Creating time wealth

You know those people on Instagram and Twitter who seem to live lives of perpetual vacation, yet rent apartments in pricey New York City and are always dressed to the nines? You know who I mean? I sit there, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, stop on one of these fantasy-life accounts’ photos, and can’t help but wonder:

“How did they create this life? Can they sign me up? What are their secrets?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of working in a way that is independent of a location. I see those Instagram accounts and am instantly envious, but when it comes down to it, I know these people weren’t handed these seemingly carefree, adventurous lives. They had to work for them and they had to make decisions that would take them there. But how?

I am on a mission to create a life for myself that encompasses all of my passions and a life that allows me to freely express them in the ways that I want — be it through writing, photography, blogging, or anything else that might happen to tickle my fancy. I don’t want to work less hard, but I want to work smarter, allowing more time to enjoy the simple things in life. I don’t want to work less, but I want spend my time working on projects and endeavors that fuel my creativity and passions and soul.

As Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, calls it, I want to create time wealth.

So you’re reading this like, ‘Duh, everyone wants that.’

MajorityPauseReflectAnd I know everyone wants that… but the thing is, not everyone does that, and I know that it really is a doable feat. Not everyone “lives their dreams” and not everyone pursues goals that would satisfy their true selves. A lot of people probably don’t even know what they really, truly want, because they’ve bought into the idea that you have to earn time to pursue your passions. The idea that you have to work yourself into an exhausted, burnt out state just to squeeze in a “relaxing” weekend at home on the couch or at the same bar week after week. Maybe they’ve forgotten that life just doesn’t have to be so damn hard. It’s just really doesn’t. It doesn’t have to be so dull.

To me, working smarter and on things that you are passionate about just makes sense. Why would we try to do it any other way? Sure, someone needs to be the trashman and someone needs to be the bagger at the grocery store – jobs no one really wants or is “passionate” about (as far as I know). And to be frank, that sucks.

sufferimaginationBut for those people who go through high school, go through college, go through any type of training just to end up in a job that you dread going to everyday … really, what is the point? Is that really all life is about?

For those people who are content with working jobs that don’t particularly enthuse them and are content with just picking up a paycheck at the end of the week – good for them, I guess. Maybe my way of thinking just isn’t for them, and I wouldn’t want to force any way of thinking onto anybody, because I sure as hell can’t stand anyone trying to dictate how I should live my life.

My question is for those who HAVE recognized their unhappiness. I want to hear from those people who realized that there is so much more to life than to just go through the motions and float on by in a basically-comatose state. Those who have come alive and are striving every single day to make their lives into a work of art: How did you do it?

ComeAliveWhat was it that pushed you off the edge? What inspired you to take the leap? Once you took that leap – how did you move forward? What drives you every day in the direction you want to be going in?

And I have even more questions, more practical ones: How do you literally sustain yourself without a steady income? Do you write/freelance — and do you make enough money to pay your rent, your bills, to travel? Do you work part-time? Did you start your own business? How did you know where to start? I’ve got a million ideas for how I want to spend my time, but determining how to sufficiently finance it is spinning me round in circles.

I want to have an open discussion with people who have felt stuck, fought through the frustration and struggles and darkness, and decided to open the blinds. People who were “sick of the deferred-life plan and wanted to live life large instead of postpone it.

How did you decide that you were going to start living the life you really wanted?

How did you create your own time wealth?

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  • Reply Laura Hilger

    Way to go with this post!!! I use to be a counselor for high school students and I called those types robots. Those people who get up, run through the motions, and go to bed. Repeat. I use to profess to my students that they needed to go against the grain and NOT become one of the majority! We need leaders of their own lives. I don’t have any great tips for you-I happen to have a career where I get to work in education and travel, but I for sure work full time. I manage my balance by dictating it into my life. I ensure that I travel as much as I can make time for within my balance. I love my life. Three thoughts though: be patient. Follow the directions and opportunities that are in front of you when they happen, but only if you’re ready, and only if they align to what you want in life. A lot of people get stuck because they let other people’s ideas of what they should be doing dictate their next steps. Secondly, don’t give up on your goals. I worked in bars and restaurants for years to make ends meet, but I always had goals for myself. I always think about my goals. Third, always have a vision for yourself. Maybe you can’t answer the question, “What do you want to be doing in 5 years?”, but maybe you do know where you want to be, or what you want in 1 year. Craft your goals around that vision. I hope this helps a little bit. I wish you the best-the first step in everything we do is desire. Kudos to you for wanting to avoid the robot status.

    November 5, 2014 at 11:50 pm
    • Reply Kristen Hopf

      Hi Laura. Thank you so much for all your words and advice, it really means a lot to hear that I’m not crazy – especially coming from a former counselor. The thought of going through the motions every day for the rest of my life is terrifying & I plan on figuring out a way to avoid that life at all costs. Thanks again for your encouragement!

      November 6, 2014 at 8:16 am
  • Reply Marcella Denada Putri

    Oh my, I’ve also been thinking about this. I’m still young and want to travel the world, but to reach that, I have to work and earn some money where at the same time, we’re growing up and getting old.

