What Do You Live For?

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 Do You Live For?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.

*baa baa*

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”.

*baa baa*

What Do You Live For?

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.

*baa baa*

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.

What Do You Live For?

“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.

What Do You Live For?

16 thoughts on “What Do You Live For?

  1. G’day mate, I am a Dad of three and don’t read much of these blog things. But my wife told me to read your article, and I am very glad I did! Thank you for such a reflective and personal article. What you have written about really hit home for me as it is something I think about a lot. I don’t want to be part of the herd following the sheep in front of me *baa baa* (as you put it). I also want to “live a life not a career”. Like you I would love to see a bledisloe cup with my dad and bro. But I also want to travel to visit china, build a “tiny house”, build and live in a campervan and travel around australia for 1 year, volunteer for some charity organisation on a regular basis, help the medical system in papua new guinea, work only two days a week forever, be a cruise ship doctor and buy my mother a red sports car that I promised her when I was 15yrs old. Many of these dreams are limited by money, time, children and… excuses. Reading your article has inspired me to stop making excuses and start living a life I want to live! I want to start following my dreams and breaking the cycle of job / kids / job / mortgage / job / retirement / regret / death. It is going to be scary becoming the black sheep… but in feb next year i am going to quit my job, sell all our stuff, buy a campervan and travel australia for 1 year with our family of five! Yeah lets do this! Of course my wife has been a driving force in making this decision to “go bush” and we are both excited and mortified about the idea of going on this adventure. But if we don’t do it now, when will we do it, right!?

    • Wow, what a ripping response – thanks mate! Glad you liked the post as well – I’ve written a couple of others here as well if you’re interested:
      http://happinessishereblog.com/2014/11/to-my-wife-im-not-a-super-dad/
      http://happinessishereblog.com/2014/11/deciding-to-homeschool-dads-perspective/

      You have hit the nail on the head here mate – money and time will restrict a lot of our goals, but if it’s important to us then it’s easy to make sacrifices to see those things come to fruition.
      I can’t believe you’re going to sell up and go traveling – I’ve always thought about it and was envious of those that did it…you are a literal example of what I was talking about. I don’t have much I can sell up in order to fund that sort of trip and my youngest is only a few weeks old, but I have serious ambitions of following in your footsteps around the country at some stage. Keen to hear how it goes!
      China is on my agenda too – I want to see take the kids down the Silk Road, it looks amazing.
      I was saying to my wife only yesterday that it’s one thing to have goals and dreams, but we all seem to put them off as something to do later in life…but who knows what will happen between now and then, we can’t guarantee our health or position in life later on. Now or never!
      Mate really appreciate the response and best of luck on the travels.
      And by the way, nothing wrong with being the black sheep – it means your dancing to the beat of your own drum and there is no better example to set for your kids.

      • I’m the wife who sent him here 😉 I knew he would love your article!! We talk about this subject ALL. THE. TIME. and it’s a constant to think about because it’s so easy to get tricked back into the herd mentality as you called it…. you have to keep re-examining your choices and considering what you really truly want (not what you *think* you want based on what’s been drummed into you as *success*). After owning and selling our own home before moving to Australia, we happily rent now because we love not being tied down, not having to worry about renovations, not having to think about selling if we want to move!! I think it’s just hard to get over the mindset that owning = being more secure. There are always places to rent, so why does it matter?? Homeschooling/unschooling is the next adventure for us, and we are enjoying using Sara’s blog as inspiration 🙂

  2. I so so agree with you! A couple of years ago, with a baby, small child and me at home, Chris told me he couldn’t face his job anymore and I was right behind him when he decided to quit and start an apprenticeship. Not only did it mean him beginning fulfilling work he enjoyed but his hours shortened and he could spend more time at home with us; there is no way we could go back now, it doesn’t matter how much money somebody offered!

    Currently we are simplifying our life and moving towards a greener existence. We want travel, adventure and experience; not things! That Francis Chan quote is one of my favourites.

