Editor’s Note: This is a post in the new series, Simplicity in Action. If you’d like to submit your story of how simplicity has worked in your life, please read more here. You can write about anything from decluttering a junk drawer to simplifying your diet. Let your small and big changes inspire others.
Simplicity has played a major role in my life recently. Beyond the benefits of reducing my carbon footprint and the amount of clutter in my life, it has also allowed me to pursue my passions more fully.
An entrepreneur at heart, I’ve been dreaming about being my own boss and launching my own creative projects since I was 16. Over the years however, fear and finances kept me from doing much more than dip my toes into the worlds of freelance writing and self-publishing.
But then, after being diagnosed with leukemia at age 27, and having come out on the other side completely cancer-free, things changed. The fear didn’t go away, but I became more comfortable with facing it. Confronted with my own mortality, I was filled with a new desire to chase my dreams with vigour.
So that took care of the fear obstacle. But what about the finance side of things?
As the passionate part of my brain chomped at the bit, raring to go, the equally strong practical part was busy crunching numbers. Before leaving my job security, sweet pay cheque and awesome benefits package behind, I needed to know I wasn’t going to starve to death.
I couldn’t get the numbers to add up. Knowing what my living expenses were, I figured out how much money I’d need to bring in each month and how many clients I’d need in order to get by. It seemed undoable. It was undoable.
Until I started to look at things from the other side of the equation. You see, up till then I had been asking how much money do I need to cover my expenses? What I should have also been asking was how can I simplify my life so I don’t have as many expenses in the first place?
- I rented out the second bedroom in my apartment and my rent was cut in half.
- I negotiated with my boss to work from home Mondays and Fridays, and reduced the amount of money I was spending on gas, adding to my savings.
- I took on a Buy Nothing New year, challenging myself to reduce my consumption even further. And when I did need to buy something, I’d buy it used.
- I did other little things, like cut back the amount of times I ate out.
Bit by bit, the numbers added up and the undoable became doable. And in September of last year I took the plunge and am now working as a full-time freelance writer and self-publisher. It took some lifestyle tweaks, but the payoff far outweighs any sacrifices I’ve had to make.
As Duane Elgin, author of Voluntary Simplicity said, “To live more simply is to unburden ourselves, live more lightly, cleanly, aerodynamically.” It’s true. Living light really has allowed me to live free.