I continue to dive deeper into the universe of financial independence. As I continue to pursue this goal and lifestyle, I continue to encounter a certain feeling. This is a feeling of loneliness. I have often heard folks in this space talk about the loneliness of FI, but it is always in reference to that first year of early retirement where you no longer have the daily interactions that the workplace provides. What I am experiencing is something very different. This brand of loneliness is occurring during the journey, not once the destination is reached.
Admittedly, this is a different path than the norm for someone my age and station in life. That alone creates a situation where I almost feel that other people don’t “get” me. I watch friends purchase new luxury cars while I decide to continue to drive my 125,000-mile scratched-up truckster. I see friends move into larger and larger houses, while I work hard to pay off the mortgage on my current house. I have even considered moving into a smaller, cheaper house but can’t even broach that subject with my wife, who is definitely not on the FI bandwagon. I pretend I don’t hear the comments or “jokes” made at my expense about being cheap or when my kids make comments such as “… I know, we can’t afford it…” All these things together combine to make this a very lonely road.
I truly believe that the path I am on is what is best for me and my family but that doesn’t mean it is an easy road to trek. I will continue to keep my head down and plug away, but it is really tough at times. With the explosion of social media, there are more and more narrow communities taking root. There are local FI-inspired user groups. I might seek those out and find myself a pool of like-minded folks that might help to reinforce my choices and decisions. However, I tend to be very introverted and putting myself out there in those types of settings are tough for me. But, if it helps quell the alone feeling, it is probably worth pushing through that discomfort.