We are brought to this world for the will of two people, at least for the vast majority of the cases. For a good chunk of your life existence on the planet, you have absolutely no practical control of your life. What you eat, what you learn, and what examples are in front of you every day, will shape your immediate future and for that, you have no control. Sure enough, some of us strike a better deal than others but the rule still applies.
As you go full steam in your teen years you start developing this strong desire of wanting more freedom. Of wanting to think for yourself because even if you can't explain it, you feel that what you have is not what you would have chosen if it had been up to you. Often, in moments of harsh confrontation, even your own parents don't fit your bill.
Then you find your pace, go through school, and at some point, you land your eyes on another person that makes you feel special, excited, and a little naive. That's when you intentionally decide to restrict your immediate future again. It's a choice this time, for both parties. Or it so it appears to be. Or maybe you have just been following the example you had growing up. Either way, you rebel against all and start plowing your way through life.
It's going to be a blast of ups and down until stability is reached again. And just when you both are costing life, you both make a decision for the next life to bring to the planet. Very soon, after the roller cost of emotions has passed and the middle of the night cries become a routine, you realize that you have restricted your own choices of life by another limitation to your freedom.
It doesn't feel like that and indeed you did the right thing otherwise this planet would be empty. But you have been following all those examples of living based on what you have seen around you. Occasionally you both lament the freedom of when you were younger, ability to travel everywhere, even if you never actually blasted through that either.
Now the family is bigger, more money is needed to make things sail smooth for all members. More time sinks into every single aspect of this new setup. You work harder now and seek more challenges to accrue more wealth. You keep trying new things to find more time. To dedicate to your spouse, to the children, and leave yourself behind because the 24/7 plow through you had been doing for years seems not working anymore. You can't have what you were dreaming when younger but now you have so much more. A family. Many have done it and so you figure it out.
And just when you found a balance, you buy a home. Freedom now is all proportional to pay debts, save for college, and then retirement. In that order. Want to guess if that order of priorities is going to impact your options for the last items on the list, in the future? Don't, it's a slam dunk against reality.
Every now and then you keep thinking and dreaming of when will be finally your selfish moment of making choices that are not driven by the work, the family, and all other constraints YOU built for yourself. And suddenly smithy seeking a culprit.
At this point, you have accrued so much stuff that all you can think of: make more space to store this stuff. You are now in the older age ballpark. That space in time where whatever you start doing differently from your past, people around you have an opinion about it and feel the need to make it clear to you. Middle age crises often start in this time frame because you have dealt with the ambiguity of what's next while thinking optimistically about a different future in the contingency of dealing with the present.
This is the time when "that's it" and "I am going to make changes" moments happen and if you can pursue with conviction real changes occurs and the actual future you deserve is at abreast.
For me, it was about 2 years ago, in my 48. I got the first warning at 45 but contrary to my nature of anticipating the moves of the opponent (time) I talked myself out and figured that I still have time to make changes. Procrastination is science-based and as a man of science, I ruled that application of the principle...
For my wife it became more obvious when I start reading about: how to reduce stress, how to eat better, find a healthy hobby, and many other DYI approaches to mitigate my feelings of "there gotta be a better way to grow older".
I start Zenifying my environment. I collected a ton of things I had accrued over time, post them online, and sold ALL of them for a reasonable and fair price. In the midst of COVID-19. That itself is a sign of the shapeable future. I sold everything and for every, advert, I had a link to a blog post where I was explaining why I was doing a major sale clean-up. That post as I write this article today reached the highest number of views of the lifetime of that very subject narrow specific type of blog.
I received over Facebook messenger from random strangers words of encouragement. Even if they were not buying the item of the moment they wanted to let me know that my article had stroked a cord in them too. That number of pings kept going up and that fueled by the already boiling and itching mentality of you have the same window of when you were much younger. If you want to make a change now is the time.
I had started realizing that at every stage I kept fooling myself that "I don't have a choice". At one point the reason was money, then it was family, then work and every time there was a concrete reason why other options were not viable. And the change wasn't feasible.
Well, they say that age brings wisdom. I think who said that had learned the lesson too late. Change is possible at any time, fear of making any change is the demon that prevents from taking the bull by the horns. We have way too many templates of living, from others that we trust or that grew up with. To really contemplate, seriously the idea of walking an unbeaten path.
So at the verge of my 50s, with older children, early retired wife, friends scattered all over the world, parents in the 70s I figured that: it's either now or get older just like anyone else parked on the shelves.
For the sake of the known, keep dreaming about the unknown. The traveling, the discoveries, and all the other impractical things you should able to do once you retire. With what money, health, and other unpredictable events are yet to come it will be a question that you will postpone as long as you don't have to face it.
By then your mind might be snappy but your bones will strongly disagree.
I did a list of what really matters and what were the things that growing up to this venerated age were aced right. I put all that together and tried to figure out how can I shape my next half a century of life where I can live on my own terms and with fewer constraints. You can't claim freedom, you have to shape it at your fitting. A fish born into a bowl will never know about the ocean and therefore will never miss it. But it will die faster if moved in a smaller tank.
It didn't take too long to realize that the only way to customize your future is not to do it alone. Quite the opposite, I felt the responsibility of sharing with others our journey and to infuse the strength of considering other options. There's more to life than live by a template.
Wherever I have been, I strived to build a micro-community of trusted people that supported and looked up to one another. Our home has hosted more getting-together of all the families that we know combined! It's a lot of work... and we never stopped still because it's worth it .
We have been so successful in steering unity and provide a place where to gather at all times and with ease. Our home has become the epicenter of happy events, moments in time not just for us but for many others. I developed with those people my own foundations for holding the ground during a tough time and build huge memories for joyful moments. And my wife regularly reminds me of the same. We are self-driven and autonomous but if help is needed our speed dial list is not empty.
With all this thinking going on and this hope to shape our next half a century of life, my wife and I set to put time and money where our mouth is and started working toward to dream of building the dream.
COVID has taught many that life is more precious than we actually understand. It has taught many companies that suddenly working remotely was already a reality before they were forced to acknowledge it, they were just in pure denial and blocking the change. It has highlighted that in some places where priorities are upside down in normal times, that we shop online, talk to friends via chats, and occasionally very few trusted ones are met over dinner and on rare occasions. For everything else there's work.
We believe that there's a better format of living that strikes a better compromise between what has to be done (make a living) versus following just what makes you happy. Anywhere.
We are emotionally and bio-rhythmically dependants on the sun, sea, and warm temperature. We just function astronomically better when those elements are in abundance and in our faces.
In moments you feel trapped, remember: Money is not your problem. Time is, and as a time nerd, I don't have time to explain to you that any further than this article. Make your choice or follow us along through the journey, we will be sharing it and hopefully inspire a change in your life too.
As we keep learning and applying our best to what we face, we will document our story and hopefully empower others, anywhere on the planet, to express their potential at the max.
Have a bLife.