to envy my friends stripped back life?
lifeontheotherside · 05/11/2018 15:25
I am just back from visiting my friend over the weekend and was struck by how lovely her life is compared to mine. She lives in an excouncil house in a semi rural area, with beautiful woods and countryside on her doorstep, she doesn't have a job but works from home part time on a hobby that also provides her an income. Her husband has a professional job, earns a good wage and they live well below their means so they always have money for treats and luxuries like a couple of holidays a year, nice skincare, books etc without buying into a lifestyle they don't want. She has quite a stripped down social calander and only makes time for people and things she really likes.
She seems to have the time to bake cakes, cook from scratch daily, read, exercise, have quality time with her husband. She looks about 15 years younger than me and I am the same age! I live in the city and juggle fulltime work, a 5 year old, my relationship, my social life, parents etc all on the fumes of my empty tank. My rent is very expensive for a pokey flat and even though I live in the city I spend hours a day commuting to and from work!
When I get home I don't even want to think about food so my diet is crap and I have no time for the gym. I feel like I am missing my son growing up and the stress of everything I have to do means I often don't enjoy my life very much. I can feel a sense of satisfaction if I meet a deadline or if my son seems happy but its mostly short lived as there is always something else to cope with!
My husband and I don't spend a lot of time together. I tend to veg out infront of some crap telly while he is on his laptop. We both like to be social and put pressure on ourselves to always be out doing something and challenging ourselves but again we just end up dragging ourselves through things we are meant to enjoy rather than truly enjoying it.
For many years I felt my friend was living a very limited life but now I can see that she was trying to make a life that would satisfy her and be a life she could actively enjoy instead of running around always on the go, too busy to really experiance it.
When I look around at my friends and workmates it seems like most people are just always on the go, exhausted, using or food to cope, not having the time or energy to enjoy their loved ones and children or to just be. I envy my friend her ability to see all that at a young age and take her life in a different direction but I think i'd be too scared to follow suit. I know I depend on my job for my identity and self worth, I worry that if our lives slowed down my marriage would fail or that I wouldn't have the inner recources to make a life for myself outside the mainstream life script.
I thought i was succeeding but now at 40 I wonder if I really made any choices at all. Does anyone else feel like this?
pippistrelle · 05/11/2018 15:34
I know what you mean, OP. I think that, for a lot of people, the wisdom to know when and how to step off the treadmill comes with age. Sounds like your friend got there a bit earlier.
But it's important to note that we can crave and need different things at different stages of our lives. And while going out to buzzing bars and clubs every night (for example) when you're 25 is great fun, it's probably not when you're 45. Of course, it might still be for some people..
Bottom line. actions have consequences and it does no harm every now and then to have a look at your actions, their consequences and evaluate whether they're still fun/ good for you and your situation, and work out what changes you want to make. Sounds like that's where you are now.
SleepingInYourFlowerbed · 05/11/2018 15:39
Your friends life sounds similar to mine, although I work part time. I've never enjoyed rushing about and being busy so I just don't do it. It doesn't work for everyone though, depends on the person.
Ohyesiam · 05/11/2018 15:49
My life is rather like your friends( not meant to be smug, I’m just easily over whelmed so I’ve made quite a simple life for myself).
Could you begin really simply by say no screens for a Friday night?you could expand on that or opt to change something else instead depending on how it goes.
I know it’s hard to make changes when your part of a unit . Would your partner do anything like Daily Temperature Reading, which is a really simple talking tool that can take 5 minutes or half the day, and really improves quality of life and relationships. Google it and see what you think.
notacooldad · 05/11/2018 15:51
I have long since scaled my life back. I don't go chasing promotion because I don't need the money or stress.
I only see friends that I want to see.
I have a good work life balance where I get a lot of time off and can partly manage my own rota. This is great for me. It means I can fit quite a bit if travelling in, work some evenings so go on bike rides and walks in the day egg.
I learned a long time ago that you don't need a lot of 'stuff' some of my colleagues are chasing the next
new car or the next bigger house which means they need more money. I'm more than happy with my lot. I've a great DP, great adult kids, everyone is happy. What more do I need?
Tawdrylocalbrouhaha · 05/11/2018 15:56
Her life does sound nice, but it is very dependent on her husband supporting her with his well paid job so she can potter around baking bread. It works for many couples, but just isn't a viable/sensible option for most.
lifeontheotherside · 05/11/2018 15:59
Her husbands income does help but she could afford to support herself on her own if need be with perhaps less holidays and treats so she isn't dependent on him for her survival, food rent and fuel etc.
