What I’m happy to give up for freedom

This goldfish picture has always resonated with me since I first came across it many years ago. The simple yet powerful imagery embraces themes like ‘being free’; ‘breaking away to find one’s own path’; ‘pursuing one’s dreams’; ‘seeking a new world’; ‘in pursuit of solitude’; ‘being brave…or being stupid?’…and the list goes on . You get the drift.

It has been a year since I flew out of the corporate cage and left cubicle nation behind. A year filled happiness, hope, inspiration and fulfillment; tempered by periods of doubt, uncertainty and restlessness. It was during this year that I embraced simplicity and minimalism and started this blog to document and share my journey; that I started a new business; that I idled with purpose and inspiration and spent loads of time enjoying my time at home and also exploring London (during the week when most people are at work). Not surprisingly, I don’t seem to look forward to  Fridays and the weekends that much anymore.

It was also in this year that I deepened my understanding of myself and what is truly important in my life. Yes, it includes the joy of spending more time with myself and loved ones, enjoying my nice and de-cluttered home, doing stuff and being in places that inspire me, living more freely and authentically, working on projects that inspire and fulfill me. It definitely excludes things like early mornings and commuting, energy-sucking work and people, pointless meetings, a life revolving around meeting expectations that has no personal meaning and keeping ‘people high up the chain’ happy and looking good. At the most basic and fundamental level, when everything else has been stripped down, the one thing that I truly value above almost anything else crystallises: it is my freedom.

In the process of this self-discovery journey, I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to work till my fifties/sixties or retirement (which in this day and age might never come round) so that I can live and enjoy life and own my home after paying off  the mortgage. Life is too short and precious for all that waiting and living for tomorrow. I want to live and enjoy my life now; I want to be free of financial commitments now. Which brought me to the question of what I needed to do or give up in order to attain a life of freedom. The answer that came to mind wasn’t desirable nor pleasant; it would involve giving up something which I love dearly and it would mean changes across areas in my life.

I love my home in central London- it was the first home I owned and I have spent eight happy years in it. But I love my freedom even more. It is a lovely flat and a great investment especially when I bought it relatively cheaply and am selling it in a property boom. The capital generated will allow me to buy another home (likely to be further away from the city centre or even outside London or even outside the UK) and live mortgage-free for the rest of my life. Unlike most people my age, I will not be upgrading and keeping up with the Joneses. But then, I have stopped being like ‘most people’ since I embarked on this ‘simple and minimal’ journey.

As expected, my house sold in no time at a price above what I asked for. On the flip side, we have yet to find another place that we would be happy to call home. In a nutshell, I’m in limbo. That would have driven the old me crazy and fluttering around in all directions. The old me would not have sold the house in the first place!  I find that sometimes we are pushed out of our comfort zones, stripped of our security blanket so that we are forced to explore new and positive situations and opportunities and which we would never have contemplated otherwise. Sometimes, the Universe has to give us a little shove for better things to come into our lives.

But you know what, I’ve been rather calm and laid back throughout this whole process (I’m waiting for the shock to hit me when I hand over the keys!) to the surprise of myself and those who know me well. Thanks to my simplifying and de-cluttering efforts, I don’t own much anymore so will not be taking much with me. Being a reformed Homebody these past few years (a result of an overdose of living in different countries and travelling frequently and widely previously), I am quite surprised that I am quite comfortable with living out of a suitcase for a while and even undertaking a prolonged period of travel again. I guess it is one of the outcomes of a simplified life. I know by now the Universe can work in miraculous ways so I am not chasing and hurrying the sales process nor am I desperately seeking a new home. The new place has to be one we’re happy with and it will turn up somehow- what is meant to be mine will be mine.

Till then, I’m living a day at a time and just letting things take their time and course. That in itself to me is freedom.

Doing what you like is Freedom.

Liking what you do is Happiness.

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COMMENTS (13)

  1. Yes, yes, yes–to everything you said! I, too, have realized that I am not going to rot in a job for 30 years, and then retire when I am too sick (from the stress) to enjoy it. And for us, giving up our home was also a large part of it. Two weeks ago, we signed the deed to our house back over to the bank, and we now rent an apartment in the city!

    When it comes down to it, a house is just a thing.

    Best of luck on the rest of your journey–I look forward to following your adventures!

  2. I just wrote a comment, and it fell into the abyss. 🙁

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said! A house is just a thing–it doesn’t love you. Being willing to part with our house, has given us so much freedom.

    I look forward to following your journey!

  3. Really inspiring -why not by 2 houses up here in County Durham.With what you sold in london that would be an option im sure.You could rent both out while you travel,Then live in one when you return and the rent off the other will give you an income xxxx ps im NOT an estate agent by the way!!!! lol

    1. That’s a great idea. We live in a bubble in London. Amazing how much more the £ stretches outside London and always appreciate the more realistic prices of things when we travel out of the Big Smoke!

  4. Lovely insight into your transition from cubical nation to voluntary simplicity. There are very few things that I would not give up for freedom. I also think the frame you put around things determines your reality. For example you could see yourself in limbo (uncertain, waiting) or you could view your situation as a carefree wanderer (embracing ultimate freedom and open to any opportunity you please)!

    Mr Simple
    http://lessisbetter.org/2013/06/04/idle-thought/

    1. Totally agree! Am starting to feel the sense of freedom and lightness that comes with this change and am more than a little excited about the opportunities ahead!

  5. I’ve just found your website, and it is Awesome! I’m also in the process of ‘downsizing’ my life so that ‘Work’ in the traditional sense of the word, becomes redundant. I grew up in London, but have spent most of my adult life in New Zealand and even here, a relatively young and vibrant country, people have wholesale adopted the ‘Mass Consumption and Overwork to pay for it’ culture of the rest of the western world. It has taken me 40 years to have the courage to adopt the lifestyle that is right for me and not let others push me back into ‘Normalcy’ so that they don’t have to question _their_ choices! Thank you for sharing everything you do on this website.

  6. Absolutely stunning post right there. I’m new to your blog and I have just started to read through your posts. My journey against minimalism and simplicity has just started, and blogs like this one make me keep my motivation up. Thank you

  7. Absolutely stunning post right there. I’m new to your blog and I have just started to read through your posts. My journey against minimalism and simplicity has just started, and blogs like this one make me keep my motivation up. Thank you!