Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Time: Our Most Valuable Posession

A couple of months ago I wrote about Debt Free Living here at Life in 120 Square feet. I said that the tiny house made it possible for me to pay off my debts and be able to do something I love rather than something to make money to continuously pay down debts.

There is something else that the tiny house made possible. It gave me back my time.

I firmly believe that time is our most valuable asset. Even as a kid I was keenly aware that life was not a forever prospect. I never wanted to wake up one day and feel as though my life was wasted. It became very important for me to get my time back and live every moment as engaged as possible.

When I worked in a regular corporate job I felt as though I was trading my time for the ability to pay off debts I probably shouldn't have had in the first place. It wasn't the fault of my company, and I had a love/hate relationship with my job for many years. It was the fault of the way of thinking that leads us to feel as though we have to work conventional jobs to pay for our conventional homes.

By reducing my debt and moving into a tiny house I am free to do the things I want to do rather than things I feel I have to do. There isn't a secret formula. I just started marketing myself as a writer and I began to get writing jobs. It is ongoing and I continuously need to market my skills, but I enjoy it so I don't mind. By eliminating my dependence on a conventional way of earning money I am able to take my time back and live every moment the way I want to.

Maybe I can meet some friends for lunch in downtown Asheville while they're swinging through town on their way home to Atlanta. When I was working a conventional job I may not have had the freedom to do this. Maybe I want to start my writing project at 10pm because I don't have any reason to go to bed early in order to get up early and commute to a job. (I don't do this, by the way - I am a rare example of what people call a "morning person".)  There is no restriction on my time and it freeing.

I firmly believe everyone can do this. It may take some creative problem solving. It may be about transitioning your conventional job into a work from home situation that is results oriented rather than based on the hours you work in a day. More and more employers are understanding the needs of the 21st century workforce and are allowing these kinds of schedules. Maybe you have a skill like writing or graphic design that you would be willing to turn into a freelance career. There are so many endless possibilities.

Time is not a renewable resource. And it is unpredictable. Without knowing how much of it you actually have I think it is extremely important to spend it wisely. I can't imagine a better way to take back your own time than to engage in something you love and live in a way to make it possible.

Are you ready?

13 comments:

  1. Speaking of blogging/writing jobs for tiny homes:

    http://tinyhouseblog.com/announcement/little-house-on-the-trailer-help-wanted/

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  2. Great blog! You really hit the nail on the head with this one. Love the, time is not a renewable resource.

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  3. I agree that time is a valuable resource. It is great you are able to do what you like. That should be the goal for everyone. At the same time, people should not feel that their time is "wasted" on a corporate job. As I am transitioning my own career switch, and hunting for a job in my new field. I feel sad to think about leaving my old field, because although I need to move on to use my new skills, my old corporate job was fulfilling. I think the same can be said for debt. If you use your debt, in a way that brings you happiness, and you maintain ability to pay it off, that too can be fulfilling.

    I bring this up only, because I had a discussion with a stay at home Mom, who had the need to continue to point out to me how she was so much more, "lucky" to be at home with her family, and not "have to" work. I had to remind her that sometimes, people feel great reward in what they do outside of their homes.

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    1. Here! Here!, Kris! The more articles I read from the Tiny House community, the more similar they appear like testimonials from AA Members who've given up the "Demon Rum" and have "Seen the Light". I read over and over and over again about "...meaningless jobs", "crippling debt", "soul-sucking obligations", "feeling lost and wondering what it's all about." Jeepers-Creepers, it sucks to be THESE people! Just like people who whine and complain about TV shows, forgeting that they can CHANGE THE CHANNEL, you can also CHANGE your job and quit spending so much! I'm 60 years young. I have zero debt! Let me say that again, "I have ZERO debt!" I own an 800 square foot house that I paid for outright, I have 6 months of savings in the bank, I own a company with 17 employees that is my passion/joy/passion and Life.Is.Good.!!!!

      It doesn't matter which website/blog I visit, I chronically read about posters who hate their jobs, are swamped in debt and want to run away into the woods. WHO got you into debt in the first place? I was raised by immigrant grandparents who came to America with the clothes on their back. When they died, in their 90's, they had a 120 acre farm that had been paid off 40 years earlier and $200,000.00 in the bank. They taught me "Reuse, Reduce, Recycle" waaaay before it became a catch-phrase. I was also taught, "If you can't afford to pay for it out-right, either save up for it or put it on lay-away." I only owned a credit card to establish credit so I could buy my home; once I got the home, I tossed the card.

