The power of blogging: Blogging shows alternative lifestyles ARE possible.
When I read other alternative lifestyle weblogs, people keep talking about ditching their affluent day-job for a simpler life. I never had one. I wonder if people connect more with those who were struggling to keep up with the Joneses when they turned away from it all. People who feel trapped in their 9 to 5 grind often look at me and say “it’s alright for you, but I need a job”.
I can understand where they are coming from – this would all be so much harder if I had a child for example. But here’s an article about a single-mum in Australia who has given up buying anything new for a year. As if that wasn’t enough, she then decided to give up her home, and live out of her car with her young daughter, between WOOFing & housesitting. Some might see her as an irresponsible mother but she quite rightly points out that it’s the best way to teach her about what’s truly important in life, which is what any responsible mother would do.
This doesn’t mean that every single-mother should do the same, but it helps me enormously to discover that anything is possible. I like to remind myself that if there’s anything I think I can’t do, someone out there is probably doing it right now. Knowing this helps me push through and achieve what I thought was impossible.
This is the value of blogging. Blogs allow us to share experiences and to say, “Hey, I’m doing it this way. Maybe you can too?”
So if you’re thinking of writing an alternative lifestyle weblog, I’d encourage it. It’s more important than we realise.
In some ways, I do fit the stereotype of an alternative lifestyle blogger who quit their day-job. I just did it early. Here’s how I came to alternative living.
I worked as hard as I physically and mentally could through school and university, wanting to give myself the best chance at a career. Then I found myself working even harder at teaching alongside a PGCE, struggling to make ends meet with sky-high rent. My health was suffering but I just pushed through it. I wondered why I’d put in all the effort to get a decent job when even that wasn’t enough to give me a comfortable lifestyle. God knows how people on minimum wage cope!
Then I realised that I was supposed to work my way up for the next 10 years, with extra push upon extra push, all so that I could finally earn enough to relax. After a year and a half I thought… sod it! Why not just relax now?!?
So I quit, and from then on, I refused ways of life that I found stressful, even if those around me were happily working themselves into the ground. If I’d spent 10 years building up my career, I wouldn’t be able to relax now because overworking would have become a long ingrained habit. As it was, it took years to break the habits of overworking that I’d developed during my education. Now I think I’ve done it. The £0 Challenge was a real turning point for me.
These days I earn less than I ever have, and am happier with my lifestyle than I’ve ever been. I realised recently that I actually qualify for jobseeker’s allowance (although I don’t believe in claiming benefits myself), and of course I can’t afford rent. But none of that feels like failure, because breaking the habit of overworking is a huge success! And of course, ironically I’m more productive than I’ve ever been!
The funny thing is, I’m actually starting to want to work more, whether freelance, pay-what-you-want, or employed… I feel ok about that because I know I wouldn’t push myself to burn-out this time. Winter’s coming and it’ll be hard if I’m in the van. I’m starting to want a base – to find a pitch and build that Tiny House I’ve spent 5 years dreaming of. What does all this mean? Am I moving towards having a normal life?
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