Sunday, 10 June 2012


I have recently come in to some freedom.  Whilst this is something I have been seeking for a while, I am now a little bewildered by the variety of ways I can use it.  In an attempt to find clarity and direction I am going to try to weigh up the pros and cons of some of my options.

Maintain Status Quo
·      I have a cute house which I rent, so I am not tied down and my landlord’s ace.
·      The Lincolnshire Bombers Roller Girls.
·      I have a secure job which I’m good at and I like.
·      I could take some time to learn some more stuff; quite fancy getting a physics degree, starting piano lessons again or learning vehicle maintenance.
·      The crushing sense of disappointment at not doing something fabulous (unless I get that physics degree).

Relocate Down South
·      Closer to sisters and their families.
·      Warmer.
·      Could get a job quite easily.
·      Would have to live in a shoebox.
·      Plus the cons of previous option.

Seek Teaching Job Abroad
·      Could probably get one fairly easily.
·      Get to live abroad for a couple of years with a decent income – security and a base for travel.
·      Get it out of my system.
·      Couldn’t do it until next September (that’s not necessarily a problem, though I’ll be the wrong side of 35 by then, which’d make me a bit of an oddity, I think).
·      Faffy.  (This is a spectacularly lame thing to include as a con, but I don’t like paperwork.)

Take a Sabbatical (assuming I could get work to agree – there’s no precedent, but I can be fairly persuasive)
·      Job to go back to.
·      Loads of options; travel, write, travel, study, write, travel.
·      Would have to go back to work for at least a year after a year off, meaning whatever I did would have to stop (probably) after a year.
·      Too many choices!  Do I stay here and write and study?  Do I travel?  Where to go?  What to do?  Voluntary work?  Proper vagabonding?  Eeeeek – this option doesn’t narrow down my decisions at all!
·      Would finish the experience with absolutely no savings, no house and no plan, which would be pretty scary.

OK, that process didn’t help at all.  Total freedom is not freeing.  I can’t help feeling I’m missing something – either pros or cons of any of these options, or indeed another option altogether.

I think a lifetime of having ‘things to consider’ (mortgages, careers, husbands etc.) has conditioned my brain not to think too big.  Retraining it to understand that anything is possible is harder than it sounds.  How do I undo this?  How do I make my mind realise that now is the time to live the dream?  Is that even possible when the dream has become so buried by the reality of my life that I can’t even clearly see what the dream is any more?

At a time when the world should be my oyster, I can’t help feeling it’s more like fugu.  Suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. Karen, there is a whole societal movement of people bucking the traditional "deferred life" plan (where you work and work and defer having fun until retirement, when you're too old to really enjoy it correctly). My wife and I, after living 15 years in a nice house in a nice suburb working nice jobs, decided two years ago to sell the house and everything in it. We are now middle-aged digital nomads, meeting more people and having more fun than ever before.

    I was reluctant at first to make this total change in our lifestyle, since - like you - I had been conditioned into thinking that these "things to consider" were the right way. But then I started reading about the alternatives. There are a LOT of books and websites out there that can help you get your head out of the rut of "deferred life" type thinking, and focused on more living for the moment. Google for phrases like "digital nomads", "vagabonding", and "location independent professionals". Once I realized how many people are doing this and making it work, I realized that we could, too.

    You can read about our own adventure (so far) at It took about a year of preparing, and a lot more time than expected to get rid of the "stuff" in our lives weighing us down. We finally started our travels in June 2011, and decided we want to live in 12 different cities for about 1 month each. That's where the website name comes from. Our life has taken some unexpected turns since then, but we're better prepared mentally and emotionally to deal with them than ever before.