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How To Slow Down Time and Live Longer

“They sure grow up fast, don’t they?”

“The older you get, the faster time flies.”

“You can’t slow down time, so treasure your days because they’ll be gone before you know it.”

We’ve all heard these thoughts, often from the parents of grown children. If you’re part of the older and wiser population, you may have even spoken similar words yourself. And if you’re younger, you may have felt fear well up in your heart as your elders dropped this bit of Bummer Wisdom upon you. The Inevitability of Life Racing By.

But your fear is unfounded.

Related imageBecause somehow, I seem to have stumbled upon a workaround to the problem of life being too short, and instead I find myself existing in a different universe of Vampire-like perpetual renewal and the feeling of youth. While other parents of almost-thirteen-year-olds claim the time has gone by in a flash, I feel I’ve had my own son for at least 30 years.

And those same thirteen years since I retired from real work have also been packed with an almost inconceivable variety of experience. Adventures in business, travel, relationships, weddings, funerals, adventures, injuries, growth, definitely at least the recommended minimum dose of pain, but a much bigger amount of joy.

Reflecting back on it all always leaves me shaking my head in a smiling disbelief and muttering at least one involuntary “Holy Shit.” I feel like I have lived an entire human lifetime, or maybe even more than one, in just the years since I hung up the keyboard and walked out of that cubicle.

I look at this strange development with great gratitude. After all, if we are going to assign any purpose to our lives, it’s probably something like “Make the most of the time you are here, and try to do some good while you’re at it.”

So if I feel like I’ve already had a spectacular amount of time and Made the Most of It, you can imagine how lucky I feel to still have so many more decades worth of it potentially still in the tank!

What do you think could be going on here?

As it turns out, I am not the first one to wonder this. And there is some real science that connects a Mustachian Early Retirement to a life that feels much longer and more full, even before we get into the reasons you will probably literally live quite a bit longer as well. The key to this is in the way we perceive the passage of time.

Figure 1: Some of Eagleman’s Intriguing Books I’ve read (click for more.)

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the work of the modern-day Indiana Jones neuroscientist/author/adventurer David Eagleman, immediately developed a Man Crush and started working my way through his books and interviews. It was exactly what I was looking for at the time: a bigger picture on why our brains behave the way they do in many different realms of being alive: emotions, decision making, happiness, and of course our perception of time.

Like many people who were born with an engineering side to their brains, I sometimes feel like I’m standing with half my body outside of the human species, observing with Vulcan-like amusement how crazy we all are, and the other half firmly inside it, being whipped around by all the same joyful and tumultuous and passionate and irrational emotions as everyone else. So it can be very satisfying to try to put it all together, by embracing all that humanity but also understanding it from a bigger perspective.  Books like Eagleman’s are a lot of fun and useful in that regard.

So by reading books like Incognito and The Brain (along with this interesting profile on him in the New Yorker), I was able to learn a lot more about the nuts and bolts of my own existence as a creature, which I find is a very useful antidote to prevent me from taking myself and my moods too seriously as a person. And it also helps me get the most of the gigantic arc of a human lifespan with all of its details, without getting too hung up on whether I’m “doing it right” or fussing about our inevitable mortality.

Image result for brain

This is your brain on MMM

That compact but powerful brain of yours is more than just your thinking appliance. It’s your entire world, because it controls every bit of your interaction with the world, plus the way you feel about it. And one of its trickiest roles is in sucking up and storing every experience you ever have, and filing those experiences away so that you can recall the most important ones, all while leaving you able to focus on immediate tasks without becoming completely batty from this ever-growing pool of past experiences.

So the brain uses a few tricks in order to keep you sane. And the best way to sum up its approach to things is this:

To focus on the novel and important-seeming things, and mostly ignore everything else.

We’ve already covered the remarkable subject of human habits, where we learned that our brains tend to click us into little autopilot routines whenever possible to avoid the strain of puzzling consciously through every single moment, of every single day.

So an average person might go through routines like …

  • “get out of bed” 
  • “make some coffee and breakfast” 
  • “get dressed up and drive to work”

… in an almost unconscious fashion.

Habits like these are convenient, but they can also compromise your full enjoyment of life. Because when you are running on autopilot, you are not forming nearly as many meaningful memories. And if you do it long enough, your brain will also start clumping entire phases of your life into individual thoughts:

  • “my childhood”
  • “high school”
  • “the college years”
  • “those years I worked in Des Moines as a fertilizer salesman”
  • “the baby-raising years”
  • “my 25 year career as a Middle Manager in Megacorp”
  • “my golf-and-TV retirement to a Florida condo”

If you look back at your own phases so far, which ones do you remember being the longest and most vibrant?

For most of us, it ends up being the ages from about 6 through 21, because these were the times of greatest change, learning, and new firsts in life. Then as we get older, we lock ourselves into family and work routines, including the most time-compressing of all: a multi-decade period of having the same house and the same career. The years go by, but significant new experiences become more and more rare.

Mustachianism (even if you are a long way from early retirement) is thus the perfect antidote to this, because I am always encouraging you to try new things and maintain an eye towards constant optimization.

With practice, you will let go of your natural fear of failure, and start thinking of everything as an opportunity for an experiment. Or as the great Bob Ross would put it, “There are no mistakes in life, just happy accidents.”

Although you will be fighting the very core of your Human nature with this activity, it’s a fight worth picking, because you are immediately rewarded with a life that is wealthier, more satisfying, more interesting, and one that feels much longer.

To put this philosophy into practice immediately, all you need to do is start throwing some changes into your daily routine. A few ideas ranging from beginner to expert:

  • Take a different route to work than you usually do, and a different route home. Pay attention to the new experiences you have on this journey.
  • Shop at a different grocery store and get ingredients that you don’t usually get, in order to eat different meals than usual.
  • Try breaking your usual morning routine by going out for a short walk before you have your breakfast and sit down for work. (I happened to do this today, and it led to me feeling great, and my walk turned into a run, and the added energy from that led me to sit down with inspiration to write this very article for you.)
  • Find a way to meet a new person every week, or at least every month. People are the most powerful gateway to new memories and a longer, richer life.
  • Switch roles in your company, or switch to a new job.
  • Remove TV, news and social media from your daily routine or limit them each to five minutes per day. Then when you feel the inevitable pull to check in, use this as a “keystone habit” to grab your paper to-do list and start working on something from the list – even if it’s just ten push-ups, or picking up an old-fashioned paper book you are working through.
  • Move to a new apartment or house that is closer to work and to worthwhile amenities like public parks and waterfronts.
  • Start your own small business and begin building it up, embracing change and setbacks until you find something that is truly rewarding.

