Vanessa and I spend quite a lot of time writing and talking about our lifestyle. Our hope is to inspire others to consider their own lives, and perhaps to make some changes too.
While we’re happy that we really are living the life we want to live, we don’t suggest we have “the answer”. We certainly don’t suggest that our lifestyle choices would suit everyone. However, we are often told that we are “living the dream”, whatever that may mean.
In a way we’re still trying to figure everything out, and create a lifestyle of our own design. And it is always refreshing to come across others doing the same, living their own lives on their own terms.
In the last few days I have had two vastly different reminders of the fact that life is really what we choose to make of it.
The first came via way of a message in our House Sitting Magazine Facebook Group
The second came from a movie, just re-watched after twenty years, and still as fresh now as it was back in the 90s.
Andrew posted a link to a book called “unWorking” by Clark Vandeventer. The book was being offered free on Amazon for a couple of days. I like free. I downloaded it, and read it over the course of the following week.
Clark suggests that in today’s modern world, the old model of working for one company for 40 years is no longer viable, and that putting control of your destiny in the hands of others is a big mistake.
He talks a lot about lifestyle design, and creating a “patchwork” of different sources of income. His central theme is that you should choose a life of your own design, whatever that may be for you.
How do you really want to live your life?
In the same week I managed to get hold of a copy of new movie “T2 Trainspotting”, 2017 sequel to the 1996 cult hit “Trainspotting”, starring the wonderful Ewan McGregor. I haven’t seen the original movie for twenty years, so it merited a re-watch before seeing where the characters are now, 21 years later.
Once again Mark Renton’s iconic tirade against modern life struck a deep chord:
Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life… But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life: I chose something else.
Forget that the final words of his monologue explain that his personal choice was heroin. Recognise only the fear of living an unconsidered life that merely fulfils society’s expectation of what it means to be a model citizen.
I have often stated that I believe we are “sold” a dream by banks and our governments. Clark, in “unWorking” also says much the same thing. We end up on an endless hamster wheel of consumerism, never really questioning how we got there, or why we keep running so fast.
Do well at school, on to a good university, and into a career. Start climbing the career ladder. Get a big house, lots of fancy furniture to fill it, and a couple of nice cars in the garage. But is that really what you WANT, or has society just handed you a cookie-cutter set of goals?
Clark Vandeventer and Mark Renton both ask the same question: “What do you really want to do with your life?” They come up with two very different answers.
Only you can truly answer this question for yourself.
Maybe you want to design a life like Clark’s, travelling with his family around the world, building a patchwork quilt of income that can be developed wherever you are.
Maybe, like Mark Renton, you’d prefer to live your life in a drug-addled coma…?
Who am I to judge? It’s your life to live. Just make sure that you really are living your own life, not one forced upon you by society’s expectations.
Choose life. Whatever life you want.