Full Circle

Wanderer
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This has been a very difficult few years.

At the beginning of 2020, while we were travelling in Bali, I got a call from my mom that nobody ever wants to hear. My dad had gone to see a doctor to check out some dizziness that didn’t seem to go away, and an MRI scan had found the worst possible explanation there could be: a mass in my dad’s head. It was brain cancer.

The diagnosis completely upended our lives. In an instant, our days of living nomadically and travelling the globe without a care in the world came crashing to a halt. And then, oh yeah, a little thing you may have heard of called COVID shut down the entire world at the same time.

We barely made it back to Canada before our government closed the borders, halting nearly all international flights. The entire flight back I was freaking out. Not only were we dealing with an extremely serious illness, chemotherapy and radiation would make dad immunocompromised, right in the middle of a pandemic that was especially deadly to people like him.

But in many ways, dad is an exceptional person. Because despite a diagnosis of glioblastoma, an especially deadly form of brain cancer that claims 95% of its patients within the first year, he managed to make it out of surgery, radiation, and chemo with not just his hair intact, but with his MRI’s clear! The odds of such an outcome are scarily low, so for him to be on the happy side of stunningly unlikely dice roll was either a miracle (if you’re religious), or a very strange statistical anomaly (if you’re not).

Over the next 2 years, people got vaccinated, borders opened back up again, and life slowly returned to normal. The sun seemed to shine a little brighter, plans for the future starting being made, and we even returned back to our nomadic ways, with Chautauqua Colombia 2022 and our subsequent climb of Machu Picchu being a particularly happy highlight.

But fate, it seems, can’t be outrun forever. At the beginning of 2023, once again mom gave us some devastating news. The cancer had returned, and the chemotherapy drugs weren’t working this time. As optimistic as a person I am, even I knew the odds of beating a 95% dice roll twice in a row just wasn’t going to happen.

And so we packed our bags and flew back home to face the shit again.

Growing up with dad was an interesting experience.

As the children of a dentist, my siblings and I had a very strange relationship with sugar.

And this strange relationship always peaked every year at Halloween.

Every October 31, my sisters and I would go trick-or-treating along with all the other kids. But once we returned home, we were subjected to a rule that only applied in our house. Because we could only keep our candy for 72 hours.

After 72 hours, the rule stated, our candy would be confiscated.

You can probably see the flaw in dad’s plan. Because for 72 hours, we would absolutely gorge on candy. We would eat until our bellies burst, then throw up, and then we would eat some more.

The reasoning dad gave us was to protect his professional reputation. After all, nobody would go to a dentist whose children had cavities. Which we accepted to a certain extent. But one day, when I was looking upstairs for something unrelated, I happened across a suspicious looking pillowcase in my parents’ closet. Curious, I opened it to find…all the candy he had taken from us to “throw out.” Instead of tossing it, he had hidden it from us so he could eat it himself!

Growing up with Dad taught me that there are rules, and then there are “rules.” Some rules are for your own good (stop at red lights, eat your vegetables), or the good of those around you (don’t murder each other, pay your taxes). These should be followed.

But other “rules” (buy a house, retire at 65, give dad your candy) are just made up and serve no real purpose. These can be safely ignored. The trick to a fun and interesting life, it seems, was learning to identify which was which.

When we told our families about our plans to quit the rat race and retire at the ripe old age of 30, we were met with near universal shock and horror. Everyone thought we were making a giant mistake, we were throwing our careers away, we were ruining our lives, etc. FIRECracker’s mom responded to the news that we were millionaires with “Who cares? You don’t even have a house!” and it resulted in a huge fight that resulted in them cutting off communication for over a year.

My dad was the only one that accepted what we were doing. He may not have fully understood why, but he trusted us that we wouldn’t do anything unless we were absolutely sure it was safe. Dad always had our backs.

When we landed back in Toronto this time, though, we knew things were going to be different. Dad was having trouble forming sentences and articulating his thoughts. He began to rely on his native Cantonese more than English, and he started missing shots on the tennis and badminton courts that he would normally nail without even trying. The disease was progressing, and it wasn’t going to get better.

FIRECracker often describes Financial Independence as the best money she ever spent. Not only did it free of us our stressful jobs, it let us travel the world and pursue writing as an actual career. It gave us the time and the mental space to work on ourselves, and allowed FIRECracker to heal her fractured relationship with her mother.

