Feels Like FIRE

58 Days.

I haven’t been working for 58 days, which is about two months.

I still can’t get over that. In a way, it really feels like I’m living the financially independent lifestyle. I get up and do whatever I want. I can choose to read or write a blog. If I want to go for a run, I lace up my sneakers and zip out the door.

Me reading while lounging on my favorite armchair. What I’ve been doing most of the time.

I don’t have to be accountable to a boss or clients.

It really feels like retirement.

I know it’s only been two months, but I’m definitely getting used to this lifestyle. I think I’m just going to call it a mini-sabbatical, instead.

I love the freedom of having to decide my day. But at the same time, I also feel like there’s something missing when I don’t have any type of accountability. Since I don’t have any major responsibilities, it’s getting difficult to get into work mode, which I fear is going to impede me from getting back into teaching when the schools do re-open.

I’ve told myself that I should get ready mentally so that I won’t struggle when I’m in the classroom dealing with my students. The transition from off to on is going to be difficult for everyone, including the teachers, the staff, the kids, and the parents.

I planned out my weeks: In the few days before I was scheduled to go back to teaching, I will review lesson plans and write out lesson objectives for as many classes as I can. I’m also going to come up with game ideas to be used for teaching and reviewing language concepts.

However, even with the plans and the compelling reason for doing these preparations beforehand, I am severely procrastinating. Instead, I come up with projects that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I then waste time doing these. After all, I still have time before we go back to school.

Moreover, there’s chores to do be done at home. That pile of laundry is waiting to be washed. I also need to figure out what to cook for dinner. I think the floor needs to be mopped–again.

The problem is the lack of separation between work and comfort. When I’m home, I want to relax. When I’m at work, my concentration levels are off the roof. I can pop out blogs and game ideas like you wouldn’t believe. After all, I have the space to be productive. I can concentrate on work and work only.

The beautiful library in downtown Sapporo with its awesome workspaces is currently closed to the public.

Since I live in Japan, our house is tiny. It’s difficult to create an office used primarily for work. Before, I used to go to the library or cafe to work on stuff, but that’s been taken away by the Covid-19 quarantine. Now, I’m stuck at home and I’m more inclined to relax and not work at all. Either that, or I’m surrounded by reminders of the things I have to do like dirty dishes, dust bunnies, or crumbs on the floor. That’s the enemy I’m battling most of my days.

What I want to know is: Is this FIRE? Is this what it’s like to retire while you’re still young and productive? I feel like I should be working, so there’s underlying guilt when I’m plopped on the couch on a Wednesday afternoon watching TV.

But it’s not all in vain. I try to do a couple of productive things in the morning, like writing or reading. I’ve even dusted off my Japanese language textbooks and have been tackling some difficult kanji. I leave my afternoons for creativity: I’ve been baking and experimenting with cooking styles. I’ve also taken the covers off my sewing machine and managed to make cloth masks. I’m quite impressed I remembered how to work the bobbins and pins. It was also fun to see the improvement from my initial mask to my last mask.

I baked a banana nut bread with experimental chia and flax seeds 🙂 Not bad

So if this is FIRE, I think I’ll be okay. I believe I have a routine that anchors my day, but I also have flexibility to change my plans.

If it’s not, I think I’ll be okay, too. I just need to stop procrastinating and just be prepared to go straight to work.

Either way, I’ll be ready.

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