Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

When the rug gets pulled out from under you.

When I’m working, I get up before the sun. I leave at around 7AM and drive for 50 minutes or so, walking into the staff room just as the place is starting to get that “buzz” as people arrive. There’s always banter between people, but when the locker bell rings we know that the countdown has begun. At 8:50 AM the bell for period 1 rings and the day ticks inexorably onwards until the final bell at 3:10 PM.

There’s always the sound of children. In class, of course, but during recess and lunchtime there’s no escaping that noise. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a happy noise of kids talking, laughing, calling out to each other – but it’s constant. Kids are right outside the staff room windows, so sometimes we put the blinds down if we see them peering in.

The school I teach at has around 2,300 kids. That’s a lot of noise, buzz and activity.

Whereas right now, the only thing I hear is the sound of the keys on my keyboard and the air conditioner softly going. Ryan24 has just walked down the hall to talk about something with me. My phone rang and Tom26 and I had a quick chat, because he was at work.

This morning we found out that David25’s girlfriend has leukaemia.

It’s funny how when bad news hits you just want to touch base with family. As soon as David25 left to be with Izzy, I rang my sister and my best friend. When Tom26 heard, he talked to his Mum.

Ryan24 came to tell me that apparently her style of the disease has an 80% success rate and they think they’ve caught it early.

She’s only 21.

I’m here, with the sound of the keys on the laptop, the gentle sound of the air conditioner and the warmth of Jeff snuggled up beside me even though the day is too hot for him to be doing it. With news like this, I’m glad I’m home. It’s pure chance that it wasn’t a normal Tuesday, where I’d be surrounded by thousands of people and their concerns. I don’t have to put my game-face on and pretend that the only thing on my mind is teaching the proper essay techniques they need to know to get a good mark.

I can take the time to sit and think of her and my son. They’ve been going out for around 18 months. They met at uni when they were doing the same music course. He absolutely adores her. Her family is one of the closest-knit families I’ve ever seen and there’s no doubt they’ll rally around her with all the love and support that you could wish for.

It’s such a shock.

This isn’t a ‘proper’ FI post.

I guess it’s just a reminder to cherish the people you’re going through life with. Expectations and all the plans in the world can be derailed without the slightest warning.

Anyway, if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.

Go and hug a friend.



  1. simplywendi

    thank you for such an important message. bless you.

  2. Snoskred

    *hugs* to you all. Thank you for the reminder, I feel like it is so important. 🙂

  3. jan

    oh, what a shock for you all,hope all goes well ((hugs)0

  4. Kristen

    That’s awful 🙁 So hard for someone so young. Sending lots of positive thoughts from the US, and I hope she heals well.

    I think this type of circumstance is somewhat related to FI and the FI journey. Crappy life circumstances will happen to us and others, and for those on the FI journey, knowing that the money side of things will be ok can let us focus on healing, supporting others, or whatever other factors the circumstance calls for. It’s a huge mental weight that’s lifted. I had a bunch of medical issues last fall (including a possible cancer diagnosis), and I knew that because we’re on the FI path, we had the financial resources in place so I could just focus on healing.

    • Frogdancer Jones

      That’s true. Here in Australia, most of her medical expenses will be taken care of by the government, but other things, like being able to take time off to care for her should she need it, would only be stress-free if the finances were all in place.

      • Joy

        I was thinking the same as Kristen, it is related as it gives you the peace of mind to know you have the financial support in place to concentrate on what’s important.

  5. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    There’s nothing like the punch in the gut of a sudden health crisis. Most of ours happened in our late teens and twenties, we lost parents right and left, and it was a horrible club to induct friends into. But it underlined for us the very critical notion that we cannot ever take our happiness and health for granted and I have never ever forgotten it.

    May she get the best possible treatment, and I hope she pulls through no terribly worse for wear.

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