Downshifting is a social behavior or trend in which individuals live simpler lives to escape from the rat race of obsessive materialism and to reduce the “stress, overtime, and psychological expense that may accompany it”. It emphasizes finding an improved balance between leisure and work and focusing life goals on personal fulfillment and relationship building instead of the all-consuming pursuit of economic success.
So I’ve been thinking lots about this concept I named “Life design”. It might sound like a sleazy self help cliche, but I really think it describes how I want to approach the whole planning my life part. Instead of aiming for a vast set of separate goals, that are sort of done once I reach them, I want to design a good life, an everyday mix that tastes nice and is mostly healthy. One dash of this, two teaspoons of that. Some more yellow, and green, less blue.
First on my list was changing my work situation. I really needed to make time for developing my interests and hobbies and just breathe after having spent years just chasing deadlines and deliverables. Quitting my busy, although super rewarding, consultant job was essential, since it never slowed down – rather the opposite.
For a long time I have had this vision of a future life, where I work less and to a bigger extent from where and with whom I want. I have also become more and more open for doing different things, not just have one job. I’m a person who likes variety and the thought of being able to start up ideas and projects for the fun of it – being able to play – puts butterflies in my stomach.
An idea formed over the past year – If only I could be the boss of my own time. I thought about what it would take to realise. I felt I needed some sort of safety before the jump and then a happy coincidence opened up an opportunity, just as I experienced a really tough situation at work, and I took it.
The big decisions in my life have always been ones of instant gut feeling – I just know I have to jump. In a matter of days I quit my job, then registered my company and came to a deal with my first client.
The set up for the coming months is part time work, part time developing ideas. Down shifting if you will. I will make some changes that give me more economic ease as well. Fewer expenses mean freedom!