  3. thanks sir ,your article is very inspiring ,i’m very new to this blog site, so firstly i choose to read good articles, your experience with life is amazing, today everyone have similar kind of life style and everyone want to secure their career but in actual living a happy and joyful life is important ,no doubts money is important but don’t sacrifice your moments ,a good moment which gives you happiness,enjoy every moment of life and do whatever you want to do without hurting other’s,and don’t follow other’s blindfolded ,lots of dreams left incomplete so what we can’t left seeing dreams, sometimes this question comes to my mind “what do i live for” ? for me ,for my family ,for nation ,means i don’t know,from your experience i found, first of all live for yourself,when i live for myself then i’ll be able to give other’s my experience,it doesn’t means it is selfishness because everyone say live for others ,actually this is a basic law of life

  4. The all important miracle question! Love it ?
    At different points in my life I had the house, the corporate job, a couple of holidays but in the last 12 months I’ve finally lived in a state of happiness – how? I downsized (renting even), gone back to the job I really love back in the classroom and spend my spare time with my family and doing voluntary work. Happiness is not a destination it’s a choice of your state of being that you live everyday. ? thanks for sharing this ?

  5. Hey! I loved reading your thoughts on life. Everything you that you have written is so true and how much ever inspired or motivated one is, the society influences us to join the herd! *excuse of course* I have lived quite a ‘perfect’ life otherwise, like school, university, PG, job, marriage, etc. however perfect doesn’t equal happy! Very recently, I have taken up writing (something I was always keen on doing, but never had ‘time’.) and it keeps me pretty happy and excited! And one day, my husband and I, hope to travel around the world – very soon that is 🙂

    Keep writing, keep enlightening!

  6. Really enjoyed reading this. You were frank, and thats awesome I think many people could relate. I got excited when I read you want to become a triathlete! My son has 2 young boys, works full time and began doing Triathlons.. he finished as an Ironman last year.. his next goal- to make it international in 2017 as a pro! The quote you posted: “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” -Francis Chan Go for it.. becoming a triathlete if that’s something you might really want to persue! I just posted a blog about his journey to becoming an Ironman.

  7. Hi, I’m following the blog for a while now and this time I felt like leaving a reply.
    I have always felt that it was important to leave something important in this world that our children can be proud of or learn from. I was a good student, worked as a journalist for a while but everything changed when I decided to become a mother.
    And this is the main reason why I think that sometimes we leave our dreams a bit behind or postponed because we want to protect our children and make sure they have a safe environment to live on and that they do not lack anything important.
    About a year or so ago, I was feeling a bit depressed with the fact that most of my time was spent with people at work that I didn’t like that much and doing things that didn’t fulfil me in any way. I started getting ill more frequent and I think this was a way of my body letting me know that enough was enough…

    I left the company I was working for and decided to start my own business of handmade fabric toys and accessories. Almost everyone in my family thought I was a bit insane and that I will come to my senses and find a different job somewhere else… There are days that are more difficult than others in which we think if this was a good decision or not but one thing no one will ever take away from me is the fact that I have tried a different route and that now I have more time to spend with the ones I love because I work from home.

    I believe that when people only have a few days before they leave this world and they are aware of it, the last thing they will think about will be money and work but instead, their family and the ones they love.
    Why not trying a different path that makes you feel more fulfilled and happy and in sync with what you have inside of you?
    I wish you the best of luck 

  8. Hey Sara,

    Awesome to feel the inspiration pouring forth from your post here! Sounds like you are truly sorting you life and getting it into the shape you want it, wonderful to see!

    In terms of a response as to “What is the type of life you’ve chosen and how did you achieve it?” well there is a stack of stuff.

    I have always valued freedom, all through my life from a very young age it showed through in a variety of ways, and it stays core to my living now. I love the lady in my life as much as I believe I ever could love anyone, and the love and support that flows from here makes life a true joy to live. On top of that we work incredibly well together, meshing and connecting in such a way that life just flows with ease, and business flows with us too.

    I had long held that I wished to be with someone that I could work with and build a successful business with and that is what has come to me. The up shot of having that kind of relationship, along with really well aligned goals for life and thoughts on working and living means that we are now creating a life and a business whereby we can easily move as we wish to. We both love travel and with what we are doing business wise we have found a model of working that enables us to enjoy a great deal of freedom in terms of both timings and location.

    That in essence is what I have long strived for in life, the ability to move freely and enjoy life completely with the person whom I truly love. Right now we are living in Japan which is a kind of spiritual home for me, loads of wonderful places to meditate and feel at peace, though we are working towards spending part of our time in Hawaii, part in Japan, plus spending a few months going wherever the mood takes us. All of which fits with what we are developing as resources and training to help other people achieve joyful living. Life is amazing and I am loving it!

    Peace to you.

  9. Definitely lots to think about here. I’m always amazed at how many people think there is only one right way to do things, from raising children to living, working, investing money and finding the ever elusive ‘happiness’. There are so many different directions you can take in life and all people are different so why should we all choose the same path?

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