Monday, June 11, 2018

Climbed off the hamster wheel. Best day ever!

When my partner and I see a dog out walking, one or both of us often say 'best day ever'! Dogs are nature's optimists. Maybe it's raining, maybe it is dark, maybe they have three legs and a limp. Whatever the misfortune there's inevitably a big, toothy grin on their face. Best day ever.

Four months ago, after trekking to an office most days each week for over 34 years, I took a leap into the (semi) unknown and left my day job. I'd been doing editing on the side, with my employer's permission, for about six years and eventually realised I didn't need to go to the office any more. Best day ever! It's not that I hated my job. My colleagues were lovely, and the work (and workload) veered between fabulous and blah. But it was time for a change.

Since then I have done all sorts of fun things. I've overseen a bathroom renovation:

Before ...

... during ...

... and after! I did the painting myself

I've expanded my editing business, done more volunteering, gardened, caught up with buddies, read books, listened to podcasts, cooked elaborate meals and rediscovered long-abandoned hobbies. Oh, and exercised. I worried that once I wasn't cycling 6 km each way to work each day I'd get less exercise. But I'm actually doing more ;-)

Life is different now. My income is less than it used to be, but it doesn't matter. I still earn enough to cover my share of the household expenses (I've supported myself since I was 16 and have no intention of stopping) but frugality and minimalism are kicking in even more than before. Self-employment and working at home are so much fun! There are numerous small joys from not having a day job any more, such as not wasting time commuting, being able to hang laundry outside in the morning (and retrieve it before it gets damp again), hire tradespeople without having to grovel for time off work, and being able to step outside to potter in the garden between work tasks. Bliss.

Keynes wrote, almost a century ago, that technological and productivity improvements would lead to a 15 hour work week. I feel like I've finally achieved that! I think of it in terms of opportunity cost. Yes, I could have more money and more stuff (ugh) if I worked longer hours. But the satisfaction and flexibility obtained from working for myself far outweigh any material wants I may have.

Best day ever. Every day!

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