I used to become attached to things. By things, I mean random possessions that I thought I needed. I had to give up money to own these things, or they could have been gifts I received. Either way, I used to put too much value on many of the things I own.
These days, I’m more focused on living the kind of life I want, rather than owning the next newest gadget. Sure, it’s cool to hook up that new big screen tv and be the first one on the block to have it, but at what expense?
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”
The average guy works a 40+ hour per week job, has a nice car, a good house, several of the latest electronic gadgets, eats out several times every week, and has a mountain of credit card debt. He has all of this while never making an effort to really do anything about it. How do I know? Because this guy used to be me.
I honestly can’t say I’m not all of those things anymore, but I’m definitely not coasting through life like I use to be. I have hated a lot of my past jobs and was too afraid to do anything about it. Until one day, I was fired. Technically I quit, but regardless, an unexpected life change was happening before my eyes.
At first, I was terrified. I did everything I could to get a new job. Then I slowly discovered… I didn’t want a new job. I wanted to work for myself. No… I HAD TO WORK FOR MYSELF! There was no way I could go back to another job where I knew I’d eventually be unhappy again.
It’s amazing that it’s been almost 7 months since that day. I never thought I’d go this long without a standard full-time job. I am grateful to have such a great group of family and friends who kept believing in me. As well as following amazing people online who are doing what I want to do… living life on their own terms. (Talk about inspiration!)
Anyways, I’m a different person these days. I do even more random things than I used to do, I sell my stuff to pay my bills if I need to, I am downsizing my monthly bills as much as I can all the time so I don’t have to rely on finding as many new website clients, I will be selling my house as soon as I can because I’d rather rent a small apartment than deal with all this useless space, and I’d rather do what I want when I want instead of clocking in and being told what to do.
Sure, many people say this kind of life isn’t for them. They might be right, but I have to argue that their current plan probably isn’t as safe as they tell themselves. Yes, you’ll likely be getting your regular paycheck every week or two as long as you’re a good employee and kiss enough ass. But everyone is replaceable. Sorry to kill your ego, but I 100% believe that. That’s why I have been working on side projects for as long as I can remember, although I never thought I’d ever get “fired” from a job and really become replaced.
What I’m getting at is, I’m probably living a life right now that isn’t what you want. That’s ok, I’m not doing it for you. I’m not ever saying you should do what I’m doing, especially if you’re happy in your current situation. But if you’re not, make a change. Make it now. “If you just keep coasting through life, you’re just trying to reach the end.”
Back to the possessions, I try not to put any value on any of my stuff if it doesn’t add value to my life. I have well over a hundred tshirts, I wear probably 20 or so a lot, and I probably have 50 that I’ll never wear again. A few years ago, I would have been sad to see some of them go, even if I sold them. These days, I’d be happy to see my list of possessions shrink even if I’m giving stuff away.
What I’m saying is, I strongly believe in minimalism. I define this as getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter to make room for everything that does matter.
On the other hand, take some of the things I own like my computer, my camera, and this iPhone. They help me do my work and make money or make my life easier. They provide value. I can justify these things and prove why I need them. There is no way I can make a valid excuse why I need 20-30 hats when I only wear 1-2 on occasions. Let’s not even mention my Randy Johnson baseball card collection!
In August of 2011, my friend and I made a 36 hour round trip to trade my old truck for a new one. There really was no reason for this, other than the fact that I thought this new truck would make me happier. I kept the new truck for almost a year. Just before my birthday this year, I traded that truck for an old hot rod station wagon. Why? I know I’ll be able to get more money for this than either of my old trucks. I’d rather sell things I don’t need to pay off debt to be able to live the life I want. Think about it, if I have a $10,000 vehicle just sitting in my garage while I’m paying several hundred dollars every month on credit card bills, I have to work that much harder. If I sell the car and pay off those credit cards, that’s less stress on my plate. And living on my own terms means more to me these days than having the most badass car on the block.
A couple things I’ve learned:
- There will always be someone out there with something nicer, better, or newer than what you have. It seriously makes no sense to keep up with the Jones’. You’ll likely never win that battle and no one really cares if you somehow manage to win.
- You’ll never be happy if all you do is exchange time for money. Working all those hours to buy all that shit to impress all those people who really don’t care means nothing. No amount of money will completely satisfy me. Time means so much more to me. This life is short and I’d rather look back on all my amazing memories than look back on my massive collection of worthless possessions.
I know this post was long and kind of went a few different directions. So I think I should pull it all together with a couple of quotes:
“Know your values and priorities, and build your life around them. If the most important things in your world are family, friends, and fun, you will likely never be happy working a 60-hour work week, no matter how much money you earn.”
“At the end of your life, what do you want… a bunch of stuff or a bunch of incredible stories?”
Thanks for reading my late night ramblings! On a side note, today marks the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A day in which this country changed forever. A day that proved just how fast your life can change. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who lost a loved one that day. Remember, life is short. You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly and stop procrastinating.