I'm Struggling Right NowI’m struggling.  I’ve been very careful to keep politics and other sensitive issues out of my blog.  We all have our opinions, of course, but I just don’t think this particular blog is the right place for that kind of discussion.

So I’m going to try to keep this high-level on that front, but there’s something that’s affecting me deeply right now.

Unless you’re living under a rock, you know about the shootings that have been happening in our school systems.  And like most of us, I’m utterly filled with disbelief when these things happen.

The recent shootings at the high school in Parkland, Florida on 2/14/17 are no exception.  I was just in awe and felt tremendous grief for everyone involved.

I have my opinions on what I think needs to be done, but that’s not what this post is about.  This isn’t the venue for that.

What it is about, however, is how unstable my emotions are right now.

As humans, we tend to get to a point where we get numb to situations as they keep repeating themselves.  Unfortunately, I think sometimes we tend to find that’s the case with some of the terrorist activity that continues to happen day after day.

However, school shootings seem different to me.  And for some reason, I just can’t seem to let this horrible incident go.  Although these travesties have happened before, I just can’t stop thinking about this one in Florida.

I thought I was fine for a few days, but I’m not.  I’m truly struggling with processing this.  I feel like we’re never going to have a good solution in place to fix these type of episodes – there’s too much red tape and corporate money in the way.

 

My Daughter

I'm Struggling Right Now - My Daughter
Right before the Daddy-Daughter Dance… it’s actually a good picture if those cruise ship portals would move out of the way.

But I’ll be honest – and this is very selfish – most of my attention and thought process is really in regards to my own daughter.  She’s currently in the second grade.

Could this happen at my daughter’s school?  Absolutely.  Why would it make any difference?  It just takes one bad apple to cause this kind of devastation.

And yes, I know the odds of something like this taking place at my daughter’s school are low.  I also know that the chances of her getting hurt or killed during an incident like this are even lower.

But here’s the thing… I don’t care.  She’s my life.  She’s everything.

She’s such a good kid – she’s smart and funny and kind to others.  It really blows my mind to think about how wonderful she’s already turning out to be.

Some of you might already know her as the better author on Route to Retire.  She was the big contributor a lot of you seemed to enjoy with her post, Like Father, Like Daughter…

Like every parent, I would be devastated to lose my child.  I can only imagine what the parents of the kids in that school have been going through.

Right now, all I want to do is be by my daughter as much as I can.  For about a week now, I’ve had her sleeping in bed with me.  Poor Mrs. R2R is stuck on her own in the guest room!

I lay there next to her while she sleeps and I just feel at peace – like everything’s right in the world for the time being.

I decided the other day to sit down and talk to her about what to do if something like this should ever happen at her school.  It’s not something you want to have a conversation about, but I think it’s important.

It’s a delicate conversation.  She’s seven – you don’t want her to be scared and start having nightmares, but in all reality, there needs to be some fear about this.  I wanted to cry the whole time I was talking to her.

The conversation went as well as it could.  But as parents, we should not be in a position to need to have this discussion with our kids.

 

Depression

I'm Struggling Right Now - DepressionIf you’re a long time reader, you might know that unbeknownst to most everyone I know, sometimes my emotions can be a roller coaster.  I’ve never been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I don’t know if that’s even what I have, but I do know that my highs tend to be a lot higher than normal and my lows tend to be dramatically low (and well hidden).

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve gotten a better handle on controlling these emotions (particularly the lows) to a point.  I’m usually able to take a step back and see things for what they really are and can recognize that any bad moment is actually just a small detail that will eventually pass.

However, it doesn’t stop me from getting in my car, thinking about something, and just welling up in my car.  Hell, I’ve been pretty much crying throughout this whole post!

I don’t want to turn this into a pity party, but I want you, as my reader, to know that I’m stuck on a real low lately and I’m struggling on getting back to “normal” (whatever that is!).

 

Struggling with Route to Retire

I'm Struggling Right Now - Struggling with Route to RetireMaybe this isn’t a great place to talk about this whole topic of me being in an emotional rut.  However, since it’s affecting my blog, I think it actually makes sense to bring it up.

