14 Oct Take back your life while you still can
I have on previous occasions tried to go into this with a soft touch so as not to offend anyone or come across as preaching / holier than thou. But I have since come to a few realizations.
A. I don’t really care if someone wants to misconstrue my statements, it is generally a sign of ignorance and the message means too much to me to apologize for it.
B. When you whisper nobody can hear you.
So here goes…
STOP WASTING YOUR GODDAMN LIFE!
Of course the things I am about to say do not apply to everyone because different people want different things out of life, however I believe that what I am about to say applies to about 90% of the worlds population, with about 70% having the option to do something about it (I made those stats up but I am pretty sure they would hold up under scrutiny, minus a few percent here and there).
You have the option to change your life for the better, you have the option not to spend five or more days a week, eight or more hours a day doing something which does not make you happy, which does not fulfill you and which does nothing but allow you to exist until you exist no more.
It frustrates me sometimes when I see how rushed or stressed people are, when I see them spending day after day and year after year doing the same things with slight variations and never actually getting out from under the modern day enslavement that is work and debt.
It frustrates me when I know that with just a few years of sacrifice, you could take back the thirty or forty years usually lost attempting to ensure your final decade on this planet is relatively comfortable.
It frustrates me when I see mothers and fathers who don’t have enough time to enjoy being with their kids and/or friends because they are too busy striving for imaginary goals, goals which have no possible outcome other than dissatisfaction and the desire to reach for the next level of imaginary goals, hoping that achieving those might provide a longer feeling of satiation than the achievement of all those that came before. Your kids don’t need things, not if you can give them your time.
It saddens me when I see people floating through life, always questioning what they want, too unsure to just go out and get it, not realizing that if they don’t, one day it will be too late. There is always an excuse which seems to make sense at the time. Yet all it would take is making the decision and going for it with everything they have, for just three years.
You have around eighty years of this life, the first eighteen or so are not really your own, the next ten or so are spent finding who you are. That leaves about fifty years for you to truly live the life you want. Year by year as we procrastinate and fall into unhealthy patterns of spending and working, working and spending, that number dwindles.
There is always a reason and always an excuse not to make a change. There is an innate belief that “this is just the way it is”, and that really the most you can hope for is to make more money so that you can buy more things and retire with enough to survive those last ten or so years until you die.
WHAT, that is an insane way to live! To spend around seventy percent of your waking life working, for what purpose? What is the goal at the end of the road? Retirement? What about all the opportunities life has in between? It perplexes and disturbs me that so many people blind themselves to the opportunities life presents, and/or sabotage themselves from having those opportunities. I don’t know where this belief came from that we need to constantly be earning to be secure. Or that having a job, a mortgage and payments on things somehow means you are living your life and that you are somehow secure.
No job is secure, and it is only made less secure by the things you own, or more accurately by the things that own you. If you lost your job today, where would that leave you? And now that you have considered that, how secure do you feel? The truth is, you can always find another job, just maybe not one which affords you the things you buy which don’t really give you that feeling of contentment you hoped they would anyway.
Don’t you want to have more free time? How about ninety percent of your life actually belonging to you? Don’t you want to spend more time with your kids? With friends and relatives? Don’t you want to unburden yourself from all the stress that comes from a job which does not fulfill you and the stolen moments in between feeling all too brief?
The answer is simple, it is so easy to make the change from following a mostly un-fulfilling life to a life which is actually lived for you, for a life which truly mirrors the things you might want back from it. Before I declare the ultimate answer to everyone who might read this. Understand that I know some people are truly happy with the lifestyle they live, but I also know that there are a lot more people who are not, and a few who try desperately to make themselves believe that they are.
The answer is not magical, it does not require one path to reach its end, but it is also something which is available to almost anyone. The answer is short term sacrifice.
I am not talking about any major sacrifice here, I am actually talking about the lesser sacrifice of a shorter time than the one you are currently making.
How much sacrifice? Well as a fairly un-standardized conclusion, I would say about three years. I base that number off my own experience and also to give people an extra year to get into the swing of things.
So are you willing to sacrifice three years of your life in order to gain almost every single day you have left after that? Let me put it another way…
Why the hell would you not sacrifice three years of your life instead of fifty? Or fourty, or thirty, or ten?! Why when you have the option to live the way you want would you not give up just three years of the excesses in your life, which if you have hung in this long with this post, very likely do not satisfy you anyway?
I base this three years on my own experience. For me it took two years, but I got a little bit lucky. I managed to find a second and third job on top of my already hectic first job, which took my yearly income from about $40 000 after tax up to about $75 000 after tax. And I did that for two years. I also took my spending down to a minimum. Going out, buying toys, and just spending in general all went down. We still ate out and I still managed to buy some toys (like a $4000 computer), but because I was frugal in almost every other way we managed to save most of our money.
During this time I also learned a few skills which would mean I could net a small income online. I learned web design and started this blog, both of which bring in less in a month than most of the people reading this would earn in a week. Yet it is enough, and I feel richer than I ever have in my life. You don’t have to do web design, but I am sure if you looked around there are a number of things you could teach yourself in the next three years to make a small income online.
My car in Perth cost $4000, so no payments. I don’t drink which saved me a shitload of money, and I was a bit of a tight ass. But because of that I now live how I want to live and work less than people without jobs.
I also looked into how to make the money we had saved work for us, and found some high interest accounts which now pay for more than half our expenses each month. Oh and add to that I now live in the Caribbean where my rent and monthly costs are about half those of most Western countries, and in case you missed that, I live in the Caribbean! I also need less now, fewer things, less possessions, less space, because I am not seeking my happiness in those things, and I am happier than I ever was.
Three years of your life will mean that you can give up your job. Even if it is not that bad, is it really what you want to be doing for the rest of your life? Three years will mean that you can live in one or dozens of countries around the world, cheaply and hardly having to work at all. Three years means you can have back the rest of your life to live the way you want. Three years will add another thirty plus years of freedom to what awaits you otherwise.
You may be thinking that you don’t want to travel, that you have friends or family, that you want to live in a culture that you understand and that understands you. But is that lifestyle really making you happy? How often do you actually see those friends and family? When you see them how much time do you actually have with them and how much of that time is spent talking about how busy you are and how little time you have? Besides, nearly everywhere has somewhere cheap to live close by if that is your concern.
If you are in Australia you could live in Thailand, a $150 flight away from friends and family, and where would they rather visit you do you think?
If you live anywhere you could live in Hawaii for $1500 a month! Because who cares how far away from home you are!
The point is that you have to really ask yourself how legitimate your reasons for not changing your lifestyle really are and where they come from. Is it really as hard or as scary as you tell yourself in the back of your mind? Have you ever truly considered changing your life as a viable option? Or is something stopping you from even considering it as a serious possibility?
Three years of your life to get back decades. Three years of your life to find real happiness. Three years of your life to walk out of the office, out of the shop, away from your desk, and enjoy this amazing existence in all its glory, every day. And if one day it no longer makes you happy then the marvelous thing about it is you can always go back to your desk.
But I have a feeling that won’t happen…
If any of what I have said makes you angry or makes you feel the need to defend your lifestyle, perhaps you should ask yourself why? Please, stop throwing your life away and go out and live. The world is a pretty amazing place when you have the time to appreciate it. Peace…
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