OurNextLife.com // A Life of Yes / Doing more of the fun stuff in early retirement, having less reason to say no, less work and more fungoals

A Life of Yes // Our Early Retirement Aspiration

It’s an especially stressful time for both of us at work, which we expect to continue through year’s end, maybe longer. I just logged a 70-hour week, not including all of last week’s travel craziness, and Mr. ONL’s week was more like 90 hours. (This is the golden handcuffs, friends.) We’re not proud of those numbers — we don’t take joy or derive status from describing ourselves as “busy,” and we try hard not to use that word at all. But the reality right now is that work is sucking up a ton of our time, as in almost all of it, including the time when we’re supposed to be sleeping.

And what that means is that we’re saying no to things. A lot of things. Invitations to go climbing, or spend a day on a boat in a lake. Today we turned down an invitation to hike to a waterfall and swimming hole we’ve been wanting to see.

We’ve been through work cycles like this before. And we know how it goes. People ask us to do things, and we mostly say yes. Then as work takes up more and more time, we start saying no a little more. It gets to a point where we’re saying mostly all no’s.

Then things get worse. The invitations stop coming.

At first we don’t notice, because it’s not like we have time to do the things people are inviting us to do anyway. But then work starts to slow down, we have time to breathe again, and eventually we wonder, “Hey, where did all our friends go?!”

It takes time to rebuild those friendships again, to remind people that, yes, we are still worth inviting to things. We’re still good people who care about them and want to spend time together. We might actually agree to come and gasp, we could even show up.

Right Now We’re Living a Life of No

It’s a temporary state, we know, and it won’t even last all the way until we quit sometime next year, but it is definitely not a feeling we enjoy to know that we’re getting zero time with our friends, we’re being bad friends, and we’re missing out on all the fun. #FOMO

But more than all that, the Life of No that we’re in right now is the exact opposite of what we want for our lives. We don’t want to live by default, we want to opt in affirmatively to the life that fuels our stoke and makes us bound out of bed in the morning. We want to be our best selves now, and not wait for early retirement and expect that that will magically change everything. To do all of that, we must say yes!

OurNextLife.com // A Life of YES / Aspiring to Say Yes / Early Retirement and a Life of Less "No"

The Ideal State

While we love to quote Maggie and remind ourselves that “Future you is still you,” meaning that we won’t magically wake up different people just because we’ve quit our careers for good, the truth is that having more time on our hands — a lot more time than we have at the moment — will make a big difference.

And in our ideal state, here’s what we envision:

OurNextLife.com // A Life of YES / Aspiring to Say Yes / Early Retirement and a Life of Less "No" / More Time + Empty Calendar + High Stoke = A Life of Yes

We’ll have lots more time on our hands. We’ll schedule many, many fewer things. And we’ll be stoked to try new things. All of that equals a Life of Yes. At least it equals that in a perfect world.

The Ideal State May Never Happen… and That’s Okay

It’s fun to dream about perfect, but we try not to plan on it happening. We’ve heard from enough retirees that they still feel busy in retirement and wonder how they got anything done before, back when they were working. I’m sure we won’t be immune to that feeling.

So we won’t have endless time, but we’ll still have more time than now. And we’ve resolved not to schedule too much, so that we can play things by ear at least part of each day. We have some things we know we want to do in our first year of retirement, but none of them require us to have more than a few things on the calendar each week, and that’s how we plan to keep it at least until we adjust to the new rhythm of life and decompress from our old working life. The last thing we want to do is retire from an overscheduled and stressful working life to a new life that’s also overscheduled and therefore stressful!

As for that third component — the stoke — we can pretty much guarantee that that will be at an all-time high when we pull the ripcord. We stayed in that sparkly relationship stage for an awfully long time after we got together, and something tells us that we are going to fall deeply, madly in love with early retirement too. ;-)

Spreading the Stoke… and the Love

One of the biggest regrets of our working life is how much we’ve missed out on in our friends’ and families’ lives. We’ve missed a few big things like weddings because we couldn’t get away from work, but we’ve missed many more of the little joys and sorrows. We haven’t been the friends we wish we could be. Even little things like birthday cards — we’ve become kind of terrible about getting those in the mail on time. (Mom, if you’re reading — you’ll be getting your card about a week late. Happy birthday!)

