Side Effects of Enough

Enough.  It sounds like something my parents would say to my sister and I as we were driving down the road to our grandparents house.  Or something Mrs. Wow says to me as I’m trying to make her laugh by dancing in my speedo.  I never really put much thought into what that really meant until recently.  But really applying this to our life might actually help us understand where we are.

Let’s Play Pretend

We just graduated from college.  We’re moving to a new city.  There’s a nice new one bedroom condo, so we purchase it.  We also just got a fancy new job.  And with that comes a fancy new Honda.  Things are going swimmingly and we continue on our path.  We’re constantly going out with friends enjoying all the best and newest restaurants.

This continues and our careers are progressing.  So, we decide that it’s time to trade in our condo and move into a house.  We also just got a big raise, so we upgrade to an Acura.  Our family grows, and as such we need all these new things to take care of Baby Waffles.  We have to upgrade our clothes to keep up with the ever evolving styles and trends.

A few years pass and it’s time to move out of the crappy little neighborhood into the gated community.  We also need a new fancy SUV, so we upgrade.  Our kids toys are just not the latest and newest, can’t have that.  So, we upgrade those as well.

Anyone Else See A Trend?

I own A, but need to upgrade to B.  Once I have B, I need to upgrade to C.  Now owning C, I need to upgrade to D.  Seems like it’s a never ending loop, an infinite loop, if you will…

Hmm, I never seem to get anywhere.

We have some friends that bought their house, yet what were they doing last weekend?  Looking at new bigger houses.  Why?  There’s 3 of them, and they already own a 4 bedroom house.  I guess if that’s what you’re into.

Stop The Train

This on going train of consumption is running away with everyone’s life.  You have to make an effort to stop it.  It’s not just going to stop by itself.  Does that mean that we don’t want to get new things, or that we don’t upgrade when we need to?  No, of course not.

We just got a late model used car so that Mrs. Wow could be more comfortable as she drives all over.  But it does mean that we are attempting to break the chain, we’re making use of what we have.  We’re trying to keep old things around much longer than we used to.  So yes, Stop That Train, I Wanna Get Off!! (and Yes, that’s a link to a b-side Vanilla Ice video, and yes, it’s fantastically early 90’s).

Is There Anything Missing?

As I sit here writing in our little house with some things scattered around on my desk and around the room.  I can’t help but think, I have quite a lot.  I have a 15 year old car, that runs fine, and I still enjoy driving.  We have a great house in a great area, our neighbors could be nicer, or worse I guess, we don’t know them at all.  (We’ve lived here for over a year and talked to our neighbors maybe 4 times max, weird, huh?  We don’t exactly live on a huge ranch in Kansas.)

I have clothes, I have food to eat, a car, a motorcycle, two bikes (one road, one cruiser), too many shoes, according to my wife.  We have laundry in our place, we each have caring and great families (as much as they drive us nuts sometimes).  We have each other, we have our health.  We have our friends and this blogging community that are rapidly crossing to the friend territory.  We get to travel and visit people from all over the world.

Does it sound like anything is missing there? That’s a long list of stuff, and I could keep going.  Is there anything else that I really need?  I’m completely content.  It’s kind of a weird feeling.

Interesting Side Effects

We’re not quite at the point where we can fully hang it up.  We have a little while longer, so we’ll keep at it.  But it’s an interesting phenomenon to see some of our friends pushing and beating themselves up, (literally, a good friend of mine has huge health issues caused by stress from work, and they have two young kids) and sit there and think to yourself:

I don’t need that.  I have enough.

I will say this is one of the more unexpected side effects of really diving into this FIRE mindset.  We’ve eliminated a lot of the wants.  We’ve become happier with and more thankful for what we currently have.  It was never really on purpose, it just kind of happened.

We’ve changed.  We used to sit in front of the TV to each dinner, now every night we make it a point to eat at the table, and put away the gadgets and gizmos.  This is good, and wasn’t really expected.  We talk to each other, we enjoy each other’s company.  We go for walks together and love the simple entertainment of walking up the street with a beer or wine and watching in amazement as one of the world’s busiest airports thrives before our eyes.

Pretty Amazing to Watch. It’s better than TV!

We have friends over for dinner parties.  We get up and work out together, we visit friends and enjoy our conversations more, they’re deeper than “How was work?”.

That’s not to say that we constantly fart rainbows, but it is to say that we are pretty content with where we are.  And it’s a pleasant change that I don’t think either of us anticipated when we started down this path.

