Unfuck Yourself… A Non $$ Lesson From Camp Mustache

Life is funny. Sometimes the most fabulous times collide with the hardest of moments…I believe the word appropriated for such times is “bittersweet”.  This weekend was a perfect example.

As many of you know, my Nana has been sick for the past few weeks and passed away this Sunday while I was out of town.  Though I knew it was eminent, there is nothing that can prepare you for the news that someone you love has taken their last breath and it broke my heart that I wasn’t with her.  There are no words to describe the feeling that goes with the hole in your heart that can only be filled by the shape of that person.  The pain is too fresh to poke at that bear, but in time I hope to dig deeper to tell you some of her stories. For now I’ll just say that she was not only my grandma but she was also my friend and will be greatly missed.

I can’t let this week pass without saying thank you to all the families of the military who lost loved ones as they served our country.  In 1943 my Nana was deep into marine boot camp when she received word that her fiance, Marine First Lieutenant Mike Hoffman, was killed in the Battle of Tarawa (for which he earned the silver star).  It is in his honor that she continued with her service until the war ended, eventually meeting and marrying my Papa, also a WWII veteran.  Nana was extremely proud of her time in the military and of her country.  Whether you believe in war or not, someone today is mourning the loss of their son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, or friend so that we can live in peace.  On their behalf, please take a moment to appreciate that sacrifice.

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On the sweet side, this weekend I attended Camp Mustache. For those of you who don’t know, CM is a gathering of like minded folks who read and act on the writings of Mr. Money Mustache, accidental leader of the “Mustachian Cult”.  Like my Nana’s life, words can’t do justice to my experience but as a writer is mused to do, in this case I will give it a try. 🙂

Here is where I have to divulge a bit of truth…I am not a card carrying member of the Mustachian Cult.  I don’t lurk on the forums, I don’t follow Pete’s words of wisdom to a T (I drive, rarely work out, and have an affinity for shitty non nourishing food), and I haven’t read every single blog post he has ever written (like several of the peeps I met this weekend), BUT his writing is what got me on this FI path and I do appreciate the idea that we can live more intentional beautiful and fulfilling lives by focusing on what is truly important.  It is with that in mind that I wanted to attend CM and was handsomely rewarded as I have never met a more amazing group of sincere, authentic, and warm people who I could instantly connect with.

When I was a kid, every summer my sisters and I attended a local day camp.  My mom packed our lunches and off we went to the field near the community pool to spend the next 4 hours in a large swarm of kids running amok, playing games, pulling pig tails, watching the boys and giggling with our girlfriends.  This weekend I was transported back in time to be the same audacious girl I was in summer camp all those years ago (minus the warm cream cheese sandwiches and pulling of pig tails)…fun, happy, and without a care in the world.  I wasn’t focused on work, my blog, savings rates, cooking, cleaning, politics, or who left pee on the toilet seat.  I was there.  Just me.  For 4 entire days.  The hours flew by with interesting discussions, awesome bonfires, epic star gazing, an intense hike, random creating of a video tribute, hooting owls, scandalous book readings 😉 , and so much more.  Two days in I felt a shift in my persona, like a tangled rope of Christmas lights when you finally pull the right direction and it all unravels at once.  It came to me with complete clarity and finally made sense – this weekend I began the process of unfucking myself.

Image result for unfuck yourself

When you surround yourself with people you’ve just met, you get the rare occasion to be whoever you want to be.  Not your mothers daughter.  Not your sisters sister.  Not your boyfriends girlfriend.  You stand alone as just yourself and get to decide what part of YOU you want to show and what parts you want to hide.  If you choose to show it all, as I did, it will also make you keenly aware of the parts of your identity that you are no longer showing at home.  For instance, I learned that I have been suppressing a lot of my needs for the greater good.  Limiting my emotions is a prime example…like trying to keep monotone when my reality is a roller coaster.  Not celebrating my wins for fear of crushing other peoples feelings is another.  These restraints are self induced but only due to years of trying to fit into certain defining categories that make for the perfect woman.  I am not perfect and anyone who knows me will attest to that…so why did I ever try to be?

EDIT* It occurred to me to mention that much of the FI community labels themselves as introverts.  I wonder how much of that is what we truly are or how much we learned from a feeling of not belonging.  This weekend the last thing I think anyone would have labeled me as is an introvert.  In a community such as this I push myself to go outside my comfort zone because it feels more of a safe place.  I didn’t have to fit the mold of what others want me to be or think I should be.  Maybe that makes all the difference?

