September 2020 marked the 3rd anniversary of Freedom 101.
With 145 posts published, 250,000+ words written, and countless personal insights gained in the process, I feel like this little website has provided me with a pretty substantial ROI. And hopefully helped others take action to regain control over their money and time.
But like all things in life, change is inevitable. And I think it’s time for a big one here at Freedom 101.
I’m Taking a Break – A Long One
Yup. I’ve decided to take a minimum one year break from blogging.
In fact, I’m taking a one year break from blogging, social media, and any other type of online engagement you can think of.
And after that year? Well…..who knows.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed my experience blogging. I’m extremely grateful for the skills I’ve acquired, the people I’ve met, and the relationships I’ve built from this website.
This website also takes up a lot of my time. Realistically, 5-10 hours per week just to maintain my weekly posting, AND more like 15-25 if I’m writing a research heavy post, or actively engaging on the various social media platforms to which it’s linked.
That’s a lot of screen time.
Perhaps more notably, that’s a lot of extra (arguably unnecessary and not always fruitful) information and influence entering my life on a day to day basis.
And, after a few months of heavily scaling back my involvement in this online world, I’ve really started to question if the continued ROI of blogging, when weighed against the resulting content/influence/and emotions I inevitably end up allowing into my life, is truly a net gain.
I also feel like my attention has greatly shifted away from finance these days. Because we’ve already achieved Financial Freedom, I find I spend a lot less time thinking about money, or even wanting to think about money. Which isn’t exactly ideal for a finance blogger.
Oh….and three years feels like an accomplishment. It was a invisible time frame I had set for myself when I first started, and now that I’ve reached it, I feel pretty satisfied.
But, more than anything else, this year has challenged me in a multitude of ways. Ways that I am still grappling with, and that I want to give the appropriate attention to.
My Dad passed away this summer. Hence, my extended absence from the blog.
If you were following my blog pre-summer, you already know that my Dad was very unexpectedly diagnosed with advanced Pancreatic cancer.
At the time of diagnosis, my Dad was only 60 years old. He was healthy, full of life, and LOVING being a Grandpa.
After a complex surgery with the hope of performing a resection of his tumor, the doctors delivered the difficult news that the cancer had progressed too far. They gave a prognosis of 12-18 months.
My Dad got just 11 weeks.
Logically, my brain knows that he’s gone, but a big part of me is still feeling disbelief. As though it’s just a matter of time before he walks back through the door, whistling, smiling and telling me “Love you dear”.
Or when we’re visiting my parents farm, that he’ll still be home in time for dinner, because even when his work was the busiest, he almost always made time to pop back to the farm to have a meal with his family.
Perhaps the hardest ones to reconcile of all, the fleeting thoughts that I’ll still get to watch him play with his grandkid’s, read them their favourite bed time books, or help them sit on his motorcycle. That we’ll hear his laughter echo up the stairs as he show’s them how to play foosball.
The harsh realization of the “never again’s” hits me hardest.
My blog is littered with snippets of the lesson’s my Dad taught me. My life is forever etched with the values he lived by, the work ethic he demonstrated, his calm cool demeanour, and his quick wit. And I’m incredibly grateful for all the things we got to do with my Dad, the places we got to go, and the memories we did make.
But truthfully, and selfishly, I wanted more time. More for me, more for my Dad, more for my Mom, more for my kids. More for my entire family. I wanted my Dad to see my kids grow up. I wanted my kids to have my Dad as a consistent source of love, security, and guidance, in their lives.
I’m still feeling anger, despair, confusion, sadness, disbelief, and every other tumultuous emotion that is grief. The emotions that, at one time, I thought arrived in linear stages that were meant to be progressed through. Like levels in a video game. Now, I clearly understand how they show up in waves.
Somedays they are tidal waves, and somedays they are rippling under the surface, barely visible to those around me. But at all times, they are challenging to navigate.
Amidst them all, one thing I do know for certain, is that the best way for me to honour my Dad, his life, and all that he gave to me, is to live my life. Fully.
With intention, mindfulness, adventure, curiosity, and gratitude for every single day that I get.
To embrace the cliche’s that we’ve all heard a hundred times, but almost always fail to put into practice (with consistency). The ones we intuitively know are true, but yet we gain a much deeper appreciation for when death so closely reminds us of its harsh and ever presence.
It’s always so obvious that people are right when then they parse out their sage advice to “live each day to its fullest”, to “enjoy the small things life has to offer”, to “embrace life’s joys and sorrows”, or to “slow down and smell the roses.” All because we never know how much of that currency of time we each have.
But it’s hard to live like that. It takes effort and intentionality.
Bluntly put. It’s hard work.
Losing my Dad has highlighted that it’s the kind of work I want to focus on. That it’s exactly where I want to invest my time and efforts. For myself, for my family, and for my Dad.
Maybe after a year, I’ll come back to blogging. Or, maybe I’ll stop by to offer an update on what I’ve discovered along the way. Or, maybe I’ll just allow my online presence to fade to grey in favour of a tech-reduced lifestyle.
I’m really not sure.
But for now, and the foreseeable future, I will say goodbye. Here’s wishing you all the best on your journey.
God bless you and your family and good luck on your sabbatical and life going forward. Thank you for all you shared and inspiration of the years. 🙏❤️
Thanks so much Gary. Really appreciate it 🙂
Very sorry for your loss Phia. Take all the time you need. 🙂
So sorry to hear about your dad. It sounds like he was an amazing man! I’m sure he is extremely proud of you.
I’ll miss your posts but it sounds like you are doing what’s right for you and your family. Enjoy the fruits of your labor in becoming financially independent. Hope to see you around again at some point!
Heartfelt condolences. I too lost my father suddenly in his 60’s. I can relate to the grief, anger and myriad of emotions.
I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing on this blog, and feel privileged to have connected with you in this wonderful FI community. Your words were always deep and frequently evoked introspection. Your angle on the psychological side of finance, life and FIRE brought to attention the intangible factors so many Personal Finance bloggers overlook. Your blog will always stand as chronicle of your journey and wisdom that others will find connection with. Wishing you, Mike and family all the very best for the future!
I’m so sorry about your dad! I wish you and your family all the best in your future endeavors.
Thanks for all the time you put into all your blog posts, I have thoroughly enjoyed them and learned so much. You and your family has inspired mine and had a big impact on our lives.
Much love and prayers!
As you know, I have also been on the same journey as you, with my mom dying of lung cancer when she was only 59. It was one of the toughest things I’ve had to get through in my life, but the sun does eventually shine again. I wish you and your family comfort and peace during this most difficult of times.
I also know what you mean about blogging taking an out-sized chunk of your life energy, and completely understand your decision to step away… maybe permanently. You’ve given us, so much in the three years you’ve been blogging. We’ve all learned and grown from your wisdom and insights.
Selfishly, I hope you’ll return to blogging one day, but I fully understand if you don’t! Either way, it will be nice to keep in touch in real life. Take care, friend! ♥
Thanks so much for sharing this and I’m so sorry for your loss! I’ve been following Freedom 101 for some time and won’t act like I won’t be still checking your site in case you change your mind but I completely understanding wanting to take some time off. It’ll be good to get out from in front of the screen and into the real world for a bit. Congratulations as well on the financial freedom, no minor achievement by any means!