My discovering exactly what it is I was going to do with the second half of my life and how I was going to do it was no easy task. Before, all I knew is that I wanted to travel any and everywhere and document it all through writing and photography. I thought about becoming a travel writer/photographer. After doing some research, I realized that everyone and their mother were doing exactly the same thing. There are very few successful travel writers around. There are more travel blogs popping up these days for that reason. Even though the idea of talking about my travels, my likes and dislikes, as well as the impact a place has on me, was something that I would like to write about, I realized that it just was not enough for me to live on. I know that I don’t just want to travel to the usual tourist spots. I actually want to live among the locals to truly feel the heartbeat of a place. There is also a great deal of writing out there of the many 20 something year olds that are backpacking all over the world and blogging about it, trying to create an income with ads on their websites, so that they can have money to continue traveling. I didn't want to do this either, because I hate seeing those ads on a blog. At this point I knew that I didn't want to go back to punching a time clock and I wanted to be free to do what I wanted it to do and live life the way that I wanted to live it. Now isn't that what everyone wants. So I continued to look for ways to make this happen.
I came across the idea of copywriting while I was researching freelance opportunities. I ordered some books on copywriting and looked into taking some classes. After exhausting this idea, I realize that this would still make me dependent on someone else and their needs, as well keep me in constant search of new business. As selfish as it sounds I didn't want to depend on others for my success, the quality of my life. Realizing that there is just no way around hard work, which I am definitely not afraid of, but I just wanted the hard work to be something that I enjoyed and paid off for me. Then I asked myself the question that is always posed to someone when they are looking for what is really important to them, and that is 'what would you do if money was no option?' My answer would be take pictures and tell stories. But how can I eat and pay for a roof over my head doing that. Not that there were not enough photographers already doing that. I didn't want to take portraits. I didn't want to be a wedding photographer. So how was I going to make this happen?
It dawned on me that cutting down on my expenses would be the first thing that I needed to do, and was something that I had started doing a few years ago, but I needed to cut down even more.
Believe me, downsizing is quite liberating and definitely therapeutic. First of all it frees you from the stress of maintaining so much stuff. Here is a link to a list that will get you started to de-clutter your life.
A couple of years ago I got rid of my car and moved to an area where it would be easy to catch the bus or train to get to where I wanted to go in the city. I worked for Metro, and therefore I rode public transportation free of charge, so why not take advantage of it. I never would have done this five years ago, but I did it and it worked out well. I now had money in my pocket, because I was no longer paying a note on my Nissan Pathfinder, auto insurance, and regular maintenance, which was a pretty good chunk of money. Now this was easy enough for me to do, because it was only me in my household. I didn't have to take any children to extra-curricular activities or anything else. I just had to get to work. That was the only thing I had to do.
I moved into a very small apartment that was affordable in Los Angeles, and I caught the bus. I didn't need a two-bedroom apartment just for me. I decided I would not pay extra for something that I didn't use on a daily basis. If someone were to visit me they would have to camp-out on the sofa or a blow-up bed. Other than my parents, they could have my bed.
After doing all of this, I am realizing that there is still so much that I can still dispose of and believe me I am working on it.
Like Time Warner Cable, I must have the Internet and the wireless hub, but do I need to have a constant stream of bad programming that is costing me every month. No I don't. Even though there is some things on tv that are quite enlightening, it is often times information that I can get on-line. These days a great deal of the programming is on the Internet. So why should I pay for something that doesn't make me feel good. So I am going to cut that off soon.
There are some hobbies, liking knitting and crocheting that I have been doing for over 20 years, and have had great pleasure in doing so. However, I don't knit or crochet near as much as I use to but I have a great deal of books on the subject that I can get rid of for sure. My mother says that she want all of my knitting, crocheting and quilting books, and she can have them. I have some really good stuff on these subjects and quite a few of really expensive books, but these crafts don't do for me what they once did, so there again, out they go.
Magazines are something else that I don't need in my house. I have a crap load of them too. I do love National Geographic and at one time had thirty years of them, given to me by a lady in my old neighborhood, I don't need to gather them up anymore. Now you can get National Geographic digitally and I am going to do just that, because it is a great magazine and lends itself to what I love most, stories about people and places far different from what I encounter in my everyday world. It is a great model to emulate.
I am an avid reader and true lover of the written word, but I no longer need to collect books, thanks to the beautiful influx of digital readers. I bought the Sony Reader after a couple of years of scouting around. I fell in love with it the moment I started to use it. The thing that sold me on this particular eReader over the rest was that it was expandable through the use of memory cards and that you were not limited to where you were able to purchase ebooks. The Sony uses the ePub format that is becoming the standard for ebooks, and it will also read pdf-formatted material. However, it is not the last of its kind that I will purchase. I love the color screen, but up until this year, there were not any color readers out there with the same features.
Since the debut of the iPad, they are popping up everywhere. iPad still being the best at this moment, but still not serving my needs of expandability. The reason for my wanting a color screen is because I would like to read my magazine and newspaper subscriptions as well as many photography books on a color screen and not black and white.