Whatever mold it was that I felt I needed to fit into is gone today.  I no longer want to live in the shadows.  I don’t want to be less so someone else can be more – we can all just BE.  I don’t want to bite my tongue if I have something to say for fear of not being liked.  I am who I am because of my past and all the shit I endured, but I don’t want it to dictate and dim every little fucking thing I do in the future. I want to shine as bright as I can and I want to surround myself with people who appreciate and encourage that in me.

On the flight home I realized that for the first time in a really long time I am proud of who I am (even if some of it was hidden) and the direction I am heading and I don’t have to make apologies for it.  I still have a lot of work to do (no doubt about that) but if my past has taught me anything, I am resilient and always up for a challenge.  As Neil Young once sang, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.  I intend to do just that.

I can honestly say that I haven’t had a weekend like this in all my adult life and am so grateful to the organizers for putting the event together and to Pete (MMM) for inspiring such an incredible community.  I can’t remember the last time I spent so many days with so many people and didn’t have to fight the urge to flee!  That’s gotta be the most honest stamp of approval (and possible future tag line/bumper sticker?) for Camp Mustache that has ever been. 😉 Sweet is exactly the word to describe my time there.

If any of my CM friends are reading this, thank you for making this weekend what it was.  If you are reading this and have never been to CM, do not fret!  CM is not an event so much as it is an idea.  Community comes from surrounding yourself with your tribe – like minded folks that share your values.  People you can teach as well as people you can learn from.  I started this blog because I was seeking a tribe.  I had a hole that needed desperately to be filled and in my interactions with each of you, I am slowly filling it.  Going to CM added a heap on the pile.  I can only imagine Lola Retreat and FinCon will add a few shovels as well.  Whether it be here in the comments or at any of those events, I hope our paths cross.  Life is too short to live it dimmed.

Until next time…

PS – If you are in Chicago this week, I am hosting a meet up on Monday, June 5 at 5pm’ish.  Email me for more info or if you would like to be added to the invite list for future events!!  missmazuma@gmail.com

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54 thoughts on “Unfuck Yourself… A Non $$ Lesson From Camp Mustache

  1. TheRetirementManifesto

    So sorry to hear about Nana, ‘Cuz. I know that crushed you to be away. She knows, and I suspect she’s ok with it. She’d be proud of you for your “self-unsexual” (??) weekend of realization. Sounds like CM was the perfect thing for you, I’m glad you attended, and I love your thoughts on your expanded self awareness that resulted from the “kids camp for adults”.

    I wouldn’t miss the Chicago event for the world! Look forward to meeting you on Monday!

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    1. Haha – definitely un-sexual considering I am still in my month of financial celibacy!! Looking forward to seeing you on Monday. Shoot me a text when you arrive…though I am pretty sure you will be able to find me. I’ll be the girl at the bar not giving a fuck. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mrspickypincher

    Bahahaha, I love this! Also, I’m sorry to hear about your Nana. She sounds like an incredible woman. 🙂

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  3. Wow. Powerful lesson. Not expecting such eloquent and profound meaning behind such a title. But it got me to read, perhaps more than “kids camp for adults”. I want to be there again. It is so visible for me, the differences we call “growing up”. I have yet to find my tribe, but have yet to truly search. Cut of a different cloth I guess. Wishing you the best in shy town. Thank you to your nana and papa for their service. May your nana find her place in heaven. From Los Ángeles.

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    1. Hi Luis – thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. It occurred to me after writing this (I feel an edit coming on) that many of the people in my community consider themselves introverts which by definition is a a shy, reticent person. Is it possible we are that way because the people we are surrounded by don’t understand us? They don’t get what makes us tick? There would be no reason to search for it if all you ever felt was that you didn’t belong.
      At some point you just believe it and go inward. After this weekend I have an all new understanding of who I am because I found a group of people like me. We all have our differences in terms of where we are in our lives or our future plans, but at our core we are the same. Intentional, explorers of life and all that it has to offer. You are welcome to join our tribe any time you want! 🙂

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  4. I am so sorry to hear about your grandma. She seemed like a real badass and I think you learned a lot from her.

    On the other hand, I really glad you got to experience the magic of a Camp Mustache! Now you know why I’m addicted to going to these meetups. I’ll see you at FinCon! (or maybe before if you get the chance to swing by my casa?)

