When we think about lifestyle design the common themes are freeing ourselves from a full-time job thanks to freelancing or running an internet business, freeing ourselves of time and energy-draining activities and people, and generally gaining control over our lives so we can live it on our own terms. To travel. To study. To just laze in the sun for days on end with a good book. To launch the next Facebook. You name it.
Thinking about this recently I realized that a missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of lifestyle design is the issue of personal relationships – both in terms of friends and in terms of a deeper, more meaningful relationship with a life partner.
After all, if you’re working hard at a full-time job *and* spending your spare time working online to build up your internet business (as many of us are) then there are a number of questions you need to consider if all your efforts aren’t to be wasted.
Firstly, essentially having two “jobs” severely limits your free time. Are you spending enough time with your friends and with your partner or is your lack of free time while working on your escape plan going to cause issues in your personal relationships? I can tell you that the combination of a job and a business has cost me at least one long-term relationship in the past so be careful – it can happen.
And if your escape plan causes friction at home then it may be necessary to make some difficult choices. Are your lifestyle design plans more important than your partner? Or are you willing to throw all your dreams away for your partner? If you did so, would you simply grow to hate them for forcing you to live a life you dislike?
The second question assumes that you finally achieve your goal and can finally quit your job. Suddenly your new-found freedom opens up all sorts of options and possibilities. For example, even if you’re paying your share of the bills at home, is your partner going to consider you “lazy” if you only work a few hours a day and spend the rest of your time goofing off and enjoying yourself? Are they likely to get jealous?
Worse, will any of your friends or your partner actually be available to spend time with if they’re all working in full-time jobs? Suddenly there is a risk you could feel lonely in the daytime while everyone else is busy; or does the idea of meeting new friends who you can hang out with during the day excite and inspire you? And again, will your other friends and family get jealous if you’re always out with your new friends?
And what about long-term travel? Six months travelling around South East Asia working from wifi hotspots and coffee shops? Surely that’s no problem for the “new rich” but what about your friends and partner? Can they too afford to take time off work to join you? Do your income goals include either funds to enable your partner to quit their job altogether, or as you gain success are you going to teach them (if they are interested) what you’re doing and how to do it so you are both financially independent?
Which brings us neatly to a whole new story. Are you keeping your lifestyle plans to yourself? If so, why? Or have you shared them, only to find people pouring scorn on your ideas and telling you that you of all people couldn’t make money on the internet? To stop dreaming and knuckle down. That you’ve got responsibilities and a job you should be focusing on rather than reading travel books and jotting down internet marketing ideas. Or are you open and honest and including your nearest and dearest in your plans? Are they as supportive and focused on the end goal as you are?
I suppose the aim of this short post is simply to act as a reminder – a wake-up call – to carefully consider how your lifestyle design goals will affect your personal relationships (and vice versa).
So how have your friends and family reacted to your own plans? Have you told them your goals? How do you balance a social and family life with a job and freedom-seeking business-building time? Is it a sticking point in your own relationship? If not, why not? Please leave me a comment and let me know…