That’s not who we want to be. We want people we care about to know we’re thinking about them. We want to get cards in the mail on time — preferably homemade cards that we made with love. And more than that, we actually want to spend those big days with them instead of sending off some lame text while we shake our heads that we didn’t plan ahead enough to do something more.

So that’s how we define spreading the stoke: making sure that the people we love can feel that love in a real way, and they don’t feel like they are an afterthought to us. Because we care so much more than we’ve been showing these last few years. That’s the first thing we want to change.

Saying Yes to Adventure

Being into the outdoorsy stuff that we love, it especially hurts now when our friends invite us to hike a new mountain or mountain bike a new trail or climb a new wall… and we say no. Those are the moments when it’s hardest not to complain about work. It’s less actual fear of missing out and more about feeling like we’ll never get that time back. In the back half of our 30s, we’re already past our athletic prime, and every outing we say no to is something we may never get around to in the future.

So saying yes to adventure is our second order of business. Both the big adventures and the small ones. Saying yes to the random text on a Tuesday asking if we want to try some new backcountry ski slope. Or to the idea of hiking the Continental Divide Trail in 2019. (That’s not an actual plan, just a possibility.) We want as much life in our years as we can pack in, and that means defaulting to the thumbs up, not the thumbs down.

Not Waiting for Retirement to Say Yes

We’re trying hard not to wait to get to retirement to be our best selves or to be in strong enough physical shape to climb mountains. And likewise, we can’t wait to get to our next destination to start saying yes again.

Given what work is like right now, saying yes to everything is not realistic, and we’d just build up more resentment in ourselves if we expected that to be different. We’ve agreed to stick it out in our current jobs until we can quit, and this goes with that territory.

So instead, we’re looking for the small yes moments. Saying yes to a 10-minute walk in the evening when we can sneak away from email just long enough to see the sunset. Meeting up with friends for a quick coffee when we can’t do a whole evening. Taking a break to swim in the lake for (not exaggerating) 10 minutes, even though we’d like to spend the whole day there.

None of these small yes moments are what we’d ideally like to do, but they’re a whole lot better than saying no to everything. And they feel like a compromise that will help us get through this last full-out sprint before retirement.

What Can You Say Yes To?

Do you feel like you’re saying a lot more no than yes these days? What could you be saying yes to? Or what are some of those small yes moments that you could find time for, even if the perfect yes isn’t an option? We know we aren’t the only ones feeling the no life. Let’s make each other feel better in the comments! ;-)



Don't miss a thing! Sign up for the eNewsletter.

Subscribe to get extra content 3 or 4 times a year, with tons of behind-the-scenes info that never appears on the blog.

No spam ever. Unsubscribe any time. Powered by ConvertKit

74 replies »

  1. We just got shocked and had someone actually invite us to their house! Usually we’re the ones that invite and never get any reciprocation, so we definitely said yes. On a different note, I said yes to a second half marathon with a friend I don’t see much anymore, so we’ll get to hang out, run, and then catch up over a day of football afterwards. Even more shocking I said yes to a Sprint Triathlon a few weeks prior to that!

    Beyond committing to more exercise now instead of later, I’ve been trying to get in more of a music practice mode. That’s failing, and that’s okay, since exercise and training is taking more priority. Having more time will mean not having to “pick one” thing to focus on, and I can do several fun things. Also, it will be nice when I can go for workouts mid-day/mid-morning instead of after 7-7:30pm though. :)

    • Yay for getting invited! And a bigger yay for being able to say yes! I hope that Prof SSC having a more sane schedule is helping you guys take advantage of more of the things you want to do, not just the things you have to do.

