I grew up in an unconventional family. I was pushed to challenge the status quo. Don’t settle. Go travel. Explore now, because now is the time. Don’t go the traditional route. So that is how I lived my 20’s and part of my 30’s. I lived life. I was adventurous. Curious. I lived my life with a sense of urgency. To live it now. Not later.
Many of us lived that kind of life during those years. But then adult life sucked us in. It sucked many of us in into a society that puts us in this box that tells us how to live our lives as adults, in what order to do things and that tells us that living that way is the way to happiness. For me it was part of trying to fit in. I felt left out. I felt as if there was something wrong with me that I wasn’t longing for the traditional route. I wanted to belong and figured that if I worked hard at it I would eventually be happy. Somewhere along the way of trying to live this traditional adult life I forgot one thing. To live now. Not later. I started putting things off that I wanted to do. I blamed it on the things I had added to my “I’m a grown up now” adult life. Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough vacation. I told myself that I will do that one day when I have the time or the money. Excuses. I wasn’t completely unhappy but I desperately tried to figure out a way to mingle the traditional adult life and the life that is authentic to me, which is anything but traditional. I kept searching for how to get that feeling back that I had in my “earlier” life. The feeling of freedom. Like many I woke up one morning wondering how I got here. Why I stopped dreaming and living in the now. Why I stopped doing so many of the things I love to do. And most of all, I wondered how I allowed it to happen. Some call it a midlife crisis. I call it a wake up call and that life is trying to tell you something and you need to listen. Sadly, by the time people really listen many go crazy. They leave their family. They get a sports car they cannot afford. They leave a secure job to start a business on a whim that fail and lose all their money. Because when they are finally listening it is about doing it all, that moment. Well, let’s not go crazy folks. Let’s create a plan to get off the hamster wheel. By the time I said enough is enough and I made the decision to get off the hamster wheel I was in debt. Debt that was standing in my way. So I decided to tackle that first. I knew that unless I had financial freedom I could not take the next step. Or, at least I could not take it as easily. The debt was holding me hostage. Hostage. That is how some people feel about whatever is holding them back. Their job is holding them hostage. Their house. Their spouse. Their family. Society. But what really is holding them hostage are themselves. The hesitation to make a change. It seems so overwhelming. Making a change means getting out of our comfort zone and work at it. It took a lot of work and sacrifice to get out. I worked three jobs. I had to make huge sacrifices but I had spent almost a decade of being stuck in the hamster wheel and I wanted to get out, quick. So I tackled it as fast as I possibly could. I read, watched and learned. And somewhere along the way I became very good at money management. I started helping others. When I started all I wanted was to get out of debt so that I could move to the next step towards my dream. As a bonus I became good at helping others do the same. So what am I trying to tell you here? If you are stuck in the hamster wheel and want out don’t go crazy. Make a plan. Write down the things you used to do and want back in your life. What is your dream? What’s on your bucket list? What would you do if you had unlimited amount of money? If you have a family what do they want? What are the things you and your spouse used to do before kids that you miss doing? Make a plan on how to get that back into your life and what it will take to get that. If you are in debt tackle that first. Sell things. Get a second job. Start a budget. I don’t care what people say. If you have debt, especially consumer debt like car loans and credit card debt, it is standing in your way. [Get ideas on how to get started by reading the blog ‘What would you do with your life if you had no debt?’] https://www.nomorehamsterwheel.com/?p=168 I worked hard, got off the financial hamster wheel and now I’m working on the next part of my dream. Meanwhile, I’m living more in the now. I go do the things I love to do. Cross things off my bucket list. I live my life again with a sense of urgency, and most of all, I live it in a way that is authentic to me. What dream are you working towards? And if you aren’t, what dream would you like to start working towards?
Totally agree that you hamstring yourself with debt. It is tough when you live with no plan those first few years of adulthood. Not sure I’d do things the same way I did before. Some good ideas here.
It is an obstacle for sure. It is so easy to think that you can afford it all when you get that ‘real’ job but that’s exactly when you should continue to live like you did in college. I would have done things differently in hindsight. I tell everyone younger to save and live modestly instead of getting into debt. I’m glad that most of the time they tell me they are scared of getting into debt and are staying away from it, including student loans. They have seen what happened to their parents, neighbors and our country and don’t want that to happen to them.
Corie Clark says
Love this, Camilla!
I feel the same way and have been on my journey out of the “Hamster Wheel” for the last few years. Looking forward to doing this journey with you!
Thanks! Love that you are joining me on this journey on getting off the hamster wheel! I can’t wait to see where it takes us!
Lynn Long says
I hear you! I felt the same way. I used all those things (job security, debt, house, family, etc.) as excuses to not pursue my dream. But I finally realized that life is too short to wait for the “perfect” time. So I made a plan, quit my job and pursued my dream. And you know what, I’m a million times happier now than I ever was pre-dream. Thanks for sharing!
So glad you pursued your dream! That’s awesome! It is so easy to let those things stand in your way but life is too short not to be happy. I don’t want to have too many “I should have…” or “I wish I had…” in my life. Thanks for sharing your story – inspiring!
Your plan is important. We can’t all go out and do what we want when we want to, but you also can’t give up the dream of doing so. Keep a list of the things you can do when you have time/money/vacation, and keep dreaming!
Absolutely! Keeping things written down and creating a plan makes it easier to stay on track no matter what it is…from a daily task to a big dream. The key to making a big dream come through is to have a good plan. Then taking that leap of faith is just a step instead of a cliff jump.
Rob Kaiser says
Just checking in, Camilla! This is Rob from #startexp. Keep up the good work and chasing your dreams!
Hello! Thanks for checking in. Keep up the great work too and never, ever stop chasing your dreams! I know I won’t. Life is too short.