Time Was Flying By But We Couldn’t Really Say What We’d Accomplished in All The Busyness of The Days
It was around the time that we were hustling into our mid-30s that we found ourselves at a low-point, struggling with feeling stressed and busy yet simultaneously bored and unsatisfied. Then we came to the startling realization that the comfort of our “normal lives” was actually what was holding us back.
After a series of perspective-changing family illnesses, we hopped on the financial independence retire early (FIRE) bandwagon with dreams of ultimate freedom. It became clear that this penny-pinching pursuit would lead us to another case of burnout well before we could achieve our goals. While we were energized to reevaluate our lifestyles, we still didn’t quite feel confident that we could achieve our financial goals, while creating greater meaning and happiness in life.
We learned (the hard way) that financial freedom is not a destination. Having nearer-term financial goals did inspire us, though. We took that inspiration on a midlife slump busting mini-retirement, and the experience led us to be more confident in managing our limited resources to be happier while achieving greater meaning in life.
My hope is that this site will help inspire others to discover more happiness in unexpected places, and help me add sensibility to my sense of wonder.
Most people consider me a quirky gal. Max says I can be over-enthusiastic. I guess that's true. But, enthusiasm can pay off.
Professional Focus: promoting greater health & wellbeing
Memorable Meaningful Experience: volunteering to help an aboriginal community grow a sustainable tea tree social enterprise in Hervey Bay, Australia
Favorite Hobby: savoring locally grown and locally made foods, especially by exploring farmer’s markets and sampling ice cream scoop shops around the world
Most people consider me a laid-back guy. Brittany says I can be stubborn. I guess that's true. But, stubbornness can pay off.
Professional Focus: product management for urban and healthcare tech companies
Memorable Meaningful Experience: photo journalism project on agricultural production and distribution in Hyderabad, India
Favorite Hobby: urban hiking to discover the heart of neighborhoods around the world
My hope is that this site will help others to be strategically stubborn in pursuing greater freedom, and help me to connect with likeminded professionals who use their freedom to positively impact communities around the globe.
A Short (Hi)story
While working traditional jobs over the past decade, we were lulled into the typical American lifestyle: work more, spend more, and constantly strive for the next big thing. It didn’t take long for all of our time and money to be spoken for (sometimes multiple times over). After cancer struck both sides of our families, we were struck by the fact that tomorrow is not a given.
Looking for ways to make the most out of life, we discovered the financial independence retire early (FIRE) community and quickly shifted toward frugal living to join the movement. But, even if we saved 50% of our income and took on side hustles, we were looking at another 10+ years of full-time work. It wasn’t long before constant penny pinching and attempts at a fully optimized life led to burnout.
We didn’t want to give up our dream of greater meaning and happiness. So, we hunkered down and crafted reliable, alternative goals and a financial plan that gave us the freedom to retire now—by balancing periods of (full-time) work with rejuvenating mini-retirements. Maintaining an affordable semi-nomadic lifestyle supported by impactful work and growing investment income has made mini-retirements our version of early retirement that’s achievable now.
Surely, leaving the conventional lifestyle introduces a different gravity to account for the present and future. But, having skin in the game is forcing us to learn how to take calculated risks, find greater happiness in the day-to-day, and still support the pursuit of meaningful goals in life.
We’re allocating more time and resources to nurturing happiness and positively impacting the people and places around us. And, we’re journaling about it to keep ourselves honest and hold ourselves accountable. With hard work, and a bit of luck, we’ll hopefully help a few like-minded friends (old and new) to overcome money and work stress, and do more of what makes you richer in life too. We’re glad you’re here to join us!
We Like To Call What We Do Lifestyle Design For Mid-Career Change-Seekers
It’s easy to get lulled into the typical American lifestyle: work more, spend more, and constantly strive for the next big thing. We’ve been trained to believe that having a bigger budget is always better but, once we get there, we realize that more money has diminishing influence on our happiness. By adjusting our money mindset and spending more on what matters most, we can have exponentially positive impacts on creating the financial freedom that we really want.
Facing the reality that what fills our days is not as fulfilling as it should be introduces a different gravity to lifestyle decisions. Once we realize that we’ve been preoccupied with unimportant details, it takes significant effort to cut through the distractions and connect with real personal and professional meaning. But, even in our increasingly frenzied world, it’s possible to tune out the daily noise and use our freedom to consistently prioritize what really matters.
Anticipating that happiness will be achieved once we get to that “next thing” is a common misconception that leads us to feeling burnt out and bummed out. Happiness for most of us peaks when we are immersed in an endeavor that supports our values and connects us with a like-minded community. Giving ourselves the freedom to try new things with new people leads to more creativity and relationships that nurture a sense of overall satisfaction.