      Okay, so let’s talk about your sporty self that you’re bringing out now — how long ago was it that you didn’t want to run at all, and now you’re running multiple halfs plus doing a sprint tri?!?! So awesome! Is the swimming part in a pool or lake? I could crush the bike part of a tri, manage my way through the run, but swimming in open water… that part freaks me out. ;-) So you’re my hero of the day for committing to that! Keep up the great work on the athletic front!

      • Yes, Mrs. SSC’s new schedule is major awesome for our sanity and social life, in the rare instances we can be social. We did get to hang out with Nick at The Money Mine and his wife last weekend, and are meeting Ditching the Grind for lunch on Wednesday too. So social lately! :)

        The swimming is in the Guadalupe “river”which in the portion we’re swimming in is almost a pool. haha! I can do the bike part fine, and a 3 mile run, meh! but the swimming I’ve been working on the most. I’ve gotten up to 500m without stopping and all freestyle now, and in 12 minutes, so that is fine for me. Plus, I’m way better at breast stroke, so if I get winded doing freestyle, I’ll just switch to that. :)

        My goal is to “not die” and finish as opposed to crushing some time. Since my bike is not a road bike, but more of a commuter hybrid, I don’t even know what a good time for a Sprint would be to target. I’m thinking 15 minutes or less for the swim, ~50 minutes for the ride, and 30 minutes for the run (I’m guessing I’ll be exhausted by then) so maybe under 1:40 or 1.5 hrs is a good target? We’ll see!

        It was only about a year ago now that I started running again and was frustrated I couldn’t break 5 miles on a run… It’s funny how quickly things can change. :)

      • I’m going it alone on the “Prof SSC” thing, huh? ;-) I’ll wear you guys down, just you wait! Hahaha. That’s so awesome that you’ve been meeting up with other FIRE folks! I love that. And I’m glad your swimming part is in sheltered water… I’m sure that will make it better than some big, choppy lake. Give yourself a big pat on the back for how far you’ve come so quickly! Next you’ll be saying that you’re going to start running ultramarathons — LOL. :-)

      • Oh right, Yes, Prof SSC, bwahahaha noted. ;)

        And that’s a big negatory on the whole ultra marathon. Much like a whole marathon, it just doesn’t sound fun. :)

      • Yay, Prof SSC prevails! ;-) I’m with you on ultras not sounding fun, but look at all the stuff you’re already doing that didn’t sound fun a year ago!

  2. Work travel and intense deadline cycles are 99% of the reason I can never take regular fitness or adult education classes. Every time I get two weeks in and then work surprises me with “Oh by the way we are flying you out for two months. You’re cool with that, right?”

    Little yes moments come easily I guess since some of my closest friends are also my coworkers, so we can take tea breaks together or sit and talk over dinner while working late. For BF, I try to do work from home if possible on the evenings he has off so we can have dinner and decompression time together. All other non-work friends, honestly, kind of get left by the wayside until work ebbs.

    • Thank goodness you have good friends at work! I’m sure that makes a huge difference. Back when we worked in offices, we would have said the same thing, though it’s different since we’ve worked remotely from home for years now. We still have some interaction with our work friends, but it’s harder.

  3. Just yesterday we said a “yes” to volunteer at and participate in a 5K scholarship drive run for a colleague who passed away last fall. We didn’t stay for the whole event, but we spent a few hours chatting with friends and paying tribute to a wonderful woman taken from us much too soon. There were times when work would have gotten in the way of that “yes” – so even a small “yes” felt like a real win to us.

    • That’s so awesome, Vicki! Can I live vicariously through you for a little while, since you can say yes to stuff now, but we’re not quite at that point? ;-) I’m sorry about your colleague, though glad you were able to say yes to celebrating her life!

  4. Oh so true, its hard to say yes, and when you don’t the invitations drop away. slowly so it takes a while to notice. I also find it hard to say yes on behalf of the kids. They have a bunch of things that our current lifestyle makes it hard to say yes to as much as we would like. The before school recorder club, the time at the pool, all the parties they get invited too. We’re very much looking forward to the kids getting more ‘yes’ when we hit early retirement!

