FIRE Second Anniversary – Life Wheel Update (1)

If I’ve learned one thing in early retirement it is that if you are worried you won’t have enough things to keep you busy in early retirement, you are very wrong. Simply put, the number of fun UNPAID things to do in this world greatly outnumber the quantity of fun PAID activities!

Before I left MegaCorp two years ago, I developed this multidimensional ‘Life Wheel’ concept to organize all of the things I initially wanted to focus on with our new lifestyle. It’s still one of the most frequently read posts I’ve ever published. After 24 months, I can say that most of my activities are still guided by that initial plan.

Just as I did last year (POSTS), I thought I’d provide an update on what keeps us busy now. I’ll tackle half of the Life Wheel this week and the other half next week. Hopefully, you’ll find this interesting as more than anything, I still get the question “what do you DO all day?” from my working friends. They often think it inconceivable that you can be busier not working than working.

Here goes …


  • TRIPS – We went on four great trips in the last year and substituted going to the Super Bowl (in our home state of MN) for the other one. Enjoyed a long weekend in Chicago last summer, a two trip to England & Scotland in the fall, a getaway to Miami/Caribbean Cruise in January, and just got back from Nashville/Asheville a couple weeks ago.
  • FIFTY STATES – Made plans to finish my goal of getting to all 50 states – Heading to Wyoming/Devil’s Tower in October with one of my brothers who has been there before. Only Idaho left after that!
  • FIFTY COUNTRIES – Still not sure that this is a goal I really want to commit to, but we will be adding 4 countries to our current list of 27 countries this year (Jamaica, Israel, Palestine, Jordan) to bring our total to 31.
  • SPORTS CAR – We have our roadster out of warehouse storage already, but we haven’t driven it too much with our snowy spring weather. Signed up for three great rallies this summer/fall. Did two performance driving events at closed tracks last year and signed up for an ‘Autocross’ in a few weeks.
  • TRIP ORGANIZING – My wife insists I should be a trip planner, but I haven’t found the right group for that. We are going to the Holy Land with a another church’s group for the first time this July. Our church has done a trip like this ever, so maybe I’ll bring some ideas back.


  • MOVIES – Went to 22 movies in 2017 (down a couple from 2016); Started a ‘Film Studies Merit Badge’ program with a buddy whose son was in Scouts with my own son. They are both off to college, so we’ve been sneaking out for movies.
  • CONCERTS/PLAYS – Went to a lot of cool events in the last year: Billy Joel at MN Twins stadium, Wicked Broadway show, Second City in Chicago, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and a great show with Steve Martin & Martin Short. Have tickets for Paul Simon and the Eagles/Jimmy Buffett this summer.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY – Spent a lot of time taking pictures, especially during travel. Organized a lot of previous photos. Would like to learn Photoshop still.
  • LEGOs – Joined a vintage LEGO collectors club online and started updating old sets I still have from when I was a kid. Invested in some LEGO train sets and decided to ‘replace’ my old HO/O scale electric trains (in boxes) with LEGO trains. Kidulthood 4ever.
  • GUITAR – Still haven’t signed up for guitar lessons, which I planned on doing right away after I retired 2 years ago. I probably could be Eddie Van Halen by now!


  • ZOO – Continue to serve on our Metro Zoo Foundation Board of Trustees, where I was formerly Chairman. Helped organized key parts of upcoming Zoo Gala event in June. Should be a Beastly Bash this summer!
  • UNIVERSITY – Continue to serve on Big 10 University MBA Board – Mentor students, help with recruiting, and provide input on leadership/curriculum. Board meeting coming up at the end of the month.
  • CHARITABLE FUND – We continue to make donations from our “One More a Year” Fund and investments in local start-up companies tied to a clear social good. Will provide a separate update on these activities soon.
  • HISTORY – Recently met with Director of History Center about capturing some of the stories, artifacts, and timeline of prominent MegaCorp(s) I worked at. I’m hoping to work with them on developing a history presentation/program for this Fall.
  • HIGH SCHOOL – Serve as one of 2 alumni reps for the high school I went to (and my son later went to). Developed a Facebook Group and have worked with the school on some curricula and fundraising ideas.
  • TEACHING – I continued to lead marketing/new product development best practice workshops at some companies (usually paid) and two MBA programs (not paid). Its not a lot of work, but I really enjoy it. I’m starting plans for an event at a company an old colleague of mine runs for later this year.