All of these things will shake up your life for the better, and they will restart the flow of new memories, waking your brain back up and extending your time of really being alive.

For my part, life keeps getting more varied with each passing year, and time keeps getting slower and slower. Here’s to you and I clinking our glasses together in the distant future, after several more centuries of the joyful Vampire-style youth that is early retirement.

 

In the Comments: what have your experiences been, with periods of your life where time has flown by, and others where your memories are particularly rich and detailed? And if you’re an early retiree, what has your experience been with the flow of time since you pulled the plug?

 


Selected quotes from the NY article that I liked: 

“Clocks offer at best a convenient fiction, he says. They imply that time ticks steadily, predictably forward, when our experience shows that it often does the opposite: it stretches and compresses, skips a beat and doubles back.”

“When something is new or more emotional, the amygdala seems to kick into overdrive, recording every last detail of the experience. The more detailed the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. “This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older,” Eagleman said—why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.”

  • Papa January 28, 2019, 8:22 pm

    This is one of the biggest reasons for my wanting to catch FIRE. So I can spend what feels like a lifetime with my daughter in her developing years. 8 hours at work… I just hate it and miss her all day.

    I was dabbling with mustachianism before she was born, but after, its become much more of a driving force to making it happen quicker.

    Reply
    • Myriam January 29, 2019, 7:30 am

      While not retired, my husband and I both made the choice to work part time for that reason: enjoy our 2 daughters’ childhoods. Our frugal lifestyle makes it easy to do, and we’re able to save money still. Our kids are now 6 and almost 10 and we’re still working part time. It has also allowed us to have free time for ourselves. We’ve never regretted it.

      Reply
      • Kermit January 29, 2019, 8:45 am

        Curious, what do you and your husband do for part-time jobs? I plan to “semi-FIRE” soon because I realized I don’t want to, not work. I have some fun stuff to do, but it may take years to have them produce income.

        Reply
        • simon February 5, 2019, 12:30 am

          My wife and I are Registered Nurses. Our hospital allows employees to work five 12 hour shifts per 2 week pay period and still receive full health care coverage. Currently she is working that 5 shift option and carries the insurance for us both while I work whatever schedule I want, usually 4-5 shifts per pay period. It is good part time work that affords us a lot of fun free time.

          Reply
      • Papa January 29, 2019, 10:43 am

        That’s amazing! I’ve always been willing to take a reduced work schedule (~30) hours per week and the appropriate pay cut that would come with it. Its so rare to find places willing to do alternative work schedules due to laws around full-time/part-time workers. So, full time it is for me while Mama stays at home with the little one.

        Reply
        • Mr. Flinigan January 29, 2019, 1:30 pm

          Just curious Papa, what have you tried so far to reduce your work schedule? I’m going to talk to my boss next month about this very topic. I’m aiming for a 60% schedule. Even if it’s a flat out “no”, at least I’ll have a better idea of the boundaries.

          Reply
          • Papa January 30, 2019, 2:40 pm

            Sadly, nothing lately as I’m a government worker and there is no flexibility there. Prior, it was much easier, just take off and you don’t get paid for it. Now all I can do is use leave sporadically throughout the weeks I can. While I don’t have chunks off for a vacation, I have many more days I can just stay at home and add to family time.

            Reply
      • Gretchen January 29, 2019, 4:43 pm

        But what does everyone do about health insurance? We can actually afford to retire in our 50s, now, but I’m so worried about health insurance…what will happen? Very few part time jobs offer it…

        Reply
        • Mr. Money Mustache January 29, 2019, 5:08 pm

          Hi Gretchen – if you look at some of my earlier articles, you’ll find that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, buying your own health insurance is actually fairly cheap for retirees, because it scales with your income.

          http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2018/11/29/how-to-retire-forever-on-a-fixed-chunk-of-money/

          Reply
          • Coco January 30, 2019, 4:04 pm

            If the ACA were set in stone, this would a less fearful possibility for many. As a couple of other mustachian blogs, especially in the comments have discussed, relying on the ACA doesn’t seem prudent long term like 30-40 years for a 50yo Fire. I seem to recall you were pretty unhappy when your premium rose substantially.
            Lots of adventures in the 40-90yo and health does change even if one has followed perfectly the health recommendations.

            Reply
            • Rafael February 4, 2019, 10:24 am

              Coco, you mention the potential negative consequences of the ACA receiving drastic changes in a time span of 30-40 years for a 50y/o retiree. But here is my question, wouldn’t a 50 year old retiree want to rely on Medicare once they hit eligibility in their 60’s? In this sense a 50y/o retiree only have about 10-15 years to worry about the ACA. And yes there are concerns, but over 15 years those worries should be much less than when looking at 40 years of ACA viability.

              Reply
            • stoaX February 4, 2019, 2:29 pm

              I am retiring in July in the United States. I will use COBRA for a while and then the ACA plans until age 65 when Medicare kicks in. If the ACA goes away and I can’t get affordable health insurance in the individual market, I may have to resume employment in order to get it.

              Reply
          • Lisa March 9, 2019, 10:08 pm

            Thanks for posting the insurance link as many stay in jobs and situations specifically for insurance. As someone who’s looking to quit my job and build sustainable housing for disabled adults, I am fortunate to have resources and informative postings like yours to help along the way. Warmest regards

            Reply
        • Jim January 29, 2019, 6:15 pm

          Medicaid. Move to a Medicaid expansion state. Income limits are astronomical and since the definition of magi was changed by Obama, many people qualify that make bank. My wife and I will make about 100k per year gross, working part time, be eligible for Medicaid, and watch our kids at home saving us 900 per kid per month or after tax income. Thanks to our social progressive system, the more kids you have, the higher the income limits for Medicaid. So having a bunch of kids and working less hours is actually an incentive thanks to our current system. What’s even more awesome is we could continue to work full time making close to 200k per year combined and still get our children on Medicaid but we wouldn’t qualify. A disclaimer is this is not long term care Medicaid that’s a different beast.

          Reply
          • Dathan January 29, 2019, 9:06 pm

            The issue is, what if Aca goes away. It may not matter to most, but with a son with a pre-existing it’s risky to rely on aca. I could retire in a couple years, but If healthcare changes it could impact my options. Here’s to hoping they don’t mess it up too much.

