It’s been a few days since I’ve written because I’ve been contemplating the various topics that I wanted to discuss and nothing really jumped out at me. Over the past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about moving and traveling and I feel like that is something I need to discuss here.
I was raised by parents who essentially were born and raised in the same place (my father moved a few hours south for college, but came back after graduating and losing his retail job he had there). My parents are the type of people who have always held a job, no matter how much they hated it, and they have always been hell-bent on security. Being raised by them, I admired their work ethic and became very much the same way. I’ve always held a job, and always keep my debts as my priority. As I’m getting older and seeing the ways other people live, I am finding out how much people like my parents are missing out.
I’m not saying to ignore your debts by any means. I think it is important that we all not only stay on top of our finances, but also learn to live within our means. I used to think that I would be a lot happier if I won the lottery, moved to a beach house, and never had to think about working another day in my life. I’m finding myself disagreeing with this proposal more and more each day. In theory, a massive beach house would be great. In practical terms I have to think about cleaning it, furnishing it, and what I’m going to do with all of that extra space I don’t need. Sure, I could adopt a lot more pets having a place like that, but there is a lot of upkeep that would keep me from things I really want in life. Also, I want to work, even if it is just a little bit. Sure it would be nice to have enough money that if I wanted to take a trip or something I could, but really I don’t want to have too much. When you have too much extra money, you start attracting a lot of shady characters that will use you to get your money. You also have taxes and other things you have to deal with when a lot of money comes your way. Not to mention all the temptations for things that you could otherwise easily stay away from.
I know a few people who have moved to relatively far-away places and at the time I remember kind of laughing at them because I thought it was silly and irresponsible to move somewhere without having a real solid plan to stay there. Sure, these people got jobs and places to live, but they really didn’t know how long things would work out, or what would happen if their roommate moved out and they couldn’t afford it, ect. I was pretty much taking my mom’s view on this. How could you move somewhere with such uncertainty?! It blew my mind. The more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I agree with my friends. Why not take a chance? Why not broaden your horizons when you are able?
Now I don’t recommend doing this when you are in debt further than the eyes can see, or if you have people like small children that depend on you, but do what you can to stabilize yourself to a point and then go! So what if you only get to live in Hawaii for a few months? You got to live in Hawaii! So what if you move back to your hometown after your husband graduates law school in Florida? You got to spend a few years in the sunshine! We as a society are so focused on working for material means that we forget to focus on our own wellbeing and needs. It is amazing to get out there and get a new perspective on life. If you have a chance to do that, you shouldn’t let trivial things hold you back.
The truth is, I am way too bogged down with bills right now to do any of this. I wish I would have had the thought process I have now when I was younger instead of trying to please my family. I am working hard on getting my debts paid down and not spending money on frivolous unnecessary things so I can start building toward a freer future. The reason my friends were able to do these things is because they weren’t tied down to student loan debt, car payments, and other completely unnecessary weight. I’m working on getting my situation to a point where I can be more free to go as I please. The older I get the more I realize that I don’t want a job for prestige or excessive amounts of money, I want something fulfilling that also gives me a means to live. I don’t want a huge house, I want a roof over my head and a yard to grow my own food. I don’t want a lot of things, I want a lot of experiences. I want to enjoy my life to the fullest, not keep trying to get more, more, more.
Happiness has changed for me. It is no longer a goal or something to be attained, it is something I work on every day. It is a process and most of it comes by giving myself a chance to see the world differently. Whether it is moving, traveling, taking a class, learning a new skill, reading a book, or doing art, you have a chance to take a whole different perspective. Everything is changing, everything is new, nothing is what it “used to be.” Find joy in that fact. Find joy in the fact that you can experience things just as they are right now. You won’t be able to do that any other time. If you can do it, do it now.