Sinead100 · 05/11/2018 16:02
she doesn't have a job but works from home part time on a hobby that also provides her an income
This slightly confused me as it sounds like she DOES have a job, she’s just one of the smart few who have turned their hobby into something that generates income. To say she doesn’t have a job is a bit unfair.
Tawdrylocalbrouhaha · 05/11/2018 16:03
A part time hobby-job normally wouldn't cover a mortgage, bills, pension etc - she is indeed lucky if hers is so well paid!
GoopWrithing · 05/11/2018 16:06
I had to scale my life right back in my 20s already, because of my mental health. Add to that infertility, so no kids keeping me busy. As a consequence my life is much like you described your friend's (apart from the hobby providing an income - I wish!). I feel a lot of contentment in my quiet life, and have time for all kinds of calm activities. I can keep myself mostly sane like this, but ultimately all choices come with consequences of their own. While I'm happy in my own way, there are things in "busy" people's lives (and the lives of people with more money) that I sometimes look at wistfully.
Geraniumpink · 05/11/2018 16:10
Well, envy can be a very useful emotion to help you make adjustments to your life, if you want to. You could have a look at what is giving you satisfaction in your own life and what is not. It doesn’t have to be drastic - for example getting a menu for the week sorted, so you have something healthy for tea when you get home. Maybe cutting back on the social stuff and making time for a lazy Sunday once in a while.
TinklyLittleLaugh · 05/11/2018 16:10
My life is very much like your friends. I have friends like you OP who say they are unhappy with their incredibly busy lives. I have no idea why they do it to themselves.
I was with some friends once and said something about how DH and I sitting in the garden having a lovely homemade lunch (we are self employed and work from home) and one friend launched this absolute tirade of envy against me. I just smiled and minimised, but honestly I was thinking, we all went to uni together, did the same degree, had the same chances (actually she was from a much wealthier background) you could have made my choices.
Anyhow, to articulate this in real life sounds smug. But really, if you want a different life, make changes.
silkpyjamasallday · 05/11/2018 16:11
I think a lot of us are just on a treadmill fulfilling societies expectations without much thought about what would make us personally happy. I am at a bit of a crossroads and I am struggling to take the leap to live a less conventional life, even though I am pretty sure I would be happier I don't really know anyone in a similar situation doing it, and I'm scared to be honest! Or I can follow the path I was on and was more conventional and 'safer' option. It's really tough OP, especially once you have DC it's more difficult to take the risk as it will affect them too, you don't mention your friend having children so that is probably the biggest factor in the disparity in your lives.
You can certainly make little changes though, like carving out time once a week to do something as a family like a trip to a new town or long walk and pub lunch and more time together as a couple actually doing something. Those things make all the difference, DP and I were struggling for a while as we weren't spending quality time together, sitting in front of the telly isn't bonding, so we've changed it up a bit, we do a 'book club' with just the two of us and introduce each other to different things. Nice bottle of wine and a natter about a book you've both read is a nice easy cheap evening in.
MessyBun247 · 05/11/2018 16:11
Funny I just read something on this topic today, if you google ‘the disease of being busy’ it should come up. It really resonated with me.
It seems like in our culture that being busy, busy, busy is something positive but it is leaving everyone burnt out and unhappy. All the pressure we put on ourselves to be doing ‘activities’ all the time. No time to chill and just ‘be’.
MotherWol · 05/11/2018 16:12
Look on the positive side - now you have an idea of what a different type of life might look like in practice. What things does she do differently that you could try?
For example, tonight, instead of vegging out watching tv, could you spend a bit of that time doing some meal planning/batch cooking for the next couple of days, so you eat healthier? Or do a 10 minute yoga video to help you unwind.
I know it sometimes looks impossible, but you can change the way you feel about your life. Yes, it'll take work, and there will be times when you want to sack it all off, but you have to start somewhere, and seeing someone who's living their best life gives you something to aim at. Maybe even start asking yourself 'Would Susan say yes to this?' when you're making decisions about stuff if it helps you break your normal patterns of behaviour.
Storm4star · 05/11/2018 16:13
I'm nearly 50 and was working long hours with a long commute and I just burnt myself out. I realised I was doing it because I thought I "should", not because I actually wanted to. I was then offered a lower paid role, less hours, working from home. It's still enough to live on, have treats etc but so much less stress. So I've been doing that for 6 months now and life is so much better. I have plenty of time to pursue my own interests. I'm never stressed now. Admittedly sometimes I feel a little pang thinking I could be earning more! But I am really contented now.
Lovemusic33 · 05/11/2018 16:14
I would consider my life to be stripped back though I’m not well off enough to afford great holidays, I work part time and parent full time (single parent), I live in the countryside, I find time to go to the gym and take part in hobbies, my aim is to turn a hobby into a business so I can work from home. I try not to get stressed about anything anymore as I have spent too long worrying (it’s not worth it). I prefer my life how it is rather than having more money and being tired all the time. I don’t have a dp/dh which I think makes life even less stressful 🤣
PaulHollywoodsSexGut · 05/11/2018 16:16
There is a pretty key difference though; she doesn’t have a child and you do. That is a huge game changer just from the fact that the literal amount of time you spend on parenting in your week she doesn’t do.
Thus she literallly has time to spend in a way you do not.
roundbottomflask · 05/11/2018 16:16
This reply has been deleted
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
AmazingGrace16 · 05/11/2018 16:17
I'm striving to scale back my life.
I'm on maternity leave so adjusting financially to a smaller budget is helping.
I'm trying not to chase work and be on the go constantly.
In an ideal world I would work part time and the rest focus my energy on my family. I'm totally done with juggling everything and feel I would be much happier with less going on. I want to be able to go for walks every day, get a dog, cook meals daily and enjoy the village we live in. I'm not sure how to exactly go about it but I hope to get there one day
Oblomov18 · 05/11/2018 16:17
I too have her lifestyle, through choice. I only work part time in a job I love and have a lot of free time. I sleep a lot. I drop youngest at school and go and have lunch in a nice restaurant every other month with my mum, who I adore.
And I am very choosy about what I say yes to. I'm never that busy. I go to lots of parties and have the girls round to drink wine regularly. I go abroad for weekends a lot.
But I've sacrificed in other areas. I'm not a top manager of high flying £100k exec. Maybe I should regret some of the choices I made 10 or 20 years ago?
I recon OP could have many many of the things this woman has, easily, with a couple of minor adjustments?
Most of it is mental, attitude. Do you say yes to things you don't want to do? Do you end up volunteering for the pta cake stall that you hate? If so change that for starters!!
I only say yes to things I want to do.
Would that be a good place to start?
StephfromMarketing · 05/11/2018 16:18
what is this hobby-job that provides a good income?
Treacletoots · 05/11/2018 16:18
I'm 40 and I could almost be your friend... Almost because I do work but in a job that I love and close to home.
My DH and I moved from the city a few years ago to a village and it's the best decision we ever made. At first I was thinking we'd made a big mistake because there was no pizza delivery or phone signal for most of the time but now I couldnt care less. Our hobbies are things we enjoy and can do together such as bike riding round the local area, doing up our cottage which was almost derelict, our allotment where we grow tons of our own produce and I can't remember the last time we didn't cook for scratch.
We recently decided to cut down on plastic and found a local farm that sold milk direct, eggs, cream, ice-cream.. I honestly think we're unbelievably lucky.
You can do it. You can make the change if you really want to. I wouldn't change a thing.
TinklyLittleLaugh · 05/11/2018 16:21
I don't think having kids precludes a stripped back life; I have four.
PtangyangkipperbangOi · 05/11/2018 16:21
Me and my OH have done this, so has my sister. In the past we have had the professional job and big(ish) income and were ok but not happy. Then I got really ill and we realised what was important. We ended up in council housing. My OH swapped his career for a hands on job he could do, enjoy ,and drop at the end of the day. No career progression at all but he enjoys it and can do it right to retirement and it keeps all the bills paid.
I can likely never work full time again so fill my time writing ( small paid income) and studying/reading/etc. I am a massive bargain hunter and manage to get us at least 2 holidays abroad every year by stalking airlines and hotel/airbnb etc. I buy food in bulk and cook from scratch at least 3-4 times a week if im up to it.
My sister was the same, but came back to our home town after having her babies as she wanted to be by family. We all have minimal housing costs, so can take the hit on income and still have a better quality of life. We take our kids walking in the woods, watch the dogs paddling in the river. Next year we are going to venice and then france and this month I am going to finland with my OH. Xmas is paid for already as I spread it out and don't go OTT.
I love my life. I wouldn't swap it for anything. No stress, no hassle and we spend masses of time with each other.
Fresta · 05/11/2018 16:22
Does she have children? - because they are very ageing!
I always find that women without children are far less stressed- the responsibility you feel for your children is the one of the biggest stresses. Not to mention the ageing effects of childbearing and breastfeeding and lack of sleep!
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