Out on a Limb

I think I’m slowly driving my wife nuts.  Why?  Because I periodically go out on a limb and try something completely new with fairly regular frequency.  For example, this week I’ve started a little wine making experiment.  I’ve got a sour cherry tree in my backyard that I’ve picked clean and trying to make a mini batch of wine from the fruit.  Will it work?  I don’t have the slightest clue, but I certainly having fun trying.

Because of this tendency of going out on a limb we have managed to find some extra saving/income in our house including:

  1. I’m cutting both my boys and my hair.  The kids were an easy step but doing my own was scary, but it worked out just fine.  Now I’m doing it all the time.
  2. I started picking my own investments.  Given the huge MER costs associated with the average mutual fund it is actually fairly easy to beat them with a little planning and learning a bit about investing.
  3. I’ve tried doing some canning (jam, salsa).  I learned that freezer jam is drop dead easy to do and started there.  Then the salsa was less scary to do once I found myself with most of the ingredients one fall.
  4. Running for an elected office and winning.  I admit I was a little freaked out that a won, but after almost a year of being on the school board I rather enjoy the job.

Each time I will freely admit I was a little or a lot terrified of trying something new, but I did anyway.  Often I picked things that would have very small costs associated with them to try first.  If that works out I might then go with a larger or most costly project.  It also helps I’m ok with the odd failure since the majority of my experiments have worked out just fine.

Yet why do it?  Why do I go out on a limb all the time?  Because I think people need to do that to grow and the only way to do that if leave your comfort zone periodically to try something new.  Also I consider all of these a little bit of training for early retirement which will be the ultimate in leaving my comfort zone.

Leaving my day job career behind at 45 is just about the most uncomfortable thing I can think of to do.  I will leave behind all my co-workers, most of my professional contacts and basically be misunderstood by most people I know. I will be told I’m a slacker with no ambition or people will think I’m completely insane to give up a six figure job so I can write more.  Therefore in order to be emotionally ready for it I think I need to do some training now.  Thus my continuing plans to be out on a limb.

So how about you?  Do you go out on a limb a fair bit?  If so, what have you tried?  If not, how are you planning to be emotionally ready for your retirement?

3 thoughts on “Out on a Limb”

  1. I drive my spouse crazy with my ideas, most of which I get from reading blogs like this one, or Early Retirement Extreme.

    I’ve always cut my own hair, I find it easier to cut right to the scalp (no guard) vs. leaving it 1/4″ as it’s easier to do yourself.

    I’m going to make my own beer, that’s going out on a limb.

    I try all kinds of different meats and vegetables, basically buying whatever is cheapest – some of it I have no idea how to prepare, which is sometimes is an adventure, but does save money.

    I generally try to get outside my comfort zone, and definitely my wife and peer’s, who all think I’m a little nuts, but I think it goes with my personality type more than anything.

  2. @Dave,

    Oh I know about the veggies thing. With our farmer we have ordered some stuff that I didn’t have a clue what do with (Swiss chard or vegetable marrow). Yet cooking with new things can be fun.


  3. Ha! I’m glad I’m not the only one that does this. I regularly surprise my wife with productivity experiments like: Not watching TV for the next 7 days, or vegetarian-only meals for the week or waking up at 5AM for a couple of weeks. At first she usually hates the idea but after a bit, she acknowledges that her productivity has increased.

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