Downshifting to live a simpler life

Escaping the rat race

Why Downshift?

Some people thrive on the stress and strains of the 'rat race' and those types are important because without them we'd all be Basket Weavers !

But for some, it's going with the flow when deep down we
have an itch to really do something we want to do. We have adream and this dream becomes stronger until such time as the existing job just becomes routine , affects our health and often the family life as well.This is when the urge kicks in, sitting on a train which is 30 minutes late after a 12 hour day in the office where you've achieved nothing or you have achieved something and got no thanks for it.
You want the right of life to lead your own destiny - life is not a practice run.At the end of the day, only you know 'why'.

Family and Friends
It's no good doing it if the family can't come along as well and you have the
full backing of them, especially your partner. With them on board, you're more than half way there because they will enjoy your enthusiasm, share your ups, share your downs and it'll be for you all and not just for you.
If you're in a really well paid job and and your socialising reflects this, you'll soon find who your real friends are ! I've lost a few but I've gained so many. Most will think you've 'thrown a wobbly' but - so what !!!

Financial effects of Downshifting
This is always going to be the ugly bit. Often, because of 'ageism' , people are forced into a kind of downshifting situation. You're over 50, lost your good job and the only thing going is a shop assistants job. But if you've planned it, the pain is less.
Again, work out a pretty awful scenario for your first year and work a business plan around it. I'm sure the Bank have seen it all before when the happy smiling downshifter walks in and says' yeh, no problem mate' !! You show them the worse situation and you will avoid the offers of Bank loans which are all too easy not to refuse.
I had some savings and put away the first years rent on my property. I used this until such time I didn't need it - it acted as a cushion and lessened some of the worrying.
Gone are the regular cheques coming in and in are the cash flow problems and waiting for the money. I go on the 'think small' theory. The larger companies take ages to pay you but if you've downshifted into the public service domain, make sure you get the 'pay as you work' jobs. This has been my main problem and I now try to plan weeks where I'm working half invoice and half paid on completion jobs.
You can also lessen the blow by having a part-time job as well. Although you might be earning less pro rata than doing the real job, it's a steady income you know you're going to get.

Self Pride in a new life
I've put this in because I think we all have ego's and it's perfectly natural.
You've had umpteen years of saying "I'm a senior manager with 200 staff, a company car and a holiday in Africa every year". Now you're saying "I'm a gardener and odd job man".
Surely quality of life is happiness, contentment and going to bed saying "I like this". If you've got that, you are a proud and privilaged person. But it is something to consider.

For seven years I loved my job on the railway, I worked with many fantastic people who made me laugh, made me work well and motivated me into doing, what I felt, a pretty good job. Before the railway I constantly had work which I liked doing -
I was lucky I guess.But I always said, the day I wake up and say "Oh God, I've got to go to work today", I'd give up and find something else.Nothing against anyone on the railway (well, except one or two!), that day came and it wasn't a one off. I was thinking it every morning and it became apparent in my health and wellbeing.

Is it a time to wait, reflect and think positive?

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'No matter in which direction a tree falls, it will lie where it fell. When the clouds are full, it rains. If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never sow anything and never harvest anything. Ecclesiastes 11 .


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