In my career as a Systems Engineer I was used to a certain lifestyle. Luxury items became commonplace; I was never seen without a Michael Kors bag. The more money I made, the more money I spent. I spent hours grinding away at work, only to spend my hard earned cash for the latest designer “it” item. This cycle was repetitive, the more I spent the harder I had to work.
I had an amazing epiphany when I realized I had completely lost track of the most important commodity humanity has: time. We will never have the same minute again, and tomorrow isn’t promised. When my paradigm started to shift I realized what was really making me unhappy, the moments I missed spending with friends and family, the ability to travel whenever I wanted and the constant fugue state of exhaustion. Surrounded by my expensive things I was worn out mentally, physically and spiritually. I was never able to enjoy the present moment because I was always concerned with the future.
The real change began when it finally clicked for me; change my life and my priorities or wither away slowly wasting my precious time on a life I didn’t want to be living. To begin this metamorphous into following my dreams of travel writing I’ve had to drastically alter my lifestyle in order to make that happen. I do not have a fancy car anymore, I do not shop at Michael Kors, I’ve sold my baby mansion, paid off my debt, the list goes on. In comparing my life to what it was before pales in comparison to what it is I have now. My value system has radically changed, instead of Kors I shop at Kohls (on rare occasion). Instead of being caught up in maintaining a certain image, I am content with the small amount of possessions I do have (which are mostly books). In exchange for my six-figure salary, what do I have now? Now I have time. Copious, delicious and decadents amount of time. Time to do the things I want, spend quality, not rushed time with the people I love. Time to read that book about becoming a sommelier; time to walk slowly and deliberately. Time to connect with the universe, time enjoy just breathing.
I do not have the anxiety and dread of waking up everyday. I feel light and free, material items now do not dictate whom I work for and how I spend my time.
I’ve just had the opportunity to go to Oregon for a week and spend time with my family at the beach. I felt like I experienced the beach for very first time. Having the peace of mind to use all my senses, the smell of the salty spray, the perfect caress of the gentle breeze, the view of the azure waves gently rolling onto the beach, the soulful call of the gulls and it hit me- THIS was life. No designer bag could ever compare. The best things in life are free if we open up ourselves to experience them.
Obviously we do need money in order to eat and to travel, but by living minimally we could use the resources we have in a much more meaningful way. Instead of chasing the next raise, I am living in this very moment, full of gratitude.
“For each new morning with its light
Forrest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson