Downshifting means some sacrifice
Together with practical frugality - you get through
You must remember that my downshifting experience is not the same as everyone else's maybe. I didn't re-direct my life into another trade or career specific domain - I became what some people may call a drifter, just getting what I could when the time seemed right and so on.
I've certainly looked around and done a lot and have pretty much settled down to a two sided work lifestyle. In the summer I work for Kent County Cricket Club and in the winter do tend to 'drift' from one thing to the other.
This has caused me quite a lot of financial grief during the winter, but it is at the end of the day, my own doing and it's something which I must sort out for when the older bones and muscles won't take the strain so well.
It's in the 'hard times' you tend to miss the better times of the summer month's and also some of the things you did pre-downshifting.
Although you may never go back to that (in many cases because of age etc. you couldn't anyway), you still get the days when you think of things which came natural to you are no longer there.
So this is really about those who are downshifting a little into the unknown and could have a few hard times ahead.
The things I miss
Again (you must be bored with this by now) it's mainly the financial side of life. In my case it's the small things more than the big ones....
Stopping off the shopping to have a piece of cake and a coffee in a Cafe.
Having the same on a longer journey by car and buying a few sweet bars to munch along the way.
Not pretending and saying you're not hungry when someone suggests the two above!
Phoning someone and suggesting going out for a drink one evening next week.
Having a sudden whim on a Saturday morning to go to a Football Match that afternoon.
Not thinking twice about filling the car with petrol, having a Sunday drive out to where the car takes you.
Upon seeing that something's getting a bit old, going out and buying a new one.
Taking the kids out for a more costly experience like a Fun Fair or just generally spoiling them.
Not having to worry about paying a bill when it comes in or the Direct Debit will get thrown out.
Not frantically searching around for something to sell to pay them!
The things I don't miss
In some ways I could say I don't miss any of them, because what the downshifting experience can do is to give you more discipline in your lifestyle and forces you to enjoy the nicer, more natural things in life.
You adapt yourself to your life better than you think you could and it becomes quite literally a life changing experience. So the things I don't miss are...
Not seeing my family because I've was too pre-occupied with my work - and myself.
The 'being owned' feeling I got from working in a routine job, working hard for someone else's gain.
Reducing and saving expenditure in my work place, but gaining nothing myself.
Having the carefree attitude of what I did, blinkered vision, not seeing what was going on around me.
Not realising the wealth of nature and what it can do for you other than just looking at it.
Not looking to the future for any other purpose than money.
Not exploring the alternatives, the 'will do just as wells' and the wastage we manufacture.
My lifestyle is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, I appreciate that very much and don't have the slightest problem with people who want to make their fortune, especially by working hard etc.
What I've also found is there are no shortcuts to a better life. It has to be planned and, like a business plan, you need to know what your desired finished result is before you start off.
I still sit and ponder my mistakes and wallow in my own misfortunes, but at least they are mine!
I recall the foreign sunny holidays, the drives in the country etc. But then I remember the wonderful frugal camping / mountain holidays I've had since downshifting, the fun and times I've been able to share with my family, the disciplines in being more cost effective, the absolute joy and buzz of my summer work, but most of all - finding ME and what I am.