Any side effects you haven’t expected along this journey?  Good or Bad?  Have you come to the point where enough is well… enough?

 

11 Comments

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher July 19, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Isn’t it funny how the “wants” stop jumping into your brain as much when you’re pursuing FIRE? It’s all about the challenging time of teaching yourself not to want luxuries in the first place, which is where I think a lot of people get stuck.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…How to Make Cold Brew CoffeeMy Profile

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    • Mr WoW July 19, 2017 at 8:22 am

      It’s so true. The wants start melting…

      Not that I think Lil Yatchy is a exquisite philosopher. But he has a point… “Look around Bro, look at life… You see these trees man, you see this water. Come on man, you got so much more to appreciate.”

      Reply
  • Dads Dollars Debts July 19, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Ah the infinite loop. I knew better and still emotions got the best of me. Buying a million dollar home. This was a mistake and we are now 9 months into it. Maybe I will decide to sell it in 2 years if it has appreciated, but I am stuck in that loop for now.

    As for cars, we are good there. No consumer debt either (well other than that mortgage- the biggest consumer product). So we are chilling. I am amazed at how many people are constantly saying they should upgrade when their lives are just great
    Dads Dollars Debts recently posted…Hump Day – July 19, 2017My Profile

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    • Mr WoW July 19, 2017 at 8:29 am

      It’s crazy!!!! Complete craziness. Just gotta be aware and make an effort to

      Good for you guys! No debt is awesome.

      We’re not jumping into the real estate game, at least until it makes more sense. But, that’s not anytime soon in our current location. Just gotta be content with where we are now!

      Reply
  • Gwen @ Fiery Millennials July 19, 2017 at 7:37 am

    I came at the enough from the other angle of trying to slow down and recognize my efforts are good enough for now. http://www.fierymillennials.com/enough-is-enough

    Although, I will say it takes a lot of gumption to tell society at large “No, I don’t need a new car or bigger house, I have what I need.” The world is constantly screaming at you to buy more stuff and it’s our job to tell society to F off!
    Gwen @ Fiery Millennials recently posted…Mid-Year Check InMy Profile

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    • Mr WoW July 19, 2017 at 8:32 am

      It definitely takes a spine to stand up to nearly everyone. But luckily there are people around here that believe the same thing. It’s just important to maintain that mindset.

      Ahh yes, I remember that post. Very good stuff, compare yourself to you. There is no way to know what other people are going through. There’s always more to the story.

      Reply
  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach July 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I pretty much have everything I NEED but perhaps not everything I WANT…but before I sound like a diva…I think it breaks down to stuff like a new MAC. I could use my old one just fine, yet it does suck up a lot of extra time rendering and just moving really slowly. No one is holding a gun to my head to make videos, but having a GoPro really helps with making cool looking videos. I think that’s where my need/wants gets a little tricky. Sort of like investing in yourself….
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Ask Budget & the Beach: Blogging & the BeachMy Profile

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    • Mr WoW July 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      Well… there’s a certain amount of balance in there. But given that you fully understand the priorities, and know that getting one means that you can’t get the other. That’s fine. Wants & needs is definitely a tricky thing to balance. But, the fact is that you need to be content and thankful with what you have. Then you appreciate all the new things as well!

      Reply
  • Mr. Need2save July 24, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    I definitely still have a few weak spots. I’m an engineer, so I like gadgets. Even my kids ask – how many computers do you need Dad? Vehicles have been another weakness, but I’m trying to do better (oops, I did just buy that new motorcycle a few months ago!)

    Our income is pretty high and some lifestyle creep has found its way in. But overall, we have more than enough and are trying to find the right balance between needs and wants.
    Mr. Need2save recently posted…The Keys To SuccessMy Profile

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    • Mr WoW July 24, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      Weak spots aren’t the end of the world, so long as they are identified and acknowledged. We have our weaknesses. We certainly aren’t trading in the restaurants any time soon, and we definitely travel more than we probably should. But that stuff makes us happy. Besides… Steve McQueen is a bad ass… who doesn’t want to ride a bike like him? You will never hear any flak from me about anything Triumph!

      Balance is the key. And really for us the enlightening part was that these other side effects found their way in. Completely unexpected things. And it’s good, we’re enjoying it.

      Reply
  • Hump Day - July 26, 2017 - Dads Dollars Debts July 26, 2017 at 1:02 am

    […] on Wednesdays discuses the Side effects of enough. Interestingly if you can stop the train, then you need less and less. Only the things that matter […]

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