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    1. She was a badass!! And so are you. 🙂

      I so much want to come visit you before October. I thought for sure it would work this month but when she got sick I didn’t want to make any other plans. Plus, I am not coming until you unstick those windows if it is going to be hot outside!! 😉

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  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. Grandmas you’re close to are such rarities, and treasures, and are to be forever cherished. And Grandmas who served in the Marines during a terrible time for our country, doubly so.

    I love that this weekend gave you a chance to come out of yourself and those crushing categories that we start to feel over time. Shine as bright as you can – life is way too short not to!

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    1. Life is way too short! Even my Nana at 93 still had things she wanted to do…”see the faces in the rock (Mt Rushmore)” was one of them so I plan to take a trip there in her honor. But back to your point, not being who you are causes such a battle between your heart and your mind. We put aside our wants and needs for others even when it isn’t best for us. What is left then? Being unfulfilled doesn’t make you a hero. You can’t fight battles on empty. For me, this weekend was a wake up call to recharge. I hope others felt it too. 🙂

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  6. Sorry to hear about your Nana, losing a grandparent is pretty tough. It’s nice you were able to get to start being yourself and find yourself. It’s amazing what being around like minded people will do for you. Even being around non-like minded folks gives you a peek at what you don’t want to be, lol.

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    1. So true!! On the plane I have to smile but I’m always cringing inside when I see people being jerky. We all have our moments but surrounding yourself with your tribe helps to eliminate the crazy…unless you’re all crazy! 😜

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So sorry to hear about your Nana. 😦 She must have been amazing to have made such a connection with you, and even your short story about her military service was inspiring.

    Ali and I both, driving home, were like “[MissMazuma] is AWESOME!”

    (In fact, as writing I’m writing this comment, I just leaned over and told her “[MissMazuma] is coming to FinCon.” I’m going, and she and Annabelle are currently not, but she’s debating going. That alone may have tipped the scales from no to yes.)

    I’m glad we each got the chance to both get to know you a bit, and I’m glad we’re a part of the same tribe!

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    1. Hey Joe, Ali, and Annabelle! It was super to meet you all at CM. Joe, your wealth of information is astounding. Ali, your side hustle made for an entertaining weekend and some of my favorite moments of the trip. 😉

      I watched both of you throughout the weekend interact with Annabelle and there is no doubt you are amazing parents. She is very lucky to have you both!! Of course, she’s not so bad herself so you got lucky too. Her curiosity and chill vibe is everything one could hope for in a child…oh, and a good judge of character since she even let me hold her! Joe, glad I will get a chance to see you at FinCon and I hope the ladies join you. In the meantime, drive safe and have a blast!!

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  8. May you find peace with the loss of your grand mother, a Marine no less. I’m sure she would have appreciated the shout out to her intended Lt. Hoffman.

    A fan.

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. She was a real gem. Mike was a true war hero and one I will continue to think of even with her gone. Though his life was cut short, he died knowing that he had found the love of his life. Hopefully that helped him to rest in peace. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m very sorry to hear about Nana.

    I can picture you (though I don’t know what you look like, LOL, except that you have BIG hair) at Camp Mustache, not a care in the world. We all long for those moments when we feel our most genuine, and when we find them we hope we can repeat them again soon. Next time, though, maybe you’ll sneak in a cream cheese sandwich!

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    1. Haha – no more cream cheese sandwiches! I would totally blame that on my mother but for some reason it was all I would eat at the time…and you know they weren’t refrigerated! So gross.

      As for being carefree, the only other time besides camp that I have felt that at ease was on Grateful Dead tour! Them days are gone and finance conferences are the new Dead (another bumper sticker)…who would a thunk it??

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great article! Today seems to be a day to spill your guts! I did it too! So wonderful that you’ve found your tribe. I’m more like the awkward girl standing at the sidelines, waiting to get picked! Or maybe I just need to fuck that and lead. Yes. I like that better! I adore your writing and am so sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thanks LIB!! I too am the awkward girl but instead of staying on the sidelines I jump right in and often make an ass of myself. I talk too much when I am nervous and say inappropriate things then just laugh and move on. I guess that’s the trick, being able to laugh at yourself. I like to beat people to the punch on that one! 😉 Hopping over to read your post. Spilled guts posts are my favorites!!

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  11. Condolences to your family Miss Mazuma.

    I’m just surprised you can write the f word in the topic xD I’m not sure why but I thought WP would censor that…that doesn’t make any sense if I think it over again.

    I touched some of MMMs stuff and I was a bit scared off haha. My MMM was Financial Samurai. If he hosted a camp I would fly my butt over so support so fast so I understand what you mean. It’s like money royalty.

