A lot of minimalists seem to seek a “location independent” source of income. And that’s totally cool. I, on the other hand, have a “normal” 9 to 5 job. I clock in between 8 and 8:30, clock out between 4 and 5. And I love it. Here’s why.
My job is pretty mundane by normal standards: I’m a glorified secretary (excuse me, administrative assistant) in the financial industry. I enjoy my boss and am good friends with the two other women in the office. Together we make the days go by (relatively) quickly and all leave the office behind mentally when we leave it physically. I don’t have a work sponsored Smartphone, and I don’t know how to check my office email from anywhere but in the office. I’m in a very happy place in the responsibility:income work ratio. This is all a very lengthy way of saying that whenever I’m not in the office, my time and my focus are all my own.
This freedom lends itself well to my personality. I tend to have “passion ADD.” This year and last I’ve focused on training and racing triathlons. The several years before that I spent quilting and knitting. This is of course in addition to various and sundry other things I’ve dabbled in: photography, spinning, blogging, yoga, mixed media collaging, rock climbing, and other things along those lines. For a long time every time I was interested in something I’d think “okay, I like x, how can I make it into a career? How can I twist it into an income source?” And I didn’t like that. I was afraid that I would take something I enjoyed and make it black, put a stain on it, turn it into something I had to do, instead of something I enjoyed doing.
I came to realize that I wanted to keep my work and my life separate. My job pays the bills and leaves something left over to fund my life (bike parts anyone?). Because I don’t take my work home with me at the end of the day, I walk out of the office free and clear and ready to play. On any given day that “play” could be running, biking, napping, going to the library, the movies, dinner with a girl friend. It doesn’t matter. It let’s me flit around to different interests and ideas without worrying where my next paycheck will come from. If I decide I want to plow headlong into, I don’t know, hang gliding, I have 4 whole hours every evening and the entire weekend to do that. And if next week hang gliding switches to tapestry weaving, I can easily make the switch. I know my 401(k) will still be funded and my rent will still get paid. My mind can rest easily while it picks its next whim from the hat.