And when it came time for my parents to need our help, FIRE gave us the ability to be there for them.

Taking care of a sick parent is a full-time job, especially for someone like my dad who basically developed dementia. He went from being an athlete to needing 24 hour care in a matter of weeks. Not only did he need help with basic functions, but he couldn’t be left unattended because he might fall.

So after arriving back in Toronto, and once we understood the severity of the situation we were facing, FIRECracker and I were able to move in with my parents. Along with my two siblings, we ran shifts and coordinated each other’s schedule to make sure that someone was with dad at all times. There were a number of times that we flashed back to FIRECracker’s old co-worker, who had to deal with a similar situation with her mom dying while her boss was demanding she get back to work. After all, those pointless meetings wouldn’t attend themselves!

Once again, FIRE proved to be the best money we ever spent.

The day dad died was the hardest day of my life.

My younger sister and I were pulling the night shift so the others could go home and get some sleep. Around 3 AM, dad’s breathing became laboured, and the nurse told us that we were nearing the end. We called my older sister and my mom so we could all be together one last time. We were all there when it finally happened.

And then, a few days later, we were back in the hospital. This time, the patient was FIRECracker, but this time, the reason was very different. FIRECracker was about to give birth.

Oh right, I may have forgotten to mention. FIRECracker was pregnant this entire time.

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you, especially if you’re obsessive-compulsive planners like us. Becoming millionaires, retiring in our thirties, and writing a best-selling book are all things that we can model, graph, chart, and optimize. We’re both good at it, which is why those things were relatively easy for us.

But losing your dad in the same week as becoming one yourself? There’s no spreadsheeting your way out of that one.

It causes the normal emotional reactions to both events to become all weird and distorted, like two opposing waves that crash into each other. Sadness crashes into joy, grief crashes into anticipation, and what happens is a weird combination that sometimes feels like a muted version where the two juxtaposing emotions sort of cancel each other out. And at other times, they magnify each other so that you feel them twice as intensely. It’s weird and I wish I could graph it out somehow, but unfortunately, we haven’t invented a way to chart emotions (yet).

It does create some interesting situations, like needing to come up with contingency plans if FIRECracker went into labour in the middle of the funeral. How close is it to the nearest hospital? Who takes over in case I’m not there to read my part of the eulogy? Are these seats waterproof? These aren’t remote hypotheticals either. Her due date was literally the same day as the service.

Fortunately, FIRECracker managed to keep the baby in long enough, and a few days later, Little Matchstick™ was successfully delivered at the hospital. I am happy to report that both baby and mom are safe and healthy.

So where do we go from here? Do we stay put or do we travel? Do we find a home base somewhere or do the three of us pack our bags and go full nomad again? We’re still figuring it out, but I suspect travel will remain a major part of our family’s future. After all, this baby has technically visited 6 countries before it was even born, but that’s a story for another time.

This will be a completely new experience for me, and like every new parent, sometimes I wake up in a blind panic because, frankly, I don’t have the slightest idea how to care for a newborn. But then I remember that I have two major things going for me.

First, my wife. I seriously have the best wife ever. Sorry, all the guys out there reading this, but I regret to inform you that I snagged the best one. Through all the late nights I spent sobbing into a pillow, she was there. Through all the endless 4 AM’s where I had to jump out of bed because dad needed someone to help him go to the bathroom, she was there. And when dad took his last breath with his family surrounding him, she was there.

While nine months pregnant.

Money can buy a lot of things, but that kind of love? It simply can’t be bought. No matter how much money you have.

If I could pick anyone in the world to be my co-pilot in this new, scary, uncertain journey of becoming a parent, she’s my gal. 100 times out of 100, she’s my gal.

And secondly, while I have no idea how to be a good father, I had the best teacher. A favourite saying of dad was that he was a man of action, and that’s how dad showed me how to be one myself. Not with words, not with lectures, but with action.

He taught me how to be a good dad, and every time I encounter a situation where I don’t know what to do, I’m going to think back and ask myself “What would he do?”

To my dad, wherever you are, and to my newborn son, who is (hopefully) where I last left him, I love you both so, so much.

And I will spend the rest of my life making you both proud.

Now, does anyone know how to change a diaper?

