Since about the mid 80’s, the want of escaping the rat race and seeking a simpler or self reliant way of life, has been growing more and more popular.
The current economic crisis will eventually catch up with many business’s and I have no doubt the downshifting trend will increase, even on a weekly basis.
It seems there are three kinds of downshifitng…
1. The Voluntary
This is where, regardless of situation, a family has decided it is time to seek a change of life and a change of direction. This is usually, incorrectly, associated to selling up, moving to the Country and living a life of bread and honey.
Some can, with money, go this route and great if it’s possible, but usually it’s somewhere between; a life in better surroundings and relying on your own destiny, rather than someone elses.
2. The Fear Downshift
This is where ‘the writing is on the wall’. A look into the future see’s nothing but doom and gloom. The desire to do well goes and in fear of the worse, you move out before they move you out.
This is a shame. If you do feel this, maybe waiting for a possible pay out is beneficial, but the fear thing is quite understandable.
3. The Forced Downshift
Basically, you’ve lost your job and can’t find anything which will substitute the pay or maybe the enjoyment you had of working there.
This is like going into nothing, but with a bit of luck you’ll have a few pounds at least out of it and you may like to consider a similar lifestyle to mine (be careful!!). This is basically not putting all your eggs in one basket and fleeting between casual jobs to keep you going.
On a personal level, I downshifted 8 years ago and to be honest, this year is the first where I’ve actually been fairly head above water financially – but it’s not 31st. December yet !
So, with all that’s going on around us, I believe there’ll be many people out there next year joining in the self reliant lifestyle, more than we’ve ever been before.
For those who may fear it, work at it and it will reap benefits thricefold. By really looking at your expenses, overheads, taking a more frugal attitude and keeping your ears and eyes open for all the freebies and cheapies there are out there, it can be done.
In 2000 I was earning double the amount I am now, but I live in the same house, don’t go hungry, am surrounded by many great helpful people, see more of the family, have found new talents, eat my own food and still afford the very occasional evening out !
There have been some very dodgy times, but you learn to get through those and when you do, you’ve learnt even more about yourself and more ways to survive next time.
To those who are going to join the ‘2009 Downshifters Club’, welcome, you’re in good company and in 8 years time, could be saying it was the best thing that’s ever happened to you!
The Down the Lane Website is basically a story of downshifting and I hope highlights both the good times and bad. I do not suggest in any way atall that you may consider following my particular style though !
PS – I’m 60 !