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    1. Yes, I wondered about that too when I posted it. Apparently WP and Twitter are more risque than we thought!

      MMM is a tough nut. I enjoy Petes writing but the forum is way too hardcore for me. As for Financial Samurai…love! The writing and topics are on point but I specifically love the posts that focus on real estate. RE is my first true love, afterall. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so sorry to hear about your Nana, it sounds like she has a lasting impact on your life (hugs). My grandparents always lived overseas and all passed when I was still fairly young so I didn’t have a chance to know them well…I love hearing about people who had such great relationships with theirs.
    Camp Mustache sounds like a blast though, I’m glad you had that experience and could let your proud flag fly 😉 Find a crew who gets you is so important!

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    1. Wow – I can’t imagine! Growing up I was very fortunate to still have 2 great grandmothers and 1 great grandfather as well as all the grandpas and grandmas. Longevity runs rampant in our family so I best prepare for a very long retirement!! 🙂 Thank you for the hugs!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for sharing the picture of your Nana on Twitter and so, so sorry for your loss. Camp Mustache sounds amazing! We are heading to FinCon and it will be the first time I’m going to a conference that isn’t related to my career and with colleagues. So looking forward to meeting more like-minded people!

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    1. Oh my goodness!! So excited to meet you at FinCon!! This is shaping up to be the best event of the year (excluding CM!) and I am so happy to be a part of it. Keep an eye out on the forum for the meet up Fritz and I are planning. Still waiting on the schedule to nail down a date/time. Can’t wait!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Penny! At the wake today my Dad had a slide show going with tons of pictures of Nana and the family over the years. It was nice to be able to see all the experiences she had and how many of those I was able to share with her. I was sad to have missed her last moments but seeing those pics put everything in perspective. She was an amazing woman and lived a full life. I can only hope to be able to do the same. 🙂

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  14. ChooseBetterLife

    So sorry for your loss of your Nana. She seems like an amazing woman and I would love to hear more about her as your wounds soften.
    On the bright side, I love your passion about your experience with CM. May everyone have the epiphanies and rebirth that you’ve experienced.
    I will be visiting Chicago in August, so if you have a meetup then, I’d love, love, love to meet up!

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    1. Thanks, Julie! I will definitely be sharing her stories in the future. She was such an amazing part of history and I would hate to see that die with her. 🙂 August sounds like a great time to meet up!! Let me know what dates you will be here and I will get something in the works.

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  15. Many hugs for the loss of your Nana. May the best parts of her live on long in you. I look forward to the stories that you will share of her when the time is right.

    I am an ugly shade of green about your Camp Mustache experience. I’m glad you had such a fabulous time though, and I look forward to being roomies at Fincon this October.

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    1. Thanks, Mrs BITA! Her legacy will definitely be shared. 🙂

      I can not tell you how EXCITED I am to room up with you! Looks like a lot of our blogging circle will be attending and I CAN NOT WAIT to meet everyone in person. October can’t come soon enough!

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  16. ” I don’t lurk on the forums, I don’t follow Pete’s words of wisdom to a T (I drive, rarely work out, and have an affinity for shitty non nourishing food), and I haven’t read every single blog post he has ever written (like several of the peeps I met this weekend),” – Such profanity! 😉

    It is great, isn’t it, being among people that understand you and you don’t have to hold back! We are up for another FIRE meet up too in a couple of weeks. Very much looking forward it!

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      1. Right?! I am not a good candidate to be Mustachian. Blasphemy! I love that you guys have a meet up in the works. If you ever plan a trip to the states let me know and we will plan a meet up around your visit. It would be awesome to meet you!! 🙂

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        1. Likewise! We do have family living in the states, so will visit at some point in the coming years for sure. Will make sure to let you (and a lot of other bloggers) now when that happens!

          Liked by 1 person

  17. Amy Blacklock

    Sorry to hear of the loss of your Nana. Would love to hear her life stories as she sounds amazing.

    Camp sounds awesome, glad you had a sweet time. Looking forward to meeting you at FinCon! Or perhaps before that in Chicago at a meet-up.

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    1. Hi Amy! Thank you for your sweet words. 🙂 I would love to see you at a meet up soon. I have you on the email list and now that the weather is better I am thinking we will be meeting once a month instead of every other. I’ll keep you posted and, yes, there is always FinCon!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. centsiblyrich

    I’m so sorry about your Nana, Ms. Mazuma! My thoughts are with you. She sounds like an incredible (strong) woman and someone who played a role in shaping who you are.