Update: Wow, the comments and inbox flooded with well-wishes and many many heartfelt replies. Thank you for that, I really needed it 🙂

Also, over the next few weeks/months, updates may be a little erratic because, you know, newborn, but in between all the late nights we’ll try to keep the articles coming as best we can. Hugs!


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110 thoughts on “Full Circle”

  1. Wow, there is so much to take in here! I’m so sorry for your loss, but grateful your FIRE lifestyle meant you could jump in and be there with him when he/your family needed you most without having to think about work.

    Secondly, congratulations on baby matchstick! I’m so excited to see how you navigate this next chapter of FIRE with a little bundle in tow.

  2. The writing of this post is so poignant and heartfelt. Making me emotional as I was reading it. My condolences on your loss and congrats on the new addition of your family. I am sure your dad is looking down somewhere and is extremely happy and proud of you

  3. Congrats to you both! And my condolences to you and your family. Thank you for inspiring me to save more than 1 million and on my way to 2 so I can reach FI with a wife and 2 children. I’m happy you’re starting a family, hopefully more tips/cool graphs about saving/investing for the little ones!

  4. I started reading you a year before going through the same challenges that you experienced, and just that year of better planning made me able to face it head on, much like you did.
    I’m so sorry for your loss, and I’m so happy for your little new matchtick, may you all watch Elemental many times together, and cry your eyes out, and hold each other through the toughest times and the sweetest times.
    And thank you both for all your tips and candor. Best vibes forever.

    1. I’m so sorry for the loss of your father and so happy for you all for your son. This is a wild time and I’m glad you have each other for support during the 4th trimester and mourning your dad. Just be aware that there will be lots of emotions and tears from both of you because this is a big thing.

      I’m so happy that you could be there for your dad and your son thanks to FI. I’ve been following your blog for ages and the FI movement for 15 odd years and though I’ve yet to pull the trigger on FI because my life goals keep changing, it’s always helping me along the way. And nothing has ever changed my life goals and perspective quite as much as having children. Our second is 3 months now and it’s still an unpredictable roller coaster. You will do great. Best wishes.

  5. Condolences on your dad and congratulations on your son! One life ends but another begins.
    Was the baby planned at all or did it just happen? Will be very interesting to see going forward how your new baby will affect your life, both from a FIRE perspective as well as a non-FIRE perspective.

    1. It was planned, but the timing was still a surprise, in that FIRECracker found out she was pregnant like 2 days before we had a flight out of the country. It’s a long story, which I’m sure she will write about in a future post.

  6. Oh guys, I’m so sorry for your loss – sending you & your family good vibes. I’m also so happy you’ve safely welcomed Matchstick into the world. What a reminder of how crazy and unpredictable is life. You guys will be amazing parents & the little legend has quite the adventure ahead of him. All the best for this new chapter!

  7. Congrats you two!!

    Parenthood is an adventure in itself – bringing the highs and lows of human experience (sleep deprivation anyone)?

    My condoleances for your Dad – I had a similar experience with my first child being born and my Dad passing away a little over a year after from ALS. The maternity leave allowed me to be present in a way I wouldn’t have been if I was working, while also allowing my Dad to meet his grandson.

    It is weird how some of those events happen sometimes – and I’ve found Parenthood to be a way to best celebrate memories with my Dad – reading bedtime stories like he did with us, singing my newborns (I have 2 children now) his favorite lullabies and passing down family recipes.

    I hope you get to experience this weird serendipity and rest, as this baby thing definitively takes a lot of energy (re: the not sleeping thing).

  8. Very sorry for the loss of your Dad, but happy that you got to spend the rest of his life together. Enjoy your memories! Congratulations on the birth of your son. As always, life consists of both happiness and sorrow.

  9. Sympathies on the loss of your dad. Congratulations on the birth of your son. And thank you to you and FIRECracker for sharing your amazing story.

    The journey continues…

    All the best

  10. Congrats and I’m sorry for your loss– what a crazy few months for you both. Will be in my thoughts as you guys figure out this parenting thing, it’s such a roller coaster in my experience! Also kudos for travelling to 6 countries while pregnant. I’m pregnant with my second right now and walking down the street is honestly a bit much some days, much less getting around the globe 😛 cant wait to hear about all your new adventures!

