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I’ve had an idea rolling around in my head for a few weeks and I decided that this post was a good time to air it. As I’ve continued to put more and more effort into my YouTube project, Two Sides of FI, I’ve felt less motivated to put the time I need to into writing this blog. To clarify, I’m not saying that I haven’t felt like writing lately – I often have. Rather, I just haven’t felt the desire to take the ~3 hours or so that I typically spend to produce the articles I’ve posted here to date (it took me about 30 minutes to write this one by comparison). I’m having a lot of “desk time” as it is between the channel and some other exploratory projects on my plate, and honestly I’m enjoying the YouTube work much more than the blog these days…
Why is that? I think it’s a few different things. First, the blog has turned out to serve a different purpose than I had thought – often the case for our endeavors in life, right? It’s been a much more useful outlet for me to process the emotions of early “retirement” since I left the workplace ten months ago. I’d assumed it would be more of a two-way street, where I’d get to engage with friends, family, and those who eventually stumbled their way to the site. I’m not naive about the difficulty of building an audience, so I knew that last group would take more time! But to be candid, the interactions overall have been limited. The blog have subscriptions have also flattened out, as are the views, likes, and comments coming from other social media outlets. It’s hard not to feel like you’re talking into a void in those circumstances. And I don’t like feeling like I’m constantly blasting content into people’s feeds that they may not be enjoying.
That’s not to say that I’ve not benefitted in many unexpected ways from this project – I certainly have! Leaving my career during this pandemic has certainly meant a lot more isolation than I’d have otherwise experienced in post-FIRE year one. That has led to more solo time to think, and perhaps an acceleration of emotions that would otherwise have been stretched out over time. Now I do think that’s a good thing, but it’s also been rather intense at times. Writing this blog has forced me to capture those thoughts and really work through them. As I’ve written, not always been an easy process, but I believe it’s been important for my development. I’m grateful to have had the experience.
I’d also hoped that others might find utility in the things I’d shared – whether it was because they were on their on FIRE path, were heading into traditional retirement, or were interested in my thoughts on succeeding in the workplace. And I did truly enjoy the conversations and exchanges I had with people about the things I’d written. Heck, if there’d been even just one of those, I think it would all be worth it. So I consider myself lucky I had the interactions about the blog that I did. But admittedly, those have also tapered off in the last few months.
On the other hand, I’m getting loads of positive return for the work that Eric and I are doing on Two Sides of FI. Don’t misunderstand me – the channel has not been an overnight viral sensation – nor was that our expectation! But we do have nearly 600 subscribers now, which to me is exciting (Eric is surely chuckling at that). Sure, we don’t get scores of comments on each video, nor do get thousands of views on most of of them either. But I see the weekly progress, I am enjoying the engagement with our viewers, plus I’m learning tons about YouTube and podcast production. Thankfully my creative partner is somewhat patient with me 😉 So candidly, I’m getting much more out of it than I am from this blog.
So what’s next and what does it mean for the next phase is NOW? I’m honestly not sure as I’ve not given it sufficient thought. Perhaps I’ll completely retool how I use the site? Maybe I’ll start daily journalling instead? In other words, write pieces that are less constructed (though honestly it’s hard for me to consider my ramblings to date anything but highly informal). I’m not sure. One thing that I continue to enjoy about this next chapter of my life is the feeling of relief that I no longer have all the constraints that I did prior. I can switch gears as I like, picking things up and putting them down again, even frequently. There aren’t any consequences! That’s reassuring to someone with as many interests as I have.
Here’s to whatever comes next! Surely you’ve realized by now that I’ll be sure to tell you about it once I figure it out. Above all, I wish you all well.
PS – if you haven’t checked out our YouTube channel yet, I’ll take the opportunity to plug it. I’m really proud of how the show is evolving. I’m learning loads about being more authentic and honest, thank to the great example set by my skilled and well-practiced partner in crime. But I’ve still got a loooong way to go. Our conversations on the channel are forcing me to work through plenty of pent-up emotions and experiences – which again, I think is a really good thing. Our recent two-part series on the numbers of FI plus all the other emotional baggage and decision making that goes along with it is linked below. I hope you’ll have a look at them. Thanks any of your time that you can spare to check it out.