Life After 40

ETA: I've published and then pulled this one from the blog a few times, sometimes it feels something I want to share and feel others might benefit, sometimes it feels too private. As I try to write a bit more, just to have a personal record, I think I'll add it again. 

Life update since written nearly a year ago: Still worried about the pandemic, still frustrated with our government's handling, still hoping against hope that our kids will stay safe, back to enjoying my job and I've moved into a permanent position, but still debating what the future holds. 

Now back to the post from January 2021. 

I turned 40 a few weeks ago. I'm not sure if it was this life event or the additional pandemic stress, or hitting a nice financial milestone I didn't think possible after the market dropped in March 2020, but I'm feeling like I'm ready to start early retirement. I want the flexibility to decide what to do with my time. I have less patience for the stuff I don't like about my job. 

Speaking with a friend who hit 50 this year our discussion turned where you are at these milestone ages and she mentioned hitting 40 your 'Don't give a fuck' level is activated. That you lose patience for the annoyances in your life and you just don't put up with them anymore. Hopefully by this point, speaking for myself now, I am able to say no. I've started this year, saying no to a few requests I'd normally say yes to because I was just too tired, too exhausted by the pandemic stress. Currently, I think I'm still struggling with societal expectations and who I am within them. 

We are about 5 years out from our FI* number. PapaBird has no desire to retire in the next little bit. I've questioned if I want to work for the last 7-8 years or be a stay at home parent. Ultimately I like the independence I feel being a working mom gives me. The security that should something happen to either one of us, the other would be ok financially. But now having reached CoastFI** I'm feeling a sense of restlessness. A sense of questioning. Why should I keep working in the midst of a pandemic? I've always worried about taking time off as my field is very technology-driven and I worry about losing ground, but I have proven to myself that I'm employable and will likely find another job should I choose to look for one within a year or two. 

Now hitting 40, my time seems more important than living up to an expectation. I always felt I could justify transitioning to being at home by being financially independent. Mostly it's an ego boost for me. I know a lot of people in the FI community struggle with working 1 more year and I feel like I'm there. My stretch goal was always to retire when my youngest started kindergarten. He'll be starting in the fall of 2022, 18 months away. With my current level of exhaustion and anxiety given the pandemic, 18 months suddenly feels really long. I just want to pull the kids out and keep them home till we can all be vaccinated. The problem is they are loving being back in school and seeing their friends again. I would feel horrible to pull that back from them. For my littlest, it's important he keeps getting the French exposure to prepare him for school. I'm not very good at doing that. Though I could work harder at it. 

My contract is up in a couple months so that is presenting a nice timeline option to pull out if I could decide to. I'm struggling because I'm working on a project I really want to complete before leaving. I also love my team and the work I'm doing and trying not to make a rash decision based on pandemic stressors. I'm also happy to be working during the school year, but I really want to have my summers off at the moment. 

So in the meantime, I continue to obsess over what I should do as the lure of freedom keeps calling my name. 

*FI: Financial Independence. Our FI number is 25-30x our annual spending. 

**CoastFI: Don't need to add anything to our current investments and the magic of compound interest should enable us to hit full FI by 50-55 (conservative estimate)


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