Downshifting / Downsizing to a simpler & better lifestyle

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Self Reliance, the road to more freedom

Making life work for you - by you

Many speak of me as a person who gave up a good full time salaried job to be self-sufficient, but I have to correct them. I am partly self-sufficient, but I like to call myself 'self reliant. So what do I mean by that and how can it effect our attitude to life and so on.

When we have a salaried job and working for someone, a Company as such, we are reliant or dependable on that Company or persons.We have the re-assurance that we're going to get a minimum amount of money paid into our bank account at the end of the month and this allows us to budget around that. If that lifestyle suits us, great, vive la difference, it needs all sorts to make the World go round.

In most cases, downshifting means giving up that 'security' and relying on our own prowess, abilities and skills. We are what we make ourselves.

What we don't always have is the security and certainty of where the money is going to come from and of course, should we go sick.

Getting back what you put in?

For me, what being self reliant is that everything I have is through my own efforts. If I do well, I can afford something, if I don't, I can't. The way I go about this is to work on a minimum, that's to say work the least I can to ensure payment of bills and afford the occasional treat. By doing this, should the need arise, I can up the work side. If I went the other way, almost like returning to salary and worked all hours to earn as much as possible and budget around that amount, I'd suffer huge disappointment if and when the money or work stopped coming in.

The secret is of course to make sure you can obtain that extra work and money in emergencies and in that I'm no Angel and have found myself in deep crisis situations when that's happened. Have a plethora of skills and talents in the back pocket. You haven't? Yes you have, it's just seeking them out.

Self reliance also brings in the extra's I have; the chickens and vegetable garden which produce a lot of my food, not all, but with the vegetables, enough to last around eight month's and I'm never short of an Omelette! In horrible 'biz' type talk, everything is part of the bigger picture.

Basically, success is your own doing as is not being successful. By success I mean living a life which is going to make you content, more pleasant and having time to do the things you like doing best. One thing is certain, you cn't be made redundant and in this day and age that seems to be one of the top stress factors. The fear of losing a job, a reduction in income and the effects that will have on your family are quite something.

I'm now ten years into my downshifting, self-reliant, dodging and diving lifestyle and to break that down into financial terms, 3 of those have been bountiful, 4 of those have been acceptable and 3 have been really living on the edge. I've had times where I've hidden valuables under the floorboards should the Bailiff turn up!

The nice thing about my lifestyle is that for the last two years I have finally found a medium, one which just about works and is based on the work the least you can within your budget. My income comes through about five sources. This may sound extremely big headed, but I know I could earn a lot more than I do, I could afford to do things I used to, I could have a 'proper holiday' if I wanted, but I have enough. I don't want to work 80 hours a week just to have those things, I want to work 25 hours a week, get by and only do the things which are most important to me.

I say again, vive la difference, we are what we are and what we want to be, but by being self reliant, dependable upon yourself and no one else, you can achieve that life dream.


Maintaining a lifestyle which suits our needs

But always having a contingency plan!

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Freedom is not something that can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be. James Baldwin