            Reply
          • Joe January 29, 2019, 9:13 pm

            PLEASE be careful with the “switch to Medicaid” suggestions … this is not the same situation in every state and can be very limiting to someone with chronic medical conditions who moves from a state of higher coverage to a state with fewer dollars allocated to Medicaid … while this could work out well if the state thinks highly of their medicaid system and it’s patients, it could end up land locking someone to avoid moves to states that don’t…

            Reply
            • Jim February 5, 2019, 11:51 pm

              I live in Alaska, a Medicaid expansion state. Medicaid here pays for everything. Need to see a specialist in Seattle? Medicaid plus for that. Even your flight, hotel, taxis and even a companion and their flight, hotel and taxi. Oh and let’s not forget the care you receive is all free!!! I live here and work in healthcare and have for ten years. I have a masters degree and am wel educated and experienced in this field. It’s not fair and it sucks in my opinion , but when I look at my insurance that I pay 400 a month for just in premiums then realize I still have to pay my part of my cost of care, and all my travel expenses, I’m going with Medicaid. I’ve done the math and my wife and I will be reducing to part time in 2 years so we and our children will be eligible for Medicaid. It will save us 5k in premiums alone per year, plus we can never go bankrupt due to a medical bill. Welcome to socialized medicine.

              Reply
        • Tracy January 30, 2019, 9:30 am

          Look at Direct Primary Care. It’s a great way to get the care you need, esp if you have kids or a chronic condition. Combine it with an inexpensive highdeductible plan from healthcare.gov

          Reply
    • Francis April 4, 2019, 5:56 pm

      What if you only work when she’s at school ?
      9 to 3 is not bad ?

      Reply
  • alexa January 28, 2019, 8:26 pm

    I think you have a point there. Ive been a traveling escort for 9 years, a stay at home mom before that. Ive never felt time flew by
    I guess because like you said, I dont have monotany and boredom.

    Reply
    • Anonymous January 30, 2019, 3:19 pm

      Man, would I love to hear more about this! A great way to avoid paying taxes on what is potentially a very lucrative job. But I’d imagine there has to be some other form of official income. Massage therapist?

      Reply
  • Mr. Financial Freedom Project January 28, 2019, 8:41 pm

    For my part, I have particularly rich memories of pre-adolescent life during which my younger brother (by 18 months) and I made the world — okay, 8 acres — our oyster. It was a time filled with amusement, creativity, and plenty of exercise and competition, without the cares, concerns, and pressure that begins in the teen years and only builds from there.

    And I still fondly remember the hang-outs and adventures of my high school and college years. But to MMM’s point, the 10 years of corporate grind don’t stand out nearly as well.

    Since becoming financially independent and calling it quits, I can vouch for the truth in MMM’s statement that time has definitely slowed. Whereas weeks used to absolutely fly by when I was living for the weekends, now they seem to pass at a much more relaxed pace. This is really true for life in general — no more rush-hour traffic, standing in lines at the supermarket, or waking up to an alarm. Glorious!

    However, I will say that if the hard-core over-achiever crowd wants extra credit for the “changes to your daily routine” challenge issued at the end of the article, taking the “meet new people” bullet point to an extreme by having a baby should certainly do the trick. Our latest little just passed two weeks, and it seems like months! Though with two in diapers, this could be due in part to sleep deprivation…

    Reply
  • Brenton January 28, 2019, 8:43 pm

    This article rings very true. I’ve moved around quite a bit in my life, had plenty of different jobs. Plenty of different side hustles. 15 different homes that I can remember, and at least 16 different full time jobs and I’m not even 40 yet. New experiences make you feel younger and create lasting memories. The idea of working at the same job for 40 years sounds like hell to me. Anyway, I enjoyed this article.

    Reply
    • WTK February 5, 2019, 6:02 am

      Hi Brenton,

      How did you manage to have at least 16 different full time jobs? it is equivalent to one job per year with the assumption of you starting your full-time employment when you were 20. I agree with you that there will always be new experiences in a new job. This will create a different perspective based on your experience.

      WTK

      Reply
      • Georgia April 19, 2019, 1:35 am

        I’m 33 and I’ve had at least 16 full-time jobs. And way more part-time jobs! They’re just shorter than most jobs—line cooking for 6 months while travelling in Australia, pastry chef for a while, working at a museum (though that was seven years), teaching in France for nine months, etc. It adds up really fast, especially if you move around a lot!

        Reply
  • jake January 28, 2019, 8:47 pm

    Anecdotally, at the age of 42, I absolutely agree that the periods of life where change and learning were present, time slowed down. More memories, more unexpected joy and contentment.

    Another personal anecdote, It’s was very easier to get real excited about a potential FI future, then set about optimizing life. Initially some great things happened. However, once the new habits set in, I eventually fell into a holding pattern. Although the new habits created tons of positive change, this “holding pattern” also created a very ho-um lifestyle.

    FIRE takes time, don’t waste too much of it coasting to the end goal, I discovered that I need to keep challenging myself and avoid “waiting to FIRE syndrome”. I can’t just sit around at my job, doing just good enough to collect a paycheck for three more years. There are many paths which reach FIRE, there is nothing wrong with switching it up a bit. Trying a new career, taking a sabbatical, or whatever it takes to keep learning and challenging myself. Even if it means the FIRE goal may take a bit longer. A wise man one told me, $X doesn’t make you free, you make you free.

    Reply
    • levi January 29, 2019, 7:45 am

      Jake, I agree with your words. I am in my late 20s and currently plowing my student loan debt out of my life. As I come into my third year of MMM and FIRE knowledge, I make sure to add trying new hobbies to my goals (this year is snowboarding) for the year and to my budget because it is easy to get caught in those periods where everything is removed to kill the emergency debt but those few years can become a sacrifice of loved ones and joy if we aren’t careful.

      Reply
      • jake January 30, 2019, 12:38 am

        Hey Levi
        Yes very true, people and hobbies are very important. I tend to think we can also entertain ourselves with a learner/producer mentality as well. So, I didn’t mean to suggest people should start spending more. Rather, that for a median US wage earner to reach a 50% (much more for high earners) savings rate is so easy that once it’s done, one can get stuck in a “set it and forget it” mode. Money becomes a solved problem, so it’s time to move onto other, more lofty plans rather than resting on soon to be FI laurels. It’s better to take some risks, learn or produce new things, than just waiting around a decade to become FI.

        Reply
  • Just Stop Spending Seth January 28, 2019, 8:54 pm

    Excellent article.

    Times that “flew” for me were my first four years of college and then the next three years after I graduated. The two times I was last in serious relationships it seems. Makes sense to me.

    The year of graduate school between those two people was one of the best years of my life. And now the last three years have been a constant push to continuously improve, and it feels like ages at times. Checks out!

