Have you ever thought about living differently? Like, way differently? How about traveling the world on a sailboat, or working on Mars?
Okay, the Mars thing might not be possible…yet. 🙂
The typical definition of the “American Dream” reads like this: Go to college, get a job, get promoted, get married, buy a house, have kids, another promotion, family vacations, a bigger house, nicer vacations, retire at 65…golf or Mahjong.
If that is what you want out of life, that’s great, go for it! But, life doesn’t necessarily need to follow that prescribed course.
I know, it’s not easy.
It’s sometimes hard to reject conventional wisdom and set your own course. After all, our society is built to support the continuation of the standard operating procedure. Magazines drive fashion trends. Newspapers plant ideas in our heads (both good and bad!) about the reality of the world. Commercials convince us we deserve the latest gadget or sports car.
This influence is all around us, and it consumes our society.
Here’s the kicker: We are all very different people. We like and experience different things. Each of us possesses innate abilities and offer very unique skill sets. We won’t all like the same thing. In other words, we’re different. As a result, there’s no way that conventional wisdom will work for all of us.
Here’s the good news
Every day, people decide to live very different lives than the majority. Some of us choose to quit high-paying and high-stress jobs to pursue a life of travel. Others go back to school to change careers. Many decide to live overseas to experience different cultures.
For example, this dude lives in his 52-square foot room and rents out the rest of his house to roommates to help with the mortgage.
Claudia and Garrett downsized from a 1,500 square foot house to a 500 square foot home (and crushed hundreds of thousands in debt, too).
Joe hiked 2,200 miles along the Appalachian Trail, giving him the confidence to transform his life and put into perspective what’s truly important.
Bill spent 10 years in prison. Today, he’s a free man and is determined to rebuild his life into one that focuses on what he lost for that decade of incarceration: freedom.
Did you hear about that 86-year-old woman who lives on a cruise ship? Now that’s a unique way to live your life.
Jason Fieber worked as a service advisor in the automotive industry for years before quitting his job to blog. He then sold everything from his life in Florida and moved to Thailand.
And, what about us?
In 2016, my wife and I decided to ignore conventional wisdom and stop living off of someone else’s script. We quit our jobs after becoming financially independent and now spend our lives traveling the country in our 30′ Airstream travel trailer. We wake up each and every day with purpose and the freedom to choose exactly how to spend our time.
While our lifestyle won’t work for everyone, it shows that change can happen. Human beings possess a remarkable ability to adapt. The key is to prevent that natural adaptation from sentencing us to a life of stress, or working a job we don’t enjoy, or surrounding ourselves with “friends” that bring us down simply because we’ve gotten used to it.
Most of us have a lot more control over our lives than we care to admit.
Figure out what is most important
I’ve written a ton about transforming your life from one that’s stressful and high-pressure to one that generates truckloads of happiness. The key to finding the happy place in your life is to understand what is most important to you.
It all starts with understanding that life is a mind game and figuring out your permanent paradise.
Your permanent paradise is that life you dream about. It’s achievable as much as it is a fantasy, and it’s that carrot dangling right in front of you. Whatever you imagine is your so-called “perfect life”, that’s your permanent paradise. And, here’s how to achieve it.
We’ve been going through this process too. Here are some of the things we have figured out.
- Money can (somewhat) buy happiness. Figure out how much money buys your happiness. It’s probably less than you think, it was for me!
- My goal is no longer to build a successful career. At one point in my life, that WAS the motivating factor behind my existence in life, but I’ve found it provided very little in the way of genuine happiness and fulfillment.
- I realized that although expensive sports cars are fun, they are also a money pit that do not contribute to my happiness.
- Also, kids are not in our future. I’ve never had the desire to raise children, and my wife and I are steadfastly remaining childless.
- I have found remarkable levels of happiness in taking a “don’t give two shits” attitude about many of the details of life. It keeps me free of stress and generally happy each and every day.
Want a little more of our story? The link below includes a detailed look at the “money shot” of what made us completely change our entire lives.
From a young age, I was off to a great start. This is my story, a look into my life as a very standardized American with first world “white people problems”, and how I managed to escape that wretched cycle of waste.
The next step is figuring out how to make changes in your life that are meaningful, measurable and result in a profound improvement in your happiness?
For me, it all started when I realized that I wanted way more out of life than to sit in an office all day collecting a paycheck. In essence, I had a retirement renaissance.
Are you ready to live differently? Get ready to learn …
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.