We Do It Without The Buzzwords

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Fred isn’t much of a joiner.

“I don’t care to belong to any club that would have me as a member” – Groucho Marx

I read a lot of good financial independence/ early retirement writings.  The best ones tell a story of trying to get a place via many different but similar paths with enough personal style and detail to hold our interest and give the narrative a little hot spicy love.  Today you will be treated to my misguided tirade about conformity of what I consider a few beaten-right-to-death terms in the FI/RE community.  It pained me to even type “FI/RE” into that last sentence.  As an independent minded person I never was much interested in clubs and fraternities and the like.  I guess the closest I got were a couple some track and cross country teams in high school and college.  What I am saying is the “independence” part to me is the most important concept of the bunch in that the reason for all of this hubbub is to be able to do what you want when you want to do it in your life.  I have always thought that with independence came a certain non-conformity and healthy skepticism for established patterns and processes.  So for me that acronym and the term “side hustle” can just go away from my personal vocabulary and take “amazing” and “actually” with them.

It reminds me of the punk rock scene in the 1980’s where I noticed that everybody was rebelling together against something (and turning out a boatload of kickass music) but taken as a group they all had the same uniform.  In their rebellion and independence they all looked kinda the same.  No leather jacket?  Sorry, you’re not in the club.  I’m not here to judge anybody’s writing, just to blow off some steam about trends in society in general.  That way I don’t have to go home and do it and Mrs. Smidlap gets a break from my ranting nonsensical gibberish for an evening.  She deserves that break at the very least.  Maybe it’s all unfair, the things I say, but I’ll go ahead and own them and be an outsider.

Why can’t “side hustle” just be called something else 5% of the time?  I get that it’s a useful term and very descriptive but isn’t there any other way for a bunch of independent freedom lovers to say it?  “Actually” is the worst offender of the bunch.  I thought for awhile today’s youth had claimed the word as their own fake intellectual modifier of choice but I’ve noticed it creepy into more and more mainstream stuff and used by adults more.  Listen closely some time and count the number of “actuallys” and “amazings” you hear per paragraph.  It’s like they hand out free fucking donuts in the writer’s room if you can work both of those into every paragraph.

I still like all the interesting writing and sharing that goes with the personal finance space and I have learned a ton just reading what’s out there on this internet.  Nobody even charged me for the lessons and we’ll be chugging along happily down the path to shangri-la with our money and priorities straight, but I’ll be writing about it without the de rigueur buzzwords.  Got any favorite list of hated or just overused words on your list?  Let me know or just gimme your vitriol.

That’s all I got.  I’m clearly not cut out for the club.

10 Replies to “We Do It Without The Buzzwords”

  1. Ha! I hope that I am not guilty of this! A reason I even started a blog is to learn to become a better writer.

    A part of me thinks, these buzzwords are used so often are due to catering to SEO and tags. I could be wrong.

  2. i think you’re right, cal. it only drives me a little nuts that they seem to be in every sentence in advertising and the like. think: “this panera sandwich is amazing!” just hit me in the head with a ball peen hammer so i don’t have to hear it. it’s not a criticism of anybody’s writing or style, just a cultural observation of patterns. i’m in no position to criticize. hell, i don’t even proof read these things and it probably shows!

  3. It is funny when non-conformists are all the same. One time my niece told me that she wanted to get a tatoo so she could shock people like everybody else. It was going to say “always changing”. I asked her why she would put that permanently on her arm.

    We strive for authenticity and desire freedom. And then we look to everyone else to see how it’s done!

  4. Are you in the Duke’s Mayonnaise fan club? I have the Duke’s logo tattooed on me somewhere, can’t remember where. Actually, somebody should start a tattoo removal side hustle. That would be really very amazing.

    You make me laugh Freddy.

  5. Ha! I fall prey to the overuse of amazing. As a lackluster writer though I’m just trying to survive. I agree with you though.

  6. Well put Freddy. Most folks ultimately want to feel like they belong, where the uniform, speak the lingo, and generally just fit into their adopted tribe or gang or club. That is just as true for bikers, goths, bloggers or Rotarians.

    The FI scene seems to share a common dream of having control of their time, regardless of whether that control would result in their time being better used!

    Unfortunately that theme often gets lost in amongst the self serving and condescending “help and empower others” nonsense, and the humblebrags (there is a buzzword for you!) about privilege and gratitude. Throw in some Vanguard worship, a bit of 4% rule, and you have what seems to be required to fit in with the rest of the gang.

    Now a truly independent thinker wouldn’t be beating that same old tired drum, but would be having some original ideas instead. When we stumble upon those it is genuinely “actually amazing”!

What do you think? You must think something. This is the place to let it fly or just say hello.