Is Contentment The Enemy of Progress?

Is Contentment The Enemy of Progress?Is contentment the enemy of progress? That’s what I’ve been asking myself lately. Life has been really good over the past few years, but I feel myself stagnating. This is a huge contrast to 9 years ago when I first started this blog. I was unsatisfied with my career and I did everything I could to change my life for the better. I cut back on expenses, saved and invested as much as possible, and built alternative income streams. Eventually, I retired from my engineering career and became a stay at home dad/blogger. It paid off spectacularly. Life is so much better today than in 2010. I make much less money these days, but we still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. I’m very happy with how it worked out. However, it feels like I’m in a period of stagnation. I don’t want to change anything because I’m content. Have you ever felt that way?

*This post was originally written in 2015. It is updated in 2019. Life continues to change.

Stay-at-home dad

(Circa 2015) I don’t know about other dads, but I love being a stay at home dad. I get to spend a lot of time with RB40Jr and teach him a lot of fun stuff. He was way ahead of other kids his age with bike riding, swimming, climbing trees, and swinging on the monkey bars. (He called it “guy school” and he encouraged his mom to attend.) I think most moms are a bit overprotective and don’t like their kids to take unnecessary risks. Dads encourage their kids to push themselves and learn their limits. I know that’s a generalization, but that’s what I noticed.

Of course, we had our frustrating moments, too. RB40Jr frequently acted out when he got frustrated. He banged on the wall and hit other kids when things don’t go his way. We tried to help him express his frustration differently, but it was tough for a 4-year-old boy to control himself. He really couldn’t help himself. I tried to stay calm when he did this, but sometimes I lost my temper, too. Hopefully, this phase will pass soon.

Anyway, being a dad and spending time with RB40Jr was much more enjoyable than working in an office. We had our frustrating moments, but we worked through them together.

*2019 update below.

RB40Jr is 8 years old now. He made a lot of progress since 2015! He can read very well now and still enjoys physical activities. His behavior improved slowly over the years and he rarely hits other kids anymore. He still “hates” school, but he’s fine once he’s there.

My role as a stay-at-home dad changed too. Unfortunately, being a SAHD to a small rambunctious boy was NOT really retirement. It was a lot of headaches. That changed dramatically after RB40Jr started kindergarten. Now, he’s in school from 8 am to 2:30 pm on most days. That gives me a lot of time to work on my blog and catch up on errands. This is a lot closer to retirement than when he was small. I also started coaching his soccer team this year. He’ll probably participate in more activities as he grows up. It’s great to be there for our son and see him grows up.


Blogging is a big part of my life today. Retire by 40 hasn’t changed much since I started blogging in 2010. The traffic peaked in 2014 and has been pretty stable since. The way I worked changed a bit, though. Let’s go through some of these phases.

  • 2010 to 2012 – I was working full-time so I blog at night, after my son went to bed. Back then, my posts were pretty short and I didn’t write many deep articles. It was hard to think after a long day of work and a long night of sleeplessness ahead. Our son was not a good sleeper when he was a baby. I spent 20-30 hours per week on the blog and did not get much sleep. It was tough.
  • 2013 to 2015 – I retired from full-time work and spent most of my time being a SAHD. I blogged when RB40Jr took a nap and at night. He started preschool in 2014 and I had a little more time during the day. That helped a lot.
  • 2016 to 2018 – RB40Jr started regular school. Wow, what a difference! I had a lot more time to work on my blog. I wrote longer posts and cover more topics. Work still took up about 20-30 hours per week, but it was a lot more relaxed than the previous phase.
  • 2019 – Over the first half of 2019, I worked 20-30 hours per week. Then I cut back to 10-15 hours per week in the summer. Junior didn’t want to go to day camp (childcare) anymore so we spent all summer together. It was great. I planned to go back to 20-30 hours/week once school started, but my to-do list exploded. There were too many things to do so I’m sticking with the summer schedule until New Year.
  • 2020 and beyond – This year was great. I worked harder in the first half of the year and relaxed more in the summer and fall. I like this schedule and will probably stick with it. In a few years, I’ll try to work 10-15/hours per week all year long.

