Making What You Have Enough or How to do What You Want in Life
On paper y'all, I'm considered working class and have been for the past 5 years since I left my left my last full-time job. Somehow I've managed to visit Mexico twice, the Philippines, finally made it to the West Coast, and I recently lived abroad in Mexico for six months.
This blog post was inspired by an instagram post from Brown Kids, E. and Roe, about wanting to travel and using the resources you already have to do so. One commenter, @hope.wanderer, stated, "I made up my mind and just did it" and that's really what it boils down to in this life. If you want to do anything, including travel, you have to make up your mind first (set the intention) and then do it (act).
I’ll tell you something that got me free: I realized IGers with travel accounts probably don’t make more money than I do. 😂 . . Ha! I’m serious. I kept getting instagram depressed until I took a moment to think about it — statistically they’ve got debt + full-time jobs like the rest of us! . The difference is they choose travel over other things and organize their resources to get them there. . Me, on the other hand, I wanted to go to amazing places but kept spending my money before I could. . So, that day three years ago, I asked myself a powerful question that would change our lives: what do I really want and how can I use the abundance I already have to get there? . So, Loves in the community who want to get out in 2018: where do you want to go? Because it’s crazy what clarity and a little effort can do. #abundanceliving #lifeonyourterms #liveoutloud . . . . #travelnoire #blacktravelista #gotravel #wanderlusttribe #blackminimalism #blackminimalists #seekingsimplicity #theeverydayproject
I have to credit my minimalist journey with helping me understand my values and what I wanted for my life. Practicing minimalism has empowered me to live more freely. When I started transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle in 2012, I made up my mind about several things:
- I wanted to have more control over my time.
- I wanted to travel more.
- I wanted to have a healthier relationship with money.
I've done all these things in the past five years and I'm still going. So what do you need to do? Everyone's path is different, but here are some key actions that made all this possible for me.
Know what you want and why.
First of all, do you even know what you want? Sometimes it's easier to think about all the things we don't want, especially when life feels overwhelming, but you also need to know what you actually want to make space for in your life. We want to do so many things and we may do all of them . . . eventually, but you need to start with a specific goal. Pick one thing and create a plan. Prioritize what is most important to you at this point in your life and understand why.
Decide what you have is enough.
Once I knew I wouldn't be working full-time anymore and actually quit my job, I knew I was going to have to change how I managed my money and how I felt about money. Every now and then, I still feel some guilt about the money I wasted in the past and what I could've done with it. Hell, even living in Mexico, I struggled with the amount of money I spent, but guilt is a useless emotion. All I can do now, is get back on track and make better decisions going forward and recognize I'm blessed to have the awareness and experience of doing just that.
I've traveled more. I've started businesses. I've paid off non-student loan debts. I've given more to others. I've been present more. I've done it all and am still doing it on part-time streams of income and saving. I'm not going to miss out on living my dreams and goals based on the amount of money in my bank account.
Tips for making what you have enough:
- Stay focused on your goal.- Things will come up that challenge your commitment to your goal, but remind yourself often what you are working towards.
- Budget.- I credit Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University with teaching me about zero-based budgeting. Honestly, how strict I am correlates to the amount of money I'm working with and I'm still working on being strict no matter how much money I have, but I know for a fact that it works. Even a basic budget and understanding of where your money is spent is better than nothing.
- Save.- Take every opportunity you have to put something away for the future and your peace of mind. Not working full-time, I also wasn't saving automatically for my retirement. So I opened a Roth IRA and put the minimum I could afford into that account.
- Pay off as much debt as possible.- It's debatable if you should pay off all your debts first or save as you go, but it all depends on what your main goal is. For me, I chose to pay off all the lingering debts I had, not including my student loans, while saving as much as I could to travel and live abroad.
- Learn to say no.- To things, people, and situations that don't serve your goal.
- Follow through, even if it's not what you expected.
- Don't let setbacks take you out of the game and celebrate along the way.