    November 6, 2014 at 3:43 am
    • Reply Kristen Hopf

      Exactly! It’s such a cyclical dilemma!

      November 6, 2014 at 7:52 am
  • Reply FCM

    At the moment my “time wealth” was created through being a slave to the system for 40 years. I dragged myself back and forth to a printing job for 30 years. Then I had the brilliant idea to open my own printing business. You start a business thinking, “yes, I’m master of my destiny, captain of the ship, commander of the ka-ka farm” but in reality owning a small business you become the slave to EVERYONE. Customers own you. Landlords own you. Leasing companies own you. And your time is spent constantly, 7 days a week, serving all those who are pulling at you. Weekends mean nothing. Vacations…what are those? I finally got rid of the printing business before I had a heart attack. Then in my infinite stupidity I opened a yoga studio! OMG…turned out to be the same as printing only on a yoga mat. Pretty much the same head aches only softened behind the gushy yoga feel.
    So…I sold that after only a year and now I’m semi-retired with some time wealth, but don’t feel like I’m dead yet. Your post here hit a nerve. I don’t really know any other way than to sell my soul to “da-man” for a few trinkets. Hmm.. good post..sorry I got carried away.

    November 6, 2014 at 9:18 am
    • Reply Kristen Hopf

      Hi! Thanks for sharing what you’ve gone through. Starting a small business definitely does not sound like an easy endeavor and I’m not sure it’s the route I’d ever really like to take – though I’m sure to an extent it could be very rewarding (especially the yoga part)! Lucky for you that you’ve got some time wealth now, I hope you do something exciting with it!

      November 6, 2014 at 9:24 am
  • Reply nomadruss

    Hey Kristen,

    When I first got out of college, I was a banker. After the first year I took a vacation and visited some national parks out in Colorado. I went back home after two weeks and sat at my desk and thought, “I’m not going to wait another 52 weeks to do that again!” Before long I was in the Peace Corps living in Papua New Guinea.

    Years later I work as a wilderness guide. I take work seasonally, live on Outward Bound basecamps, and don’t have to pay any rent. I work a lot of days for several months. The work itself it not so much like work, so I enjoy it every day. So it feels like play and work at the same time. After 3-4 months of working a lot, I take a month or so off to travel and photograph.

    Not to glamorize it, relationships are different to maintain, you grow weary of the traveling existence from time to time, but overall it’s been a good life and good way for me to live.

    All the best to you as you carve our your own niche,


    November 7, 2014 at 1:31 am
    • Reply Kristen Hopf

      Hi Russ, As with all aspects of life, I have to remember I’ll have to take the bad with the good. I assume that once I take this plunge, at times I’ll miss the structure and regularity of my current days – at least to an extent. But like you said, I can’t wait 52 weeks every year just to go off on a new adventure. I’ll actually go crazy! I’m glad you’ve lived your life in a way that works for you – it’s an inspiration to me!

      November 7, 2014 at 7:43 am
  • Reply Abbie

    I was you about five years ago. I understand how you feel right now! First, I will be a bit preachy and ask you to recognize how lucky you are to be able to consider a life lived this way! Second, no one should deny you the opportunity to be happy as long as you support yourself and do more good in the world than harm. 🙂 Lastly, though I’m not one to usually plaster links to my blabberings everywhere, I will share a few write-ups of my own experiences here because I feel like they include some of the information you are looking for — how to work a geographically independent job? how to support yourself? what is it like?

    Good luck to you! Life is a journey all by itself, and no matter what you end up doing, I’m sure you will find yourself on some adventures — of all types — along the way!

    November 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm
  • Reply Russel Ray Photos

    Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’m following you, so I’ll be back!

    November 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Glad to hear it 🙂

      November 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm
  • Reply Isabel

    Omg, I’ve had that book on my book shelve for a while now. I’ll go take a look at it ASAP!
    I love your imagination and your hunger to conquer the world! START Kristen, there is nothing stopping you, go out there and answer the hard questions. Stay late looking for opportunities, writing all your crazy ideas down and making them come to life, eventually you will find out what works best for you, which challenges you will need to tackle, and how to overcome them but START! You will do and create amazing things, I’m sure of that! I know for a fact that at least I’ll be one wanting to know about them. Maybe the life that you want seems pretty far away and uncertain but create it, even if it doesn’t turn as perfect as you want it to be, you will be so much wiser, traveled and NO ONE will be able to take away all of those precious experiences from you. Good luck and wish you the best always! xx

    November 11, 2014 at 3:43 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Thanks Isabel. Your encouraging words are always very very much appreciated 🙂 Wheels are turning – big things are happening soon!!! x

      November 11, 2014 at 9:55 am
  • Reply Where to go from here | skyward eyes

    […] route and refused to accept it. I wanted to live life on (more of) my own terms, I wanted to create my own time wealth, and I didn’t want to wait until I was 65 to start doing it all. I wanted adventure and new […]

    January 19, 2015 at 6:47 pm
  • Reply Wish you were here (notes on homesickness) | skyward eyes

    […] you might enjoy: Where to go from here / Quitting is for champs / For this I am grateful / Creating time wealth /A day in […]

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