The evolution of blogging work looks good to me. I worked about 20-30 hours per week from 2010 to 2018. However, my life improved as RB40Jr grew up and needed less supervision. Now, I work even less and have more time to relax. Hopefully, the trend will continue.

Blog income

How about the blog income? Blog income is strange. The number of hours worked doesn’t seem to collate with income.

Retire by 40 blog income

2018 was our best year and I worked less than in 2010 to 2012. I guess that’s the time investment paying off. Ideally, the income will stabilize while I continue to reduce the number of hours. We’ll see if that plan works out. Stay tuned.

2019 is worse than in 2018, but it’s not bad. We have 3 months left so we should get to around $45,000 this year.

Early retirement

Okay, I admit it. Being a SAHD to a small child is not really early retirement. It’s a lot of work for no pay. We’re moving in the right direction as my son grows up, though.

My life became much easier when our son started regular school. Now, it’s beginning to get a little busier again as he participates in more extracurricular activities. We’ll keep it to one activity at a time so it won’t get too bad.

Here is a chart I made. This shows where I spent my time on a weekly basis. It’s an estimate, but it looks okay to me.

time work sleep dad

I’m making good progress on this chart. The “me time” bar is slowing growing. Yes! As for work, it looks like I’m at level 4.5 in my 10 levels of early retirement. In a few years, I’ll be at level 5. That’s 10-15 hours/week of work, not bad at all.

We’re also halfway through the SAHD business. In 9 years, our son will get ready to move out. Muahahaha! I can’t wait. That red bar will change to purple. It’ll be awesome.

Life and family

One thing that I didn’t account for when I retired from my career was my parents’ health. This factor changed a lot over the last 7 years since I retired.

When I left work in 2012, both of my parents were in good health. My mom lived with us about 75% of the year and with my brother in California for the rest of the time. My dad lived by himself in Thailand.

In 2018, my mom was diagnosed with dementia and she couldn’t live with us anymore. I took care of her for a year, but she became too disruptive. I couldn’t leave her alone at all. That’s tough even in my situation. So we moved her to Thailand and my dad is taking care of her now. This is only a temporary solution because his health isn’t great either. I’m going to Thailand next month to help find a better solution for her. There is a new dementia care home near Chiang Mai. We’ll visit and see if it will work.

I think I’ll have to spend more time in Thailand from now on. I plan to take Junior with me for 2 months next summer to help my parents. If Mrs. RB40 retires soon, then I’ll probably spend even more time there. She can take over the SAHM role. Maybe 6 months per year? We’ll have to see how it works out. If my dad stays somewhat healthy, I might not have to spend so much time there.

Lastly, Mrs. RB40’s parents are getting older too. They’re in good health for now, but who knows what will happen in a few years. Getting old is no joke.

Stagnation and contentment

I felt stagnation setting in when I wrote this post in 2015. I was content, but life seemed to be static. It wasn’t like this when I was an engineer. Back then, I was learning new skills and getting promotions. It felt like progress. In contrast, my life moved at a much slower pace since I retired. My son was growing, but I still spent a lot of time being a SAHD. Now, I see it was just a phase. Life kept changing and I made some progress on my early retirement over the last few years. I’m getting more “me time” back slowly, but surely. Soon RB40Jr will be a teenager and he won’t want anything to do with me. In 9 years, he will be out of the house and I’ll have a lot more time to myself. Then, I can focus on gaining new skills and expanding my horizons. Also, I’m still content. That’s enough progress for me.

Do you ever have periods of stagnation? What do you do to keep growing?

Starting a blog is a great way to build your brand and generate some extra income. You can see my tutorial – How to Start A Blog and Why You Should. Check it out if you’re thinking about blogging.

Image credit: Simon Migaj

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.
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54 thoughts on “Is Contentment The Enemy of Progress?”

  1. Parents getting old and needing extra care/money is one thing that’s constantly in the back of my mind as I progress toward my fire journey. I thought maybe I can dedicate a year or two just to have the income purely for them. That’s just life.. There are only few years where you are truly worry free and still surrounded by all the people you love.