  11. Congratulations on Little Matchstick! What a surprise! Hope I get to meet him!

    Loosing a parent is tough but death is part of life. I lost my mom to cancer when she was 62. I know what a painful time it is. Don’t let it spoil the joy of life going forward. The good memories will shine through as time goes by.

  12. What a year you’ve both had. It’s not surprising to me that you came out of it with new wisdom and insight. Now the baby, that was a surprise! I’m so excited for you both, and if you remember our ono-on-one in Colombia, welcome to the freeloader club!

  13. Equipment for diaper changing: a mask pre-sprayed with Fabreze, rubber gloves, forceps, and protective eyewear. I hope that helps!

  14. It was a roller coaster just to read this. I can only imagine what it must feel like to go through. This hit me especially hard: “But losing your dad in the same week as becoming one yourself? There’s no spreadsheeting your way out of that one.”
    My deepest condolences and congrats all in one to your family. I’m excited to read about what the future holds for you all!

  15. My condolences on the loss of your dad – may his memory be a blessing as you navigate this new season of your lives. Also, congratulations on Little Matchstick and my best wishes to you and your newly expanded family.

  16. This is the best article you’ve ever written on why being financially independent is important. Being there for your family is priceless.

    Congratulations on the baby!

    1. 100000%. It’s not about the money, but the freedom to be present and with those you love.

      Congratulations! Taking Cara Babies, Feeding Littles, and Big Little Feelings are wonderful resources.

      So sorry for the passing of your father.

  17. Losing a parent at any age is difficult. I am 25 and my dad passed away in June.
    By the way, Congratulations on becoming one.

  18. Wow! Holy mixed emotions Batman! I can relate to a certain degree. My father passed away just a month before I met the woman I was destined to marry. He never knew his grand kids but he still lives on through our memory of him. My siblings and I see his traits come out through us and now our kids and that gives us comfort.

    My deepest condolences to you and your family and at the same time a very hearty congratulations to you and Kristy! Welcome to the grand adventure!

    -Jon

  19. Best article you have written Bryce because it was truly from the heart! I’m so sorry for your loss. You both have beautiful teeth in that picture 🙂
    Kristy, congrats on the baby boy!!!!! I’m so happy for you and Bryce! How are you feeling?

  20. My condolences on the loss of your dad. It’s really sad to lose someone so close to you. And congratulations on the birth of your child. You must be on a emotional roller coaster. Take your time to feel these emotions. You guys have the luxury of not worrying about work or money, very few people in the world are privileged like you guys.

  21. I am tremendously ecstatic for you both and hoping mom and baby are doing well.

    Your dad is in heaven looking at you being a proud daddy. To him, know you are his greatest achievement! I am also certain you will be planting that tree today so your new bundle of joy can enjoy its fruits and shade tomorrow! This is a life celebration at its finest. Congrats!

    God Speed and Blessings as always.

    ImmigrantOnFIRE

  22. Sorry for your loss! I didn’t know your dad or even yourself, but hope you will find solace in knowing strangers like me pray for you.

  23. Such a timely post, it speaks so deeply to my heart. My sister and I just lost our dad last Saturday. We too were able to be with him at the very end. My deepest condolences to you and your family and congratulations on your new addition.

  24. Truly sorry to hear about your father’s passing.

    Good luck going from carefree nomad to parent. I’m right there with you. Baby born in August. Our first international trips will be next year.

  25. I’m so sorry for your loss. My condolences.

    However, I’m so happy and excited about your new journey into parenthood. Congrats!!!!!

  26. Joy and sorrow indeed. So happy for you two with your love for each other and little Matchstick. Thanks for sharing your most intimate life journey. Very real. Joy will definitely win.

  27. I am so sorry, and at the same time so happy for you, Bryce, you are going through difficult and wonderful days at the same time, it must be very disorienting. Congratulations from our whole family, the both of you are going to be such great, passionate parents. Welcome Little Matchstick! <3<3<3

  28. Sending my condolences about your dad but at the same time, congratulations about your baby! I have been following you guys since 2019 on your adventures and financial guidance. I can’t wait to see what’s up for you guys next with kid in tow.

  29. Wow. All the joy and sorrow of life you two have experienced together in this short while is hard to even fathom. Sending you all our best for the experience of healing from this incredible loss and embracing this time of joy and gain. You will be a great father, as you have experienced the key component to success from your own father. Unconditional love. You and Firecracker seem like an incredible team, and with Little Matchstick around we cannot wait to see the fun and adventures that await you all.

