Would You Be Happier If You Gave It All Up?
Have you ever considered giving it all up and living a simpler life? I bet you have, as it seems to be a thought which flits across everyone’s mind at least once in their life.
Whether you can imagine yourself living off the land, living like an itinerant hippy, staying in a Tibetan monastery or something else, there is an incredible pull to the idea of giving it all up. However, would it make you happier? The following are some of the issues to bear in mind from my own experience on the subject.
The Financial Freedom
I guess that there are two ways of achieving financial freedom in your life. The first one is to invest wisely to eventually have enough money to not have to worry about paying bills and stuff. The second one is to, well, not own anything at all. The first approach is far better as far as I am concerned but I have also briefly experienced the second one. I gave up everything for a year to travel the world and for that time I owned little more than the rather pathetic contents of my backpack. It was an intoxicating feeling for a while and I genuinely thought that I was about to start a new life as a slightly smelly wandering hippy. However, after a while I realised that I missed having a car, a house, a bar of soap and some of the other things which I had so gladly given up not long before. They say that you don’t know what you have until you no longer have it and that is exactly what happened to me. Financial freedom is a wonderful thing to have but for it to work it has to be on terms you are happy with.
The Lack of a Routine
I hated the routine in my job. I had worked for about 10 years or more before I gave it all up and I hadn’t even taken any long breaks in that time. The day I handed in my notice I was terrified but overjoyed at the same time. If you have ever gone from having a job with a set routine to not having one then you will realise that it is a life altering experience. When you don’t have a routine the days and weeks just drift by so slowly. The time I wasn’t working felt about 5 times longer than it really was and those were the best days of my life so far. Having said that, the lack of a routine without proper financial freedom just doesn’t work. I didn’t have an income so when I wanted to get a house and car and other possessions I needed to start living a more conventional life again. Of course, what you plan to give it all up for will dictate whether you live with a routine or not. I guess that Buddhist monks in isolated monasteries have fixed routines to some degree while hippies who sell necklaces on Goa beach don’t have them so much. Will your life plans fit in with your desire to have a routine or not?
The Idea Of Living Life on Your Terms
Having thought about it a bit more I reckon that the key is in finding a way of living life on your terms. I almost did this but not quite. I think that if I do the same in the future but in a better financial situation then maybe I will be able to say that I will be completely happy by giving it all up. Perhaps the key point in all of this is that you need to be sure of what you are doing and your reasons for doing it before you give it all up. Even then, you won’t be sure of being happy until you give it a try.
Do you plan to give it all up to seek happiness at some point or have you done so already?