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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Reflections for 28 years

Thirty years is creeping up on me, but I'm not there yet!! I recently turned twenty-eight, and while it's not thirty yet, I definitely feel like a Real Proper Adult(tm) now. Turning eighteen was an entire decade ago. I've been living out of home for five years, and I've been working in a #ProperJob for seven.

In honour of my 28 spins around the sun, it's time to reflect on the good, the bad, and the future.

Financial Gratitude

Starting early

From my first paycheck I've been careful with my money. I have charts going back years tracking my growing net worth. It may have started slowly, but those early years set me up really well.

Brown bagged lunches

It might not be exciting, but brown bagging lunches is such a big thing. It flows over into how I cook at nights as well, meaning that I save time and money by cooking big cheap meals at home. And I'm constantly learning new things because there is only so many times I can eat pasta bake.

This blog

I started this blog over a Christmas break when I was feeling sorry for myself that Fiery Millenials was doing better than me. I think she still is, but having this blog has let me set goals, hold myself (mostly) to them, and let me met lots of wonderful people.

Buying a bike and selling my car

When I moved out of my parents home I dusted off my unused $600 mountain bike and rode it everywhere. A few short months later I sold my car. Over four years I estimate that I've saved almost $15,000 on car expenses, as well as being super fit from my daily rides. No gym membership required!

The house I bought

After four years we're moving out, but I am so very grateful for the house I bought. It was $60k under where I'd been looking, and a completely different build. It was (and still is) decorated in grandma pastels. It wasn't a flashy new construction, but it's solid. In four years it has grown 20% in value, and while we've outgrown it, my little 90 square metre house was a perfect place to start my adult life.

Financial Regrets

Skipping that trip to Japan

My number one regret in the last decade that would have cost me money is not going to Japan. My roller derby league was invited to a tournament where they played two teams from Japan, and a team from Copenhagen, and I didn't go because of money. I had the money, I was just being 'frugal'. 
No. I wasn't frugal. I was a straight up idiot.
If you're reading this, wondering if you should do that thing that will ruin your savings goal but will literally never happen again do it!! In the words of the young people of the day, yeet that goal right out the window. Go. Be free. Do the exciting thing. Experience life.

Starting early

Yes, I said I'm grateful that I started early, but I also regret it. I've never taken a spontaneous trip. I've never gone out drinking at a karaoke bar and woken up broke but smiling from having the best night. I've never impulse bought a cool toy, or started a stupid hobby on a whim. Maybe if I had, those things would be on this list instead. But I never had a wild phase (ignoring the teenage years when I had no money anyway) and I feel like I missed out on that.
Maybe I'll be that crazy granny going wild on the cruise ships one day...

Not choosing my career

I work in IT. It pays great. It's generally pretty interesting. But I didn't choose this. If I had chose my career, I'd be a vet. Or a surgeon. However I just fell sideways into IT because a friend helped my get a job with her... true story. I climbed the ladder from there, but it's pure chance that I work where I do.
My long-long term plans post-FIRE include studying again. I don't think I'll ever become a surgeon, or a vet, but I am interested in testing the waters of those careers later in life.

Purchasing a house

While I love my house, I do have some regret for purchasing a house at all. When Mr. FIRE and I first moved in, we said we'd move to Canada in three years. That would have been the end of 2017. Here it is, in 2019, and I haven't moved. In fact, we just bought another house 10 minutes down the road.
We still talk about moving overseas, or interstate. Part of me doesn't want to go because we're tied down to property, but if I'm honest, a bigger part of me is scared to leave this life I've built.

Side-Hustling my way out of free time

My biggest financial regret is the crappy little side hustles I've done over the years. in 2015 I had a second job as an online admin / writer that paid terribly and ate up all my free time. In 2016 I was writing 500word articles for $5 a piece. During that time I was writing two articles a week for this blog. I was tired and my relationship with my partner suffered. In 2017 and 2018 I was on so many committees for my roller derby league I was barely home. In 2019 I'm trying to ease back, but I've become so used to being busy all the time, it's been difficult. 

Really great memories

Camper vanning around Tasmania

The first thing that sprang to mind as a great memory was our camper van trip around Tasmania. I was just a few short months out of knee surgery and hobbling a lot. I also got ridiculously sick at one point and struggling to breathe through the snot. It was still the best trip ever. Being able to pull up anywhere, cook dinner and sleep in the back of the van was amazing. Not having a toilet wasn't so great... but I've definitely caught the bug. As far as I'm concerned, it's the best way to travel.

