Rich White People Problems: The Police Blotter Of Atherton, California, Where The Median House Price Is $4,010,200.
Son, love is… strange. The very first time you ever feel it, it’s like a whole new world has been opened. Your head starts spinning like a propellor on a plane, your heart soaring just like that aircraft. You can construct beautiful sentences in your head, but the second you start talking to this girl, they get jumbled up and you end up stammering out a combination of mixed up words. Those words start winding around your brain and pulling a knot, making it impossible to think, and you eventually end up walking away, your cheeks as red as the blood that your heart is pumping through your body at a million beats per second. And it’s beautiful.
Then years go by and love changes. Love warps and stretches until you don’t even recognize it as the thing you felt back when you were 13. You look at this girl, and see the most beautiful thing on earth. Every time you see her you still get that feeling. The soaring, spinning feeling. It never leaves you, just fades away. Now love brings a smile to your face, a warm feeling to accompany the soaring in your heart, and the spinning slows down. You’d walk to the ends of the earth for her. You’d take a bullet for her in a heartbeat, and you know that this is the girl you want to spend the rest of your life with.
You live out your lives together, and after so many years the feeling you got when you first saw her still comes up occasionally, but it’s almost been completely replaced with another. It’s a feeling of contentment, almost. You know that you made the right decision, and your heart is bursting with love for this woman. A feeling that will never go away, not until the end of time.
You look at your wife, your anchor, the mother of your children, your other half, and you can’t imagine life without her. You squeeze her hand one last time before she closes her eyes for the last time. You can feel a part of you being ripped out of your heart, but yet, it’s still there. Now love is different. Love is a gallery of memories. You love your children, but nothing will ever compare to the love you felt for your wife. And the feeling is still there, buried under layer after layer of sadness. Regret. Wishing you could have done more. But love tells you that you did everything you could. It tells you she was happy.
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I am an early retiree. I have been living that life for some time. Many years ago (before it became popular) my wife and I chose to live significantly below our means so we could achieved financial independence. I am now living what you are planning, so I think I can provide more of a sense of the big picture.
Here’s the piece you (and a few others in this thread) seem to be missing… Living below your means isn’t about postponing gratification. In other words, it’s not about giving up products and experiences when you’re young so you can have them when you’re old. That’s not it at all.
What it’s really about is freedom. Most people are, in many ways, slaves. I was a slave. Beginning at age five I was forced to get up in the morning and go somewhere I didn’t really want to go, and do things I didn’t really want to do. Elementary school. Then high school. Then college. Then work. And throughout all those years there was an undertone of fear. Fear that you’ll get in trouble with Mom and Dad if your grades suck. Fear that your performance in college won’t result in a decent job. Fear that you’ll lose your job, and that your family will suffer, if you don’t kiss up to the right people, or meet your quotas, or because some asshole above you decides to eliminate your job… always that nagging worry and fear in the background.