    I think you had a tougher time as the stay home parent. Had your wife retired with you, it woould’ve felt very different I am certain.

    • Healthcare is a big issue. If you have a lot of money, then it’s not a big deal. If you have nothing, you can get medicare/medicaid. They are not bad at all. For people with some money, that’s tough. It’s easy to spend everything.

  2. You retired, but your wife is continuing to work.
    It appears to be a philosophy that benefits you, far more than her.
    And your children are learning the power of living off another’s efforts. Not sure that’s a good lesson.

    • Not in my family. My wife wants to work. She doesn’t want to be a SAHM. This philosophy benefits both of us. Our lives would be worse if I work and she stays home. You have to find your own path. You do what works for your family and I’ll do what’s good for mine.

  3. Interesting to see your blog income graph, thanks for sharing Joe! I agree that the pre-Kindergarten years are so busy- I can’t decide which one is more tiring, work or kids…. I think it might be kids as I am physically exhausted.

    If the hours spent on your blog doesn’t correlate too much with income earned, how come you don’t just work 10-15 hours a week on your blog from now on?

    • Being a SAH parent is harder when they’re little because you’re sleep deprived. 🙂
      It was better once our son started preschool. Then kindergarten helped even more.
      You’re right! I guess I’m afraid to have too much downtime. I’ll get there eventually.

  4. I certainly have wondered the same question you have. I work on my business probably a little less than you do for your blog. Some days I wake up feeling content and privileged that I choose to work for myself, other days I wake up feeling lazy and wonder why I don’t work harder.

    But I guess something financial freedom brings is that you can choose to spend a lot of time on goals that only matters to you and have no monetary value. I am working on several goals like learning Spanish and tennis and dance, and it has been challenging. Actually a lot of people tell me they have not tried to learn anything new as an adult.

    • I think my progression slowed down a lot, but life is much better too. It really depends on what your goals are. I’ll try to learn some new skills when I have more time. Like fishing and other ways to become more self-sustainable. Thank you for your input!

  5. I worry (perhaps that word’s a bit strong) that my contentment could easily slide into laziness and a status where I’m not making good use of my early retired life. It’s something that I’m continually on my guard against.

  6. It really is pretty easy to get complacent. Part of it is inertia. Part of it is the fear of the unknown. My first post described how I was considering and even strongly encouraged to blog 2 years before I actually did. It took that much time for me to finally go outside my comfort zone.

    It is easy not to push yourself once you achieved financial independence because you can just sit back and let your income streams do all the work. Hopefully I can continue to blog for awhile (it is definitely a lot of work and much more than I anticipated before I started) and that can continue to keep me pushing myself.

  7. I like what you wrote in this article. Having worked from home since my kids started school, and working online since 1999, I know exactly what you are talking about. I am so glad I made the choice to leave my high powered management job and stay home with my kids.
    They are older now, and they thank me for that choice! There is a fine balance that changes constantly between motivation, contentment and working alone at home. I have found myself fighting lethargy and burn-out, and wishing I could just win the lottery and retire sometimes.
    It is always great to see a parent realize how precious and short our time actually is with our kids and decide to commit time to being with them. I am so glad I did it.
    I do not like the whole social media part of running my sites either! It is so tedious and feels like such a chore. Keep up the personal writing. That is staying true to yourself.

  8. It’s always really interesting to read personal posts like this one. Part of what is so good about reading this niche of blogging is that it can give some pretty great life insights (alongside tips about managing your money)!

    There is a fine line between contentment and stagnation, I think you’re right, but I also think that it’s about attitude and setting yourself new challenges. Only you know where you want to get to so only you (and perhaps your wife) can decide on some goals to once more move out of the comfort zone!

    Great post.

  9. I had a stagnation period of about 5 years! Not much has been done in the last years to really achieve my FI goals and my dream of “working” full time on my website business. Blogging is sure different than it was some years ago, when money was easy to make. But it’s still as fun and I like challenge! 😉

    I don’t think I’d be able to be a stay at home dad, but my wife was for a couple years too. At one point, she needed to have projects of her own as well. Actually, it’s her thoughts about her life that put an end to our stagnation period. We talked more and more and the “meaning” of like, what we expected from it, what values we wanted our kids to have, etc. We ended up realizing we wanted to put our focus on experiences but we were doing the exact opposite and focusing on material stuff.

