01 Feb ARE YOU DOWNSHIFTING?
DOWNSHIFTING. Unusual term isn’t it? Do you know what ‘downshifting’ is or means?
I hadn’t heard of this term until today and the definition piqued something in me; an
excitement, a curiosity.
WHAT IS DOWNSHIFTING?
The definition of downshifting via Wikipedia, ‘is a social behavior or trend in which individuals live simpler lives to escape from the rat race of obsessive materialism and to reduce the “stress, overtime, and psychological expense that may accompany it”. It emphasises finding an improved balance between leisure and work and focusing life goals on personal fulfilment and building relationships instead of the
all-consuming pursuit of economic success’.
This resonates with me on so many levels right now in my life….a transition period of sorts that has me at a ‘fork in the road’ and questioning which path to take.
Have you ever experienced this?
I wanted to explore ‘downshifting’ further and I needed to know more as I feel I’ve been stumbling down this path for a little while now, clueless but on purpose. I’ve been making subtle changes and downshifting even before I knew of the word and its meaning.
MY DOWNSHIFTING CHANGES FOR 2016.
- I’ve begun 2016 with the intention to not buy anything new and that if I did purchase anything, apart from food, it would be either handmade, second-hand, borrowed or an exchanged item for another item of similar value.
So far so good with one month down and eleven more to go.
- I’ve been decluttering and trying to live with less.
- Trying not to drive my car on the weekends and instead walk or
take public transport.
- Buying and supporting local.
- Working less hours in my mainstream job while working on my business on the side.
- Looking for ways to cut living expenses and live a more self sufficient and simpler life.
This all sounds great in theory, but putting these principles into practise does take a huge commitment from me because, let’s face it, I’m a woman and I do like new things from time to time. I know in these moments it will be damn hard to resist but I’ll try not to weaken; I can’t promise though.
So why do people choose to live a life with less when they know, and have had, more?
‘Basically downshifters seek a life filled with more passion and purpose, meaning, fulfilment and happiness. A life to look back on with no regrets.'(1)
Downshifters also believe that, ‘Downshifters have two thing in common. Firstly, and most importantly they believe that an excessive pursuit of money and materialism comes at a substantial cost to their own lives and to the lives of their families.
Secondly downshifters take responsibility for their situation. Instead of complaining and expecting the government to do
something they take action to change their own lives.(2)
I feel the downshifters are living life on their terms and I can imagine that living this way would not be easy, at least to begin with, but it would definitely be fulfilling and uplifting. For them, it’s not about the gain of wealth but more that of time. They seek more time and a quality life, and when in the pursuit of money, there is no time for much else.
Growth demands a temporary surrender of security. It may mean giving up familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, and relationships that have lost their meaning. John C. Maxwell
So can you have a quality life, have everything you need and live a simple life?
Apparently so and the downshifters are but one of many versions of living a simple life who are paving the way.
Be aware though that we all have our own versions of what a ‘quality’ and ‘simple’ life is and for me it’s the six points I mentioned to you above and will continue to add to along the way.
A DOWNSHIFT MINDSET.
- I’m downshifting my life one day at a time.
- It’s a process and it won’t happen overnight.
- So long as I continue to make small incremental steps along the way and remain mindful of the purchases and decisions I make, it’s a good thing and a path I’ll continue along forever, I’m sure. I know I will because living with clutter suffocates me.
- We can choose how we want to live our life to meet our basic human needs which are food and water, shelter and clothing. What are you going to choose?
So, are you living your life on your terms? If not, why not?
Remember we only have one shot at ‘living our life’ and my hope for you is that you leave no stone unturned and regret nothing. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on living a ‘simpler’ life and what (if any) steps you’ve taken to downshift? How has this impacted your life? Has it improved it or made it harder? Please share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s have a conversation about living consciously and slowing down to a simpler life.
Yours in health and happiness,
(1) and (2)http://www.slowmovement.com/downshifting.php