  30. This was beautiful. I am so so sorry for your loss and deep grief. But I am glad you had such big love that would cause such deep grief. My father’s cancer just returned after 6 years cancer free and it feels pretty bleak after we thought we were in the clear. So this post is especially poignant and I appreciate you sharing it.

    Congratulations on becoming a father. Parenthood is just pretty amazing. And challenging. And crazy. And awe-inspiring. Hang in there! Isn’t it crazy how love just grows and we don’t have to just spread it out? It’s fascinating and awesome.

  31. What a wonderful and sad post. But now you have a little one to guide you on many exciting new adventures to come. Good luck and great joy going forward. And Godspeed to your Dad.

  32. Thanks for sharing!! Big heartfelt congrats on the new member of MillenialRevolution (MR+alpha).

    So very sorry for your loss. My husband’s and my dad have passed prematurely. Our daughter, born 2 years after my dad’s passing, will never experience what it means to have grandpa(s) but she is growing up happy and strong.

    I can’t wait to read about your adventures as a FIRE family and how you’ve overcome all the commercialization of raising a child! You will soon see that days are looong but years are very short.

    All the best to you!!!

  33. Sending so much love to you and your family at this time of ineffable loss and incredible joy. What an emotional journey. Well done to Firecracker on the hard work of nurturing and then giving birth to a human being. Wishing you a loving and joyous future.

  34. Life is a roller coaster ride.
    You are all doing well. We are rooting for you. If you need any help, just reach out. We live only one hour north of Toronto; in Alliston.

  35. Huge congratulations to you guys! Parenthood is one of the most challenging things in life but also the most rewarding.

    And my condolences on your father’s passing.

  36. What a “Brutiful” story of life, both Beautiful and Brutal at the same time!

    So sorry for the loss of your Father and so Joyful for the birth of your son. You are your father’s legacy, and you’re doing an amazing job already!

    Congratulations to you and Firecracker❤️

  37. Condolences on the death of your dad. Congratulations on being a father . One of the most emotional times of your life and poignant to read

  38. I’m so happy for you both! And sad to hear of your family’s loss. What an emotional rollercoaster of life events to go through. Luckily you are going through it together with such a wonderful support system. And we’ll be here to support you too 🙂

  39. I’m so sorry for your loss Wanderer, my situation is quite similar 💗 Also so happy for you, what a joy! Might I suggest meal delivery kits? Or Uber eats….impact cafe is very healthy 😋. I will also say Wanderer, that you have excellent teeth. Hope to see you at Berzy (dog) park out on a walk with your precious joy.

  40. That was an epic post. As others have said, condolences on your father, and congratulations on your baby. I think your son will have an interesting life.

  41. What incredible news so beautifully written. Matchstick is one incredibly lucky baby. RIP to your dad. You and Firecracker have done him proud in how you cared for him and now how you will pass on his love to your child.

  42. I am very sorry for the loss of your beloved Dad.
    And….
    That little peanut is adorable. May all of your lives be filled with joy.

  43. I’m one of your fans and I’m sending you lots of love, about everything you shared here, in this post. Lots of love and support to FireCracker and wishing her to rest and eat well, and get pampered during the Golden Month (if she observes it).

  44. Sorry for your loss, Bryce. Your post is a lovely tribute to your dad and his legacy. Congratulations to you and Kristy on the birth of Little Matchstick!

  45. Such a bittersweet post, Bryce.

    Deepest condolences on your dad and broadest congratulations on becoming parents. Neither is easy but both do get easier with time.

    Enjoy your Matchstick!

  46. Hey Guys,

    Been a reader since 2019 and I just wanted to say both condolences for your father and a big CONGRATULATIONS on your little one!

    And also to let you know that your story was the spark plug I needed to change my life for the better! Because of this blog the net worth for my wife and I have more than 3x’d in 4years.

    We just welcomed our baby boy on 9/6/23 and so happy to see that you will probably be documenting your financial journey with your little one. Great timing, I will be awaiting your upcoming articles w/ much anticipation.

    Keep doing what you are doing which is quite literally CHANGING people’s lives!