I’m going on three years with Route to Retire and I haven’t missed a single week of posting.  I still have so much content I plan to share with all of you.

However, I’m struggling even thinking about this right now.  I just can’t seem to get my mind going with content that makes sense or seems important.

I had one of my few friends who knows of and reads my blog just ask me if my last post was kind of a filler.  That made me laugh – obviously, he wasn’t impressed!

But he’s right.

I can’t seem to focus right now.  And it’s affecting my writing.

I’m sure I’ll get back on track soon, but please try to tolerate my moods a little bit while I get my mind back in the game.

 

The Move to Panama

I'm Struggling Right Now - The MoveMany of you know that I’m planning to quit my job at the end of 2019.  I’ve been after that for a long time and FIRE can’t come fast enough.

And, although the big reason that I want to be done with my 9-5 is to be with my daughter, it’s now escalated quickly.

I don’t want to say that I’m necessarily scared for my daughter’s safety right now (although it’s on my mind!), but rather that I just feel the need to be with her right now.

Then, shortly after I quit my job, in the summer of 2020, we’re moving to Panama.

What’s funny about this is that I’m starting to see Panama as a sort of safe haven.  Not because it’s Panama, but because it’s not the U.S.

I definitely love my country, but we obviously have some problems here that need to be fixed.  Gun control and health care are two big ones that quickly come to mind.  And guess what – those aren’t a big problem in many other countries… including Panama.

So now, more than ever, I’m looking forward to getting out and moving out of the country.  I feel like I’ll actually feel safer in a foreign country that we barely know over the country I’ve spent my whole life living in.

How crazy is that?!


I’m really struggling right now and haven’t been able to get past it.  There’s a pit in my stomach thinking about the evil in this world.  It’s hard for me (and probably a lot of you) to fathom how malicious some people can be.

Look, I’m just stuck in a rut, but I’m going through the motions and I’ll be just fine in due time.  I’ve been putting on a facade at work and elsewhere, but I’m hurting inside.

And I’ll tell you what – after getting my thoughts out here, I’m already starting to feel just a little better.  I hope that I’m on the upswing.  So don’t worry about me, but this is something I just needed to get off my chest.

For the time being, I’m just going to focus on spending more time with my daughter and just hugging her a little tighter every day.

I don’t want to turn this into a discussion on gun control so please don’t blow that up in the comments.  There are much better places to talk about that – and it’s definitely something we should continue to talk about and fix.

 

In the meantime, let’s hope the big money can stay out of interfering and we can come up with a better solution in our country.  Our kids deserve it.

 

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

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I’m Struggling Right Now

22 thoughts on “I’m Struggling Right Now

  • February 27, 2018 at 6:51 am
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    Thanks for putting into words what many are feeling. I’m sorry you’re hurting but I got to believe time with your daughter and family will help. Sending virtual hugs ~ Amy

    Reply
    • February 27, 2018 at 10:22 am
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      Thanks for the virtual hug, Amy – never had one of those before. 🙂

      Time spent with the family this past weekend really helped a lot.

      — Jim

      Reply
  • February 27, 2018 at 8:51 am
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    Thank you for your honesty. So many in our country (and around the world) are hurting right now, but many of us (myself included) hide it for one reason or another.

    I have found myself looking at my son (2.5 years old) and thinking of the parents of the children killed in schools… and the parents of the children who survive. It sickens me, but it also reminds me to cherish the moments and remember that each day (even the day with a screaming toddler and an exhausted/stressed our mom) is an incredible gift.

    And on the blogging side, allow yourself time to take a breather if needed. Even just a week off or a week of guest posts 🙂 I’m trying not to miss a week for Year 1, but I will likely take a week off in the summer (post one year anniversary) to reset and have a quick breather. Good luck!

    Reply
    • February 27, 2018 at 10:36 am
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      It’s tough to feel so helpless when there’s so little that we can do to protect our kids. The voices are much stronger after this tragedy, but will it be loud enough to make a change? Unfortunately, I’m guessing that very little change will be made or just some insignificant gestures to try to quiet the masses… and that’s sad.

