When I think about the lifestyle changes I have made over the past couple of years, I can’t help but think of the things, good and bad, that have motivated my changes.
Past experiences of course color my present views. I don’t regret much in life, because even the “bad” stuff is stuff to learn from and to help make changes for the better. I am motivated by holding onto memories of times that I don’t want to experience again. I remember being $12K in credit card debt in my early twenties and digging my way out. I remember how it felt to not be able to pay for the things I needed because I was too busy buying things I wanted.
I’ve spent a lot of my days thinking that stuff is worth well more than it is. I have thought stuff can define me, make me fulfilled, bring happiness. And I’ve learned in some not so easy ways how untrue that belief was.
I have gone through bouts of trying to keep up with people at the expense of losing myself. If I am trying to be someone else, impress someone else or please someone else, there is no way, in all of that, that I, at my core, won’t get lost.
Through these experiences in my life, plus many more, I can look back and know what I do and don’t want to do to make a better future for myself. I am motivated to live my life the way I am now – simply and frugally – because I have been on the other side, and for me, it isn’t a way I want to live anymore. I don’t want to live beyond my means in hopes that someone else will like me for my “stuff”.
Do I see others and admire who they are and how they live? Of course. Do I emulate the things that I admire? Sometimes. I try not to fall into the trap of doing things that aren’t me, even if they’re things that I consider admirable and good. I still have to be me.
It’s been a long road, or at least it feels like it has been, to get to this place. But it’s empowering and motivating to finally feel like I know who I am, what I value, and am confident enough to stay true to those things despite what goes on around me or what others think. I know that without my experiences, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and would certainly not appreciate it. The happiness that I’ve found in simplicity and frugality and all the amazing side benefits are a pure motivation for me to keep on my path.
What motivates you? Improving after past mistakes? Watching others make mistakes and not wanting to do the same? Having a vision of the future and a plan to get there? Seeing others that are inspiring? Maybe it’s the great feeling of accomplishment that comes after you’ve done something that feels “right” for you. I’d love to hear other people’s experiences with finding motivation to live their own authentic life.