Published by Johnny Ward on March 04, 2011
I remember growing up and people saying to me that your school days are the best days of your life so make the most of them. This scared me. Then, at university, even more people told me that your university days are the best days of your life so I should treasure them. To be perfectly honest, this terrified me – if the best days of ours lives are behind us at the tender age of 22 then what does life really hold for us all….
Well, since leaving school and uni behind I’ve been living and traveling abroad for over 5 years, through 50 countries or so, met some of the best people imaginable, done things I never thought I’d get the chance to do and genuinely have had the best time of my life. Long may it continue! Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time at school, and my time at university even more, but anyone who says they are the best days of your life is wasting the opportunities that they are lucky enough to have.
Social conformity dictates that we go to school, go to uni, get a job, work 9-5 until we get a promotion that allows us to work 8-6 for a 10% payrise. I don’t know at what point in the development of mankind that society decided we should work for 5 out of 7 days each week dreaming of the 2 week holiday in Spain that you get to have each year. Society needs to have a good, long look at itself because I just don’t think that’s right.
We have one life and it’s very short. Our youth, even shorter. Do we really want to spend the majority of our best years working and saving for a retirement that might not even come? If we are entirely honest with ourselves no-one wants to do that and it is that honesty that gave birth to the concept of lifestyle design.
Lifestyle design is a concept that discards the old theories on what you should do in life, but talks about doing what you want to do. Living a life that puts a smile on your face every morning when you wake up at 10am. It’s about working out a way to live your life in the way that you want to, working how you want to work, it allows you to travel the world, meet awesome people and generally live an exciting, exotic life – and it’s really not that hard!
Lifestyle Design got me thinking of these old idioms about “your school/university days are the best days in your life”, and I wondered why people thought that. So I wrote down some of things that may caused that mindset. At university/school:
- You have lots of free time
- You can wake up when you want
- You have long holidays
- You don’t have a lot of things tying you down
- You have the liberty to make free choices
- You can look forward to your future, a future of endless possibilities
- You’re not jaded by a lifetime of long days, overbearing bosses and grey suits
- You constantly meet other people and your social life is active
So it’s not necessarily that being at school/university was the best time in your life, it’s the things associated with your lifestyle at university that caused it to be the best time in your life.
How about if we recalibrate our thoughts, our preconceptions, and our biased opinions about what is expected of us as we move into adulthood for a while – is it truly necessary to work 5 days out of 7 (over 70% of your week)? I categorically say “not at all”. All the things you loved about your school or university days can be had again, and more.
In the five years that I have been living my dream, I have travelled continuously around the world for years, worked 3 hours a day, 4 days a week in Thailand for a year, dipped into office life in Australia to earn enough money to start my businesses in Bangkok, played with kids on a Korean English camp for a couple of months and I’ve just finished an amazing Cape Town to Cairo trip through Africa before moving to Thailand. I’m telling you all of this not to brag about my lifestyle, because I am not anything special by any degree, but to let everyone know that anyone can live like this if they choose to. Anyone.
I will continue to write about lifestyle design, how to live the life you want to live but rest assured none of this requires a huge bank balance. You don’t have to be rich to live rich. If you’re interested in shaking up the status quo and getting out to see the world, stay tuned because I want to help people make the step into this lifestyle. Remember, you can live the life you want to live – you just need to recalibrate your preconceptions and the rest will follow.
*If you’re getting lost in the trappings of day to day life, check out some resolutions that can help change your year