    Reply
  • Liesbet January 28, 2019, 9:07 pm

    My husband and I are both in our forties. We are not early retirees, although my husband tells everyone he’s retired for the second time and there will be a third time, as we just dissolved our business. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to sell it, or we could have really retired. But, that’s OK. I’m a freelancer and I’ve been for over a decade. We don’t make much money, but we spend even less. That’s been our strategy. The less money you spend, the less you need to make. It has worked since 2003, the year I unintentionally became a digital nomad and left my home country. Before that term even existed. :-)

    My husband says the best time of his life was when he was in college and his fraternity, so that’s a span of a few years around his twenties. I always say my best year was that one year of solo packpacking through SE Asia and down under when I was 25. So, in a way you are right. It seems like the best times of our lives are at a younger age.

    That being said, it is sometimes hard to distinguish the “best” years of our life from “good years of our life”. My main goal in this one precious lifetime is to have no regrets. To achieve that, I have been living a life less ordinary, full of adventure, something new to do every day, whether it was sailing the oceans for eight years, traveling by van and RV for a few years, or house and pet sitting for three years for 15 years. We have routines, but they are different in every place we live or travel. So far, so good. No regrets.

    As far as time going fast or slow, it’s tricky. In a way I also believe the older you get the faster time flies (and every year seems to go by quicker), but on the other hand, I feel like you. I feel like the last 15 years. I’ve lived so many different lives, as a backpacker, as a sailor, as a camper, as a writer, as am editor, as a translator, as a house and pet sitter, as a friend, as a blogger, as a blog commenter, as a care taker, as a wife, as an auntie, as a Belgian, as an American, as an islander, as an animal lover, as a snorkeler, … Life is amazing, especially if you are flexible and have an open mind. Every new venture is an adventure, and I’m enjoying it fully.

    Thanks for the insightful post.

    Reply
    • Roger January 28, 2019, 9:33 pm

      Without a doubt the best years of my life started when I met my wife 16 years ago. I am truly amazed and blessed that the fun hasn’t slowed !

      Reply
      • Liesbet January 29, 2019, 8:03 am

        What a wonderful match! Wanting the same things in life as a couple is unique in our society. For both of us, it’s being minimalists, dog lovers, and world travelers. I guess you could call that fun as well. :-)

        Reply
    • Mystic March 2, 2019, 3:22 pm

      You are my hero.hehehe.

      Reply
  • Matt January 28, 2019, 9:18 pm

    The more hardcore I’m being, the slower time passes. This may be in part due to simply being awake more hours per day, but I think the high level of novelty of trying to learn as much as humanly possible during college or periods of ultra-aggressively pursing a hobby is the main factor. Passive or empty entertainment and drudgery makes time fly by.

    Reply
  • Jim Bob January 28, 2019, 9:42 pm

    I think a lot about how to strike the right long term balance between the novel and the routine in such a way that I have a stable “base” but am actively expanding my “archipelagos of experience” over time.

    Seems like most “modern” people would benefit from actively seeking to skew toward more novelty.

    Reply
  • wendy January 28, 2019, 9:46 pm

    Cool, more book reco’s!

    If you haven’t read ‘Idiot Brain’ or ‘Happiness’ by Dean Burnett (funny UK neuroscientist) – put them on the library list…

    Reply
  • PLS January 28, 2019, 9:55 pm

    Hey MMM,

    You should check out Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his books. He’s a psychologist who studies positive psychology. Specifically he has studied Flow and peak experiences. Part of these experiences is changes in the perception of time. I suggest his book on Flow as a start.

    As for me, I love learning new things and new experiences. I have found one of the most fun things about having kids is learning new things with them. As one example, my boy is in baseball. I never played, so we are both having a blast learning the game together. It helps keep adding wrinkles to my brain.

    Reply
    • MKE February 1, 2019, 5:24 pm

      An interesting tidbit about Chick-sent-me-hi is that he observed, as a youngster, that people obviously had no idea how to live. So he decided he was going to study what made people live and feel life was worthwhile.

      Reply
  • Robin January 29, 2019, 1:13 am

    I always understood my perception of time to ‘speed up’ as I got older because each year of my life represents a smaller portion of my entire life than the last, and so is relatively shorter compared to my cumulative perception of All Time I’ve been a live – the year between 10 & 11 represented 10% of my previous experience of Time, but the year between 27 and 28 only 3%.
    The last year of my life has arguably been one of the most varied: I took a new job in a new field, rekindled an old hobby, rekindled another old hobby, travelled to two new places, ended a relationship, started a new one, changed my home, made a whole bunch of new friends, and changed my diet and my daily routine, not to mention discovered Mustachianism and altered my lifestyle dramatically. And this year has gone by faster than any year of my life. Like, I reflected at the beginning of 2019 that ‘Wow, I’ve done so much in the last year but it went past *inordinately* swiftly’.

    I guess it’ll be different when this is ‘every year’ being wonderful and full instead of ‘the first year of wonderfulness after a number of years of drudgery’. :)

    Reply
  • FruEfficientBadass January 29, 2019, 1:23 am

    I quit working office space style this summer and these six months have felt like four years. Not from drudgery but from exactly what is described above: From the creation of new memories. The bliss of being able to be in the every day life of my community, participate in my kids life more and start experimenting with potential side-hustles. There are several fellow-FI:ers in Sweden who express themselves the same way namely “It feels like being 18 again, life is starting all over.” Magic!

    Reply
    • Steve January 29, 2019, 1:56 am

      Well done. And long may it continue!

      Reply
    • Anonymous January 29, 2019, 4:23 am

      Just curious – what are you doing now, freelancing? I’m having similar thoughts and I’m not sure how long I can keep on grinding at the (very well paid) office job. Writing this on my lunch break, dread going back!

      Reply
      • Liesbet January 29, 2019, 8:08 am

        The good thing about having a well-paid job now is being able to save a lot to create a buffer for when you start working from home or remotely as a freelancer. And, if you plan on making those changes, you have a wonderful goal to work towards, that last year of your office job. :-)

        Reply
  • Steve January 29, 2019, 1:51 am

    I really enjoyed this, thanks. A few years back my uncle left his factory job, sold his small house and bought a holiday park by the sea. In the summer he runs the business, living in a log cabin on the holiday park, enjoying panoramic sea views. In the winter he lives in Spain, doesn’t work and goes on long bike rides and travel holidays. I’m still in my office cubicle, living with fear, but saving like a mustachian. The fear is slowly going, hopefully my adventure will begin soon…

    Reply
  • Dave January 29, 2019, 2:08 am

    I think this is true but I’m horrible at it unfortunately. For me, in order to cultivate the kind of discipline needed to reach financial independence and to be healthy, I became a creature of routine and habit. It worked, I reached FI and am really healthy in my late 40’s. But I did have sections of my life where I was kind of an “automatron”. The way I saw it, what I was doing was working and damn if I wasn’t going to stick with it, because I was afraid of ruining my mojo.