    • I definitely see that! It sure feels like kids these days are so over-scheduled, and I’m sure you’re thinking about that, too — finding the right balance of free time and scheduled activities for them. But I’m sure it’s a little bit heartbreaking when you have to say no for them based on your schedule, and it will be a relief not to be an obstacle to that after you guys retire. So excited for you to get to that point!

  5. Last Friday was the first night I took off freelancing in a long-time, and went out to the movies with some friends. It was absolutely wonderful. After that, I ended up taking the weekend off.

    It was wonderful, but by Sunday night I was in a near-panic about all the things left undone. It made me realize that I need to be more realistic about my schedule now. It’s hard for me to turn down opportunities, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day/week/weekend, to get everything done. Plus, all of this stress and pressure does not feel super sustainable.


    • It’s good to be realistic, but is it possible you’re taking on too much? If taking that short a time off made you panic, that feels like you might be overloaded a bit. (I know, the pot calling the kettle black — I fully acknowledge I am overloaded.) ;-)

      • Definitely – that’s what I meant by being more realistic. Should have clarified a bit better: I meant I need to start turning down more freelance opportunities, so I can say yes to more relaxation opportunities!

        Stay tuned though… It sounds like I may have an unexpected but baller vacation coming up ;)

      • Okay, sounds like your head is totally in the right place! :-) Glad you’re going to make more time for relaxation… though I am not taking my own advice on that. Haha. And this baller vacation sounds intriguing!

  6. Everything you say yes to means you’re saying no to something else. Everyone should work towards being in the position to be able to say no to anything (work-related) so they can yes to anything.

    In my last job I traveled a bunch for work. I averaged just over 3 weeks away from home per month. The invites kept coming for the first few months but then they slowly dwindled down to almost nothing because I was having to say no way too much.

    • Totally true. Or, to think of it another way, we’re always saying “yes” but maybe not to the things that are actually important to us. Right now we’re saying “yes” to work, and we want to say yes to life instead.

      Holy crap, 3 weeks away a month is BRUTAL. I’m super thankful that most of my trips are shorter, although I’m still at about 60 hotel nights on the year so far…. still nothing close to what you were doing. Glad you’re not having to do that anymore!

  7. Man, 70 to 90-hour work weeks seem brutal. Good on you for sticking to your guns financially and not wavering from your retirement plan – working those hours, I’m not sure that I’d be able to. Luckily, those hours aren’t required *every* week, but anything over 45 hours for me and I’m pretty drained!

    We usually say “yes” to invitations, but that’s only because they don’t come around very often. My circle of friends usually revolve around where I happen to be working at the time, so when I move on to another company, my old “friends”, which were truly only co-workers, usually go their separate ways. I like it that way – I can’t handle TOO many friends anyway. Since I work from home, my current situation doesn’t exactly make it hospitable for another group of co-workers that serve as my temporary friends since they all work from other parts of the country.

    We are usually saying “no” to the things that WE want to do, like hike more, visit such-and-such landmark or monument, spend a couple nights out in BLM land here or there…basically, NOT get up at 5am just to plop down in front of a computer and stare into a monitor for 8-ish hours, then do it all over again the very next day.

    Working is insufferable!

    Soon, I tell you…soon.

    • Yeah dude, not gonna lie. It is too much. It is not sustainable. I always think to myself that Mr. ONL turns into a ghost when things get this stressful at work, and it’s pretty true. So right now we’re ghosts who barely have time to talk to each other. Fun!

      I’m super glad for YOU that 45 hours is your work cap — not that any of us should work that much forever, but at least that level of work isn’t going to harm your health or ability to do some other things outside of work. Still, it will for sure be better when you don’t have to do that at all and have nothing but freedom!