    So anyways, she brought up the RV trip and we’re now both convinced it will be life changing for us. Actually, it already is.



    • It’s great that you were about to define a goal you can both work toward. I’m looking forward to reading about your RV trip.
      Best wishes

  10. Great post, I appreciate people who think deeply, I tend to be much shallower so I hate giving someone like you advice. I’m under qualified. I am in my 50’s working only for entertainment, way past being financially secure. But dw and I have raised three self sufficient well balanced, on their own, children and I do disagree that 4 year olds can’t control their temper or their actions. Mine, through discipline and clear rules defining what was acceptable and what was not, controlled their behavior from 2 on. Sure, they disobeyed at times, through their teens even, but not often because the consequences were defined and unyielding.

    As adults we get along great, love each other and admire each other. But during those early years when you have to choose between being their friend and being their parent, parent better win every single time or you are doing them harm. Loving them well means raising good adults. Not making maximizing their childhood the main target. But I know that you are a terrific dad so don’t take this as criticism. Just observations from an older guy.

    • I’m usually a shallow thinker as well. I’m forced to think deeper occasionally when I blog. 🙂
      How do you discipline a 4 year old kid? We have clear rules – no banging around, no hitting, and no throwing things. It just doesn’t get through to him. When he’s frustrated, he forgets all rules. What is the consequences of breaking the rules?
      I send him to time out and it’s not working. I wrote a follow up article so I would love it if you can comment on that.
      Thank you

  11. I’ve mentioned this before and written a little about it, but I think the key is to always revising your goals upward. You’ve obviously achieved your main goal of financial independence, so the next step has to be above that. Otherwise, you look around and wonder what do you do now? I’m sure there’s a sense of fulfillment for achieving a goal like you have, but I am always afraid that things will start to stagnate and I won’t know what to do next. If you constantly up your goal, you never entirely reach it . . . and I think we all agree that it’s the journey, not the destination that is so much fun!


    • I don’t know if revising upward is a good fit for me. I think growing more broadly might be a better fit for me. I would love to learn new skills and that would keep life interesting.

  12. Interesting. I felt stagnant/stuck in the last two jobs I had after a period of time, like 7 years. The 7 year itch! When I looked at my options and made a change, I was much happier.
    You will find that about every 5-7 years, that you change. Your wants and needs change too.
    I always felt a little lonely and isolated raising children. As if something was missing. Hey, kids will suck the life out of you (ha, ha)! Besides, w/kids, your wallet is always open!
    I agree, contentment and gratitude are key.

    • I had a career crisis every 7 years also. It’s been 3 years now as a SAHD/blogger and I want to prevent a blowout. I love what I’m doing now and I want to continue for as long as I can.
      Being a SAHD is pretty good at this time. Junior has more friends now and I can schedule playdates once in a while.

  13. I feel like we aren’t making enough progress toward our goals, which feels like stagnation at times. I think anyone who is in a good spot starts to worry about stagnation because complacency is easy to slip into.

    As long as you stay aware of the issue, I think you’ll keep from getting too complacent. Maybe set one incremental goal a week so you can see progress without feeling like you have to work too hard in your retirement.

  14. Maybe it’s time you wrote a memoir about your experience. You have all your blog posts as great material to draw from. People love to read memiors about people doing what they would like to do, I know I do.

    I love the idea of guy school. Your son will have learning experiences and a loving foundation from his Dad which will carry him through his whole life. Many Dads are too stressed from work to slow down and teach their kids. You are so lucky, and so is he!

    • I can probably dedicate time to work on a book next year. I just don’t have time right now. I might have to pull back a bit from blogging so I can write a book. Guy school is a lot of fun. 🙂

  15. This sounds like one of those ‘first world problems.’ Being content also gives you leverage, peace and wellness that override most Americans’ petty and Sisyphean pursuits of bigger, faster, more, etc. The one caution is to not take your sources of contentment for granted, and to also maintain your resilience to change, because there is surely something that will rob or reduce your contentment – a matter of when, not what.

