x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Take a leap of faith to get the life you desire

Nima Abu Wardeh encourages us all to live the best life we can today. Not tomorrow, today.

Gary Clement for The National
Gary Clement for The National
This summer two families I know of - who, incidentally, do not know each other - are upping sticks and moving to Costa Rica. Are you jealous? And just to nip the thought that they must be hippy types in the bud, one is a family of three children doing extremely well at school, and parents who are career-driven high achievers who have been here for 15 years.

The move is a total departure from how they have lived to date: they're going from being at the top of their respective game to the absolute unknown. They have no jobs lined up and no plan - they'll figure things out when they get there. There is one thing that they very much do know: they don't want to live the way they have been any more.

They can do this because they saved enough money to take time out and ease their way into a new, deliberate life.

Wouldn't you agree that loving where, and how, you live makes for a good life?

If you think about it, our senses provide constant and instant feedback to the core of our well-being - and the information they convey comes from what we are surrounded by, every minute of every day.

And so we should think a lot more about where and how we live.

This is today's message: we're working against our own interests. We are living for a future life where we aspire to move to a great city or country, to live the way we want to - this is usually a "retirement" plan. And to make this happen, we are justifying where and how we live today - even if we're not happy - because the money we earn will make that future dream a reality.

Do you get what's going on? We're sacrificing all that we have - our life now - for an imaginary "perfect" or at least better tomorrow - but the way we live is stopping us from having a good life both today and tomorrow. Let's be honest: we're buying things all the time. Things that don't add to the value of our life. That money is gone forever and not towards our better tomorrow. So we're losing out on today and tomorrow. We can do the "spending on stuff enslaves you to your job" argument another time - instead, how about this for a thought: live your best life today.

That's it. Short, sweet and to the point. The bonus is that it will guarantee you your best tomorrow.

A family I know moved from London to the UAE two years ago because they sought out the lifestyle here. The father is a day trader, the mother has created a career for herself training people in the corporate world to do various things better. They can live and work pretty much anywhere they choose to. They are in charge of their lives.

Should where and how we live depend so much on where the next promotion or great career move takes us? I don't think so.

True, we can't all just get up and go and be able to earn doing what we do now somewhere else. But you need to figure out what's more important: what you do or how you live. There's no right or wrong. Just the suggestion that you live a deliberate, thought through life.

And so, this is your homework for this week: think hard. About where in the world you want to live. About what sort of life you want for yourself. Drill down into daily detail: when would you wake, what would your day include?

And then do something about it.

It could be that you save more so you can work less in the future, that you come up with a plan, learn a new skill, or you realise that you are already living where you want. Hoorah.

Upping sticks and moving halfway around the world might seem a bit extreme - a bit "unreasonable" - and is all the more remarkable because the people doing it are embedded in the corporate world and are high achievers. But I take my hat off to them. It takes guts to become unstuck and take on big change. To leap into the unknown. What they do know is more important: they want a life - their definition of life.

What do you want? A job or a life? Here's a secret: you can have both.

Nima Abu Wardeh is the founder of the personal finance website www.cashy.me. You can contact her at nima@cashy.me

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