thoughts sometimes) told me Croatia or Portugal. Brain is stuck on those areas, unknown reasons. When I pushed back, I came up with South Africa, Botswana (after seeing the Meghan and Harry movie), and Spain. A few hundred clicks, and I’ve come up empty. On my wishlist are similar concepts to early retirement: peace, serenity, rest, relax, restore. At a bare bones budget of $1500/mon x 6 months, I’d need $9,000 saved by October 2018. Six months is another time frame Brain has come up with. Just enough to get away but not too long to require something to do. Also leads to an amount that seems feasible to raise in the next 4 or 5 months.
Mental roadblocks: what will I do with my car? my stuff? what if my aunt is not settled by then? what if I can’t get my old job back? I don’t do enough to be terminated, at least I don’t think, but do I do enough to be re-hired?
Wednesday – Still don’t have my Fall 2018 Escape plan mapped. To tell the truth, I’m fully discouraged as I’ve been trying to escape since I graduated in 2015, earlier if I’m honest. I do have some tentative plans for the royal wedding 😄, however. Part of said plans has been commingled with the idea of dropping my aunt off in Maryland early on Saturday. But that would mean missing the royal wedding! There would be coverage on Sunday and really, getting my mental space back would be worth it. However, on further thought, although it seems apparent to me she’s not having very much fun here what with all the bickering, I think her feelings would be hurt. Sometimes even if people don’t like you or whatever current situation, they want to be the ones to end the relationship/ experience. Dealing with humans is not really on the top of my list of things I enjoy. Hence why I choose to live as independently as possible.
Back to things that I’m slightly excited about. My royal wedding menu: English muffins, or cornbread or blueberry muffins; potato salad, some bbq meat (meatballs or lil smokies), rolls, tacos and refried beans and some sparkling juice. Get excited!
Thursday – Worked. Felt really bad, healthwise, congested and both hot and cold. Another wish for early retirement now is ample recovery time – rest and restore. Ran errands at Walmart (affiliate). My BlueBird card (no affiliate) finally had a balance of zero. Had to use my Visa for the rest of my expenses. My spending in May 2018 has been a little out of control. I have to pay some of my aunt’s bills. I’ve mentally allotted half of the side gig money (about $800) and my monthly tithe to her cause before I start to feel the tug on my budget. Helping out family is a line item in my budget.
|Visa Expenses – All related to my aunt, total: $486|
This week has been a struggle. I haven’t slept through the night since last Thursday, May 10, 2018 and my body is feeling it. Thoughts race about my aunt. I’m tense, on edge all the time and defensive which is not a good resting state physically; side gig ended and I thought I’d finally have time to relax and now this; her being here is bringing out a side of me that I don’t want to get to know. Will the misery never end! We don’t have any actual conversations. I’m at a place in my life where it’s important to me that people try to get to know me. For someone who has known me my whole life, I doubt she knows very much about me. We simply don’t talk. I’ve tried over the years, believe me I’ve tried. As an adult, I realized the importance of trying to learn from your elders especially as her medication list lengthened thinking hmmm in America people are so nostalgic for their family. That just isn’t my reality.
DMV renewal: $112
Car Inspection: $30
Airport Parking: $14
Gas in Tampa: $8
(some returned airfare for cancelled flights)
Aunt’s electric bill: $138
New phone (airtime): $28
My mental rant reminds me of an article I read once about how children used to be economically valuable and are now emotionally priceless. It’s certainly true in this part of the world. With some of the people I’m surrounded by of late, I think sometimes people have kids because they’re afraid they’re not going to be good at anything else. Somehow their life has meaning and purpose by doing the deed and popping out yet another ordinary human. But my wildly unpopular belief is that raising kids is as much of an accomplishment as raising yourself. Ok, so what? Wow, you didn’t die and neither did your offspring. Ok? What was the point of your life? Millenial Revolution posed a similar question in one of their posts that makes me feel this is not an idea I alone hold. I think in poorer countries, you just need the help. That seems reasonable to me. But in the US…really what is the point?
Friday – It’s Friday 2:20 a.m. as I write the update for today. I’m awake as my aunt lies snoring beside me. No matter how I try not to feed into the bickering with my aunt, it’s like my mouth just opens. When someone barks at me, I bark back. Maybe because in so much of my life, I’m not allowed to say anything. And now I can. It’s not nice and it’s not a part of me I like. Then I’m up all night replaying the scenario. And there goes both my day and the night. Peace and serenity be darned!
My apartment used to be my place of refuge from the big bad world. I’ve lived here 2.5 years and never invited anybody over because I didn’t want them to leave behind their bad juju. Oh boy! After a week with my aunt, it’s been nothing but bad juju. I come home to orders being barked at me; in between the orders there’s just silence; the constant watching; I’m afraid of making any move because it will be questioned in the form of an accusation… i.e. That’s what you’re eating? You’re wearing that? Thoughts of moving out at the end of my lease are close to the forefront of my mind.
It’s been a pretty undesirable week overall. I’m still sick. I want to attribute it to the stress of the last week, my aunt’s health, her being here, and her general germs as another human that’s not me. I thought about it further wondering why this year after living in the area going on 7 years that I’m suddenly getting so sick. Of course, I blame work. But what else? Sure, allergies can develop at anytime much like any immune-related disease. But let’s say that’s not it. The only other thing I can think of is the fact that I didn’t get my flu shot this year. Maybe my body wasn’t challenged with anything to mount an immune response for this year’s pollen attack on my immune system. Or maybe it’s a combination of everything. Either way, this was another not great week.
TV and Takeout this week: I figured out the Roku and it’s been great! No more streaming on Ipad. Mostly watched what my aunt was watching- HGTV, Family Feud. Fell asleep to some New Girl. As for takeout, dear sweet auntie loves to eat out/spend money. We have that in common, the takeout part anyway. We did chicken and rice, Thai food – had some tasty beef and broccoli, Jimmy John’s.