The Consuming Dark

It felt like a scene in a movie.  Dark clouds appear on the horizon and then rush across the sky to cover the actor in darkness then rain begins to fall to ensure nature has made its point that you are nothing compared to it.  Perhaps you should just lie down and never get up.

Except in real life it didn’t happen in under twenty seconds on screen but rather over the course of a few weeks.  For me it started with the simple frustration of this blog being offline and me being able to do nothing about it.  I was stuck waiting for someone else to do something so I could start to fix it.  Then something else was wrong after that and again I was stuck waiting for a reply for a month.

Then it got worse as my wife was having a problem getting a previous client to pay up on an outstanding invoice.  And this wasn’t  a minor amount of money either it was close to 10% of her income for a year.

Finally to top it off someone hit our car in the parking lot and ran off without leaving a note.  So now we had to get the car fixed and pay our insurance deductible of $700.  It felt like everything was going wrong in our lives over the course of a few weeks.

It became hard to hope for a while.  I felt powerless and worthless.  And at times I doubted my decision to leave my job last fall.  I felt like it was doomed to end in tears and I would eventually fail at this whole early retirement thing.  It wasn’t like I was depressed but rather like I lost faith in that fact things would get better.   I felt frustrated at the lack of progress  what I thought were my big problems in life.

Then slowly things did get better.  My wife finally got some progress on her outstanding invoice and eventually an agreement to pay it back in installments.

Then I had a friend look at my blog and offer a suggestion on what could be wrong.  And I got an offer out of the blue from Tom Drake to also have a look at the blog and came to a similar conclusion on what the problem could be.  So with that in hand I finally got my tech support to fix the issue and after even more issues being sorted out now I’m finally back online.

The car isn’t fixed yet but at least I feel I can face dealing with it now and the world isn’t so dark anymore.  Perhaps most of all I can hope that things will get better.

You see early retirement doesn’t solve all your problems.  You still have your bad days and things will go wrong (sometimes all together).  Yet life goes on.  Today isn’t forever but rather a moment in time.  It’s hard to realize that when things are going wrong but in the end I’m back in the sun and feeling better about life.

6 thoughts on “The Consuming Dark”

  1. That is an interesting insight and it brought to mind how relative life problems are. My life is so good right now, but I was feeling a little down because it has basically rained or been too cold to play tennis for going on four weeks, really unusual, and for a guy who plays four or five times a week that is an inconvenience for sure. But I have zero money or side gig worries right now in my retirement and a zero withdrawal rate on top of that. So not getting to play tennis is a silly nothing versus your real concerns. But two weeks ago I was facing major surgery for a rare disorder that could kill me if I had the surgery or could kill me if I didn’t. After meeting with the second specialist he advised it probably won’t kill me if left alone and since it has no unpleasant symptoms he’d just leave it alone and only do surgery if it impacts my life at some future point. So going from “I’m gonna die!” to “I’m OK!” in a week is a big swing that I barely even remember a couple of weeks later.

  2. I really enjoy reading your blog and I understand that in your current situation these issues are big but…. Do you ever think how fortunate you (we) are to have FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS….

  3. When on path to FI, we often think “man I’ll be so happy and rich when I’m FI, no more money worries”

    The truth is even if your officially millionnaire (!!) you still hate to have to pay a 700$ on a car repair. This is very realistic and reminds us to be happy even in the process of accumulating wealth. Because life still happens after that! 🙂

    And like Dana says, luxury problems 😉

  4. Tim, would you agree that being retired enabled you to devote much more of your time and effort into solving these problems?

    When I had some medical issues in 2015 and spent 12 days in the hospital, being retired meant that I could devote all of my time and effort into getting myself back to good health.

  5. @Steveark – Oh exactly, life is what you think it is.

    @Dana – Of course this is a first world problem…hell, the entire concept of FIRE is a first world thing. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful about my life. I am trying to show both sides of life after FIRE – the good and the bad. I’ve read too many blogs that seem to say it is all sunshine and rainbows after they leave work and I want to be honest here and show both parts.

    @deegee – Oh yes I can spend more time on these problems which in itself can be a issue. I over think issues a bit because I have the time.

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