  8. Yup, count me as another one saying No too often! I really relate to the part about friends no longer asking because I’ve had to say “no” too many times.

    Right now I am on an airplane starting another business trip. When I was saying my goodbyes to my six year old last night she asked why I couldn’t just quit. I tried to explain a little about needing more money, so she offered me her allowance. Talk about pulling at heartstrings. But I am trying to be better at those yes’s even if it’s only 30 minutes of a yoga video while I’m working from home, or playing a board game with my kids instead of worrying about the dishes in the sink. Good reminder as always Ms ONL. Good luck with saying Yes and hope this busy patch ends quickly!

    • That story about your daughter — heartbreaking! I can’t imagine how tough that must be to leave for another trip when she wants you there so badly. I know the travel drill, but with no kids, it’s 1000 times easier.

      I’m glad that you’re finding ways to say yes to the little things — those dishes can always wait! So much more important to have quality time with those we love. :-) Thanks for the well wishes — this *should* be the last super busy spell before we’re all done, and that thought definitely helps get us through!

  9. Great perspective on your current situation and keeping the future in view. I think it’s a good sign that you’ve got all these invitations coming in, and just have it on your radar that you will spend more time with people and nature in early retirement. The scary thing is when we get sucked into the present routine and forget there is more to life than the daily grind and decompressing in front of a screen (or whatever people do).

    With the flexibility of being a SAHM right now, I have the problem of saying yes too much. Yes, I’ll babysit. Yes, I’ll organize that. Yes, we can have a play date or coffee date. When I really need to make my yes a bit more selective and strategic so I don’t miss out on this season with my kids. So I think it’s great that you’re aiming for free, unscheduled time each day in ER–that’s so important for kids and grownups alike!

    • Decompressing in front of the screen is pretty much the description of 100% of our free time right now. :-) Or decompressing in front of the screen and falling asleep within 10 minutes. Haha. Thank goodness things will change soon!

      I think in your case it’s not about saying yes less often, it’s about saying yes to different things. More yes to your kids, less yes to things that take you away from them. :-)

  10. I’ve struggled with this myself for the past decade. Even though my wife and I have been on some amazing trips, I’ve had to say no to many others due to a lack of vacation time. I almost missed out on the hike of a lifetime this year because my boss refused to grant a few extra unpaid days; because we’ve been such diligent savers over the years I was able to set my foot down and get what I wanted, but it shouldn’t be this way. The balance between personal and business is too lopsided and it seems that FI is the only way to fix that. Here’s hoping you get there as soon as possible. ;)

    • Sorry you’ve struggled with this, too! I’m so glad you didn’t miss out on that hike of a lifetime — good for you for sticking to your convictions! We’ve said that if we were in our careers for the long haul, we’d definitely change jobs to do something more sustainable and that allows for better balance, but we’re so close at this point that it just makes sense to stick it out.

  11. Wow! So sorry you are working so much.It sounds grueling and I am impressed that the two of you remain so positive.
    I have been working my two day a week schedule for a few years now and am at the place where ‘no’ actually happens and feels good. Like Kallie i had been saying ‘yes’ to too many things.
    Yesterday I said no to an invitation from friends and actually spent the day walking around my garden admiring the blooms and watching butterflies and birds and then reading a novel…talk about feeling blessed and grateful!

    In my experience,the closer you get to freedom,the more you allow yourself to feel the chains that bind you. You’re almost there and it will be very sweet…and we know are all rooting for you!

    • I don’t know that we would be quite so positive about it all if we didn’t have an end in sight! :-) Knowing our exit date helps a LOT. I think what you said as true, that we are even more aware of the “chains” than we would be if our end date was many years off.

      It’s interesting to hear from you on the other end of the spectrum, wanting to say “yes” less. (Though that’s saying yes to something different — saying yes to your garden and reading!) I can relate to that feeling, too, and it will be interesting to figure out the balance once we actually have time to start saying yes again!