  47. Wow! I have read your book and followed your posts for this long and this is the first time I felt strongly compelled to leave a comment here. Really sorry for your loss, it must be very difficult to loose someone who has been there for you your whole life. I hope you continue to cherish the good memories with your dad. Congrats on becoming a parent to both of you!! I’m sure the focus of your life will have shifted with the birth of Matchstick – very fitting name 🙂 wish you both the very best and thank you for inspiring me on the FIRE journey so far!

  48. I am so sorry to hear about your dad passing, but it is so great that you go to be a dad. I certainly can empathize. I lost my father on my son’s first birthday. My dad only got to see his grandson a couple of times, but I talk about him often. I make sure my son “knows” his grandfather as best I can. And that is the best I can do. I am sure you will do the same. Congratulations to you and Kristy! Welcome to the greatest ride of your life.

  49. Congratulations on the birth of your son and many condolences for your fathers passing. Family is truly precious. May you have many wonderful moments and although life will still be filled with challenges your strength, patience, compassion and experiences will enable you to continue your fulfilled life.

  50. First, CONGRATULATIONS! – second, my deepest condolences.
    My father also was a dentist, and yes, Halloween was never the storybook night in our house. He was an anglo-Torontonian but learned to speak Cantonese (along with six other languages) so he could speak with his Hong Kong patients (this was 60’s-70’s era of immigration to the city). As someone who’s lived in 5 countries (and five Canadian provinces) while trying to raise kids at the same time, I would agree you’ll have some steep learning curves on how to navigate child-rearing across borders; it can be done, hold on tight to your dreams. (btw, you have an open invitation to visit us with the kids in Cape Breton)

  51. For the first 18 months or so, fathers are just helpers in the house. You will carry things around, make the food, and hold the baby while mum is busy. And do all other tasks required. Sometimes you will feel strange, as you will not have the same level of connection a mum has with a baby. And trust me, this is normal. After those initial 18 months, you are taking over with the playgrounds, pools, beaches, cycling etc. Then is the time to be the kids’ hero!

    You got it!
    PS. I’m a father of three boys, so a lot of experience speaking 🙂

  52. Im sorry to hear about your father! 🙁 Take care! And congratulations with the birth of your son! Youre going to be wonderful parents!

  53. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I cried tears of sadness and then joy reading your post. It was truly a gift to spend time caring for your dad before he passed instead of being tied to a job. Congratulations on the birth of your son. May he bring you many blessings. We never know where life will take us.

  54. Wow… that’s a lot to take in. I laughed AND teared up reading this article. So sorry for your loss but very happy for your new adventure starting. Fatherhood is a crazy and wonderful thing. Having a great partner by your side makes parenting a real blessing. You two will figure it out together.

  55. Sorry for your loss. That’s really tough. Congratulations on becoming a dad. It’ll be the toughest challenge yet. I’m sure both of you will be great parents.

  56. That is absolutely wild! I’m so sorry for your loss; my dad passed last year also from cancer and it is totally devastating. Then my oldest kid went off to college this year and it’s a wild swing in the other direction. Congratulations on the newborn!

  57. Okay, inappropriate response of the day: my first thought on seeing the pictures was “Your dad had GREAT teeth!” Here’s a wish that he passed them (and much else) to Little Matchstick.

  58. From a random internet stranger, congratulations on the birth of your first child, and deepest sympathies for the loss of what sounds like a great father. I haven’t experienced either event yet, so I can only imagine the emotions associated with both of them happening at the same time.

    Maybe you’ll continue right on in your FIRE’d travelling journey (with adjustments made, of course), or maybe you’ll find that things you valued or believed before are different now. Either way, that’s fine and will surely make for continued interesting reading.

    All the best.

  59. What an amazingly written post. How beautifully sad to have so many things happen all at once, must be such a emotional rollercoaster going on.

    Congrats on little matchstick (love the name). You’ve likely figured out recently with everything going on how important family is during these major life changes. Try to grow your village to help during this newborn survival mode while you also mourn the loss of a loved one.

    Our lives were flipped upside down after having our first kid but wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s an incredible gift we have to be involved parents who don’t have the work stresses getting in the way of watching our kids grow. This is now your superpower too.

  60. Wow! Full circle indeed. I am sorry to hear of the loss of your Father but so glad to welcome your new little nomad. Glad Mom is doing well.

