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.


Well that went on WAY longer than I expected. Yes folks after over two months of vanishing from the internet I am back!

So what the hell happened? Well short version is: I was stuck in tech support hell.

The long version is: I’ve had the occasional problem with the fact I had my domain with one company and my hosting at another company. So around Christmas when another error happened to knock me offline I decided to switch my domain company to the hosting company to keep things simple (or so I thought). But what I didn’t realize is by doing that I was locking in the problem for a while since I couldn’t do anything until the transfer was complete. Then after finally getting the domain transferred I was stuck offline with a less than helpful tech support group. Finally after two other people I know had a look at the issue they sorted out the issue was likely the DNS server settings. So after a few other back and forth with the tech support group the DNS issue was resolved and I finally got a blank screen rather than an error message when loading the site. Then with some additional support from a friend we sorted out a login issue and the blog loaded with a tonne of error messages…and those I could finally do something about. So after troubleshooting a few of those I can finally write you this blog post.

So dear reader, I as sorry this took so long. I didn’t mean to go away and I am happy to be back and owe you several blog posts. Thanks to those that reached out to find out where I went. I was happy to get the messages asking where I had gone.

Of course all of this messing around with the blog has likely screwed up all sorts of things that I know about and those I don’t know about yet. So please feel free to send me an email with anything you notice. I appreciate the help.

It feels really good to finally be back!

All I Want For Christmas is Low Stress

It is only 11 days until Christmas and I’ve already got my best present so far: low stress.

How?  Well it comes from two main things in my experience.  First we have always been the sort of people that plan to get things done early during the holiday season.  So by Dec 1 we usually have the following already done:

  • Home is decorated and tree is up
  • 90% of presents are already bought and we are under budget
  • Family Christmas picture is taken and prints are ordered
  • Wish Lists have been finished and sent to others
  • Christmas baking recipes are picked out and ingredients are purchased

So that means that we don’t have that much we actually need to do in December itself which leaves more time to actual enjoy the holidays rather than getting freaked out trying to get everything done in a week or two.

Then the other main item we try to do is keep our amount of social engagements from getting out of hand.  For example, this week and next week we only have a handful of items on our family calendar.  This leaves us time to hang out with our kids and just have fun.  For example, last Sunday we went sledding in the morning, drank hot chocolate after,  built a snowman in the afternoon and then baked cookies with the kids.  My youngest declared it was the best day ever and honestly it didn’t take much other than some time.  We also have a few other immediate family items planned prior to Christmas like watching a movie together, playing a board game and likely some sort of excuse to consume more hot chocolate (hint there may be some reading of books involved).

I know what a novel concept: actual enjoying spending time with your family without feeling stressed about it.  That is really what I think people should focus on during the holidays.  Forget about making things to some sort of unrealistic picture perfect moment and freak out when it doesn’t happen.  Forgot your social media feed and just pour yourself an eggnog and relax already.  Do something you love and share it with someone you love.  It doesn’t have to be complex or difficult to be wonderful.

So how do you keep the holidays fun for you and your family? Any other suggestions on how to keep your stress low?

A blog about early retirement and happiness