  12. I missed out on so much while working! It still upsets me to think about it. Things I thought I’d feel better about over time (my grandfather’s funeral clear across the country, reunions with out of state relatives). I remember those occasions to this day, and the waves of regret still wash over me. At the time, I had no plans to retire early, just a very strong work ethic and deeply ingrained sense of responsibility. Work was always the top priority, and that attitude ruined many a family outing, holiday and vacation through the years. When Mr. AR and I reminisce about a trip somewhere, he’ll inevitably bring up the conference call while we were at the beach, or the emails back and forth during the barbecue, or the early morning telephone calls and texts about a workers compensation issue or EDD claim or harassment issue or whatever. We recently discussed an upcoming trip to Las Vegas and I mentioned it will be our first time back there since I retired, and we’ll finally get to experience the city without me glued to my cell phone refereeing some HR issue. I did what I had to do to function well at my job, but our last trip to the islands was plagued with daily work related issues (some very serious), and I can honestly say I recall very little else about that trip except my frustration. Now that I no longer have to deal with that distraction, relaxation is actually attainable. Having relocated to another area in retirement, we do the inviting, and we love having people visit (we love the times without company as well). We’ve just started taking a few days here and there to just go somewhere, and the difference in how I feel is amazing. If I could do it all over, I would have attempted a healthier balance between work and life, but it’s all water under the bridge at this point and I’m just very, very glad that phase of my life is in the past.

    • At least no one can ever accuse you of not committing yourself fully to your work! Though I can definitely see how you feel regret looking back, and that’s what we’re wrestling with too. I don’t want to remember all of our trips in terms of the work we did on them (though we for sure have a few of those!), so it’s a good thing ER is right around the corner. I wonder if you can reframe some of these regretful memories as a sign of your true dedication and commitment to doing your job to the very best of your abilities. I know those trade-offs are tough, but would you rather have been a person who phoned it in and did the minimum?

  13. I definitely want to say yes to more of those “little moments” for the rest of the summer. My biannual tutoring side hustle pays good money, but it takes up a lot of time during the beginning of my favorite season. Now that it’s over, I need to spend more time playing outside with the kids, enjoying sunshine and warm, starry nights.

  14. I’m honestly thinking of adding my quote to the sidebar: “Future you is still you!” I’m so glad it still rings in your head. It sounds like you are trying to live the life of an improv actor. The whole basis of improv is in saying: “Yes, and…” I’ve been actively trying to do this the past year myself. And it’s led to all sorts of interesting connections. :)

    • You *should* add that to your sidebar! That stuff is basically scripture. :-) I wouldn’t go quite so far as improv, just because I’ve been reading too much about how women comedians get abused and “yes and” makes them have to go along with crazy, demeaning stuff. (Hi, have we met? I’m your Debbie Downer for today! Haha.) But I think your point is true otherwise — I definitely want to be able to grasp opportunities that come along instead of feeling like I’m letting them all pass by! It’s awesome you’ve found interesting connections through that approach — I’ll catch up to you soon! :-)

      • Ha ha ha. You’re hilarious. I forgot to add that I’m being very cautious in making sure the “yes” is something I *want* to do. Saying “yes” to more obligations is NOT the point. (Or anything demeaning, etc, was just a given!)

      • Of course that was a given. :-) And your addition is an important one — saying YES to the things that add value to your life, and saying no to the rest!

  15. I have to admit that I’m on the other side of this, where I have a lot more free time than most of my friends. They’re busy with demanding jobs and/or kids, where I have neither at this point in time. At first it was really hard to adjust and I’ll admit that it felt like some of them weren’t good friends at all. But over time you realize that relationships evolve as you get older. You’re still friends but the nature of your friendship changes as circumstances change.

    I live fairly close to one of my friends who works a lot of hours and has two little kids (and currently has in-laws living with them). If they’re just hanging out at home for a few hours at some point during the weekend, I’ll head over to see all of them (usually with donuts in hand). Can’t remember the last time she and I got together just the two of us but it’s our way of keeping our friendship going, since we both know that life will be less crazy down the road.

