Go Curry Cracker is Making Me Crackers!

Last week wasn’t good. First, two of my favorite bloggers, Steve and Courtney of Think $ave Retire were featured in Forbes. Early retirement for them will mean selling their two homes, buying an RV, and traveling the country. Forbes found this very intriguing, and so do I. “Damn it,” I said to myself. “I want to do that.”

Okay, I’m jealous of Steve and Courtney. Not the end of the world. Life is still good. Or is it? Doubts over just how groovy my life is continued when I stopped by Go Curry Cracker! to see how Jeremy and Winnie were doing. And wouldn’t you know it, Jeremy and Winnie were doing fine. Jeremy, in fact, just recently spent a few weeks in Ecuador hobnobbing with the likes of Jim Collins, the Mad Fientist, and the legendary Mr. Money Mustache. Oh, sh*t, I found myself thinking. My life really does suck. Jeremy’s hanging out with MMM! In Ecuador, no less! That should be me!

Okay, I’m jealous of Steve and Courtney and Jeremy and Winnie. But c’mon. My life certainly has some redeeming value. I know it! So to get my mind off the “Fab Four,” I decided to visit Paula Pant over at Afford Anything. I’ve heard her a number of times on Stacking Benjamins and she seemed like a really groovy chick. Surely, she’ll get me out of my funk, I thought.

Not a freakin’ chance. The first thing I did was go to her About page. And what did I see there? Paula riding a freakin’ elephant.*

paula_pant

 

That was it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I logged off the computer, rushed downstairs to Mrs. Groovy and exclaimed, “We’re going to South Africa. I want to pet a great white shark!”

Mrs. Groovy was of course flabbergasted. Why did I want to go to South Africa to pet a great white shark? Well, as soon as I told her about the adventures of Steve, Courtney, Jeremy, Winnie, and Paula, she diagnosed my problem immediately. I was suffering from experience envy. She then prescribed a couple of shots of my favorite medicine (chocolate moonshine) and a few episodes of the Trailer Park Boys on Netflix to calm me down.

Mrs. Groovy was absolutely right. Prior to last week, I had no desire to go to South Africa and pet a great white shark. A great experience for me was taking Mrs. Groovy to the Dairy Queen for a Blizzard. Heck, I was looking forward to early retirement because it would afford me the opportunity to pick up litter.

What I had succumbed to was the keeping-up-with-the-joneses syndrome—the experience version. And it’s something I’ll have to guard against in the future. Just like I taught myself not to covet a neighbor’s BMW, I have to teach myself not to covet a blogger’s elephant-riding experience. Tailgating, card night with friends, and holding Mrs. Groovy’s hand may not compare to a trek along the Ganges river atop an elephant. But it’s still the makings of a fabulous life.

So what about you? You may have conquered stuff envy, but have you conquered experience envy?

* None of the children in this picture is Paula. I didn’t have permission to use the actual picture of Paula on an elephant, so I found a legal substitute. You should nonetheless go to Paula’s About page and check out her bonding with a water-happy pachyderm. It’s hysterically funny.

* Soon after this post went live, Paula was very gracious and gave us permission to use her elephant photo. Thank you Paula!

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16 Comments

  1. Amazing job articulating this conundrum. I wrote about something similar a while back when I was up to my eyeballs in FIRE-envy. But the thing is…I actually don’t want to leave my job. I love reading FIRE stories, but I’m so happy in the classroom (and so is my husband!). It’s really hard to spend a lot of time in the PF blogosphere and not lose your head a bit, I think. So we’re definitely working towards FI but have no plans to RE 🙂

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Penny. One of the reasons Mrs. Groovy and I crave ER is because we both have jobs that are meaningless. I guess in some small way we’re helping our fellow man, but the connection between our efforts and the betterment of others is too abstract. It must be awesome to see a child suddenly understand something and know you were a part of it. And that’s the kind of help we want to engage in. Real. Up close. Immediate. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for what you do.

  2. Sometimes envy isn’t terrible. You just need to internalize that envy and turn it into motivation to accomplish the things that are important to you. That is what is great about financial independence; it allows you to do the things important to you. That is why I love reading everyone’s stories. They help me push towards our goals that much harder.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Thias. Great point. The financial independence community isn’t gloating; it’s showing you a better way. And the proper response to that is not envy, it’s enthusiasm and taking some initiative. I like the way your mind works. Thanks for adding some well-needed perspective.

  3. Hahaha!! I love your writing style! Fantastic article — and yes, you totally have my permission to repost the elephant photo if you’d like.

