I have searched the internet unsuccessfully to find stories of others that have decided to pull the emergency brake on their existing lifestyle. My wife and I have watched shows on decluttering, but we aren’t talking of just getting rid of stuff in our closet. We have done that and that does not satisfy the longing to take a hack saw to these golden handcuffs that keep us slaving away to make the mortgage payment on our million dollar home and our “way of life”. We want purpose. We want to have the freedom to not be tethered to something and someplace that forces us to not have any choices. We are going to downsize our lives.
I reinvented myself once already
Ok, now I am going to switch to moi. I started my own business about 20 years ago working with my hands, but things out of my control, mainly the internet and cheaper products from China made my services no longer needed. I had to reinvent myself, but in reinventing myself, I chose what would be a great “business idea”, not something else that I would enjoy. You see, I was in the mortgage business making a good living, but hating every minute of it. This is why 20 years ago I reinvented myself and started my own service business, but cheaper products rendered my services obsolete, so I reinvented myself and started selling replacement parts online for the products I used to service. The immediate return or should I say the slow and steady return of dollars started coming in. I had discontinued to use my troubleshooting and mechanical skills due to a lack of need and started selling the same parts that I used to install for people TO people. Just like now, I was tied to a computer screen. I was riding the surf of the internet and after 10 years, was one of the top websites to sell these parts. Life was good, financially speaking, but I had left behind the whole reason to get out of the mortgage business in the first place.
What am I complaining about?
Fast forward 18 years. We are basically living in a million dollar house. I am driving a brand new Tesla. Is it a cool house? You bet! It’s 118 years old with tons of architectural detail. It’s 5,200 sq. ft. and the previous owners fully renovated it. It has a butlers kitchen, a gourmet kitchen that any chef would love to own and inlaid French parquet flooring. I had always wanted to own a home like this in this very neighborhood. Freeze frame. We are pretty miserable. You see, stuff doesn’t bring you happiness. It does for a very short time, but not long term. Our job has tons of stress attached to it. Being in business online is like being a fish in the ocean. You never know what is going to gobble you up or if the tide is going to change and sweep you away with it. The amount of money that we have to generate to feed our lifestyle is just crazy and we don’t have any credit card debt, I’m just talking about house payment, health insurance, utilities, etc. Ok, there is the Tesla payment and I do love driving it.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Bigger isn’t always better. These are two quotes that I tell others but have obviously been ignoring myself. I knew we could afford to own this house and to buy the Tesla, but when I signed the promissory note for each, I also promised that I would make those payments and to make those payments I must generate the income, no matter if I enjoy the job that generates that income or not. Guess what? I don’t enjoy the job and I don’t enjoy the friendly reminder that these payments are due either. Owning expensive stuff means that the expensive stuff needs to be maintained. Owning a 5,200 sq ft house when you are both working full time means hiring a housekeeper, that is unless you don’t care what your house looks like and we do. I don’t have time to do the repairs that are needed in owning a home, so I get out my checkbook and write checks for the lawn service, painters, plumbers and electricians that I would normally do myself. That is if I had the time, but guess what? I don’t have the time.
To be able to yell STOP, I have to eliminate what forces me to wake up and “make the donuts”.
It’s not that I want to retire and play golf. I just want to do something that fulfills me and uses the God given gifts that I was given. I have purposely started to step on the brakes in my business. I eliminated a number of product groups that were requiring a major investment of time, but that also resulted in less income. I had been approached by a company that every one has heard of to distribute their products, but I turned them down. They were kind of shocked, but I said no. That was VERY hard to do because I had been trying to obtain their business for years. That probably cost me a couple of million dollars a year in sales.
Now, we are pulling the emergency brake on our lives. We are putting our house up for sale and streamlining our business so that we can eventually sell it. We refuse to go another day like this. We want options for our lives. We may not even buy another house. We may just travel, to places where we can live on the cheap for a while until we figure out what we want to do next.
I am going to take you on our journey into the land of downsizing our lives. I will be honest and tell you exactly how it feels to move out of a neighborhood filled with doctors and CEO’s. It will be a change both economically and socially, but we are willing to do it.