Since having our fourth baby, we’ve been talking a lot about our plans for the future, what we want our life to look like, and how we can make that happen. Today my husband is back with another guest post about his thoughts on life, family, career, and reassessing what’s important. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!What type of life would you live if time and money were not a factor?
For most of us, money is the biggest roadblock for us to achieve what we perceive to be happiness. Money allows us to buy or obtain the material goods that make us happy. This is quickly followed by the amount of time we have in our day to pursue intrinsic goals; we always seem to have something else to concentrate on, to “finish first”, to distract us from what we’d prefer to be doing.
It’s a real shame. If only we could all have unlimited money and time to really be happy.
I should be honest at this point; whilst I have spent the majority of my life thinking I need money and time to be happy, I am now of the opinion that these are merely excuses to justify to ourselves why we haven’t accomplished our life goals.
All of this has led me to believe that humans are really another breed of sheep.
Think about it. Sheep will always follow the sheep in front of them, without fail. And those that break away from the flock are the “black sheep” for daring to question the status quo and will often get themselves into trouble.
I work in the live entertainment industry and have spent countless hours planning for and managing the crowd flow of large quantities of people. It’s well known that in order to get people to move where you need them to move, the most important thing is to have the very first person make the right choice as the rest will follow. When people line up for tickets at a concert or sporting event they seem to blindly line up behind the person in front before they’ve even looked at the signs telling them where to go. In an emergency situation, if one person were to stand up from their seat and evacuate, it’s expected that everyone else will do the same thing; even if the authorities are asking people to remain in their seats. Once they get going there is no stopping them, and that’s where situations like that can be incredibly dangerous.
When we are stuck in traffic, most of us will ignore the free lanes believing them to be reserved for some special purpose (buses for example), when in reality it’s because the person in front hasn’t utilized them so we believe them to have a good reason for doing so.
Most of us follow the crowd and we even convince ourselves that we were right to do so. Even worse, we convince ourselves that we are making our own decisions and that the people behind are following us; all the time ignoring the obvious fact that we are indeed following others.
How often do we hear quotes from organisations who are attempting to be innovative and cutting edge, telling people that the biggest risk in life is to always do things the way it’s always been done; and yet for some reason we all continue to experience life the way it’s always been done. Change is hard and scary, and yet liberating at the same time. We find it hard to question things because we’re afraid of what might come next and what people might think.
We are continually told that in order to be successful in life we need to go to school, go to university, get a good job, buy a house, get married and have kids, travel the world, and then grow old gracefully.
If I use this line of thinking then I must be on my way to the perfect life with no regrets because I went to school, went to university, have a good job, have a large family, and one day will buy a house and travel. It’s good to know that at the end of it all I will be able to look back and be happy with type of life I’ve lived.
Except that if I continue along this path I won’t be. I’m already having regrets; worse still I’m having regrets for how I’m living my life right now and have yet to make any active changes to rectify it.
“I don’t have the time or money”….which really translates to “blah blah excuse excuse”.
So I’ll be honest with you all…here are some of my current regrets:
I often find myself too consumed by work and think about it even when I’m at home.
I worry that I might not be able to afford a house and think I shouldn’t be renting.
I worry that I don’t have the relationships that I want with my family and friends.
I am worried by the contradiction between how I am raising my kids with how I am living mine; that is, I teach them to live life to the full and to question everything and yet I am following the unwritten herd-mindset I mentioned above.
I find myself stressing over small things and rushing through life.
I’m aware of the issues; I always have choices in front of me to provide me with change; and yet to take the path of change would mean I would be walking into the unknown.
I read an article recently that analyzed the most reported regrets of those that were terminally ill.
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to me, not the life others expected of me
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
I didn’t make time for my family
I wish I had the courage to express my feelings and I should have said I love you a lot more
I wish I had spent more time with family and friends, and cultivated those relationships
I wish that I had let myself be happier
I should have taken the high road and been the bigger person
I never pursued my dreams and aspirations
I wish I had children
These results were not surprising to me; in fact they wouldn’t be surprising to anyone and therein lies the baffling question – if we know that these are common regrets, why do a good proportion of us seem to follow the same path to the end knowing what’s coming? Do we forget along the way that time will trickle away until it’s too late, or are we too caught up in the daily grind to care?
I think I am guilty of 7 or 8 of the above regrets. I’ve really only managed to put a big tick next to “Children”.
I am the proud father of these amazing girls whom are enjoying the many privileges of an unschooled education. The decision to educate our kids in this fashion required a philosophical change in our understanding of education, and the importance of childhood and living through life. But it’s a lie – I am trying to ingrain a concept of living life in my kids that I am not following myself.
For some time though I have been mulling over the philosophical change that we undertook, and have wondered why I hadn’t taken the same analytical approach to the rest of our life. Why did we buck the trend—or leave the flock—to benefit our kids, and yet still continue along the conventional path for ourselves? Why are we concerned with buying a house, climbing the corporate ladder, attempting to succeed through aesthetic goods or within a career, when at the end of all things…these things matter little.
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” -Francis Chan
I want to run a marathon, but have never had the time to dedicate to training.
I want to complete a triathlon, but have never had the time or money.
I want to travel to the ends of the earth to experience life away from civilization, but have never had the time or money.
I want to attend an AFL Grand Final with my father (football match in Australia) and a Bledisloe Cup match in New Zealand with my father and brother.
I want to volunteer my time and skills to benefit a charity, but I have never had the time.
More than anything, I want to be able live life in the present without worrying about work, chores, bills, and my to-do list. If my daughter wants me to watch her do something, then I want to be able to do it without a second thought.
Time and money. Excuse and excuse. In every instance these are excuses. Damn excuses.
I’m jealous of those people who just sell everything up and go travelling; or take their kids and just live abroad – they have bucked the trend and left us all thinking “if only I could do that” as if we are beyond help.
If I was as dedicated to achieving my life goals as I was in achieving my career goals I am sure that I would be onto my third bucket-list by now. Prior to my last daughter’s birth I was losing sleep over a number of new job opportunities available to me that would be financially rewarding and allow me to climb the corporate ladder. These opportunities came to me from working hard and achieving goals within each of my prior roles that gave me the necessary skills to convince people that I was ready for more responsibility.
I politely declined both job opportunities. I have decided to remain in a role that allows me a great LIFE/work balance without too much compromising work enjoyment. I have simply decided to walk away from the ladder climbing race in favour of achieving a simple goal – no regrets. It won’t be easy as my job is very commercially focused and fast paced, but I have some ideas of how to break the mold.
Don’t misunderstand me, I have every intention of being incredible at my job and always working in a role where I can be passionate, challenged, and motivated…but my focus now is to use my job to allow me to achieve the many goals I have in order to properly experience life. I plan to work to live – that old cliché.
I challenge you all to think big, think large. Think about the type of life you want to live and the things you want to experience, and the relationships you want to have…and leave the excuses at the door.
Some of you may already be living the life you want (whether it be the typical school/uni/work/house/kids set up or something else), and I’d be keen to hear what that is! What is the type of life you’ve chosen and how did you achieve it?
I’ll pull together a full-bucket list over the coming weeks and will share them with you all. In the meantime I’d love to hear what you have on yours – the more inspiration the better!
In the end, I want a life not a career.