Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Work, eat, sleep, repeat, again and again until you retire. By that point, you’ll have hopefully earned enough cash to live comfortably, and to not have to worry about anything like affording rent, bills, food, and all the rest.
That’s coming from a position of privilege, of course. Even those of us who could easily manage a few of the price hikes lately will have noticed the squeeze. It could be that living a comfortable life is now out of reach for some. And for those who were already struggling? I can’t begin to imagine the turmoil that they may be enduring now.
Turns out that working hard, getting promotions and retiring at a not-too-late-but-not-too-early age is no longer the norm, nor should it be expected. The unfortunate truth is that it’s becoming more out-of-reach by the day.
And if you are lucky enough to live pretty unfazed by the rising cost of living? Well, come retirement, you’ll be ready to enjoy your small fortune in a body that could be past its prime. It could be a body that can’t do what you’ve wanted to do for your entire life. This shouldn’t be a depressing thought: aging is a natural part of life. But maybe it is a sobering thought. Maybe we need to have ‘mini retirements’ all throughout our lives to enjoy money while we’re young.
That’s a key premise to Tim Ferris’ The 4-Hour Work Week*. I listened to it on BorrowBox a few years ago and it changed my perspective on working life. The only issue with his book, then, is deciding what to do with our time. How do we get time to ourselves these days? How can we create moments of silence in such a busy world?
Our lives can get so busy, but it’s so, so important that you make time for you each and every day – regardless of how much you’ve got going on. Otherwise, it is inevitable that you will burn yourself out. Suddenly, all of those things that you have to do will be impossible to do.
But, okay, we don’t have unlimited time, do we? So, here’s what you need to do: work out what’s important to you. What are your values in life? Are there things near and dear to your heart that you believe in? Things that you support, like volunteering for a charity on the weekends because their cause is one that you believe in?
Prioritising this kind of activity not only lets you give back; it also ensures that you stay true to who you are.
Wants & aspirations
You shouldn’t just be doing things for others; you should be doing things for yourself, spending your time how you choose to spend it.
Have a think (maybe this weekend?) about your goals. Consider any resolutions you may have made at New Year’s Eve and how those goals may have changed or evolved. Put together a battle plan to get closer to where you want to be, and make some actionable points to achieve that.
Put the time in during your time off, away from work, to make some manageable, realistic steps to get there. Otherwise it’s all talk and no walk.
Sit back and relax
Life isn’t all about having a side hustle or a go-get-‘em attitude. It’s also not all about living ethically 24/7 and pursuing your values through altruistic endeavours. Sometimes, it’s about slowing down and smelling the roses.
Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t spend time working on yourself, by doing things such as learning to speed read (I still think this is one of the best uses of your time). It is to say, however, that you shouldn’t always feel obliged to live life in the fast lane. Your hobbies don’t have to be about getting a 600 day Duolingo streak or learning to play a new musical instrument. Sometimes, life is about telling ourselves that it’s okay to sit down after work and passively binge Netflix for hours. Sometimes, that’s what you need to relax after work.
Really, I think I’ve learned that being an adult is all about realising that you have enough freedom to do whatever you want, but not enough time to do it all. What will you choose to do?
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