Over the past year, I’ve found myself rethinking a number of elements in my life. The first is what kind of house I want to live in. Be it slow, we’re in the process of putting the final touches on our downsized living space. We did this as the time to sell was right and we did fairly well in the sale.
The exchange made here is while I have less space, I also have far less mandatory expenses. For me and mine, this has proven to be the best decision we could have made. My wife and I have more control over how we use our money and that has been nothing short of fantastic.
But why stop there?
Less “modern” TV
One of the biggest shifts in entertainment has been me watching older TV programs almost exclusively. Then to test the waters again, I’ll go and watch something modern on one of the streaming services. Within a mere few minutes I get the same feeling I used to get watching cable/satellite — disgust and confusion as to why I ever bothered watching this stuff.
While older TV shows may not be as sophisticated as modern TV programming, I’d argue it’s better for our brains and our overall happiness. I have never watched a classic sitcom, action-based show or comedy and felt worse about the world at large. Based on this discovery, I find myself watching almost only older TV shows. 60s, 70s, 80s and in some instances a few shows from the 90s.
Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t watch new TV, rather, I am far more likely to binge-watch something older and maybe catch ONE episode of a newer TV show. I’ve found that oddly, my moods are far more upbeat and positive. And this gets me thinking…I can’t be the only one who feels this way?
Turns out, I’ve tapped into something interesting…
Unplug, detach, live your life
As a boy, my dad used to tell me work smart – not hard. Despite this, it took me years to fully understand this. See, we’re taught from an early age that working hard yields success and happiness. This is nonsense. Working smart means working hard for things that benefit you and your family.
Home improvement for example, is working smart. Work to acquire property, improve upon it to allow it to be more comfortable. Sell it when the time is right. It’s an asset that appreciates over time, even with the market fluctuating. Rich people know this. That why so many of them are into real estate in one sense or another.
Now obviously real estate isn’t always accessible for everyone to get into. But there are other ways to building up assets that don’t involve making some faceless corporation rich. When taking on a job, gig or other means of earning a living…make sure it benefits you first, everyone else second.
Take your career for example – are you working for your needs or to benefit someone else? I know a lot of people making far, far more money that I’ll ever see. Yet all of them rarely see their families and with the strike of a keyboard, that person loses their six figure income and is unemployed. These same folks are told that while they’re unemployed they should be “refining” their skills so when they land their next job, they’re more employable.
See, to me this is the wrong approach. Why look to be more employable when instead you can find ways to make life more enjoyable. If extending your skills makes life more enjoyable, awesome. But do so because it makes you smile. Not to appease some faceless overlord.
I’m a big believer in finding a means of earning a living that doesn’t means giving up on your life. For example, we have been working with a great plumber for some of our own projects recently. Yes, it’s physical work and it’s not easy. But he works smart. He is self-employed, only takes on the projects he wants and sets his own schedule. He’s also cheaper to hire than his corporate competition.
See where I’m going with this? Control over ones time is more important than salary, in my opinion. While it’s important to make enough to support ones family needs, you can still make due with less in the earnings department if you learn to live simply and make each dollar count.
Take time to smell the flowers, often
In addition to downsizing my life, rethinking how I enjoy my entertainment (TV), I have also made a real effort to take time out of each day to just enjoy being alive. Yes, this sounds really cheesy on the surface. But there is a lot of value in laying down on the grass and just watching the clouds. Let your mind wander. Never uttering a single word.
Perhaps going for walks is more your speed? It’s something I do with my dog, and getting your juices moving is really good for your health. Whatever the activity happens to be, embrace it and make time for it – consistently. Keeping up on healthy activities and remaining consistent is the key here.
One of the benefits to downsizing ones life means that instead of working extra hard to maintain space and “stuff” you don’t really need, you’re free to spend time doing things that make life more enjoyable. Think about it. And forget the “but I have a family” speech, I know people with families who are actively simplifying their lives for the better. Simplification is a choice and I’d argue it’s a healthy one.
So close that laptop, put down your smart phone and go give someone a hug. Make time to do what’s important to you and to make sure your friends and family know how much they mean to you.
Goals and next steps
My goals are actually pretty straight forward:
- Finish our tiny house and tiny office. Drywall goes up next, then paint, furniture.
- Spend as much quality time as possible with my family.
- Finish the 3rd season of the Rockford Files right after I am done re-watching one of my favorite super hero movies – Guardians of the Galaxy. There is a wonderful magic in its humor and ridiculousness. Has many of the best elements of Firefly. 🙂
What are your goals and next steps? Cutting expenses? Making more time for friends and family? Perhaps finishing that coding course you started? Give it some thought, apply it to your life.