    Here’s the thing about travel: For a week or two, it’s novel … and novelty is exciting. But after that novelty wears off, then it’s just “what you do.” I spent 2+ years traveling the globe, and everyone who hears that says: “wow, that sounds exciting!” But what they DON’T see are the nights when I’m trying to file federal taxes from an Internet cafe in rural Myanmar that still uses a dial-up connection. They don’t see the day-to-day mundane of it.

    That’s not to denigrate the experience; I’m grateful for those years in my life. My point is simply not to put travel/adventure on a pedestal. Your own daily life experiences are valuable, as long as they make you smile and laugh. And a Dairy Queen Blizzard makes us all happy. 🙂

    P.S. Not to rub it in, but I was also on the Ecuador trip with JLCollins and MMM! 🙂

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Paula. You are so right. When Mrs. Groovy and I recall our trip to Italy, we think of the wine, the food, the quaint streets of Sorrento, and the gorgeous vistas of Tuscany. We don’t think of the three hours we waited for our luggage at the Rome airport and the phalanx of pick-pockets we had to be wary of whenever we ventured onto public transportation. And, no, I didn’t know you were in Ecuador as well. I did see that you’ll be there again next year. Perhaps I can convince Mrs. Groovy to take the Chautauqua plunge. Thank you for your kind words. And thank you for being so gracious about your photo.

  4. DQ Blizzards mean summertime is here where I live, so that would be a great experience right now. That said, I do believe the discussion that experiences are worth more than stuff. We’re just about two weeks from giving formal notice and travel is a big part of our plan. You should check out NorthernExpenditure.com’s “Fill the Bucket” challenge.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Mr. FS. Hang in there. I had forty-five years of New York winters before I moved south. Definitely don’t miss the shoveling, the icy roads, and the bracing winds. And thanks for pointing out Maggie’s “Fill the Bucket” challenge. It’s on my reading list for this week. But, you know, Mr. FS, you’re not helping matters. On Maggie’s About page there’s a picture of her and Mr. T riding a freakin’ elephant. In Cambodia, no less! Just when I thought I was over my experience envy, I got pulled back in. But I certainly get your point. Cheers.

        • Mr. Groovy

          Sorry you got roped into this, Maggie. (I blame Mr. FIRE Station.) But no worries. I’m good. Mrs. Groovy ordered me to take her to Dairy Queen after dinner. And while we were enjoying our Blizzards, she told me it is now her life’s quest to see me atop an elephant in an exotic land. Woo hoo! Loved your “No Shirt” and “MLK” posts, by the way. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Um….yeah. I wanna ride an elephant or a camel (It’s on Our List…no, seriously, it is!) First, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that you consider holding Mrs. G’s hand and going for DQs to be a worthwhile event! Us too. And like Penny, above, I loved my life in the classroom – right up until I didn’t! And now it’s all about collecting experiences…even if the experience is a great bottle of wine and cards with friends!

    • Hey, Lynn. Thanks for the kind words. Yes, experiences are the new status symbols. Much better for the mind an soul than a shinny new BMW. I wish I had my current attitude 20 or 30 years ago. Back in my glory days I was very motivated by stuff. The thought that holding hands or a Blizzard could be special was very alien. But thankfully I finally woke up (Mrs. Groovy deserves a lot of credit here). Good luck in your quest for more experiences. And thanks for your service in the classroom. I have a lot of respect for teachers.

  6. It is funny that when I didn’t have money, I was feeling sad about having to walk to get errands done. Now, I know, I can afford that same public transport, and glad to walk the same path. What is the difference? My attitude. I walk now to enjoy the walking and to be healthy.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, DA. Exactly! Attitude is key. When I was in my 20s, I “needed” a hot car. Now I couldn’t care less what I drive. My old-man 2004 Camry gets me to the Food Lion as well as a new Mercedes can. And you know what? Life is still good. In fact, since I’ve embraced the simpler less flashy lifestyle, I’m more happy than ever. Thanks for stopping by, DA. Always enjoy your insights. Are you rooting for anybody in Lord Stanley’s tournament?

  7. The “problem” with so many FIRE bloggers is that they write exciting articles really well, and they don’t get into debt to do the incredible things they do. It’s almost like there’s no reason NOT to be envious!

    • Mr. Groovy

      So true. I could curb my envy of elephant-riding bloggers if they at least went into debt to hop upon those smelly beasts. But, alas, that never seems to be the case. Our elephant-riding bloggers are not only rock stars when it comes to adventure, they’re rock stars when it comes to finances. Meh! Thanks for stopping by, Sarah. You made me laugh today.

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