      Thanks for the blogging idea. I’ve decided to run a guest post next week, which is something I don’t generally do, but I think this one will be very well received. I guess that’s where I say something to leave you hanging like “tune in next week to find out more” or something. 🙂

      — Jim

      Reply
  • February 27, 2018 at 9:09 am
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    Every shooting I’ve seen in the news, starting back with Columbine, brings different emotions and thoughts, especially as I’ve now been at many different stages of life. But one thought always enters that’s the same. “How could this happen?”

    Reply
    • February 27, 2018 at 10:50 am
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      Very good question – it’s so sad to see things like this take place. We live about 45 minutes from Chardon where three kids died after a shooting at the high school occurred in 2012. It’s crazy to see that this can happen anywhere at any time and there’s not anything we really have in place to stop it.

      — Jim

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  • February 27, 2018 at 10:38 am
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    Well, I think your blog is the perfect place to discuss your emotional rut. And a lot readers, including myself, feel similar things. My wife has depression. And it is one of the reasons I think she hasn’t gotten on board the FI train yet. It is very hard for her to see far into the future. You don’t have that problem with finances, but when we have emotional trauma it is perfectly logical to want to try to solve the issue right then and there and we can’t see beyond things for a bit. You have every right to struggle. You have every right to express yourself and I am glad you do. I have no problem revealing my politics, but that is because it is part of what I do. All I can say is good luck and hopefully you feel the blog can be a bit of an outlet for you.

    Reply
    • February 27, 2018 at 11:28 am
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      Thanks, Jason – it was definitely helpful putting my thoughts out there to talk about this. I’m actually doing much better than I was when I wrote this, but the whole thing still bothers me tremendously.

      Great point that sometimes it’s hard to see further out when we’re struggling… one step at a time.

      — Jim

      Reply
  • February 27, 2018 at 12:15 pm
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    Hi Jim, I am very familiar with depression and wrote a post a while back about how it affected “our” life (kids included). Putting it in writing was helpful. We all struggle with various aspect of our life at different times and I think it is important to share that aspect of your life with your readers.
    What I would be careful with is assuming you will feel better once you move or not have to work anymore. Sounds like you are taking steps to work on your depression but make sure you do everything you can to deal with it now and not just assume it will be better once in Panama for example.
    The best advice I ever got was to take care of myself first so I could continue being a good mother to my kids.
    Just my two cents worth.

    Reply
    • February 27, 2018 at 4:50 pm
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      Much appreciated, Caroline! Don’t worry – I’m already in some better shape… just something that I need to go through periodically.

      The good news is that I’m not looking for Panama to fix things and I know there will be other new problems when we get down there. However, I will say that I’m looking forward to the simpler lifestyle. The part of Panama we’re planning on moving to will help make sure that happens along with me not working a 9-5 any more.

      — Jim

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  • February 27, 2018 at 12:26 pm
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    What works for me is this – you can write about whatever you want. I write about being a stay at home dad and all sort of stuff. You don’t have to write about personal finance all the time. It’s good for readers to get to know you more. Politic is okay too. Also, your post doesn’t have to be great all the time. Sometime good (or mediocre) is good enough.

    I’m with you about the current issue. Gun control clearly works in other countries. Americans are just very hard headed. I hope there will be some changes, but I doubt it. Now, we’re trying to talk to our kid more about how to deal with these situation. It’s sad that we have to do this when he’s so young. Ridiculous.

    Reply
    • February 27, 2018 at 6:21 pm
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      I enjoy hearing your thoughts, Joe – makes me feel I’m on the right track. I think you nailed it on how hard-headed we are here and how unlikely it is we’ll see real change. Sorry you’re in the same place of trying to have this conversation with your son. It’s completely insane that we have to take the child out of our children with things like this.