    Now that I’m FI and part time at my W2, I need to try to shake things up more. Great reminder and thanks for the book reccos.

    Reply
  • Cameron January 29, 2019, 2:14 am

    Great post MrMM. I recently got to the point where I’d been working longer than I’d been at Uni and had the terrifying realisation that the 4 years working had passed significantly quicker than the uni years.

    I’d be interested to try applying this to my career. By deliberately seeking new learning experiences you could both slow time and increase learning, hopefully leading to more career success and therefore a quicker FIRE. I’ve definitely been too comfortable/afraid to do this much so far.

    Reply
  • Mr Five 2 Fire January 29, 2019, 2:41 am

    I’m currently reading Homo Deus : A Brief history of tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari, professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I would recommend everyone pick up a copy. It’s all about how we humans are more likely to die from obesity than starvation where it has been the other way around for millennia and the next steps in our life.

    We are aiming for FIRE in the UK so we can travel in a Motorhome across Europe. I like to change jobs every two years but this year we are hoping to change my job to small business owner! I have to agree with each bullet point above, although I haven’t tried meeting a new person every week yet, hopefully I can accomplish this on our travels.

    Reply
    • aceyou January 29, 2019, 10:31 am

      Yep, Harari is my favorite author. I’m through Sapiens and Homo Deus, and have just started 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. He has that beautiful mix of knowledge of a wide variety of topics mixed with wisdom/perspective that sucks you in. One of those people where it almost doesn’t matter what he’s talking about, just the fact that it’s him saying it makes it worth taking the time for.

      That’s actually how I feel about Pete on this blog. He has an energy and sincerity mixed with a strong brain and pertinent message that draws me to his writing. Even when he’s writing about things that down apply to my own situation(like DIY plumbing/heating & cooling), I still enjoy reading just to hear his side of the story.

      Reply
  • Young FIRE Knight January 29, 2019, 3:55 am

    The perception of time and how fast/slow it can go is a fascinating one. I distinctly remember remarking back in high school how it seemed that high school was flying by, while comparatively my elementary and middle school days crawled. This completely makes sense now as high school was the first real time that I started getting into a routine: wake up, go to class (same schedule everyday), sports, homework, bed repeat.

    While I think routines can be good as it provides structure which some people need, it also can make time appear to go by much faster due to the lack of new experiences. In my future early retirement plans I think I will still need that structure, but will have to build in time for new experiences everyday.

    Reply
  • James R January 29, 2019, 4:49 am

    Thank you for the reminder. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught in the same-old everyday.

    My favorite moments in life are always when trying something new.

    Reply
  • Rick January 29, 2019, 4:51 am

    I’ve always felt time passed quickly; when looking back on it. However, while living it, it seemed to drag on forever. This mostly, encompassed my working life. Since retiring in 2004, the days are slower; by choice. No office to go to, no 1, no commute. Fewer morons to deal with. I don’t go out until after 1030hrs and like to return before 1500hrs; avoiding al traffic and especially the dreaded school buses with the flashing lights. I can go for weeks at a time and not leave my property. It’s nice not having to deal with people, choosing when and with whom to associate with.

    Reply
  • Kathy January 29, 2019, 5:34 am

    Greetings everybody!

    I have a paper appointment book (still the best ever) and a 5 year journal (from the Happiness Project). I’m one of those quantify your life type of gal. I love looking at data – how many times did I workout this month, where did I travel for work and fun, how many times did I meet up with friends. For reasons maybe only applicable to me, I find it helps me relive those weeks and months, pondering if I made them fruitful amidst a high demanding job. Reflection of my daily choices make the days appear longer and more meaningful.

    Thanks to you, Mr. MM, I have learned to embrace these workings years until FIRE (10-13 more) as part of the journey – because the end is closer and planned! I am a happier, gainfully employed person, who is grateful that this money will lead me to FIRE (we have a new office in Louisville and being close to your HQ certainly made that location appeal to me!). I purposely schedule enough visits to my niece/nephew each year so I don’t miss too much of their precious youth. I have made my career my current passion, a time to grow myself and help grow others in the process. That journey is equal parts joy and pain. Every one of us has the duty to make the most of being alive – whether in a job or financially free. Both is just as much as what you make of it.

    The years that seemed the fastest for me was unfortunately the few years after my father passed when I was 29. It was because I could not remember much of them – the pain was too much and I think I was in survival mode. I accept that was I way I needed to operate. My life philosophy definitely changed after that event. Live for today, plan for tomorrow. ……..

    Thank you for all the lives that you have influenced for the positive!!

    Reply
  • Walker January 29, 2019, 5:36 am

    My old man used to frequently complain about life passing by much quicker than you expect, and increasingly so as you get older. So it’s something I’ve always kept in the back of my mind.

    This was definitely on of my chief motivations for pursuing FIRE. Now that I’m FIREd, I still find time goes by pretty quick, but I’m spending it doing an incredible array of activities and spending time with the ones I love that it seems like time much better spent. I’m very interested in fine-tuning my mind a little though, to try and “slow time down” some.

    Has anyone read Slowing Down to the Speed of Life by Richard Carlson & Joseph Bailey?

    Reply
  • vis January 29, 2019, 5:50 am

    I look back and see that the years from 18-28 seem to make up most of my memories. This is when I was exploring the world, climbing mountains, making lots of friends, trying lots of different jobs, learning different sports and skills, different relationships, lots of memories. 28-36 I managed to do the impossible with my dyslexic brain and got a degree and then a graduate degree. I was trying to prove I was not dumb! I thought that if you had lots of education you would naturally do well financially. I foolishly only interviewed the successful before I made my choice. However, I stupidly used that education to put myself into a position of owning my own business and making some very common mistakes in entrepreneurship. While trying to be a successful business man, live frugally and raising a family I feel that the years have vanished. At 45 I have a rewarding job, thank goodness! I have a great relationship with my wife and I am trying to be a great father. I am so lucky to have two healthy children. I am tired much of the time and there is definitely a numbing routine even in my diverse position as business owner. Years fly by and often, the days drag. I am very very happy for all of those people who have posted here that they have taken a different route and made to FI and are using it to make beautiful memories. You all inspire me. Really. I am doing my best to meet up with you all on FI island as soon as I can. MMM – all true points and thanks for the reading list!

    Reply
  • WantNot January 29, 2019, 6:09 am

    Great post, MMM. What you describe is the Childhood Endless Summertime Paradox! Remember when you were a kid and when school let out, you saw this endless summertime stretching away ahead of you—-and summertime did seem endless. Because it was so full of new experiences.

