Sunday, July 13, 2014

One Year as a Minimal Nomad: Year 28

In a life full of unnecessary attachments and meaningless possessions, what are the things you really NEED to live a complete life? This was the question that refused to leave my head at my previous birthday. So i decided to test it out. I set out to live a year with just 50 possessions, one ruck sack and no place to call home. This year as i turned 29, i finally got a place of my own again - but it wont ever be like any house i have lived in before. Coz within it, in spirit, will always live this one year i have just lived - One year full of learning, experiences, lessons and memories. These are the little gems I have salvaged from it all:

1. Understand Ownership. Own things that You Need. Don't let things Own you. 
If everything you own is subject to an EMI, your life is for rent. You are a slave. When will you live your own life? If something are not absolutely essential for your life, don't let it weigh you down. For as much as possible, you are at your closest to being invincible when you are at a point where nothing is SO ESSENTIAL that you just cant do without it.

2. If you have to own something, let it be an INVESTMENT, an ASSET. Not a burden. 
Own things that grow in value - either on their own, or by what they contribute to your life. Else you can always just rent it if it falls within your calculated expenditures.
One rule I consistently used in this year is the 50-30-20 rule of budgeting. 
Budget 50% of your monthly earnings for your needs.
30% for your wants. (from this, try to save 1/3rd towards a bigger want/luxury/emergency)
and 20% go straight to investments. (that can later go into larger investments like Property and Funds)

3. Don't own anything to Impress anyone. Even if you succeed, you will most often realize that those people aren't worth it. 
No explanation necessary here. Keep gold diggers at bay.

4. Its good to think that you can rely on your friends. Its great to be the one your friends can rely on. But don't ever let yourself be pushed to a point where you have no option but to rely on them. 
When time comes that you totally have to rely on your friends for something, you'll be surprised at how many of the people you considered friends are not worth that word at all. But rather than be bitter about that, focus on making yourself so self-reliant that that situation never arises that you have no other option left but to test the bond you consider true friendship. And so strong that you can be the friend that can be relied on when such a situation faces those that consider you a friend.

5. The greatest family you have is not always the one you were born into, but the one you have nurtured around you. 
Family is an institution created by society. But what it means in life is the social structure of people around you that help each other grow despite all circumstances - good and bad. And many a times, its the 'family' you have nurtured around yourself that makes this symbiotic structure of love, affection and mutual respect. Unlike the ones that society calls family - one that is used to taking you/each other for granted.

6. Then again, only YOU are responsible for yourself. 
Come what may, there's no blame game in life. You cant keep passing around the buck forever - friends, family, spouse, employer, stranger, whatever. You have to realize that you are a creation of your own doing and that will always be the case - and you need to live it that way. Accept a situation, accept the chaos, do what you can and what you have to get to your goals - all without blaming anyone. If something bogs you down, snap out. Let it go. Pick yourself up[ and Keep moving on. It's your life. Live it so.

7. Calculate your own worth. And then spend it wisely. Do the things you dream of doing. Even if they not for any financial profit - consider it as an investment in yourself. 
If you make 30,000 a month. consider every day worth a thousand bucks. And then when someone asks you to do something that will take x amount of your time, calculate it by that measure and see f its worth it. DO NOTHING FOR FREE. Unless, it's what you love and you consider the time spent on it as a loan to yourself that you need to compensate for by either cutting down on expenses on working harder on what pays those bills - or the best option - turning what you love doing, into what makes you your money. Which ideally speaking, should be the case in the first place. But we don't live in utopia, and i understand that.

8. Simple things can become luxury, if you've known their absence deep enough.
A hot water bath, a soft bed to sleep in, a good nights sleep, having someone to pour your love into, having a heartfelt conversation, intelligent company, so many little things can mean so much more when you have known their absence and how it feels.

9. Work like an Artist, Party like a Rockstar, Live like a Monk BUT all through this, don't forget to Invest like a Banker. 
Work with all your passion set ablaze, have fun till the worlds a blur of pleasures, be as unattached to material things as you can but always keep in mind that in a material world, money is a god. If you love travelling, you need money to travel. If you love painting, you need money for supplies. Even if you live entirely like a monk, money is what will buy you your food. Even temples have donation boxes. So never underestimate the importance of wise financial planning. Build towards a financial background that even if you are living like a monk, your investments are earning you money like a tycoon. Understand the power of silent assets early on and invest towards them. Build assets that will keep adding to your paychecks even if you go off on a vacation or can't work for months. The sound sleep of a man who knows that tomorrow wont be a fight against hunger is a sleep greatly undervalued.

and finally,

10. Life is too short to be spent on valueless jobs, pointless relationships, fake people, passionless attachments and fake displays of wealth or emotion.
Treasure your current relationships. Be 110% into whatever you do. Live in your NOW. You have one life. Live it like its yours and no one elses. Live it like you could die tomorrow, but while doing so, remember that life only exists as long as this body does - so keep your financial and physical fitness secured as if you would be living forever.

I guess in a nutshell, what year 28 taught me is that Life is best lived with the heart at abandon, and the head in reigns. 
Keeping all of this in mind as i settle down into a place to call home again, looking forward to the new experiences and lessons of year 29 now.

- Pushkaraj S Shirke

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