      — Jim

      Reply
  • February 27, 2018 at 1:56 pm
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    Thanks for your honesty. Take care of yourself and your family first. I struggled a lot with this when I was pregnant. I didn’t want to stop blogging for even a day, but I really finally needed to give myself permission to miss a day here or there. And I still do. And you know what? Everything is fine. In fact, whenever I write posts about it, I get more comments and more positive feedback than most anything else. I think in these times especially, we need to give ourselves and each other permission to be human, permission to actually make time for our priorities, and permission to sit with our feelings for a while.

    Reply
    • February 27, 2018 at 7:08 pm
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      I see your point – I’m already getting some good positive feedback on this post. I decided to take a break next week and bring in a guest post that I’m looking forward to anyway. That should give me a little more time to separate and get back in the groove. Thanks for the kind words!

      — Jim

      Reply
  • February 28, 2018 at 4:24 pm
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    I felt this same way when I heard the news about Sandy Hook. A shooting at a elementary school. It just blew me up and put me in a quiet thoughtful mood for a few weeks. I thought perhaps something would happen when so many young children were killed, but it didn’t, and I don’t have hope that this event will be any different. Maybe the kids being older and being in tune with social media can get traction, but I have my doubts. Hang in there, focus on the good.

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    • March 1, 2018 at 10:58 am
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      Sandy Hook was another crazy one. It’s really hard to process these things sometimes. I can only imagine being a parent of anyone at one of these schools – disbelief is probably a huge part of the emotion that comes along with it.

      And thanks, so much – I’m doing better lately. Being an overbearing parent and spending too much time with my daughter this past week definitely helped. 😉

      — Jim

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  • February 28, 2018 at 9:25 pm
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    Please know that what you are feeling is normal because what happened is horrible. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t stop crying at the funeral of someone I hardly knew. All I could think was what a shame it was for such a wonderful person to pass. Sometimes things just hit home for whatever reason.

    I find taking a break to care to my mental health is a worthwhile investment. Whether it’s distracting yourself at the gym, meditating and feeling what’s going on, or just vegging and letting it all sink in. We’ll be here when you’re ready.

    Reply
    • March 1, 2018 at 11:09 am
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      Great advice and very much appreciated, Lady Dividend. I’m doing better now after spending the past week smothering my daughter with love and affection. 🙂

      — Jim

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  • March 1, 2018 at 5:18 pm
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    Thanks for being so open and sharing how you feel. You’re not alone. I have 3 young kids in school and the thought of something happening to them there scares the hell out of me. Even more so lately because their school had copycat threats after what happened in Florida. We know at least one kid in town was questioned and they said it wasn’t a credible threat, but my girls were up at 10:30 one night crying that they were afraid to go to school the next day. School should be a safe haven for kids to learn and grow. They shouldn’t be afraid to go to class. And statistically I know the odds of anything happening must be infinitesimal, but still I worry. That’s just what parents do. Like you, my kids are my world. If something happened to one of them, I don’t know how I’d go on.

    Reply
    • March 1, 2018 at 9:24 pm
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      Wow, how do you even process the copycat threats? That’s insane! It’s crazy knowing that we have to worry about something like this in our schools with our kids. Hang in there, Mike!

      — Jim

      Reply
  • March 1, 2018 at 7:24 pm
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    It seems like {hugs} are taboo in PF sphere but, wth … {hugs}. Totally understand. Since high school I’ve had chronic depression that seems worse come spring (hence the slowdown on my site lately) and it sucks. Honestly don’t know what will help as have tried various things to no avail. I do remember being really low w/ Sandy Hook and both my kids in grade school then.

    Thinking of moving some CBT books onto my library reading list to see if anything in those help. If you know of anything, send a note. Best wishes!

    Reply
    • March 1, 2018 at 9:29 pm
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      I’ll take the hugs any way I can get ’em! Sounds like you might have a rougher time than me as my lows don’t happen very often. I will say that writing this post actually helped bring me out of my depression – might be worth giving a shot on your site?

      I’ve actually never looked into any CBT books, but maybe someone else reading this might have some ideas to share.

      Hang in there – things always get better and the bad times are only temporary!

      — Jim

      Reply

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