    The same thing happens with the Road To And From Paradox. If you are driving (biking or walking) to a new place for the first time, as you are navigating (one hopes, without GPS), you notice new surroundings, new landmarks. And the road seems long. On the way back? The perception is that the road is shorter going home, because you have seen it before. With each subsequent travel, the road is shortened by routine. We notice less.

    Meditation and training in mindfulness is one way to increase the act of noticing. Noticing every detail even in the mundane and routine, so that rather than needing to find new things or new paths (which is good advice), one can also find the new and notice. Moment by moment by moment.

    Reply
  • Ericinvt January 29, 2019, 6:18 am

    I used to read only fiction. Since joining the MMM cult it is now pretty much non fiction all the time. It started with physics books but now nueroscience is the top topic. Thanks so much for the recommendation on Eagleman, I will definitely add his books to the list. In a similar vein, you should check out Dean Buonomano (Your Brain is a Time Machine and Brain Bugs). I also found a good background of evolutionary psychology theory to be very helpful as a foundation for understanding why all the practical life advice found in MMMs blog works. For a good overview see Robert Wright’s Moral Animal and for a deeper dive Pinker’s How the Mind Works.

    Reply
    • Papa January 31, 2019, 7:38 am

      I hadn’t thought about it, but since shifting to a more mustachian mindset, my reading preferences have shifted from fiction to non-fiction as well. It’s crazy how making conscious effort to get the most out of life makes you more willing to ingest real concepts, topics, stories, etc.

      Reply
  • Mark January 29, 2019, 6:20 am

    In my early career, I changed jobs, moved, and did different roles. I probably had a new job/location/position every year for 5 years. This led to a rich and varied life filled with different people, places and things to learn. My last three jobs were each 4 or 5 year stretches of time. After the initial learning curve, I definitely felt like I was living the same day over and over again. Those years are big clumps of time where I worked for company X. Of course, there are good memories, but somehow they are always defined as being part of time at X. I realized that, not only was I not growing as person, but I was somehow losing time, and in extreme moments, that I was actually physically and mentally wasting away.

    I was lucky enough to be able to retire from that career about 6 months ago. I do like learning and creating and growing so I won’t stay retired for long, I think. What I know is that I won’t let a job, career or company define my life in the future.

    Reply
  • Jonathan January 29, 2019, 7:02 am

    I’m 2 days out from 30 and definitely needed this FacePunch of Reassurance from MMM, let me tell you.

    The slowest year of my life was the gap year (mini Mustachian retirement?) I took during the year between college and starting my career. In 12 short months I spent time living in a shared studio apartment in the French Riviera, couch-surfing in Italy before hopping back across the pond for a temp job as a traveling auditor where I got to experience a new city every night, then joining on the Presidential campaign in Miami, living free in shared housing and hustling meals from kind volunteers while doing some good in my community. Trip ended by using the last of my money to spend 6 weeks couch surfing, camping and driving across North America and taking in more of this beautiful continent.

    It still blows my mind what I accomplished in those 12 months, compared to the last 6 years of my working career which have more or less flown by, and where I use auto-pilot and routine to disconnect from the world of Pointy-Haired Bosses and the Game of Thrones tier political drama of my corporation.

    While I’m still probably 10 years off retirement at my current savings rate, I have been making far more efforts to connect with friends and family over the last few months, including taking up just about any invitation for a social event, even if it seems like something I’d not be particularly interested in. My days feel fuller already, even if I’m just spending more time cooking new recipes with friends or curling up under a warm blanket to binge watch new shows with them. It doesn’t take much, just a text and a quick trip to the local green grocer to make a lasting memory for you and several other people!

    Reply
  • The Vigilante January 29, 2019, 7:23 am

    Despite the generally optimistic tone, this is a hard-hitting post. I, like probably most 30-something Americans, feel time passing by quickly with my over-full-time job, a 1-year-old, and various side hustles that sometimes feel like chores. There’s little time for exploring and new experiences, and so the last two years or so are just fuzzy memories of general busy-ness with occasional sparks of good times.

    We do out best, like a spur-of-the-moment decision to have two neighbors over last weekend to share some whiskey so they’d no longer be strangers. Or in the kitchen, where my wife and I still routinely make time for “new” no matter what tries to get in the way . Or our brief vacation to Mrs. Vigilante’s parent’s new retirement home in another state. But these add up to just the bright “sparks” under the dark cloud of student loan, daycare, and mortgage obligations that keep us tethered to our desks for most of our waking hours.

    But unlike most people, I’m relieved to see a light at the end of the tunnel. A light I largely have you, MMM, to thank for: We are rapidly approaching our savings goals and debt payoffs, which combined will soon untether us forever and slow time down back to where it was before!

    Speaking of, I wrote a while back about financial independence being a route to “being the you” who you were in college – which for most of us, myself included, was a time when exploration and learning was an integral part of every single day. Time was slower. More memories were formed. Closer/lasting ties to other people were formed. That’s the time-dilation I want to return to! (Or, that is the real time I want to return to from the current dilation…)

    Reply
  • Caitlin January 29, 2019, 7:32 am

    I absolutely agree with this 100%. As a teacher, I get quite a bit of fulfillment from my job but it is still a job at the end of the day. By my calculations I could be FI in about 15 years, and I don’t want to wait until then to start feeling like time is slowing down. Thankfully I have some nice holidays to test out new things and try to find something that I am passionate about (still working on that). Just recently I started a little blog to hold myself accountable for reaching FI – now I may add a section about trying new things and meeting new people :). Thanks again for the great article, they are always appreciated. PS: It’d be great to have a meet up in Vancouver, BC at some point! We are a city that desperately needs some Mustachianism.

    Reply
  • Kathy Richardson January 29, 2019, 8:08 am

    Where I work we have lots of people who work here their entire careers. While their dedication is appreciated, I can also see where the fact that they never experience working anywhere else as a huge negative. As part of my job here I attend nearly all the retirement gatherings for the retirees and interview them for a short article in the company newsletter. I’ve lost track of how many I’ve attended but I think it’s around 60 in 8 years. Many of the retirees comment about how time has flown by and they feel like 30 or more years have gone by so quickly. I never understood where they were coming from but from this post it starts to make sense. Some have held a few different jobs at the company others in the same position. For me, high school especially and college somewhat felt like they lasted a long time. I’ve had three professional jobs in my field and the 20 years have felt neither fast nor slow. I’ve had so many new experiences in my jobs that are impossible to put a price on and so in addition to a salary I was also paid in life experience and education. I would never had the opportunities on my own, they came as part of the job. “The most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” Randy Komisar

    Reply
  • Mr. Frugal Toque January 29, 2019, 8:11 am

    This much is true: I can easily differentiate the years of my childhood because of the music I remember, the classrooms I learned in, and the sports I played.
    University is differentiated, year to year, by the shitty apartments in which I lived, the friends with whom I kept company and the sparse things I learned.
    After University, I remember the better housing, the parties, the road trips.
    Once we got married and we stopped moving around, it’s the job changes, the hobbies, the arrival of children.
    But the working part? Even if it’s four different places in 20 years, that part’s a blur.
    The vacations (camping and what not) and the martial arts accomplishments? Those stand out.
    The snow forts, with their year-by-year varying designs? The Christmas morning treasure hunts that take the children an hour to finish? Those stand out.
    So, yeah.
    Let’s hear it for variety in life.

