Resignation or resistance? Passiveness or proactivity? Unconscious or mindful? These are active decisions and ones which I believe have a dramatic impact on our quality of life. The mind shift to being more in control of one’s destiny also requires an honest recognition of the situtation, relationship, circumstance or lifestyle we are living and then a resolution to change. Instead of complaining about your lot in life, do something about it.
One of the most liberating realizations you can come to is that you are not a victim of circumstance, but rather a product of your decisions. There are the small decisions that aggregate over time, and bigger changes that shift the paradigm.
“We are not imprisoned by our circumstances, our setbacks, our history, our mistakes, or even staggering defeats along the way. We are freed by our choices”Jim Collins
I’ve written in detail about some of the positive actions and choices I’ve made in recent months about my finances and the pursuit of financial independence, trying to live with less and implementing changes to lighten my ecological footprint.
Another area I’m looking to proactively address is work.
My typical week involves approximately 50-60 hours in the office. Occassionally I’ll also need to work weekends. It’s a comfortable but often demanding corporate job. Time spent at work doesn’t end in the office as I’m constantly responding to email or Slack messages. It’s hard to disengage and I rarely leave work at work. While sometimes interesting, I no longer have a passion for the job or profession. I’m paid well but want something more.
So what am I going to do about it? There are two clear choices
- Continue down my current career trajectory and complain, live with the constant low level stress and dream about what life will be like when I eventually reach financial independence or retire.
- Alternatively, trade my time and energy for something different, more fulfiling, in line with my values and sustainable.
I’m choosing option (2), “life” over my corporate job. Rather than being resigned to more decades of soulless work, I’ve decided to explore the unknown, the possible, the more risky, but hopefully rewarding, path.
I recently informed my manager that I’ll be leaving work in June 2020. Why the long notice period? The timing works for my family circumstances, it allows an extended transition/handover period at work and frankly it gives me a bit more time to put away some money.
So come July onwards next year I don’t have a job to go to, no steady pay-check coming in to pay the bills and no corporate subsidised health care.
What I will have are endless possibilities and boundless opportunities. A beginning of a new life stage driven by conscious decisions rather than simply going through the motions. I’ll have time and space to pursue what’s important.
Needless to say I’m nervous about the future, and the unknown always comes with a degree of fear and anxiety. But what is the worst that can happen? Stoic philophers, like Senaca, noted that we often suffer more from our imagination than from reality. They advocated “negative visualisation” as a way to consider, accept/mitigate and cope bad future scenarios. Perhaps I don’t find new ways to generate income, perhaps I’m unemployed for a while, perhaps I ultimately need to return to a job in my current industy? Most of the things that can go wrong often don’t materialise or eventuate, but often stop us taking action towards our dreams and goals before they even have a chance to fail or succeed. I can accept the imagined worst case scenarios in exchange for the possibility of a fulfilling future.
It’s often noted that it’s more important that your trajectory is heading in the right direction, even if short term results aren’t always positive. The change next year will be undoubtedly hard but I’m growing more and more confident that we are establishing the habits and systems to be succesful. My pursuit of FILLS is empowering and enabling. The simple but powerful principles underlying Financial Independence and minimalism mean I’m conscious about our spending and consumption habits. I’m more content with less, therefore need less and want less. Things and stuff just don’t matter as much. This gives us the foundation for this change and a buffer to handle the possible, but not guaranteed, financial downside.
This decision point is still eight months away, so there will be plenty of time for internal excuses to build as we move closer to that date. I’m hoping making these plans public on my blog helps reinforce this decision for a change that I know is the right one.
I’m excited and hopeful about the future ahead. Life is finite so I plan on making the most of it and living the life I want to lead.
Thanks for reading
Mr Simple Life