In part one of this little exploration of lifestyle design, I wrote that a good way to sum up lifestyle design in one sentence is that it is simply about making conscious choices to better your life.
That is a very macro view, but it is also a great place to start a discussion on lifestyle design.
What is Lifestyle Design?
Lifestyle design is a bit like launching a product. You take a hard look at what you want, run some tests, see what’s working, and tweak the product until you have what you want. Why can’t you do the same with your life? You can, except we would look at it more as a product re-launch, like New Coke (but better than that).
If we feel fat, we exercise. If we feel poor, we try to make more money. Almost every one of us practices lifestyle design. What matters is whether you have a plan.
Everybody is making almost daily decisions about their life. Are you constantly shifting with the trends? Do you want to dress like Kanye one day, then a few weeks later you are into hipster glasses and MGMT? Do you want to go to grad school one week, then become a masseuse the next?
But for those who intentionally practice lifestyle design, what makes them different? In all honesty, they probably took the time to answer the question: what do I want to do with my life? They probably experienced some hardship or just lost touch with the unrewarding world of work. One thing they are doing is focusing on a singular goal and quietly working towards it.
Lifestyle Design for Married People
There are married families with kids living amazing and unconventional lives. They travel the world, live in exotic places, and expose their children to the wonders of civilization. Yes, many are financially well-off, maybe even retired, but many of them work location-independent jobs or blog about their lives to earn income. Some find jobs in their new locales, and pick up when new opportunities or boredom appear.
I touched on this in Part One, and I want to explore it a bit further because most lifestyle design information is geared at people with no strings attached. It is easy to convince someone to break the only bind they have if they are single and working a $25,000/year job.
I want to show married people that there is a path to living life by your own rules.
- First challenge the rules that say you have to work for 45 years and save a pile of money
- Second, pay of your consumer debts and student loans
- Third, save up a year’s worth of living expenses
- Fourth, make arrangements for everything (your house? schooling? insurance?)
- Fifth, go!
All of this, of course, comes after you are on the same page with your spouse about finances.
The steps above are just one possibility. The beauty of lifestyle design is that you can tweak it to your own liking. This doesn’t have to be a 6-month process. It’ll probably take you years if you are just starting to pay off your debt.
And if you are on the road for 6 months and you hate it, there will always be another cubicle to fill.
By practicing intentional lifestyle design, you will be well on your way towards tearing down the barriers to freedom and fun placed there by people who want you to be a lifelong employee and consumer.
Life is short and you can’t take it with you. Might as well enjoy it.