Today I want to talk about something that use to really bug me and that was a strong motivator in getting me to where I am…. that thing was ‘conformity’. My mother, who is an amazing woman, liked conformity; it made her feel safe, it allowed her parameters and guidelines—and she wanted the same thing for me. She used to be a straight A student primary school to university. It was important—studying hard, becoming a professional then working really, really hard were what she wanted most for me. Mum is a pharmacist and she wanted me to follow in her footsteps, and if I did really well then I, too, may one day have my own chemist shop where I would work 6 days a week till 8pm every night and where I would be respected and have a clear position in society.
Now that was all admirable except it didn’t make sense and I didn’t want it.
Social conformity dictates that we go to school, go to uni, get a job, work 9-5 until we get a promotion that allows us to work 8am -7pm for a 10% payrise. I don’t know at what point society decided we all should work for 5 out of 7 days each and every week dreaming of the 2 week holiday upstate that you get to have once a year. But it never washed with me, it didn’t add up and I genuinely think our society needs to stop and take a good, long look at itself because I just don’t think that’s right & it SHOWS.
We have one life and it’s very short. Do we really want to spend the majority of our best years working and saving for a retirement that might not even come? And if it does what enjoyment will we get at age 70? And why not enjoy it ALL ? I mean who is the misery gut thay said ‘ 80% of your life needs to be a dud – thats how it has to be’ ?? do you know who decided that? I don’t:)….If we are entirely honest with ourselves, no-one wants to work 5 or 6 days a week, 9 to 5 or more and it is that absolute honesty that gave birth to the concept of lifestyle design.
Now That’s a Concept, ‘Your lifestyle Design’…
Lifestyle design is a concept that discards the old theories on what you ‘SHOULD’ do in life, but talks about doing what you want to do. Living a life that puts a smile on your face every morning when you wake up. It’s you living a life that makes sense for you. It’s about working out a way to live your life in the way that you want to, working how you want to work, it allows you to see the parts of the world you want to see, meet awesome people and generally live your version of ‘an awesome’ life – and it’s really not hard!
When I was in school people would say ‘enjoy your school years, these are the best days in your life,” and I wondered why people thought that. I mean why would people’s school years be the best years ever? It filled me with dread as to what is to come. I didn’t understand why someone would see life like this… is it because at school:
You have lots of free time for yourself?
Is it because you have long school holidays?
You get a lot of time to socialise?
You don’t have a lot of things tying you down, or major stressful responsibility?
You have a whole future ahead of you full of endless possibilities?
You’re not jaded by a lifetime of long days, overbearing bosses and grey suits? 🙂
You constantly meet other people and your social life is active and carefree??
Hummm, I thought so it’s not ‘school’ that’s special, but the conditions of your life while you are at school that make it ‘the best time of your life’……
Even better, how about if we can rework our life so it really fits well with what makes us happy? What if we change our thinking pattern & our preconceptions, and our core opinions about what is expected of us as ‘grown-ups?’ What if we ask, “is it truly necessary to work over 80% of your life?” I say ‘no.’ Although I enjoy working, working flexibly is my thing… you see, everyone has certain things that would make them really happy, little things & big things…lifestyle design is incorporating these into your life.
I am not alone in thinking this, there are thousands of people that said ‘NO’ to the status quo and then went and designed a lifestyle that worked for THEM. The last 15 years that I have been living my dream, and the dream keeps evolving, as I grow and evolve. The main thing is to be true to yourself, at 29 I wanted to be a stay home ‘mumpreneur,’ that was everything to me to just be around my kids while I worked & earned. As they grew older it became about travel, and as you know I take the whole tribe on long trips around our beautiful world, in fact I am writing this from a tiny hamlet in Cinque Terra, Italy -in a villa built in 1670, its cool & very quiet on stone balcony with only the sound of the river running just 50 metres from the Villa. My kids are reading and just chilling…I’m telling you all of this not to brag about my lifestyle, because I am not anything special by any degree, but to let everyone know that anyone can live their own ‘ version of wonderful’ if they choose to. Anyone. No exceptions.
It takes brutal personal honesty, it takes confronting all the preconceived ideas that block you, it takes a dollop of faith and 2 dollops of courage… but nothing you or I can’t do!:)
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