The birth of Baby Tempest

No, I'm not a parent. Well, not a human parent. One of my chickens was hatched in my own backyard. There is something pretty wonderful about watching an animal grow from a teeny tiny handful of fluff to a bossy knee high monster. It's even more amazing that one day she was just an egg, and a month later she was an entire creature. Tempest is still with me five years later, and the healthiest, coolest bird I've ever had.

Roller Derby Successes

So many things to go here. My very first tournament I played for the C-Team. My team came second and we got piled on by the A and B teams shouting 'we're number 2'. We were happier than the winners. My home team has won four seasons. I scored the winning points in a game once. I 'married' my best friend in Roller Derby style, and we renewed our vows this year. I've travelled to every state in the country (except WA... soon!) and I represent my state at the top level for my sport. It's pretty great.

In jokes with my gaming friends

If you ever come to our house there are two things you need to know. Mr. FIRE cheats, and he takes too long to make a decision. You'll also learn there are many games Mr. FIRE and I can't play together because we fight. My gamer group has seen (and can quote) every episode of Red Dwarf, knows every piece of Monty Python, and still shouts 'Too Soon!' if you make jokes about Reavers putting their spears through the Wash.
We are a group of tragic nerds. It's pretty great.

Lunch on the top of a tiny rock spire in Alligator Gorge

This is a small specific time. But one of my happy memories from the last decade is hiking an 18km trail with Mr. FIRE, and stopping at lunch on top of a tiny rock spire where I could barely move to have lunch. Why did we sit there? Dunno. But it was pretty, the sun was shining, and the sandwiches - while very basic - were delicious because we were so hungry. It was a small thing, but it was lovely.

Future Happiness Goals

Lift more weights

As I mentioned back in my spiel on maintaining motivation, I once did strength training every day and I felt great for it. But I struggled to maintain it, and fell out of the habit. I want to get back into the habit of lifting weights at least 2-3 times a week. Not only will I feel better, but heading towards my thirties I want to keep my body as healthy as I can.

Spend more time with friends and family

Long term I want to retire, but I don't want to be alone and boring when that happens. Which means I need to start cultivating friendships outside of roller derby. I plan to set up a regular family dinner (e.g. the third Thursday of the month.. or something) and well as making semi-regular friend plans.

Inspired by All About Balance and The Joyful Frugalista I've invited everyone over for a $5 potluck dinner. Fingers crossed it works! My friends are dubious.

Create more

Things I enjoy creating include blog posts (like this one!), let's play YouTube videos, food, beer, rough woodwork (think planter boxes) and the occasional bit of knitting. One day I want to make soap. I don't have a specific goal, but I know that making things makes me feel fulfilled, so I'm just reminding myself to keep creating.

Be a better partner

When Mr. FIRE and I moved in together we promised not to be those people who live together, and grunt at each other when we pass in hallways. We have become those people. We always eat breakfast and dinner together, but we also glue our eyes to screens while doing so (Kindles for breakfast, TV for dinner). 

While we aren't in a bad place yet, I don't want to let things slide. We also drink coffee together every weekend morning, and we're planning to ban screens during that hour.


It's time. It's time to start plotting and scheming what life looks like with a dog. I hope to bring home a dog over the 2019 Christmas break (when I can take a couple of weeks at home to settle them in) - or maybe 2020 Easter - again, when I can take some leave and settle our pupper in. Between now and then we need to set a budget for our doggo, and check our housing a lifestyle situation.

Personally, I want a huge dog. A Great Dane with paws as big as my face.


  1. You'll still make mistakes, as will I, and everyone else. Always easier to look back and regret an action.

    But to me it looks like you've got more wins on the board than losses, and you've got a plan for the rest of life. I'd say you've got this adulting thing down!


    1. I've got adulting down? No one has ever said that to me before :p

      When I was young I was so sure that 28 was soooo grown up, now I'm just winging it. Glad I've convinced someone I know what I'm up to ;)

  2. This is great reflection. Looking forward to the coming years!

  3. I also skipped a trip to Japan early on because of lack of money! The regret made me realize that I'm always willing to pay for experiences and save on stuff.

    Echoing Alex - definitely a lot of wins here. Good luck!

    1. I think we all have that one big regret that kicked us into doing new and better things. As big regrets go, it's not a bad one to have.


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