Imagine that you have finally FIRE’d and now you are bored. Which projects would you? This is the new shiny thought experiment by SavingNinja. And I have a lot to do, indeed…
Before we get to my response, let me introduce the concept, so that you understand all the background.
“Thought experiments” is a project by SavingNinja. The idea is that some hypothetical situation is posted every 2 months and participants must write down their thoughts without any preparation or major editing. This should uncover their inner views and feelings.
I took part last time and the topic was “If You Lost Everything” (my response). Without doubt it was much darker, but nevertheless interesting experience.
“Projects after FIRE” thought experiment
The experiment’s page is here (it also contains links to other bloggers’ posts) and the “problem” statement is:
Life is good. You finally did it! You pulled the plug on your day job after reaching financial independence. You never have to work for money ever again. But, you’re bored. You need something to do… You need a project! You grab a piece of paper and a pen and start thinking. Now that you’re financially free, what projects do you want to complete? However ambitious, however small, you now have the time to pursue anything that you like, what will you accomplish?
UPD Apr 20, 2019: FYI, I’ve prepared an the overview of other participant responses.
Before reading the new experiment
This time I am doing the writing in the morning to avoid any scary dreams during the night (I didn’t have any last time, but just in case). Let’s see what Savings Ninja prepared for us. In his tweet he wrote that not everyone will be able to “partake” in this one, so I am curious why. My guesses are that this could be related to gender (but this would be weird) or perhaps FIRE status (e.g. a question to already FIRE’d people).
After reading the new experiment
Funny, this one seems pretty easy. Basically what I want to do (focusing more on projects side) once I “retire”. Obviously, I can’t tell precise projects, because I may accomplish some of them before FIRE, however, I can definitely try to explain the general theme.
First, I have plenty of random ideas for projects already today. These are mostly related to programming, data analysis and making websites. I would definitely spend more time on these. However, currently almost all of them tend to have some money making part and this could go away once I FIRE. I can’t say that I explicitly filter my projects to make money (I don’t drop ideas, which are unlikely to make money), but I get majority of ideas like that anyway. So it is probably something inside me.
I think I would probably try doing my projects differently once I FIRE. Currently there is always not enough time and I can spend only small portion of my time on my projects. As a result they all take multiple weeks. I would definitely try doing sprinting more (e.g. one week or even entire month for one project full time). Not sure whether this would work perfectly, because I may then get bored, I like to have many ongoing things at once and jump back and forth between projects, which interest me the most. However, trying won’t hurt me and having a reasonably finished project in a reasonable time might feel pleasant too.
I probably should explain more what I mean by projects. As I said, there is not much point to talk about specific ideas, since I will probably address majority of items on my list before FIRE. However, by projects I don’t mean something large. It can be pretty small. I also don’t have any specific limitations for my projects. If it looks like a finite chunk of work not related to other things I am doing and for which I can define an actionable target and a title, this is already a project in my view.
I actually have multiple lists in my life, because ideas (sometimes even good) come randomly, so I try to make it as easy as possible to record them and whenever there is any urgent need, I don’t have to come up with ideas, but just check my list. In some sense, I precache my ideas for some topics to save time later when there is a need for that topic. I should write a post about this (I can call it “Catching ideas”). Here are couple of ideas for the post, so that I don’t forget: I suspect that the rate with which ideas appear is constant (assuming that you don’t have major lifestyle changes). Thus, one should optimize how easy it is to record them and time for how long one collects them. It is similar to having a net and just catching some fruits falling from a tree. It is important to write even “bad” ideas, the first impression may be wrong, deleting an idea later is easy, you may learn something new later, which will change your perspective. For me ideas usually come as a reaction to something I saw or read. Occasionally this can be a combination of multiple sources. You actually saw above how I got an idea for the new post. Now I have added this to my internal list of ideas for blog posts. As you might have noticed I have a public list of ideas for blog posts as well. Actually I think I have too many blog post ideas and not enough free time for all of them. As a result, I publish some of them just as ideas (I should definitely publish a new batch) and then see which ones people visit the most. This helps me to prioritize. Having too many ideas (or in other words choosing which ones to pursue) is the next problem you have pretty quickly once you develop a good idea “catching” approach. You could say that I could choose the ones I like the most, the issue is that I like almost all of them :)
Ok, I got derailed badly. Sorry, sorry. Regarding projects, even a larger blog post requiring some research is a project. It has an actionable goal - write a blog post about X - and a title e.g. “blogpost X”.
However, I don’t think I would be able to work full-time on my projects, because it is pretty demanding work. I can’t be sure, but I suspect that I won’t. E.g. currently on weekends I rarely have 8 hours of clean “project” work. I definitely won’t force myself, because then I will just hate all my projects and that’s not my goal. As a result, I would likely do something else in addition to projects.
In some sense I may now derail into general “life after FIRE” instead of “projects after FIRE”, but the term “project” is very broad for me, so it is ok.
I would definitely write more in my blog. Probably even somewhat weirder blog posts, which currently I filter out because it feels like I am the only one interested, but then I could give a try to a couple. I think I would do more blog posts requiring more background work. Currently, when I have not that much free time, spending entire week on one blog post feels wasteful. Sad.
Then I would try to develop artistic part of me more. Currently, this feels like it is not worth it, because this is mostly just for myself, but I definitely feel desire to try. One way would be to improve my juggling skills and then start juggling for other people entertainment. I enjoy combination of juggling and humor very much and I think that juggling provides a lot of opportunities (failing can be fun) and I would try to develop some small act of mine involving juggling and trying to be funny.
