I was talking to my partner the other day about where we were at this point last year (at the end of 2018). Our relationship was still pretty brand new and as we were trying to remember specific details it was amazing how much we were both struggling to recall those early days.
I even commented at the fact that this was back during the time when she had her old roommate (she had one more roommate in 2019 before we moved in together) and she had to think twice to remember about that!
Now you can take this and joke on the fact that our memories are probably fading since we’re getting older and now qualify as “olds” (despite the blog name! 😉 ), but I’d like to think there’s more at play here.
Routines can play a major role in our day to day lives and how we perceive time. When you break those routines there’s usually a period of upheaval where chaos ensues until you can adjust to a new routine. That period of upheaval can sometimes come with a cost, so being aware of that and preparing as much as you can will certainly be helpful along your journey to Financial Independence!
Disruption From All Sources
This sort of break-your-routine upheaval can come from many sources. I personally have gone through it several times. The obvious one comes from moving to a new place, whether that be in the same city or a different one.
Uprooting your life naturally will leave you with having to create a new routine. That comes in the form of new appliances/fixtures/organizing of your dwelling, a new area to familiarize yourself with, meeting new people/making new friends, etc.
A new job can also cause a disruption to your standard routine. You now have to deal with a new commute, boss, coworkers, job duties, work environment, etc.
On a more personal side, new friendships and/or relationships can break up routines. Instead of doing what you normally would do on week nights/weekends, you now find yourself spending much more time with this new acquaintance(s)!
I’ve run into all these sources of routine breakers in the past, with moving in with my girlfriend the most recent. These times are both exciting, but also stressful and there is without a doubt always a period before I can adjust and get back into a new routine.
Surely you will at least run into one of these routine-altering times of upheaval during your life. While change can be necessary and a good thing, they can also come with a sometimes significant cost if you aren’t careful.
The Costs of New Routines
Some of these costs are fairly obvious. Moving is expensive. Let me say that again for the people who say you should just “move somewhere else” if you don’t like the cost of living/politics/whatever of a certain area or country. Moving is expensive!
Not just in the upfront costs to fund a new security deposit and first/last month’s rent (in some areas), but also in the physical aspect of moving your things, organizing and outfitting a new residence, hiring people to move the heavy items or ship to a different area, changing insurances, etc.
There’s also hidden costs during this time of upheaval. Maybe you don’t have time to grocery shop or cook so you eat out at restaurants a lot more. Or don’t have time to exercise or haven’t found a gym so your fitness starts lacking.
Stress can also play a big factor. When you’re out of a routine it can be tough to get yourself situated and right side up. Your new job/position could be stressful as you learn the ropes and get into a rhythm with your new team.
With new friendships and/or relationships, these can also have hidden costs. Your new friends could have more expensive hobbies than you prefer (been there). In a new relationship there could be the temptation to spend more money on dates to prove to the other person they are “worth it” (not saying I advocate this at all, just think it happens to many people).
These hidden costs can add up when all is said and done. For those that prefer routines, getting into a new one can help things greatly.
New Routines After Financial Independence
Let’s not forget that should you choose to leave your job after achieving Financial Independence, you may be thrust into one of those times of upheaval. All of a sudden you have a huge amount of time to spend as you please whereas for the past 10-40 years you had to spend that time at your job.
Many times that can create a huge vacuum in people’s lives. For those that have worked longer, their job can become part of who they are, and when they finally retire it creates a massive loss of identity.
With retirement comes more unstructured time, and that’s not always a good thing! I know I need more structured time in my life and struggle with getting anything done when leaving everything unstructured.
It’s essential for your well-being to come up with a plan to tackle that immediate post-job frenzy in your life until you can find and settle into a new routine for yourself.
Adjusting to new routines is something we likely all will have to do through at some point. Some transitions will be easier than others, but the important thing is being as prepared as possible for that time of change and disarray to lessen the negative impacts.
Have a plan in place to help control the financial impacts as best you can. Recognize when you are stressed and take steps to acknowledge and lessen that impact (through exercise, meditation, therapy, whatever works). Don’t be afraid to be yourself in a new friendship and/or relationship. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to spend quality time with people you care about.
Whatever you do, just know that change can be a good thing, and the turmoil and disruption to your life is just a temporary measure until a new “normal” is established!