There is a reason why I choose to spend less money than I could afford to spend and consume fewer resources than I am able to consume. Why I try to be mindful of my daily routines and how it impacts myself and others. I do so to build the life I want. To identify what actually brings me value and work to achieve more of that. Now, spending all my money and living mindlessly without giving thought to people, planet and animals does not bring me value.
So then what does bring value to my life? How do I want my life to be? I think this is something everyone should reflect on at least once in a while to check that they’re on the right track. That, at least, is what I am attempting to do on a regular basis. I want to know that I am spending my time, money and attention on something that makes my life great(er).
The life I want
There are a bunch of things that I already have in my life and love: my husband, my cat, family and friends. These are obviously important parts of the puzzle that is my life. But other than that, when I think about what the perfect life looks like to me, it includes this:
- I want to be financially independent, i.e. to not depend on a job for a living. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work (I actually really like my job), but that I have the freedom not to work should I choose to. To me, this means having the freedom to quit my job if I don’t like it anymore. Or I can take a sabbatical to pursue other interests. Or I can work part-time if I prefer – without the fear of not being able to pay the bills.
- My main source of income is from sustainable investments. This is how I plan on achieving financial independence. I haven’t yet made an exact calculation of when we will reach this, but approximately within 15 years. And I want my investments to be as sustainable as possible. It wouldn’t be fair for me to prosper on someone else’s misery, be it people or animals. I realise I’ll make mistakes, but I’ll do my best to avoid investing in things that destroy people and planet. Pretty difficult task, I know…
- I’ll have a side-hustle that I enjoy and that is a source of continuous development. This could be writing, teaching yoga, helping people live a sustainable life or a whole other thing. The main point is to have a project that will keep me learning with the possible added bonus of making a bit of money.
- I have a small house with a garden where I can grow herbs and veggies. It doesn’t have to be a big garden, and it doesn’t have to be all the veggies I consume. But growing something of my own is a thing I would love to do.
- I live completely plant-based. The more I learn about the impacts of farming animals to animal welfare, the environment and human health, the more I don’t want to be a part of that. I have the resources to choose what to eat, so there is no way I can justify continuing to eat animal products.
- I regularly run, practice yoga, meditate and take long walks. Because it’s good for my physical health, it’s good for my mind, it sparks creativity, and it allows me to be outside in the beautiful nature.
- I am able to repair things. Seriously, this is a big one. I don’t know how to repair hardly anything which puts me at the mercy of shops and experts. The attraction of being able to repair things isn’t just to save money. It also has to do with being more independent and learning new skills.
I am attempting to make and continually evaluate plans for how to achieve this. Sounds boring, perhaps, but I seriously love planning, especially fun and exciting stuff such as my life and future. So far, it has gotten me to a place where my husband and I can comfortably save 50% of our income, we have slowly started investing, and we are making more deliberate decisions with how to spend our time and money.
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