  16. Haha, love the post Joe! I’ve been loving your blog a lot!

    I definitely know what you mean. I’ve started my blog about 6 months ago and as I’m currently trying to grow the blog at a fast pace, it doesn’t always work that way. For this reason it feels like I’m a bit stagnant as well as I’m not seeing the results right away.

    It’s not the same type of stagnation as I’m not dealing with contentment, yet I do feel the similar feeling you’re describing. Life is kind of great and even though I’m trying to push myself as much as possible, I might be confusing feeling burnt out with “loosing drive”

    I think it’s also very important to have balance in life. It’s important to spend time with family and to get away from the keyboard from time to time. Yes, blogging does take up quite some time, but I’ve realized so far that balance keeps us sane. It’s possibly one of the most important things.

    Looking forward to reading more of your articles!


  17. Contentment is the reward of progress. If you’re content, then you feel as though you’ve done enough.

    I would love to be content enough to coast. Unfortunately, I’m several years removed from your level of success.

    Stay content, Mr. Udo


  18. Many people talk about searching for happiness but what they don’t realize is that happiness is temporary. We can’t be happy all the time. What we can do is to be content.

    Thus, coming to the point of your blog. You clearly described contentment, the ultimate goal to achieve for a good life. Forgive me for making some guess here but I think you have been in that contentment state for so long that it now is the status quo and you’re wondering if there is something beyond contentment. What that you’re missing is some kind of changes from the routine, perhaps a challenge.

    • Yes, happiness isn’t permanent. That’s why we need to pursue happiness. It gives us the illusion of making progress. 🙂 I think one more year will still be good. After Jr. goes to kindergarten, I will focus more on personal growth.

  19. You know, I’ve heard this line of thinking from people who live paycheck to paycheck. Their attitude is that building a safety net is for wimps, that having nothing to fall back on keeps them at the top of their game. It’s almost as if they believe that doing what they’re forced to do is more valuable than doing just what they want to do. This whole grow-or-die paradigm keeps people suffering through doing stuff they hate– after all if they enjoyed doing it, it can’t be good for them!

    By this line of thinking the whole concept of retirement is tantamount to stagnation, right? I thought your premise has always been to first define what constitutes enough in terms of assets and income, then second find a path to deliver this amount with the least possible resistance. It was never to drive yourself to the max to achieve goals you think others may judge you by. Sure you’re not pulling in every dollar you could, but what about the unseen benefits– like is your blood pressure stagnating? And the value of Mrs RB40 having an agreeable spouse who walks the walk in terms of helping around the house? And the fact that Jr will never understand how being an only child can be a problem?

    I think part of the deal was to reject ‘progress’ the way it’s defined by society at large, and it seems to me you’re getting what you bargained for, so what’s not to like?

    • You’re right, of course. I’m walking my own path and I should reject society expectation. Life is great right now and I’m enjoying it. However, stagnation isn’t good for the long term. I’d get bored and start to get discontent. Once I have more time, I’ll focus more on personal growth. I’d love to learn new skills and branch out more. It’s good that my blood pressure is steady, though.

  20. I’ve been contemplating this a lot lately as well… I too have a 4 year old although she is only at preschool 3 days a week. It feels like I’ve been working 40 – 50 hour weeks and it’s getting a bit old. I’m grateful that my award booking service is doing so well, but there has to be balance and I don’t want my career to get in the way of us enjoying fall bike rides and raking leaves together. She’ll be in kindergarten next year and I’ll have roughly 7 hours a day to myself to push harder but for now, being mom is most important!

    • I love spending time with Jr, but it does get a bit old sometime. When he’s bad, it’s really tough. Next year will be much easier because he’ll go to full time kindergarten. Yes, let enjoy ourselves for one more year. Next year we can work harder. 🙂
      Best wishes

  21. I think that you should go at the pace that you are most comfortable with. The real question you want to ask yourself what do you really want to achieve? What makes you happy? Would blog in the next 5 years, or would you leave it if the pressure gets too high and it starts feeling like work?

