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Learning to Play a New Game


Ever since we moved, I wanted to play pickleball, which is very popular in our community. Unfortunately, COVID and an exceptionally hot summer got in the way. But our weather is finally cooling off and since outdoor activity is thought to be less risky, I started playing. In case you’re not familiar with pickleball, it has elements of tennis, ping pong and racquetball. Pickleball rackets resemble ping pong paddles, the balls are hard perforated plastic and play occurs on a shrunken down tennis court. Rules, terminology, strategy and scoring are different. Plus there’s no singles play, only doubles.

Learning to Play Pickleball

I expected to be good from the get-go because I used to play racquetball and tennis. Ha – that delusion was quickly put to rest after just a few games. It hurts my pride a bit to admit that I’m a rank beginner. But I’m using that as motivation to improve. I’m fortunate to have our pickleball club and community to help. They provide a helpful framework – schedules by skill level, lessons and equipment. So I’m able to practice and develop at my own pace.

Learning to Pursue FIRE

Pursing FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Earlier as we say) is a lot like learning to play a new game. You have some experience but there’s a lot to learn and considerable room for improvement. Fortunately, just like learning to play pickleball, there’s a supportive community that provides a framework to talk about money, improve financial literacy and practices to achieve personal goals.

Learning to Play a New Game Is Rewarding

Whether it’s learning to play a new game or pursuing FIRE, we do it for the rewards. I play pickleball for exercise, satisfaction in improving, making new social connections (e.g. becoming part of the community) and having fun. Similarly, pursuing FIRE is about improving financial literacy, living life on your terms and preparing for the future.

When it comes to playing pickleball, sure it would have been great to have started playing earlier in my life. But hey, I’m happy to have the opportunity to play now. The same holds true for FIRE because it’s never too late to pursue financial independence.

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