If you could design a life from scratch, with a job, neighborhood, family and friends of your dreams, what would it look like? So why are you living the life you do now?
I have been reading a lot lately about minimalism. I have been reading blogs like Everett Bogue’s Far Beyond the Stars and Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist. These blogs, and others, have really spoken to me. I don’t want to live with under 75 possessions like Everett, and I don’t want to travel constantly like Chris Guillebeau, but I do want to live a more deliberate life and a life with fewer things. I want to live a life of quality.
This is a unique time in history. For many years, the goal was to do better in life than your parents, to have a better career, more money and more things. This was, largely, achievable. Better educational opportunities and career paths made it possible to work hard and wind up with a more comfortable life, free of some of the daily drudgeries that your parents had to do. But now that has changed. For many people, myself included, a normal career trajectory would not make me any richer than my parents, and could very well make me poorer. I am lucky to be in a position where I can, if I choose, make quite a bit of money. But the sacrifice that comes with that decision is bigger than the gain. The money that I would make in the next forty years would be at the expense of my family, my health, my passions, and my soul. That’s not a good deal. And this got me thinking, what is the benefit of wealth anyway?
I know, what a first-world question to ask. But really, what is the benefit of wealth except security? Do we really try to make more and more and more money just to buy new toys, or because we are so afraid of what will happen if we don’t? And does wealth guarantee security? No. It certainly makes it more likely that you won’t go without a place to sleep, but this recession has taught us that wealth can evaporate overnight, and jobs can disappear in the blink of an eye. The deal that we were sold on is rotten.
So I’m out. Well, not out quite yet, but as of today (actually, technically, more like as of two weeks ago) I am actively working to create a freer life. This isn’t an overnight change. I have a lot of debt (from school and a business) and I want to do this in the most intelligent way possible. So this is a 1.5 year plan. In that time I will minimize my possessions, reduce my spending, save the money that I make at DJF (day job firm), and create a location-independent income stream. I will update here as I move along with this plan, mentioning the highlights, pitfalls, and the things that I learn in this process. It will be an adventure, and I hope that you will join me.