Self care is doing hard things: Deciding to be contrary.
Well, I did it. I went ahead and did the “impossible” again this year. Despite not being wealthy, or having a wealth of “free time”, and despite not having all my “stuff” completely figured out, I am writing to you from the Costa Blanca in Spain. It’s warm. It’s always sunny. I am enjoying well-priced food and wine and I’m currently staying in a condo much fancier than I’m used to (hello, beach and mountain view from our private, giant terrace!) This year, I’m travelling 5 months with my husband and kiddo, mostly Spain, a little France, a little Kuwait once again, and a little who-knows-where the wind/cheap airline tickets may take us.
How did I do it? How is it that I can afford this lifestyle or afford the time?
The secret is actually really simple.
Years ago, my husband and I made the decision that this is what we’d do. Simple as that.
We decided that travel and freedom were #1, and that this would mean some sacrifice and it would mean going against the grain. It means that we’d not concentrate on buying a house and be slaves to mortgage payments. Not find “regular” careers that made us a slave paychecks and to a timetable. Not put off living the lifestyle we wanted because we had a child (in fact, having a child was the best reason to start living authentically NOW). We decided to not do what most people in their 30s try to do. Nope. We decided we’d spend money on experiences, not things. That putting money away was more important than flash. That we’d design our lives so that we managed our time, and we would choose to work as much or as little as we like. That our kid would travel too, and we’d sacrifice having him go to conventional school in favor of home (and away)-schooling.
Some of these decisions don’t go over well with, well, society. I can’t tell you how many times friends, family and whoever have expressed concern over our lifestyle, like our penchant for rice and beans (I swear, we loooove it! It just happens to be really cheap!), my husband’s extreme minimalism, our strict rules about the type and quantity of toys Z is allowed to have, our experiments with going on “fiscal fasts” or my obsession with decluttering. And forget our “jobs”… unless the people around us really know our businesses (as you do), they actually have no idea what we really do. We tend to get a lot of sad advice, and I can’t even tell you how many times I have been told to “get a job”. It’s actually a little heartbreaking and embarrassing because it goes to show how brainwashed many of us have become about the “right” way to live, but I try not to let it all distract me.
This is the second time we’ve managed to escape Montreal for the winter, and even though this time meant saying goodbye to our apartment, letting go of many, many of our possessions and hitting the road with no more than a small suitcase each, it’s starting to feel almost too easy. I think I could be ready for a bigger challenge next year!
I’m not saying any of this to show off, rather I want to encourage. What do you want more than anything? What do you need to decide now to get there? Forget about manifesting your dreams by wishing on a star or buying a lottery ticket…make a decision. That’s the first step. Decide on your dream and make it your focus. You will see that “manifesting” is nothing more than making a series of good (and often hard) decisions because you finally are sure of what you want. It all starts to unfold with that clarity… I swear, it’s that simple (just not always easy!)