  • NO CRAZINESS – We’ve successfully made it through the first two years of FIRE without driving each other crazy. Sometimes Mrs.FireStation says that she sees me less now that I’m retired than when at was working! Overall, I would say we get along as well as, or even better now since our lifestyle is slower.
  • COUPLES TRIPS – Two of the TRIPS we took in the last year were couples trips. The trip to England & Scotland was a particularly romantic getaway. We stayed at charming cottages & B&Bs, attended some plays & concerts in different cities along the way, luxuriated at The Witchery (look it up) in Edinburgh, and even went to a dress up Garden Party at Highclere Castle (from Downton Abbey).
  • HOUSE STUFF – We updated our Living Room with new carpet and furniture without a single argument. 🙂 We also attacked about a dozen smaller projects that needed doing last summer. We have a few more to get at this year, but it was quite a focused effort in 2017.
  • COOKING – We took a cooking class together last year, but we still don’t do a lot of big meals. We’ve made a series of bets over the last year where the loser makes a luxe dinner for the winner. We’re about even now after a number of these bets but she owes me the next one from when the USA Olympic Curling Team won the Gold!
  • ENTERTAINING – We did a bit less entertaining this year than we have done in the past, particularly around the holidays. It wasn’t ‘our turn’ to host family Christmas Eve last year and we decided to not host our big friends & neighbors holiday party earlier in December. We still got together with lots of friends for dinners out, which was nice.

It all seems very busy when I write it all down, but there still was plenty of time for relaxing, too. Next week I’ll give a quick update on the other 4 areas of the Life Wheel. In the meanwhile, I’m interested in your thoughts about activities you’d like to be on your list for FIRE / interesting things you are doing now. Please comment below …

15 thoughts on “FIRE Second Anniversary – Life Wheel Update (1)

  1. Wow, that is quite the list! No wonder you needed more time 😉
    Personally planning on:
    – more sports
    – get a dog/foster dog
    – additional travel (9 week road trip starting later this month)
    – learn new trade skills (planned renovations around the house)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nine week road trip! That sounds exciting. We’ve never attempted anything that long, but your itinerary looks fantastic. My wife would like to get a dog – more on that next week!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great Wheel; excellent update. Your Fifty goal has inspired me to reignite mine. Global bucket-list and/or family travel needs have used my discretionary travel budget for the past 4 years. This year is already filled. So 2019, I’m getting back on track. If I knock off SD and ND in 2019, I’ll shoot for OR in 2020, MS in 2021. After that, time to tackle the US Territories I haven’t visited yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m 65 days away from my retirement date, and read your post with interest. We just bought a 5th wheel, and have camping trips lined up for ~1-2 weeks per month through October. We’re also taking a cross country train trip in August, a bucket list item. Can’t wait!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cross-country train list would be on my bucket list, too. On our trip to the UK last year we took the overnight Royal Caledonian from Inverness to London. Fun experience!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Learning to play a little guitar is on my list of things to do once I finally retire. Maybe I should start a little earlier than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard people say that if you don’t have time for something now, it probably won’t be a priority in retirement. That hasn’t been entirely true for us, but we do tend to do most of the same things as before we retired, just more of it.


  5. I remember the Life Wheel from before and think its a great idea. I’ve just been doing some part time work a few days a month but its funny that I always seem to have so much to do with the house, yard and other things. Plenty of things keeping me busy although I dont have to run myself as ragged as before. Don’t know how I kept up with it all working full time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So many of your thoughts feel like my life in FIRE. I’m nearing 4 year anniv and I just keep getting busier. Who had the time for 8-5?
    I love your 50 states/50 countries. It’s my exact goal and my progress almost matches yours.
    My wife has her muscle cars and convertible, hmmm-there must be something to having time to drive.
    Trips are a given in FIRE. Learning is so spot on. I’m so much smarter now.
    You do more events than me, which I think motivates me.
    Your posts are AWESOME, it’s like looking in the mirror and seeing something better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! – Your comments are MUCH too kind. I love your comment that you “feel so much smarter now”. I love having more time to read & study things in so much more depth. During the 2016 Election, I even took a college Sociology 100 class. I just audited the class, but loved doing the readings and going to lectures again. Yes, the other students were a little bewildered by my presence!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s