I haven’t written anything for ages, partly because I haven’t had anything to say (lockdown be pretty boring innit?), but also because I’d become strangely concerned with what people thought about what I was writing ✍️
The reality is it happens to me on a semi regular basis and is typically fuelled by my relationship with instagram, that cruel cruel mistress Instagram...
Anyway, after giving my head a wobble and a decent detox from that picture sharing dopamine dispenser I’m back, and, well, I’m really fucking excited, and when I say really excited, I really do mean very excited indeed, folks.
I quit my job 3.5 weeks ago 2 days from now I’ll be a funemployed citizen of the world, living in a Lisbon loft with no plans other than to uninstall Zoom and learn how to live slowly!
The stresses and strains of a career cantered around maintaining an unnecessarily lavish lifestyle, whilst obviously relative, shouldn’t be underestimated 😂
If it wasn’t for a penny-drop moment about 4 years ago, I could still be on that collision course with a mental breakdown, but, luckily, a temporary moment of clarity on a beach in Thailand changed everything ✌️ (Chang can do that for you)
10 days into a 14 day trip I was finally felt free of work pressure and able to exist, in that moment, and shit the bed, did it feel good!?
The pressures of corporate life (so called 'big ticket' software sales in my world) might not be life & death, but they sure do feel like it a lot of the time! Think constant and unrelenting pressure, ungodly hours, internal politics worthy of a House of Cards episode - all held in place by a bizarre sense of loyalty to a board of directors that you a. never see and b. would put you out with the trash like Fred Flintstone’s cat, faster than you can say ‘cut throat crooks’, and you’re in the right ballpark...
So, you can imagine my relief when I finally realised that the happiest I’d been in 15 years was on a beach, in a cheap pair of shorts, no shoes - just looking out to sea
No electronics, no expensive clothes, designer shoes, crazy trainers or big TVs. No over-priced kitchen equipment, no German car and certainly no $1m targets to hit...
It got me asking some huge questions...
Since I was at school I’d always felt the need to prove people wrong. Believe it or not, class divisions are evident as early as middle school (what, I’m from Dorset ok? I've got a lot of love for the middle/upper school system). I didn’t look or sound like the other people in top set English and Maths (don’t get me wrong, I never went without, but let’s just say I was drinking the Budgen’s apple and black-current when the others were sipping that sweet sweet Ribena 😂) so I had to make sure people knew I had at least half a brain, and that’s sort of carried on. What started off as wanting to comfortably afford the nice things everyone else in my world had, morphed into an insatiable addiction to buying bigger and ‘better’ stuff month after month, year after year.
Problem is, to buy that bigger stuff, you need better paid jobs, and better paid jobs come with amplified pressure, and once you’re on that merry-go-round, you.are.on - and you’d better buckle up because you ain’t ever getting off... Or are you?
You see the thing is, we’re programmed to think that buying stuff is a magical & direct route to happiness, but no matter how many TVs you buy, each one bigger than the last, the buzz is always so short lived! 3 days of rapidly waning excitement leads to subconsciously reconciling that particular 'failed attempt' by telling yourself that 'the next one is the one that will make us truly happy' like Sam Betckett desperately trying to get home (niche, I know, but I was a big Quantum Leap fan - look it up kids), and so the charade perpetuates.
Of course there is another reason I loved buying stuff too... it went something like this - if I’m going to do this job that I don’t really like, you’d better believe I’m gonna buy expensive stuff, or else what’s the point in getting up every day and pretending to like it?
How mad is that for a vicious cycle? Getting up every day to do a job I hate, to buy stuff I don’t need, to subconsciously impress people I don’t even know anymore? What a schmuck
So on the plane back from that Thailand trip, I made the decision to start simplifying my life - clothes, trainers, shoes, electronics, art, cars and houses could all be rationalised (btw - it's not lost on me how privileged that sounds.. 'art' haha, fuck off mate)...and... 2 house moves and 90% less stuff later - here I am! With my outgoings finally down to zero, a few quid in the bank and ready to see some of the world 🌎
Btw - I’m an absolute chancer with no real discernible skills (trust me, I’ve tried to find them! the internal monologue goes like this - right im gonna need to become a digital nomad if I want to really travel... hmm....what skills do I have to offer? erm? errrrr? nope, I'll come back to that later), but I’ve achieved the seemingly impossible. I broke the chain and realised that you can operate ‘outside of the system’.
The day I began to understand ‘that' purchasing cycle, I was free. I know how grandiose that sounds, but it's fucking massive when you think about it. We’ve gone from £90k of debt (including the cars and all the finance we’d taken out) because that's sadly the societal norm, to having enough savings to sustain ourselves for a few years, while we very slowly see a bit of world.
Please don’t get me wrong, we’ve also wasted fortunes on stuff we don’t need over the years, but that’s another story, and it's all a process, so, for now, I feel completely blessed that we worked it out earlyish, and are in the position to do something about it (no kids basically 😊) by slowly upicking each part of the intricate, and precarious, financial-web we pretty much all build up over the years.
Anyways, that went a little off track but, as I said at the top, in 2 days there will be no more Zooming and im out of control excited.
Thank you for reading my nonsense