    If you want to really push yourself, and make this site really huge, then you will likely end up creating for yourself another full-time job. There is a chance of more money, but also the chance of burning out, and realizing that you left the demanding world of engineering for the demanding world of online publishing.

    On the other hand. you can just coast along with your site (sounds like you are a bum, but that’s enormously difficult), and enjoy the flexibility it offers you. You have worked hard to get there, so if you are happy where you are with traffic you can just keep at the pace you want. Actually, maintaining traffic and readership for years is more challenging, than just growing.

    I have maintained my readership and traffic at six digit pageviews per month every month for 8 years, and I am happy with my accomplishment, because no other dividend blogger has done it. Everyone else has either quit, or has sold out. But I have also avoided burnout, and also post on my own terms.

    • Thank you so much for your input. That’s what I needed to hear. I’m pretty happy with my traffic, but I don’t want it to drop. I will outsource the works that I don’t like to some VAs and see if I can grow that way. Social media just takes up so much time and I don’t enjoy it. I know I wouldn’t like it if blogging become too demanding. I’m already doing a lot of work and more would probably take the fun out of it.
      Thanks again

    • I need to set some good goals. I have my financial goals, but they are pretty easy to accomplish. I will try to set more life goals next year.

  22. Hi Joe,

    What a great article, and greatly timed for me as well. I am going through something similar, my ultimate goals are to start a blog and other side income projects and I have successfully started some things that are making me money, and the good news is that its actually already more than enough to cover all the expenses, savings, and investing I wanted to do with the additional money. This is leaving me with much less incentive to try additional things, I know it should do the opposite success should encourage me to do more but well it’s not lol.
    I’m glad that you spend time with the family that is my goal as well when I’m off I want to be off not thinking about the businesses that I’m starting and how to better them. So your example is amazing and thank you so much for what you do.

    • Congratulation on your success! Sometime we need to sit back and enjoy our success too, right? Life is great right now and I want to enjoy it for one more year. It’s not good to stay still for too long, though. I might get bored and start being dissatisfied again. Good luck.

  23. Must be because of my age (just turned 61) but for some reason I am concerned about running out of time, but to be honest I can’t articulate why. I just came out of my cave spending the last year and a half writing a book, getting up at 4:30 countless rewrites etc and now for some reason unknown to myself I’ve come up with a new project to help teach the merit of FI to kids before they leave university. I believe in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and once you achieve FI the next level for many of us will be finding ways to help others and that is exactly what this site does. Joe, I assure you that you will not ever be bored!

    • That’s a great project. It will keep you busy for a long time and help a lot of young folks. Thanks for the encouragement. I will keep trying my best.

  24. Overall it sounds like you have a great life and a good mix of productive activities, important activities, and fun activities (and those 3 things aren’t always mutually exclusive).

    I’m getting into the groove of early retirement, and do a lot of the same things you do with the stay at home dad gig with a still-working wife and the blogging thing. I spend way less time on my blog than I did when I was first starting out. I don’t think it’s burnout, but rather a natural progression from indulging a passion while it’s hot then maintaining an interest by routinely devoting time to it over the long haul.

    What keeps stagnation away from me is mixing it up during the week. I’m totally fine with about 75-80% of my time being leisure time (books, video/computer games, netflix, etc) but I feel like a blob if I’m not doing something physical or intellectual for at least a small sliver of the week. This week it’ll be painting the shed and a little bit of trim work on the back porch roof plus fixing a roof leak. I’m also knocking out some codecademy lessons on Python (might help in blogging and site maintenance, might not, but it’s fun regardless). That plus writing a weekly Root of Good article is about the max I want to do and it lets me smile at the end of the week and feel like I’ve done something well.

    • It’s great to hear your input. I don’t like pulling back because it feels like going backward. But, you’re right. It’s a natural progression. I want to learn some new skills like photography and Tai Chi, but it feels like I don’t have any time. We are doing a lot of yard work and general clean up at our rental too. Thanks for commenting.