    Sounds like an incredible Camp Mustache! Can’t wait for FinCon! 🙂

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    1. For sure – I am so happy that I was able to spend so much time with her and especially in her last days. She was a trooper to the end. I hope I never have to endure the pain that she did but if I do I hope I can handle it with as much strength as she did. 🙂

      And YEAH for FinCon!! So many awesome friends will be joining us. Can’t wait!!

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  19. Gunther

    Sorry for the loss of your Nana. Sounds like she still wanted to enjoy life and do more things even at her age. Sad thing is that many of us had our feelings, needs and wants suppress at an early age plus way things are in the American workplace these days, we can become who we are and do the things we want to do only when we retired and then we are free of the office politics and toxic workplace created by our bosses.

    I understand you when it comes that we need to belong to some group. Glad you found one

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    1. “We become who we are” – so true!! I try very hard not to identify as my job but as the years have gone by I see so much of who I am on the plane is who I have become off the plane…thankfully that isn’t a bad thing in my case. 😉 As for the group, I am lucky, that’s for sure! I suppose, in theory, it isn’t so hard to stop being who you think you should be and start being who you are but sometimes it just takes some people longer to figure out who that is. When you surround yourself with the right people it definitely makes it easier. 🙂

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  20. When it comes to talking about things that I’m passionate about, personal finance, I feel like I am one of the most extroverted people I know. I could talk for hours on end without feeling drained. If anything I get more energy from talking and I’m sure it drives my wife nuts when I come up energized after a speaking engagement at night. I’m sure she’s thinking let’s talk about anything other than finance. So that’s awesome to hear that you didn’t have the urge for flee. Thanks for sharing and I definitely would love to attend one of those camps one day.

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    1. Totally agree. It doesn’t feel like work or being drained if you are passionate about the conversation. And, yes, I drive my BF nuts with finance talk which is why I write about it instead. 😉 I hope to see you at the next camp!! It is such a blast!!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Happy to read that you found your “Mazuma”! Life is short and painfully so if you have to spend it being someone else.

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your Nana.

    Thanks for taking us along on your journey, pee on the toilet seat and all.

    Besos Sarah.

    Like

    1. Haha – please stop the pee insanity! Why can’t people clean up after themselves?? Sheesh!

      Yes, trying to be someone else is exhausting but trying to figure out who you are and where you belong is too. Some people search their whole lives. Others, like myself, are far more lucky. I am so grateful for this community and all that it has to offer! 🙂

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  22. My aunt passed away this last week as well. We weren’t best friends or anything, but there’s something about someone leaving this world that really makes you rethink life and how you’ve been living it. Good for you for living your own life and being you!
    Camp mustache sounds like it was a lot of fun! I never even heard of that or FinCon until a couple of weeks ago, but you make it sound like a lot of fun and I hope I can go next year! Have fun at your meetup!

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    1. I’m sorry to hear about your Aunt, Matt. There is something to be said for the saying “life is short”. It doesn’t matter if you are 50 or 93, there is always something else you wish you could accomplish.

      CM was amazing and I am hoping (since my experience at CM can’t be repeated) FinCon will be another form of amazing. From what I hear, it will be! I’ll be sure to report back bit I hope if you make it to one of these events you find me and introduce yourself!! 🙂

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  23. Hey, Miss. M. Sorry to hear about nana. It sounds like she led a long, wonderful, and authentic life. I lost my nana a couple of years ago, so I know all about the “bittersweet” feelings you have. There is one consolation, though. Nana’s badass genes are still going strong in you. Thanks for telling us a little bit about her. And thanks for telling us about your cultish weekend. I love Mustacheies.

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    1. Awww – thanks, Mr Groovy! You’re right, I will make sure to continue her bad ass legacy in whatever way I can. 🙂 If you get a chance to sign up for next years event, please do!! I hope to be there as well!

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  24. I’m so sorry to hear about Nana, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I love how you have found your “tribe” of like minded individuals in the F.I. community, I feel like I have found an awesome niche here as well. Life is too short to not be who you really are and embracing what you love. I think it’s great that the F.I. community is growing and having meetups with one another, it really encourages the Mustachian lifestyle. Thank you for this wonderful post as usual 🙂

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    1. Zach, you know I am one of your biggest fans so you know you are very much a part of my tribe whether you like it or not! 😉 If only you lived closer to Chicago to be part of our meetups! I hope to meet you soon but, until then, keep on writing like you are. I look forward to your posts and all that you add to the conversation.

      Like

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