    Reply
  • dude January 29, 2019, 8:24 am

    Man, this past year (2018) passed by faster than any other year in my memory. I don’t know why; perhaps because I’m in my early 50’s now and that’s just what happens? Looking back, the time I remember that seemed slow was the 6 years I spent in the Navy. I traveled much of the world and much of the USA in those years as well, and every few months brought something new — new training, a new duty station, a new cruise, new personnel, etc. At the time, I didn’t care for the restrictions on my freedom, but the good times were so very good, and when I look back now it’s the good times and people I remember, not the drudgery and curtailment of my liberty. I’m retiring in May with a whole list of places to go and people to see, and I can barely contain my excitement. I’m hoping time slows down just a little for at least the next decade so I can savor the moments.

    Reply
  • Joey Graziano January 29, 2019, 8:25 am

    Great post. I used to view change or the “unknown” as a dark cloud with the giant mystery mark looming on the horizon. This negative outlook caused me unnecessary stress as a child. Then everything changed.

    As a teenager, my father, who had a similar personality, started having numerous heart attacks in his early 40s. The Dr. said his arteries were corroded with plaque caused by heightened levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

    Needless to say, my dear Dad was stuck in the “fight or flight” mode where everyday was filled with 6 cups of coffee, 10 hour shifts of a sedentary lifestyle and then the burden of supporting a family living paycheck-to-paycheck trying to keep up with the Jone’s. My father has remained medicated to save his life. The side effects of the medication in my opinion are worse than death. Nonetheless, we are coping.

    This blog, an open mind to change and the idea that all untraveled territory is an experiment I could learn from, has helped me reduce my personal levels of stress. As a consequence, embracing change and the unconventional path has helped me prosper too.All this in turn, adds to the compounding affect of not having medical bills due to the side effects of poor health. Perfect health, keeps my medical expenses low thus my investing/productivity high. It’s all related, but we all Mustachians already know this.

    Thanks for sharing this story. I’ve already rented all three books referenced in this post. :)

    Reply
    • The Vigilante January 29, 2019, 8:46 am

      Constant, unnecessary fight or flight is no way to live – but a great way to play with time. Makes short periods of time feel like forever, but huge chunks of time pass by quickly. I think this was explained by general relativity?

      Reply
  • Jo January 29, 2019, 8:47 am

    This is so true. I lived in one place for 12 years and remember maybe two weeks of it. I sold my place, moved across town. Felt completely awake for 2 or 3 months. Took everything in. Complacency settled in after a year. I moved to another, completely unfamiliar city. It was hellishly scary. Three months of it felt like 10 years! I’m not exaggerating. I moved back and now time is flying again. The experience was so educational. I’m going to move/change up every year now to “lengthen” my life, face the fears. I’ve always pursued peace, safety. It’s a curse if you get it. You become paralyzed.

    Reply
  • Maureen January 29, 2019, 9:12 am

    I thought this was going elsewhere—just the math of spending, say, 4 hours of quality time daily w a kid vs the half hour I was able to squeeze in when running a federal agency and Co-managing 3 kids under 4. My spouse had the tradition of reading every night to the guys, which was a great way to structure that (though not a lot of listening time).

    Reply
  • Gwen January 29, 2019, 9:21 am

    I worked for the same company for 5 years held 3 different jobs, switching about every 18 months. Then I quit to be self employed and now I am back at work, in a completely new city. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where the clock has rushed by me because I keep changing it up. If I had stayed in the military, though, a routine could’ve easily accelerated my perception of time. Variety really is the spice of life!

    Reply
    • Margot January 29, 2019, 6:05 pm

      This is a great way to live life I think. Be bold and change things up once in a while. I am always thinking of new projects to work on (I jokingly refer to them as schemes) and that’s definitely how the most memorable things I’ve ever done came about.

      Reply
  • HenryDavid January 29, 2019, 11:11 am

    Two of the most vivid, memorable, time-enriched years of my own life came from doing what some saw as crazy-ass, irresponsible things. Stopping halfway through an undergrad degree to spend all my savings for third-year university on hitchhiking Europe, and then taking a year’s unpaid leave after 5 years in an excellent job. Both years were packed with unforeseen new things, were sometimes scary, were financially precarious . . . . but generated many of the best new ideas, directions, projects and connections in the years after. More than worth it for the memories alone. But even years later now, they continue to enrich life. Bust the routine, do the crazy thing, ignore those who say “you can’t do that.” If you live in the western world, are educated, and have had decent jobs already–you’ve got way bigger safety nets than you realize, and are among the most blessed humans to ever have lived. Take that chance. Time will slow and expand, along with your brain.

    Reply
  • Windy January 29, 2019, 11:20 am

    I’ve been reading about how to slow down the apparent increase in the speed at which time passes by me and the common denominator in the articles and books is: being “present.” Don’t daydream while you brush your teeth, focus on how the toothbrush feels in your mouth, the taste and change in texture. For years my friend always said that she made her cooking a Zen experience and I never quite knew what she meant… now I do…. and I cut myself less often because I’m not rushing through the chopping and dicing. Being present DOES slow down time because you don’t miss anything.

    Reply
  • Dylin Redling January 29, 2019, 12:33 pm

    I lived in Columbus, OH from the age of 11 to 24. While it was a nice and comfortable place to live, I always felt like the time passed quickly (especially those last few years). I hypothesized that it was due to not having lots of various and new experiences, so it’s reassuring to see that there is science behind this. My wife grew up in NYC so she never quite understood what I was saying.

    At the age of 24 I moved to NYC, then to San Francisco at age 26, and then achieved FIRE at 43 (now 47). That span of 20+ years feels like an entire lifetime to me as well. Each day is somewhat new and different, and we’re constantly doing new things and planning new trips and adventures. I chuckle to myself when I hear people say that time is flying by faster as they get older, because I don’t feel that way at all. Every year feels like several years!

    Reply
  • Nick Bryant January 29, 2019, 12:37 pm

    I have realized the same thing. I’ve found that mindfulness and yoga are very simple ways of making “the days longer” – as well as getting rid of toxic habits like TV/Gaming. On top of everything, the most useful way to create more “time” is by traveling.