  25. Looking to follow your path in about 4.5 years with two toddlers and 3 rentals to manage. I can imagine being quite busy before K-12 starts. Have you thought about adding little challenges to fight the stagnation? E.g. Ride your bike everywhere, or learn carpentry? I am guessing those are things you know who does to keep things interesting. Good luck!

    • Those challenges sound like fun. Do you have time to do that with two toddlers and 3 rentals? I should sit down and figure out some good challenges to keep life interesting.

  26. I believe contentment is necessary and a big part of progress. Without it, a person doesn’t enjoy what they have achieved. Nor do they have time to really figure out what their next goal will be. I also believe being busy busy busy is just another form of addiction and a warped status symbol, along with filling our homes with stuff and then organizing that stuff.

    Listen to the old lady here (just turned 60). I know, I know….the name of your blog is “Retire by 40″….and someone who is 60 is reading it. I WAS retired (for 6+ years) and without the structure of a work day, I got very little done. Now I am back working part-time, and I get a lot more done. And I am more choosy about what stays on the TO DO list.

    Enjoy life…..enjoy your attained goals….enjoy deciding the next goal. There is nothing wrong with being content for a while.

    • Thank you for your comment. I think working part time is the best way to retire. It gives you a little structure and you still have a lot of freedom. I’m pretty happy right now and I’ll enjoy it for another year. Next year when our kid goes to kindergarten, I will figure out my next big goal.
      Best wishes

  27. Hi Joe, I think it’s perfectly normal to enter into periods of stagnation. You’ve had a great deal of success coming from where you didn’t want to be, but you’re ready for another challenge from the sounds of it.

    It’s kind of like waiting years to eat at the nicest Michelin rated restaurant with the finest cuisine and wines to pair. The first experience will probably feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven! But, if you’re allowed to eat the same wonderful meal day after day, you’d eventually become hungry for something else.

    I find that I’m most happy when I’m pursuing something out of my reach (or at least I’m not sure exactly how I’ll get there). There’s something about that challenge to figure it out and overcome adversity… it’s feeding our desire for some uncertainty in our lives. So, I say it’s healthy to keep creating and pursuing audacious goals no matter how far we may have come.

    • Thanks for your input. I think it’s fine to stagnate for a little bit too. I just don’t want to spend a lot of time there. It usually turn into boredom and causes problem later.
      Do you feel like you have time to accomplish your goals? I know you’re a dad and also building your blog. My kid just take so much time.

      • Yeah, I hear ya Joe! Kids definitely take up a TON of time, not to mention mental energy as well. Of course we know it’s well worth it, but there are opportunity costs involved.

        I certainly had some challenges meeting personal goals in the early days as a SAHD. Over time I felt like I was slowly gathering a rhythm, and was finally able to find pockets of time I could take back for myself to work on goals.

        For me, most of this time is late at night, so I did need to cut out a lot of TV time. I still can’t accomplish everything I’d like to do (or, as fast as I’d like to), but I feel like I’m able to make measurable progress with my main goals currently.

  28. Perhaps this is hedonic adaptation at work in relation to time management? I always feel like I’m so busy when I’m at work, and my calendar is full all day and my staff can’t find time to see me. But then I see your schedule and wonder how you can feel busy!

    It’s probably a case of eventually adapting to your circumstances in relation to available time, and I wouldn’t mind betting that anyone, no matter how much free time they actually have, must sometimes feel too busy COMPARED TO how busy they usually are or how busy they want to be.

    I actually find that I become more frustrated when I spend a block of spare time without actually achieving anything, so I figure that will be important in retirement to set goals and give my days some structure. That way I could get the sense of achievement that I think I will need o not feel like I’m wasting all of my time.

    I don’t know if you can relate to any of this, but perhaps setting more goals (not necessarily to do with money) might stop you from feeling like you’re stagnating?

    • That’s a good point about spending a block of time without actually achieving anything. I spend a lot of time with my kid and it feels like we are not accomplishing any goals. It’s not wasted time, but the payoff is extremely slow. Hopefully, we’ll see some gratitude when he’s 30 or so. I would love to set more goals and learn more. Last week, we walked by a Tai Chi center and it looks very interesting. I just can’t fit it into my schedule.


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