When we began this journey we decided we needed to set some goals for this next season of life. In my line of work I come in contact with a lot of young people, late teens to early twenties. Whenever I get a chance I like to ask them what their goals are in life. You may not be surprised to hear the majority of them say they want to be wealthy. Usually this is followed up by some explanation involving them not wanting to have to work too hard to earn this wealth. You know, like those two guys that made millions playing video games professionally. Or those two or three people who made a million dollars selling that app they created. Rare stuff like that I suppose. Needless to say I have one of those moments where I initially think they’re joking and begin to laugh, then realize they’re being completely serious and have to hold it back.
Back to the point. A universal truth is that most people have a subconscious drive to be successful in life. Success has a infinite number of interpretations. So obviously the follow up question will be; How should we be defining success? Society tells us that fame and riches are the true image of success. We are socially conditioned to believe this, and in turn we begin to desire it. Whether if you admit it or not, somewhere inside you is this desire. We read magazines and watch television where success is revealed in the form of people living glitzy and fabulous lives. In our own lives we know people that live these types of lives as well. They eat at fancy restaurants, own expensive houses, drive nice cars, and wear designer clothes. I believe it’s only natural to have desires such as these.
This became a reality for me when I was purchasing my first home. I saw friends buying big beautiful homes with amazing amenities, and I thought to myself, “I want that!” I wanted friends and family to walk in to my home and fall in love with it, and maybe even be jealous. Eventually true reality set in and I fell back down earth. We purchased a modest home that we could afford, and we love it. But that desire for bigger and better never really subsided.
This problem re-emerged just this year when we were setting goals for our life and were beginning this journey. We were trying to figure out where we were going to live after we sold our home. We looked at many options. We looked at tiny homes on wheels, other homes (small, medium, and large), and we even looked at travel trailers and RV’s.
This is where we hit a road block. Downsizing is against the norm. To our surprise we learned that it is not as easy as you would think to downsize in today’s world. We learned that it is much easier to go with the flow, settle, and just buy ‘bigger and better’ than it was so go smaller. If you want to remain in a good school district, which is very important to us for our children, and remain close to a city for work purposes, then you have to be willing to literally pay the price. Our journey is to downsize and spend less. Yet the American Dream was pushing back and telling us that we had to go bigger, spend more, and increase our debt.
We are attempting to set goals for our lives around this ideology that less is more. We want fewer distractions in life so that we can more fully engage in and appreciate the experiences we have. This is how we believe true success should be measured. Not by how much money you have, or how big your house is, or how nice your car is. But rather by how happy and content are you with the blessings you already have. We have to learn that no matter the amount of possessions we have, if we cannot learn to be content, and ultimately happy with what we have, life will never be as amazing as it is meant to be.
Once again I will provide a counter argument to the American Dream and say that bigger is not always better, and that less can in fact be more. If we are sacrificing the true essence of life in an attempt to gain false contentment, that’s no way to live. I would be of the opinion that if you surround yourself with possessions you enjoy, people you love, and an overall atmosphere of affirmation, strength and reinforcement, you will be more happy then ever before in life. This type of life will surely lead you towards success in accomplishing every goal you set for yourself.
We will be discussing some of the lessons we have learned while setting our goals in another post soon. We will also be detailing the steps we have taken so far in accomplishing our goals, including giving away and selling over half of our belongings, the emotions involved in that process, and the ups and downs that came with selling our home. So check back for updates!