      My life is rich, full, and fun! I work 8 months out of the year and have FOUR MONTHS OF BLISS, during the Winter, when I don't work at all! I read, write, bake, have parties, ski, and just chill and relax. All debt free!

      I respect everyone's right to live in whatever square footage they want to, from 84 square feet to 8,400 square feet...if that's what they want and if that's what they can afford. If you're a Trust Fund Baby like so many of my clients and you're living off of the interest, why shouldn't you have a splendid home to enjoy? As long as they aren't asking YOU to pay their mortgage, I say, Viva La Difference!

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    2. Thank you for your comment. I am glad you posted this. My intention was never to say one way is bad and one way is good - it was just relaying my own personal experience and the freedom that tiny house living has given to me.

      I think there are plenty of people who are fulfilled by their careers whether those are corporate or otherwise. I was simply not fulfilled by that and sought out something different.

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    3. Laura: I've gained innumerable respect for you with your reply back to me. Any time I post at a site that says "Reply awaiting approval", I think "Oh-oh! This person wants only ONE type of opinon and none other!" So, I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only was my comment posted but that you took the time to reply. :)

      Decades ago,in the 80's, I was seriously into Tiny Houses. As an architect tasked with designing homes 2,000-10,000 sq. ft., I'd secretly design tiny floor plans for my own enjoyment. Back then, tiny houses were viewed as "fifth rooms"; they were playhouses for kids, artist or writing studios or stand-alone guest rooms. They were NEVER intended by the people who built them to be lived in, permanently. My interest took a back seat after marriage, kids and establishing my firm. Just a couple of weeks ago, I saw a link for Alex's site and decided to join, just for fun. What I've seen, however, is that the LUXURY of having a tiny dwelling has now become an almost zealous-like mania, with one person after another trying to out-do each other with "how low can you go." I've seen 100's of youtube videos where people gleefully show off their "house"...that has NO kitchen, NO running water and NO toilet, let alone a place to wash your body!!! It's basically a bed and a microwave. I'm sorry but that's called a Dorm Room, NOT a "tiny house", and I did that as a student with shared bathrooms and shared cooking in the one on-site kitchen. WHY in the world American citizens want to give up the very items that 3rd World Countries are desperate to have: clean running water and sanitary conditions, utterly escapes my understanding.

      It bothers me greatly when people yell "Hummer! No Mini Cooper!" or "8,000 sq. ft! No, 80 sq. ft!" If you can afford both a Hummer and an 8,000 sq. ft. home and are happy, what's the problem? Most of those homes employ a small army of people to take care of them: should the maids, nanny's, dog walkers, and landcapers become JOBLESS, all in an effort for 100% of humans to live in the least amount of square footage? I pray not, as I'd soon be jobless and living in a 36 sq. ft. "home", called a Cardboard box, under the expressway! LOL

      Thanks for being a good sport and allowing a discussion. I wish you all the best for YOUR way of living and I'm glad that it has gifted you the freedom and time that allows you to thrive.

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  4. Kris, you make a very good point. I am a social worker, and I love my work. I do plan to work part time once my student loans are paid off, but I do want to continue serving others and working to make my community better. There are plenty of ways people can do that, but I love being a social worker. It's a job that can't be done from home or on my own schedule, unfortunately, and it does require a master's degree. Working with families and patients though at my hospice is very rewarding, and I would feel unfulfilled as a person if I quit.

    It's all about finding what is right for each person and the best balance. So many people though don't realize they have that option because they believe they "have" to go the "normal" route in life. It's good to question and be exposed to different ideas.

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  5. I too, always felt I was trading precious time for money. You know: Everybody has rent or a house and or a car, and things they must pay for. But when is enough enough? I had to keep asking 'what am I willing to trade off for my time on this Earth?' I am grateful for that inner struggle because I enjoy my life and my time so much now that I am free to do the things that I want to do rather than try to 'fit them in' to my life. The best gift I've given myself.

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  6. Thank you Laura! You are truly an inspiration!

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