Have you really stopped to think about your lifestyle? Have you stopped to consider whether you are living a lifestyle that you enjoy?
Too many of us get caught up in the hustle and bustle of what life is “supposed” to be:
- House bought with mortgage
- Two late model cars
- Lots of extracurricular activities for the kids (and all the driving that entails)
- Working at a “good” job with benefits
For some, this is a lifestyle that is desired. And that’s just fine. But it’s important to ask yourself whether or not you are living this lifestyle because those around you think you should, or whether you really like what you’re doing.
A Break with “Normal”
My husband and I really aren’t too far outside “normal.” We bought a house with a mortgage, and we do have two cars in our garage. However, we have made it a point to do what works for us. Neither of us has a traditional job. I work from home as a freelancer, earning a living on the Internet. My husband is an adjunct professor. He calls himself a “freelance teacher,” and he likes what he does because he only teaches the classes he wants to teach — no 101 level classes for him.
A number of people ask us when we’re going to stop messing around and get “real” jobs. We are puzzled by this attitude, since we enjoy our lifestyle. It’s flexible. My husband works three and a half days a week, and I can do my “job” from anywhere. We can largely choose our own vacation times, and we have the flexibility to go to lunch if we want, or to sleep in if we feel like it. Why would we get a “real” jobs — even if they pay more — when we are happy with our lifestyle?
Figure Out What You Want Your Life to Look Like
Instead of getting traditional jobs, and settling into the grind, my husband and I have figured out what we want our lives to look like. We want to be able to do the things we like, including travel, eating out, and (for my husband) collecting action figures. Our spending priorities reflect what we want our lifestyle to be, and we’re fairly content.
Technically, on our income, we “should” have a house that is twice as big as what we live in, but we’d rather be able to use our money for something other than a huge mortgage payment. Additionally, our son has relatively few extracurricular activities. We prefer to have quality time as a family; we don’t particularly care if he’s a super-achiever.
As long as you are living within your means, there’s nothing wrong with any lifestyle you choose to lead. However, there is something wrong if you are trying to fit into someone else’s view of what your life should look like. Sit down with your family, and figure out what’s important to you, and what things are just trappings that you feel you are “supposed” to have. Get rid of the trappings, and build the life you want.