    This isn’t giving you a free pass, but I think they need to be understanding and flexible as well. If the tables were turned, I would certainly hope (and expect) that my closest friends would accommodate that.

    • It’s a great reminder, and I will definitely say, to their credit, our friends and family have been amazingly understanding and supportive. But it’s the definition of insanity to keep asking us to do stuff when all we ever say is no. :-) I love that you’re finding ways to keep your friendships alive even though your friends are in their busiest seasons of life. What an admirable thing that you find ways to fit into their lives even if it’s not the ideal of how you’d like to see your friends.

  16. Since I moved 4 hours away from my family and work 40 hours a week, I’ve had to say no to a lot of fun stuff back home. My niece’s birthday parties, invites to events, concerts with friends and camp related activities. It kills me to say no but I can’t drive 8 hours for every little thing and still build a life in my new town.

    I have no plans for return to my hometown full time , but it’d be nice to be able to stay longer than 2 days at a time.

    • I’m sure that’s tough! Though I admire that you’re focused on building a life around you where you live now, instead of staying rooted in your hometown. It’s a hard balance to strike! And at least you’re close enough that you can drive home if you want to, instead of having to fly or drive for days!

  17. Some people need to learn to say no, reading the above others need to learn to say yes… I guess it all comes down to current priorities in life. Being that close to official RE, i do understand you want to give more than 100pct at work. Just make sure you do not say to much no, would it not be a bummer to regret later? You know you will say no to work in 18 months, will a small no make a big difference (I guess in year end bonus)

    I actually said yes to work and will be taking a 1 day break each week to commute to work to support the team in the company launch. On the other hand, I sometime go home on time to have a special moment I would not want to miss. Finding the balance is important. Is it easy? Nope, no way at all.

    • Great point — we have at other times in our lives had to learn to say “no.” So now it’s the opposite problem!

      Mr. ONL struggles a little with saying “no” at work, while I have an easier time maintaining at least some boundaries. That said, this is a busy time for everyone in our companies, so we’re not necessarily doing more than anyone else, or doing more than 100% — this is just what 100% looks like when it’s like this. If we said no, that would put more work on our colleagues and be bad for morale, so it’s a more complicated thing that it was when we were more junior in our careers.

      Speaking of work, how is your new job going?? Are you happy you made the move? I’m glad that you’re able to get home for the special moments!

      • It is indeed a tougher balance in real life when everyone in the company is going through the same “madness”.

        My work turns out to be great. A lot of things to do, an almost white piece of paper in front of us. I like the challenges that we have and the mentality of all the people involved. I am happy to have made the move, despite the lower current income and the harder work. The balance is still fine as I can tune my hours (last week I did early starts to be home with the family for dinner and fun).

  18. Yikes 90 hours!!!How in the world do you guys have time to blog! Dang I work 40 hours and still don’t want to dedicate that much time to it lol! But seriously, this is always the tricky part (knowing when to sacrifice a little today for a better tomorrow). But no one is every guaranteed tomorrow. I’ve been thinking of those poor people who died on the hot air balloon this past weekend. They thought they were just going for a joy ride. It does make me think that I need to find a way to constantly balance building relationships and living life now, but doing so frugally and smartly so I don’t blow my future either.

    • Mr. ONL definitely could not find time to blog with his 90-hour weeks. :-) And I find time because it’s an important priority, but there are definitely times when I’d rather just watch a movie on the plane instead of blogging or, you know, sleep! Haha.

      Overall, I think you’re right that we can’t sacrifice all of today for tomorrow, and we absolutely agree. We feel like this is our big bet, though — by sticking with these jobs just a *little* longer, we’re going to be able to buy ourselves a life of surpassing awesomeness — and that feels worth the trade-off. That said, if work was ALWAYS this busy, and it wasn’t a short-term thing, I don’t think we could stick it out at all!

