Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ted Talks That Help You Find Freedom

The Joy Blog: Ted Talks To Help You Find Freedom

My husband and I have embarked on a journey. Not a journey that involves a new location, although anything is possible, it is a journey from the normal way of life, to our dreams. It began last year when I left my overly-taxing, exhausting position as an event coordinator for a large corporate firm. I was making really decent money, and he was, too. I was always complaining about how I hated my  job. I hated the work. I felt like I was giving everything good I had to their business, and leaving none for myself.

So, after they forced some position changes on me, I jumped ship. He was also working there and lasted another year. In the meantime, I found a peaceful business to work in, and began to open up to all my creativity again. He began to see that even though I was making less, I was really happy. We began to talk about how to get him out of his position as well. This wasn't easy. He was now making 3 times my salary, and covering all of our costs easily.

We also have a lot of debt. At one point in his life, before we ever met, he had a business that did very well. The economy tanked, and brought down a lot of people's businesses, his was hit hard, and he had to sell everything and close doors. This left him with a hefty amount of personal debt. He avoided bankruptcy for personal reasons. So he sold everything he had, and began to pay it off. (Pretty admirable if you ask me.) 

Since then, most of it has been paid off, but we still have a decent chunk of change hovering over our heads. We knew that quitting his job would've left it hanging, but I also knew that we were not paying it off quickly. We had a lot of money coming in, more than we needed to pay it off, and we weren't getting rid of it. We were buying new furniture, new cars, new everything. We were grief shopping our way out of the miserable things we'd been through, deployments, my mother's cancer and death, depression, anxiety. It was not what either of us wanted, and it wasn't making us happy or fixing our problems. 

So, we began a new journey. We made a plan, he found his passions, and new business ideas, and his burnout at his job was evident. He would come home from work every day with purple circles under his eyes. He was grouchy, and slept in every morning until he was running late for work. He seemed like he was sick all the time, which happens when you're in perpetual burnout mode. I know this because it happened to me when I was working there. 

Finally, I just couldn't take it anymore, and neither could he. Toward the end of May of this year, we sat down and fought it out, how we would make a new life for ourselves, what we wanted, and what we didn't want. It took three weeks of arguing because we were both so stressed, and he was burned out. We were strapped constantly for cash because we'd spent it all instead of living for experiences. We had learned the lesson that money doesn't buy happiness, and things certainly can't provide it as well. 

So, we did what we had to do. We took a leap of faith and pulled him from his toxic atmosphere of a job. We removed the giant, toxic, leech from our lives. What have we found because of this experiment? 

1. He is ridiculously happy now working night and day to build his dreams. It is rubbing off on me and we are constantly dreaming up new ideas for business and life.
2. He is flooded with other options.
3. We can live on a LOT less than we thought. 
4. Debt payoff is inevitable, and we'll get there, slowly at first, and then when we both have an income again, it will be rapid. 
5. The American Dream isn't what we want, unless you count it as this - living your dreams while living on less than we had before. 

We both decided we didn't want big houses with RV's parked in the driveway. We wanted a little cottage, with a big garden full of fresh veggies, surrounded by wide open spaces. We wanted to have jobs that are versatile in location, instead of tying us to a desk in a bland office space. We wanted a life built off our passions, instead of our objects and their prices. 

We still have a long way to go. It's been one month since he quit his job. We are still at the beginning of this crazy adventure. He is full of life again. He is free. And he is working harder than ever and not wearing out, because he loves what he's working on. We may not have a lot of money coming in, in fact, right now I don't make enough to cover our debts, but we have savings, and he's working toward a new income based off his dreams. I spend my days living instead of spending, and I think a lot more about what I need versus what I want. Right down to the excessive decisions I used to make, like not buying three new lipsticks when I really just came to Target to get mascara. It's hard to redirect your habits, but it's going to be so worth it in the end. 

We have plans. We want versatile jobs, that help us build our dreams wherever we want them to be. We want a small homestead surrounded by nature, and we want to have access to our families, friends and access to travel regularly. Other than that, we don't need much at all. 

To go with this line of thinking, I've been watching some amazing Ted Talks on minimalism, and richer living with less. This is my favorite one so far, but check out this Apartment Therapy post, it's chock full of Ted Talks on this topic. They are really worth a watch. There's several in the post, and I've been slowly watching through them. 

Have you ever done this?
Have you ever jumped ship and taken a huge risk to give yourself joy?

++ Share your stories below. I could really use them. It's stressful making these huge changes, even if it's bringing us more happiness.

Join the conversation!

  1. It's amazing how little we really need and how much our society is focused on consumerism!

    My boyfriend and I have been spending time lately to figure out what exactly we want, and what goals we want to work towards. Funny enough, they're not the same goals that many other people have! We don't want to own our own home, we want to travel, we want to live in lots of different places, and we'd love to work towards a fairly early retirement.

    Everyone is different and the cookie cutter "American Dream" isn't for everyone. We need to strive to do what makes each of us happy!

    1. We have the same consumerism chats a lot lately. We're currently struggling with the decision to sell most of our stuff, because like he said in the clip, we move it everywhere we go, but then we think - am I really going to read these books again, or watch this movie for the millionth time? It's just a dvd. It's probably on Netflix, and if it's not, I can probably find it at a library for free.


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