I am also interested to learn how to draw. However, I am extremely bad at this right now and it feels like this will take me eternity. So for now it is again not worth it, but when I have more free time I would try for sure. Another similar area is music (playing music instruments and composing). Here I am probably even worse than with drawing. I would be interested to moderately develop my skills. Perhaps I am just curious whether I just don’t have ability (which I don’t believe, but this could be the first example) or just didn’t spend enough time practicing effectively. Currently both drawing and music look like magic to me. Moving something from “magic” to normal life is a wonderful feeling, which I greatly enjoy.
Then I could do more DIY, e.g. currently sewing interests me as another medium of expression. Making a couple clothing items looks interesting. Probably now you understand the name of my blog. When I see my lists of things I could do I occasionally get a feeling that I may be even too curious sometimes. I hope that this does not harm me, but prioritization is hard.
Oh, also cooking. I enjoy cooking. I feel like the result is often multiple times better than the effort involved. I also like to cook kinds of food, which normally everyone just buys and few people think how to cook it from scratch. Sometimes cooking such food is extremely easy, so I end up cooking it every now and then even though everyone else just buys it. One example is bread. After some practice, baking bread becomes extremely simple and fast (in terms of active time spent - not waiting). After FIRE I would cook unusual and more time consuming dishes more often. Perhaps even I would cook for other people. Currently I often cook something quick, because again - time. I extremely rarely cook for other people these days, but this is a very important part of cooking in my view.
Oh, ok, this is much longer text than I originally expected. It also didn’t go that easy at the beginning, but now I completely missed how I wrote that much. I feel a bit weird, because Savings Ninja might have meant more concrete project ideas here, but my concrete planning horizon is not that long.
Also why would I actually wait until FIRE to do something? It becomes apparent from the text above that I will be doing either more of or just more intensively stuff I am doing right now. I think that this is how it should be, because you should live a good life now and not somewhen in future. So if I had some super interesting project, I don’t think I would ever say “oh, cool, let’s wait until FIRE to do it”. Ok, in some sense I am doing this for my artsy ideas (e.g. juggling with humor), but I juggle these days as well. So again I will be doing something similar, but in a more time consuming manner after FIRE.
By the way stand-up comedy interests me as well, but probably not as much as stuff above since I remembered about it only now. But I can imagine giving it a try. I would also experiment more with my life and try new things for sure .
Finally, I would do sport more often (like everyday). This is hard to call a project, but I would love to do more sport and currently (again) have not much time for this.
To calm down my inner self, I can give you a couple of things I am working right now, which you can use as a basis to extrapolate what I will be doing after FIRE:
- larger projects:
- I am making a FIRE game (it is in some sense a simulator of life with FIRE related bits). This is a very early stage, so nothing to show yet. I will definitely make a post about it and even tweet.
- I saw an interesting African music instrument in a museum (known as rain-stick) and now I would like to reproduce it at home. The original one used some plant parts, which I am going to replace with pistachio shells. Currently I am at “collecting pistachio shells” stage. Since I don’t eat pistachio that often (even though I avoid expensive “crazy pistachio” I saw recently, they are still pricey enough to be enjoyed moderately), this takes time. This is also an example of a project, which is interesting, but does not have that much of a practical benefit. I should make a blog post about this as well.
- FIRE calculator which tells how saving or spending X euro affects your FIRE date (i.e. how many days sooner or later it will be). I made a rough prototype, but then I got busy with other projects and now this one waits for its golden time.
- for blog posts you can have a look at my public post idea list. Every view counts and affects what I will write about next, so thank you a lot for your help! As I said, prioritization is hard and you help me enormously by somewhat implicitly expressing your interest.
Oh and thank you a lot, Savings Ninja, for making me think and even write about all of these. Everyone should do this occasionally, even people not interested in FIRE. FIRE definitely promotes such thinking and makes “what I want to do with my life” question much more burning, since you can get more freedom to actually do something with your life. I am pretty sure that my views will somewhat change by the time I reach FIRE, I don’t think that this will be a major change, but definitely polishing of some details. I also claim that answering this question can be a game changer for FIRE. I don’t have practical experience, but I suspect that if you go into FIRE without clear understand what you enjoy and want to do, the free time you will have will be like a punishment for you. It will be just boring, because there won’t be anything really interesting to do. So it is better to start thinking about this earlier or even building some version of the life you want already before FIRE and then just upscaling this life. I hope that my approach (having a lot of time shortage now and just satisfying this demand in FIRE) will work. What is also funny, that I have never noticed before that I implicitly cut so many activities due to time shortage. Without an overview in one place, I noticed that I stopped myself sometimes from doing something time-consuming, but this felt like rather rare incidents.
I am now extremely curious why not everyone may be able to partake in this experiment? Did Saving Ninja mean people who are not trying to reach FIRE? But they probably won’t read his blog that much. Hm. Something is weird here. I should ask him.
Before I forgot, after the last thought experiment, I thought that it would be cool to compare responses of other people (i.e. categorize them and make a table with an overview). This time I am going to do this. Unfortunately, I can’t do this now, because there is nothing to read yet, so I will have to wait until people start publishing. So if you are curious to get a general overview, come back in couple days (or perhaps a week to be sure), I will post a link here (and tweet as well). This must be interesting.
UPD Apr 20, 2019: the overview of other participant responses.