Freedom and Fear

Dear Steph,
First of all there are no words to express how much I am thankful for the time you dedicated to write your book and to share with us your thoughts about life, death, fear and love. THANK YOU.

You have a way to describe your feeling and to put tastes, colors and energies on your emotions which is delightful. Especially, I like your comparison between Moab and Yosemite. I haven’t been in Moab yet but Canyonlands charmed me with a spiritual strength I had never felt before. It was like the perfect fusion between emptiness and infinity; it brings another dimension to the reality of life. In the opposite, in Yosemite, I felt trap between vertical gray walls, so uncomfortable. When everyone asked me about how wonderful Yosemite has been, I was quite ashamed not to find any exciting emotions to share about it.

Personally, it took me a while to find the balance between my professional and my private life and to detach myself from the fear of not having enough money to be free to do whatever I want (money used to be my biggest issue when I was a student). Now, I am fully aware that time has no value and cannot be bought with money. I daily recalled myself one of your quotation “having enough money in the moment means freedom and having some money saved for the future means stability”

Everywhere, I read and hear the same refrain: “we have only one life, don’t wait, just go on the road, living the dream, etc.” But let’s be honest most the people who lives from their passion as professional climber, skydivers instructors, etc. had to go through tuff times to get there. There are always exceptions but I have the feeling that people “living the dream” do it for a couple of months/days per year/week while the rest of the time they worked like crazy and sometimes in jobs they don’t really like. Maybe I am wrong but reaching your level of freedom doesn’t happen by magic, you worked hard for it and when through difficult time as well.

Therefore, I am wondering what is the right/smart/acceptable ratio between the times to spend in a job to get enough money for “now” and for the “future” and the time to spend on things according to our vision of dream life? How long (how many years) should someone agree to invest in its career to reach the ultimate level of his/her definition of freedom?

In my case (full time job – 2 months of holidays per year), I assumed that I need another 3 to 5 additional years to gather sufficient skills and knowledge in order to do a smart move toward the life style of my dreams (which would include the job of my dream and enough time and money to afford the sports I love). On one hand, I tell to myself that I only need a hold on a few more years (which is nothing out of the 50 ones remaining). On the other hand, the need for more freedom right now is calling me badly… Is it worth it to way so long (3 – 5 extra years) ? Or, would it be worth it to mortgage all a life style project for what I call a sudden need for “wander rush” without any guarantee about my professional future?
What would you suggest? To go on the road no matter what, or to be patient and more “conservative” to insure a beautiful stable future? How do you manage your feeling when you want to give up on everything and just move on to something new even if it is completely uncertain and without “plan B”?

Once again thank you for sharing your thought about life… and sorry for my English which may not always be the most appropriated… hope you can still understand the idea hidden behind the mistakes.
All the best

Hi Maria,
Thanks for writing to me! It’s never clear, is it. I think we spend a lot of our lives wondering if we should be doing something different. I think it’s usually more a question of where you are in time, and what is the best choice for you right now. Personally I’m always reluctant to suggest chucking everything out the window. But I also wonder if choosing to change directions really does mean chucking everything out the window.

I think sometimes in the professional world, you’re given the impression that if you get off that track for even a year, you’ll be unable to ever get back on it. I wonder if that’s really the case–it usually doesn’t seem to be. Is there a way to organize your current career so you can stop what you’re doing for a while, and still be able to come back to it if you decide to? That’s what I’d be trying to figure out, in your position.

I’ve found, over time, that it’s funny because you can do the same thing, but you can do it with different levels of risk. You can do it the sketchy way, or you can do it the “safe” way, and you can end up doing the same thing. Sometimes it takes more time and effort to reduce the risk before you make your move. Some people are totally comfortable with doing things the sketchy way, other people are not going to enjoy what’s happening if it feels too risky. I think the more you can set up your life so you don’t have doubts or regrets, the more you’ll fully enjoy what you’re doing—no matter what direction you go.

Ask yourself this: is there a difference between what “is” right and what feels right? Here is what I have found: there are many choices that are right, sometimes in different place or time. And most of us keep searching until we get to the one that FEELS right.

Don’t worry too much, because you will get where you need to be. When you decide what you want to do, you’ve taken the first step to getting there. You don’t have to know how you’re going to get there, you just have to know that you WILL get there.

And no, there is no easy way, no matter what it looks like from the outside. When you look at someone who is successful or living the dream, never forget that you aren’t seeing the years behind, or the years ahead, of the moment you’re seeing right now. You have to find your own dream, and find it your own way and in your own time.
🙂 Steph

  • “Looking down or looking up”

    It’s all in the perspective
    A chasm or expanse
    The point of view elective
    To choose is to advance

    Anyway, good luck with your decisions. I’m sure you will do just fine.

  • JimF

    Time is all we have. It is really the only commodity. The key to having to spend less time working in a job to do the thinks that make us happy is to ensure that we spend less. Control our expenses and those things that take up our time. Our society is built around the idea that the stuff will make us happy that the gear will make our experiences better. The truth is the gear just creates fewer experiences because we have less time to enjoy it because we are paying for it both in a monetary way was well as other ways. Steph talked in an interview about having a kitchen is a great luxury but that it also means we have to clean it up and it takes a bunch of our time. Our life is then spent paying for it cleaning it etc etc. I have a family 2 kids and have been working in the same job for 20 years!!! I am about to leave my job and go into part time consulting. I see myself and every one around me getting sucked into the rat race buying crap that we don’t then have time to use. Having a mortgage and having to pay for this and that. Basically we are all so lost in and consumed by the stuff. Then because we are tired from trying to pay for all of this junk we turn our selves off by watching TV?!?!? Our society is sick the reality is buy less spend less and this = have more. More time, more experiences, and more life. But we also need to make sure that every moment we are doing what is important and not just wasting it watching TV or surfing the internet.

    Thank You Steph for stepping out and living a life worth living.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more and congrats on the new move!


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