    I see families home schooling and traveling by RV and sailboat. You have great options. Congratulations!

  61. You have a way with words, Wanderer, and took me through those conflicting emotions so well that I cried simultaneous tears of sadness and joy. Welcome to the world, little Matchstick. You are in the most capable, loving hands.

  62. For you and your family, sorry for your loss. On the birth of your baby, congrats and good luck!

    Been following you for many years now. We became 4x fire in 2015. In all these years my wife has bui.t a very successful blog for military retirees.

    We feel the same about FIRE affording you the time. We have actually spent more time in the past 8 years with family and friends than th past 20 years. But, since my wife’s parents are nearing 80 we keep having the discussion about going back to take care of them. Currently, we are residing for now in Spain.

    So, this was a great article because it will be our reality soon (minus the child) and your writing brought home the fact we have the freedom and time to relocate near family when this happens, so thank you!

  63. Wow, what a journey – such an emotional time for you, thank you for sharing your story. It’s really remarkable a life ending and another beginning within this sort of time frame, and no doubt your Dad’s goodness will continue through your son. Your dad is still busy with you, teaching you important lessons. Wishing you both love and strength during this time.

  64. I’m so sorry for your loss and congratulations on your baby! ❤️
    My own dad died just after I gave birth, unfortunately they never got to meet, he was really poorly with dementia too. The regret of them never meeting will be with me forever.
    I can relate to feeling the complete ends of the spectrum of emotions. It was such a hard time.
    By the way, none of us really know what we are doing as parents, we’re all just constantly winging it.
    You’ll be fine for sure ❤️

  65. So moved to read your post and cried. Very sorry for your loss and congratulations for the little one! He looked so cute! We have been following your blogs for a long time and read your book too. We are at a stage that one of us could quit the rat race and spend the time however they want while the other keeps working the job they like. Dealing with the same resistance and disappointment from Asian parents for not having a dual-income-double-kid family as well. One thing I have learned over the years is that you don’t have to keep doing something you hate but fear to quit if the FIRE number is not reached. FIRE could be done in a sustainable way without total burnout by choosing something you can tolerate better. It might take a little longer but it may reduce the burnout damage.

  66. Congratulation – you both have fulfilled ½ of your instinctive obligation (rule). If you have ample
    resources (time+money), go for the 2nd, “2For2” that is the rule.

    “The trick to a fun and interesting life, it seems, was learning to identify which was which…” – no one on this earth is has the capability to identify a full spectrum of fun and interesting life.

    If life can be divided as the 2 halves of a football game:
    1. First half – the best of life is designed with 90% technical analysis and 10% instinctive.
    2. Second half – the best of life is designed with 10% technical analysis and 90% instinctive.

    Children are important ingredients that tie the 2 halves and give your game an identity.

    You both will make awesome parents (FIRECracker – take it easy on the kiddo. He is your healer).

  67. Congratulations on Little Matchstick and very sorry for this terrible loss. I clearly remember when you got the news since we were in Bali with you guys at that time. I can’t imagine how much of a roller coaster this could have been for both of you.

    The title of this post sums it up very well, Wanderer. Life is a giant/infinite circle that has no beginning and no end. We are just a little piece of it through the short biological experience we are living as human creatures. Enjoy yours and that of your little one! It’s going to be a wonderful (yet crazy/scary) ride and I’m sure both of you are going to love it.

  68. Congratulations on Baby Matchstick! And so sorry about your father. I was a caregiver to my spouse who died of cancer several years ago. It is indeed a full time job and exhausting both physically and emotionally. I’m certain though he felt so grateful to have you both so close and so attentive. Sincere condolences for your loss.

  69. Wow….what a wild ride. First of all congratulations on Little Matchstick!!!! I am really looking forward to read about how you will navigate FIRE with a little one in tow.
    And sincerest condolences on the loss of your father. What a devastating illness. He sounded like a great man.

  70. What a tough and incredible time for your family. Thinking of you all as you navigate the emotions and milestones ahead of you! I am so glad you have each other to share the ups and downs.

  71. Wanderer, I’m sorry to hear about your dad passing away. That must be so hard.

    I’m so happy for you guys about your baby! This is wonderful. I was wondering if you were thinking about having kids.

    IMHO it is a great idea, I have kids and I’m so glad I do.

    All the best!

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