One of the nice things about being unemployed is that I am untethered to a location. Yes this quarantine makes that difficult to believe, but as I consider my future, I realize I can be anywhere once travel returns to normal, and I can stay anywhere for a while if I just come up with the financial and practical plan. This kind of thinking puts employment back into focus. What is a job anyway? An exchange of time, skills, effort, and attention for money. What is the plan with that money? Most of us don’t think about that part – a plan for our money. I know I didn’t.
For most of my adult life, my sole focus was to find a job that would pay me better than my last job. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and I wasn’t sure what career would be best for me. So instead, I opted for the option that gave me more options. I didn’t want to narrow down my interests or specialize my skill set; as such, I have many abilities but I am not an expert. I was a professional paper chaser, I just wanted a salary that was better than my last salary.
“I opted for the option that gave me
I didn’t realize it then, but I was chained to my salary. Making a healthy six figures each year meant that the appeal of all my other options was blocked out by the healthy numbers on the biweekly paycheck I received. Other options didn’t seem attractive when compared on a dollars-per-hour earning potential. I wrote off so many life experiences because the return on effort and time didn’t match up to my previous job. I sold my time for this much money, and it’s difficult to remember that not every activity, decision, or experience pays dividends in the same way. There is more than one way to be rewarded.
This productive pause has given me time to reflect. How should I spend my money? I should spend my money on living a life that I like and would be proud of. Where do I want to live? What would I like to spend my time doing?
What if I could create a lifestyle I wanted to live, not eventually but now? What would that mean? What would that take?
I have always wanted to live abroad. I did once when I studied in Copenhagen, Denmark. I had no idea what I was doing and yet there I was – doing it.
I want to live my life more than a few PTO days at a time. I want a good life, with good goals and good fruits of my labor.
This is what that could look like:
7:00am – wake up and prepare a hot beverage, enjoy beverage and some light reading or a podcast
8:00am – transition, light exercise or a walk outside (ideally in nature, near water or trees)
9:00am – spend 3 hours on focused learning, whether reading or an online class or podcast
12:00pm – transition, prepare a meal aka exercise cooking skills!
1:00pm – break fast, savor the meal
1:30pm – clean up
2:00pm – light exercise or a walk outside, maybe connect with family or friends and catch up
3:00pm onward – read, socialize, listen to podcast or music, maybe if weather permitting, go exploring by foot… walk around and actually see the world we live in
6:00pm – prepare dinner
7:00pm – enjoy dinner
8:00pm – clean up, start turning down for the evening with a book or slow activity
9:30 – 10:00pm – sleep
If I lived near a beach (like I want to), hanging out at the beach with a good audio book will likely take up many, many of my days. Or if I could be part of a farm co-op with some chickens and goats, maybe some of my days will involve collecting eggs or tending to the animals. Maybe I can have a pet dog as a companion, and my walks will be accompanied by him or her. Maybe I’ll meet someone who has similar goals and values – actually, each of us most definitely will meet people at different parts of our life journey, and they will inevitably join us for some of the way.