    In the past year my longest “time” was a 2 week road trip from Seattle back to Florida with my friend. We went through yellowstone and of course passed boulder on our way back. Those two weeks were great, and i realized during that time that I want to be close to nature every day of my life.

    Reply
  • ArmyDoc January 29, 2019, 12:38 pm

    Agree. I think the reason I remember so much and my life is so full is that I was a military brat (8 moves in first 15 years of life) then 3 years of high school, 4 of college, 4 of med school (most compressed) then 28 years (so far) of very fulfilling life with 9 moves. So always something new. Throw in the occasional deployment and TDY and each year has some sort of amazing or lifechanging event. Plus 3 kids, seeing them go through changes. 1 constant has been my awesome wife.
    Looking forward to more changes/opportunities to slow down time.

    Reply
  • Marcia January 29, 2019, 12:40 pm

    This is super fascinating, because I’ve also been into reading a lot of non-fiction books about the body, etc. I will have to add these to the list!

    Interesting, what experiences do I really remember? I think – the current ones mostly. I don’t remember a whole lot about my childhood. Only little bits and pieces. I have a few vivid memories in college, many vivid memories during my Navy days (when I met many friends, moved to DC, went to grad school, met my husband and got married). I have some memories from the years post-Navy to pre-kid. Mostly those are work related because I was manufacturing / development engineer, hands-on, and it was FUN.

    But I’d say the kid memories are the vivid ones. I might not remember all the details…but a lot of them. My big kid is almost 13. My little kid is 6. It’s been a joyous time, even if I can’t QUITE remember what the 13 yo was like when he was six.

    Change is hard, but with kids, it’s certainly inevitable. I try to soak it all in as much as I can with my full time job. I have actually been doing a lot of “new things” of late. A new job (not my favorite, but boy has it made me grown in many ways. I’m the calm, stable person at work. Mostly. And the calm, stable, patient parent at home. In both places, I’ve been willing to stretch and learn and grow. Because in reality, I never was that patient.)

    Outside of work, I’ve been adding in different fun things. Family hikes and bike rides, Training for new physical events. Trying new workout classes. Cutting back on social media. Doing home improvement work. Changing up our dinner routine – we’ve added a produce box delivered to the school, which adds interesting and new veggies we’ve never had. I’ve now got the kids helping to plan dinners and cook them too!

    I’m happiest when my life has a mix of new and comfortable.

    Reply
  • Scott West January 29, 2019, 12:50 pm

    Good stuff. I really like your tip on meeting new people to gain access to richer experiences and memories. I tend to be on the introverted side and feel that I’ve been avoiding social interaction and am sensing some atrophy in my people skills muscles. This was a good reminder that I shouldn’t avoid the discomfort zone and need to keep an eye on the bigger picture of Life.

    Reply
  • ChrisHa January 29, 2019, 12:54 pm

    I have completed almost 30 years at a desk job. But over those years I’ve raised 4 kids (all adopted), started a small farm, learned to shear sheep, drive a tractor and other farm and gardening chores with much success, I bought a French horn and learned to play well enough to participate in community orchestras, bands and stage productions (have to practice almost every night; some routines are necessary), bought and learned to play an alphorn too, bought (and sold) a horse, harness and wagon because I wanted to learn to drive, built the Cook House (small out building with commercial quality workspace) to process food from my farm, I learned to cut up a hog, make various salamis, bacons and charcuterie, found a local dairy that let’s me milk cows Sunday mornings so that I can make cheese, traveled in Europe, speak German fluently, and most recently downloaded a language learning app so that I can work on my Italian before my trip in the spring. It’s all pretty crazy, really. And when I retire this fall, I’ll have a lot more time for it. My point is turn off the TV/Computer and get outside.

    Reply
    • ms blaise January 30, 2019, 2:04 am

      You are awesome!

      Reply
  • Tara January 29, 2019, 1:18 pm

    I went for a cross country ski today with someone I met at work and we had the best day. Sunshine, fluffy snow and no cost!!! I’m not FIRE’d yet but on the path and dammit, I’d love more days with adventure and meeting new people. Thanks for the post reminding us, once again, what’s really important!

    Reply
  • Sandro January 29, 2019, 1:30 pm

    I have a complementary theory: As we get older, the additional year is just a smaller fraction of what we’ve experienced so far. So when you turn five years old your last year was one fifth of your life, but when you turn fifty, your last year was only a fiftieth of your life. It might be a good bit more though, because our brains “override” old stuff regularly.

    Reply
  • Mary January 29, 2019, 2:17 pm

    Why not take a vow of poverty and/or move into a Zen temple ?

    What’s the sticking point from a FIRE life to going full on “voluntary poverty “?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 29, 2019, 5:28 pm

      Yep, that would be a much more extreme version of it, and some people have managed to find happiness in the monk/temple lifestyle.

      But the hallmark of FIRE is just being “slightly less ridiculous than average”, and because of that it is VERY easy to adopt without giving up all the pleasures we are used to in life. Thus, it IS getting adopted by millions of people, and thus we are increasing our chances of reaching a sustainable level of resource consumption.

      Which is the real point of this blog!

      Reply
  • Jeffrey C January 29, 2019, 2:27 pm

    “To put this philosophy into practice immediately, all you need to do is start throwing some changes into your daily routine.”

    I talk about this in my TED Talk on lifelong learning, a visual summary (PDF) of which is available here at a Dropbox link: https://bit.ly/2DHRyAE

    Reply
  • Jerry January 29, 2019, 3:03 pm

    One book I recommend along these lines is Slipstream Time Hacking https://amzn.to/2RYrXw4

    It talks about how due to the theory of relativity, if you go faster you are essentially making time go slower. Also has some cool tips such as taking wormholes (FIRE for example) to “time travel”

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 29, 2019, 5:25 pm

      That looks like a potentially good book based on the reviews, except I can’t help but protest the use of “the theory of relativity” because that makes me think of Einstein’s physics theory, which only becomes relevant in slowing down time when you get really close to the speed of light (which not even Elon Musk does in the course of his busy workdays!)

      Reply
  • Kat January 29, 2019, 3:14 pm

    I experienced the perception of time speeding up like most people as I got older, and assumed that it was just the relative now vs how much I’d lived, or perhaps the way adult life tends to repeat the same patterns week after week.

    About 15 years ago it “broke” overnight and never returned. I at first wondered if I’d had a mini-stroke or maybe cracked under the stressful job I was in at the time. But getting older doesn’t affect it. It stays the same whether my life is full of routines or if every day is wildly different.

    It’s not a bad way to live, with every day being a full day.

    Reply

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