  19. We have to say NO all the time to friends, half the time they are out of town and it is a weekend + commitment that we don’t have time for. Or they are on the opposite end of town and they want to meet for dinner after work but the combination of our pet and traffic make it easier not to go.

    It gets old and the invites do stop coming after awhile.

    We have gotten better at committing to stuff right away, it feels like the longer we “think” about it – the more excuses come up. So if its something we want to do we try to just do it!

    • We can definitely relate to what you guys are experiencing! Back when we lived in the city, traffic was a very real force in our life, and could dictate whether something was doable or not. I love your solution, though, of committing right away! Our version is saying yes to the last-minute stuff, even if we can’t plan much in advance. Good for you for knowing yourselves and finding a way to still say yes!

  20. I like the thought of “A Life of Yes”. As a super-duper introvert, my go-to is usually no, but I know there are a lot of things I miss out on, so that is something I need to work on: saying yes on occasion will be good for me :)

  21. I’m trying to say yes more often to my friends right now. They’ve been neglected since I started my business. The amount of time I have has not increased, but I just have to suck up that we’ll have time for meals together and spend the money at the restaurant. I want them to know that I love and value them, even when I cannot be as present. I want them to still be around when I can be more present. It’s hard to balance (I’m sleepy as I type this), but I am trying to find that nice middle without sacrificing my dreams.

    • I’m glad you’re thinking about this. I know it’s hard, especially when you’re working toward big life goals. But those friendships are surely part of what helps keep you going and brings happiness to your life, so you don’t want to miss out on them! :-)

  22. This is a great post to reflect on! I’d like to think that we are currently living a life of more yes’s than no’s, but only because we don’t have any immediate financial or family responsibilities (DINKs, renting, no debt). We do plan on having kids and buying a house in the future, so I don’t know how life is going to change for us. This is a good reminder for us that living a life of no can happen if we don’t plan well enough.

    I’m sorry that you missed being with friends and family during special times. I’m pretty sure they understood and knew that you would’ve gone if you could. I understand how you feel but if you weren’t working as hard as you were, you probably won’t be able to help your loved ones to get a home or a good loan. Something good came out of saying no too. But of course, saying yes, starting now, sounds a lot better!

    • Thanks, J! I’m so happy to hear that you guys are able to say yes more than no, and I hope that’s something you keep doing! Talking with people in the comments here has made me realize that’s less about yes and no and more about *what* we’re saying yes to. So right now we’re mostly saying yes to work, but we want to say yes more to the rest of life. And so nice of you to say about our friends and family understanding — I’m sure they did, and it’s a great reminder that our hard work has let us be there for them in other ways. You totally made my day with your comment. :-)

  23. Saying yes to X means saying no to everything else. (paraphrase :))

    I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot lately. I have a tangential blog post on the schedule for September, actually. I’ve spent a lot of years saying yes to the things I thought I was supposed to do. Slowly but surely, I’ll align my timelines.

    • Haha — that would have made for a much shorter post! :-) But seriously, I’m super impressed that you already have September content mapped out already! How is that possible?! I’m lucky if I’m working one or two posts ahead.

  24. I missed out on so many friends trips for a few years and had to work to rebuild those relationships. Also side note – love the big Sur image in the Pinterest pic and that you used the commenting out // work in tech? :)

    • We definitely know what that’s like! And yeah, Big Sur is pretty irresistable. :-) And do you just mean using the “//” all over the place? Clearly I do NOT work in tech since I wasn’t even sure what you meant. Haha.

  25. This isn’t exactly related to the topic of this post, but I just stumbled on this outdoor guy’s blog from another outdoors blog, and I was struck by how similar some of his thoughts are to yours. I wanted to share it and this seemed like the closest one of your recent posts. In fact, this guy references Mr. MMM, so he’s obviously exposed to the FIRE community, despite the fact that he would probably place himself a lot closer to the traditional “outdoors dirtbag” type who doesn’t put work first.


    Anyway, it was interesting to see this guy’s point of view on the “saying yes now” issue.