Heyo! After a week in sunny, humid Orlando weather…I’m back to living and loving the cold, dark Pacific Northwest weather. It’s good to be home!!!
I’ll finish my FinCon trip write up later and some other partially completed posts but I just can’t hold this particular mini-rant in —
⭐ “That’s Interesting!“
- Panhandling: How Much Money Do Panhandlers REALLY Make?
- How To Make Money As An Instagram Influencer (Internet Fame That Pays?)
- 39 People Who Got Richer AFTER Quitting Their Day Jobs
- Can Being a “Friend-For-Rent” Really Make Extra Money?
So a few days after I came back from my FinCon / California vacation, one of my husband’s old college chums came up to Seattle for a visit. Hubby was housemates with a bunch of guys in college so they come up to visit every so often.
The guy (Jian) brought his beautiful wife and adorable toddler son with him and we all went out for some delicious Caribbean food in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.
The catch-up conversation eventually landed on work which led to us skirting around the topic of early retirement.
(I don’t like telling people about retiring early because it’s just going to open up a ‘can of worm’ reactions. — “Wha- already?!” etc.)
To my surprise this time though, it was Jian who bought up his version of FIRE first.
I kept my mouth shut and pushed the topic on him. I showered him with a hundred questions because I didn’t want to answer questions on our super vague, haphazard plans.
I didn’t ask him if he knew the movement of FIRE idea even existed. Maybe.
He was just thinking about what’s logical for his family’s future after they’ve saved “enough” money. (FYI, his wife is currently a nurse.)
Jian wanted to do what I’m thinking about right now: deep life stuff.
He knows he wants to teach, bad.
And he isn’t fond of his current job as an industrial engineer. Jian has a career that requires a lot of traveling so he only sees his family for ⅓ of the year.
That factoid really made me sad! 🙁 I felt immediately more comfortable talking to them and relating to his desire to find FI. I find it very noble.
I wanted to encourage him because he is on a great path to retire by age 40. It sucks that he’s constantly away from his new baby boy but I think it’s cool he’s willing to give up his engineer career to teach and raise his son instead.
The pursuit of happiness without money as an objective; the absence of greed. Now that’s what I’m talking about! 🙂
But here’s the flip story of Jian.
Jian brought up another housemates / good friend of my hubby’s named Ye.
I actually met Ye about 2 years ago when he came to visit my husband. Ye had finished his medical residency and was thinking about which city to relocate to for his blossoming career. As of right now, he is a successful doctor living and working in the Bay Area.
Set life right!?
Jian updated us and apparently Ye’s is experiencing a huge amount of unfulfillment with his new life as a doctor.
He’s finding his work and life so empty that he’s now cutting his workload and chosen to spend his time to get an MBA degree.
The consensus among us was – “more school?…does a newly minted medical doctor really need more school this soon?”
He doesn’t know who he is or what he wants because this determined fellow didn’t have the luxury of self-examination. Life was all about med school since he was in high school. Plus he was stuck in the deep south for his years of residency. Being an Asian minority, he didn’t exactly get the brightest social experiences there.
Ye also has very high expectations from his Dad who is a well-to-do real estate mogul in the Bay Area. Since Dad is paying for all of Ye’s schooling, financial independence is probably less than 10 years away for him especially considering he lives in one of his father’s buildings.
If it was me, I would dig down and take the doctor route. Then I would do some soul searching and pursue other things…instead of perpetually staying in school / remaining a student. The excuse is to beef up (an already robust) resume for more potential income but…I don’t think money is the issue here. He’s confused.
⭐ Recommended Reads:
- Top 14 Reasons Why Some People Don’t Save Money
- 13 Sensible Defining Characteristics Of Upper Middle Class People
Jian (and I too) came to the same conclusion:
This is a common thing that happens when your parents (or anyone other than “yourself”) places heavy input on what to do with your life. You get caught up in it because that’s what you’re “suppose” to do and just go through the motions.
Super strict parents mistakenly give their kids a lot of very artificial goal instead of challenging themselves to find their own path.
Don’t be surprised after doing everything OTHER people tell you to do just to look around and realize your OWN life’s more fruitless than you could have ever imagined.
Isn’t this a trope: someone has been in school their entire life come out of school totally confused. Since being a student is all they know, they end up going back for more qualifications and more degrees as a form of escape.
When hubby and I met up with Ye, he told us his main goal after med school was to make tons and tons of money so he can feel successful – and I have no doubt he is indeed!
But that one statement hinted to me immediately a deeper problem to come:
Money is a really, really bad PRIMARY goal because:
1. The net worth target always moves up because it’s never enough.
2. Past a certain point, it’s pretty irrelevant. How much does it have to cost to have comfortable necessities in the first world? Not much.
3. Majorly distracting from the real underlying problem at hand.
Throwing money$$$ at stuff solves a lot of problems but that internal scream of identity, fulfillment, and meaning…well that ain’t one that money can directly solve.
Ey, I’ve been through it so it’s extra real to me. I’m an extra, extra busybody when the situation is relatable to myself. 😉
I was fighting that internal scream for the past 3 years by myself. Only recently did I get my own memo. I feel for Ye. It’s a miserable place to be and I hope all of us are wrong about the situation instead. Honest to goodness I really reaaaally want Ye to find his fulfillment.
There’s really no universal answer on how to live a fulfilling life. I’m pretty happy I found and started appreciating my oddities enough to create a plan for myself.
Jian thinks having a good wife and having some kids will bring meaning (Ye is single) considering Jian has his own pretty wife and son…Jian is definitely biased. 🙂
Being Asian and find fulfilment…well, it’s a little harder. Traditionally, Asian parents (old school ones like mine) don’t encourage or value “fulfillment” whatsoever. You’re supposed to go to school, become a successful doctor/lawyer/engineer/scientist, and while you’re doing that find a spouse and have some kids too.
The path isn’t very creative so in my soft rebellious way, I always encourage people to find / experiment / reflect on deeper life meanings when they start seeing a semblance of financial independence.
Yes, naturally, I’m biased too. It’s no secret that Jian has my total support. I disagree with how Ye is approaching fulfillment, hiding behind more schooling and bidding his time. I don’t think doing an MBA is going to bring him what he truly seeks.
Ye will come to see that out some time later. Jian and hubby agree with me on those fronts. It’s one of those journeys Ye has to discover on his own accord.
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