I Lived Totally Free For Ten Months

In December 2020 I quit my job of three years to start my own business. Many people, from coworkers to some family members, thought my move was crazy or dumb because the world was still in the Covid Pandemic and many people lost their jobs due the lockdowns and the disruption to various industries. Their concerns didn’t bother me because I couldn’t disagree that my move wasn’t risky. However, it was the best decision for me and my life and my future goals, which is why I made it. I lived totally free for ten months and it was awesome!

I Lived Totally Free Because I Was Fed Up With My Job

To months prior to me quitting my job I reached a breaking point with it. Although I enjoyed doing the daily tasks I was tired of the mismanagement in my department. I tried to help by developing new processes and procedures with the aid of my coworkers but management either ignored them or put them on the back-burner.

I remember the morning where I decided to put in my notice: Management made some recent changes without telling everyone on the team, including myself, and I got into trouble from not following the new procedure. My manager wasn’t too concern about the lack of communication and I knew then it was time for me to leave. I worked a few more weeks until I gave a one-month notice in November. Also, I did that because I was getting a monthly bonus since I was an essential worker.

I Lived Totally Free Due To Plans I Made Beforehand

Months before I decided to quit I flirted with the prospect of leaving my job to start my own business. I had been self-employed before and wanted to do that again. The idea for my new business came to me in late 2019 and I worked on it slowly from that time through 2020. I knew starting my own business was risky and that I needed money to live and run the business. So I made a plan to save up as much money as I could from my job. I didn’t have any debt, beside my mortgage, because I paid off all my debt as a birthday present to myself in mid-2019. I wasn’t worried about making my mortgage payments because I bought an inexpensive townhouse.

Even though I was in great financial shape I felt I hadn’t saved enough. That made me reconsider quitting my job and wait till I was 40 to go into self-employment. If I waited longer to quit I could save up more money. That’s what the number told me when I ran them. And I ran them often. Using different figures and time-frames. This exercise made me feel better but also bummed me out. I didn’t want to wait that long to start my own business and keep working under a manager who made my job more difficult. I wanted freedom from that.

If I hadn’t reached the breaking point at my job I would still be there now. The money was good, along with the benefits, and it allowed me to save for the future. In short, my job cuffed me in a pair of golden handcuffs. This is why I teetered in my decision whether to quit or not. Finally, due to the problems at work, I decided to unlock the cuffs and go on my own. Yes, I was giving up more money than I ever made in my working career with awesome benefits but I wanted my freedom. That’s the start to how I lived totally free.

How I Started My Journey

In late December 2020, I started living totally free for the first time in my adult life. For the next ten months I would live this while I built my business, wrote books, enjoyed doing nothing, reading a different book every month, waking up when I wanted, and taking midday walks. Basically, I did what I wanted.

How I Was Stuck Long Ago In A Life

Many individuals want to live this way. They want to dictate their lives without disruption from others, like their employer or the government. Yet, many won’t get the chance I had. They will continue to live with limited freedoms because they have to. It’s not the government who makes them live this way but their employers. We all have bills, myself included, and we have to make money to pay those bills and survive.

The most common way people make money is by working for someone else. Thus, they have to follow the schedule their employer commands. Which means these people have to get up early (when they rather sleep in) to commute to work (when they rather stay at home) and work their shift (when they rather relax) to take care of themselves and/or their family.

I, too, capitulated to my employer’s demands because I didn’t have a choice. When I was forced to work overtime I did it without complaint. I mean I did complain to myself or a receptive coworker but not directly to my boss. Why risk losing my job when I needed it to live? It wasn’t until years later that I realized I had a choice when it came to my employer’s demands but I wasn’t prepared to accept the sacrifices required with one of the choices.

I Lived Totally Free By Making Sacrifices

To live totally free requires a person to make various sacrifices which is difficult for many. I never liked to go without because it meant depriving myself of some comfort. And like many people, I enjoy various modern comforts. I also didn’t like making sacrifices because I was forced to do so, usually because money was tight until the next payday.

As I matured into my 30s I realized sacrificing wasn’t all bad because it allowed me to build a totally free life. By giving up many of the modern comforts I thoroughly enjoyed, like eating out or going on vacation, I could divert more of my paychecks to get me out of debt and save money. And that’s what I did.

Once I saw my debt balances decrease month after month and my savings account grow I grew fond of sacrificing. No longer did I see the action as depriving me of life’s comforts, but preparing an easier future life for me. While it took years of going without to prepare myself for my ultimate goal for living totally free, I stayed the course because I knew the results of all of this would be sweet. No, it would be awesome. And it was.

What Was Those Ten Months Like?

I lived totally free so what was it like? Each day I woke up without an alarm clock disturbing me (unless I needed to get up early for an appointment) to work on project important to me. I greet each day with calmness as I had time to appreciate everything around me instead of rushing to fight traffic. Viewing the afternoon sun while taking a quick walk around my neighborhood became a regular habit. Nights brought their own mysteries, as I got to sit and listen to the nature surrounding me, especially an owl would like to perch outside my home.

When I retired for the night I was excited for the next day. Partly because I knew what to expect, and partly because I knew something new would happen. Some nights I couldn’t sleep because my mind shot off new idea after new idea and I had to get out of bed to write them down in my notebook. Then I could finally relax enough to go to sleep.

One Question That Comes Up

“Brittany, you’re single and don’t have any kids so living like this was easy for you.”

That is correct. I was able to live totally free so easily because I only had to take care of myself. I don’t have any kids, let alone a pet .(Unless you consider the spiders living in the corners of my rooms as pets.) Thus, I didn’t have to make any compromises. Nor did I have to run by any or all decisions past my partners. And I only had to feed myself.

Now I’m not saying couples can’t live totally free, nor can families. Those groups can, but it will take more planning to do so. A couple without kids won’t have to do as much planning as a couple with kids, but they still need to. And speaking of the latter, families must plan properly because their kids need care, and food, and clothing, and countless other things. I don’t recommend this way of life to those with kids easily because things can go wrong while living totally free. Money can run out. Emergencies can happen. While I didn’t experience any problems during my ten months of freedom I could have.

Another Question That Comes Up

“Brittany, what did you do during those ten months?”

I stayed home quite a bit as that was part of my plan. Also, I spent a great amount of time writing. I rewrote and published an old novel and novella. I wrote a brand-new novella and a collection of short stories. And I started writing the first drafts of a new novel. In addition to writing I spent much time reading books. I love a nice, used book and I treated myself to buying them throughout the ten months.

In 2021 I read 20 books which is a record for me. Since most of my work and hobbies required long bouts of sitting I got into the habit of walking and working out in my small home gym. I was able to lose weight and put on some muscle, which toned my body. Finally, I spent a decent amount of time just the peace and quiet in my home. Thinking is something I love to do, and I spent a good portion of those ten months of living totally free pondering various topics. That lead me to writing a bunch.

I know some people will read that previous paragraph and think I wasted my time because I didn’t do anything cool like traveling or embarking on a journey. Yet, I lived totally free and did what I wanted. Many people would do just that if they were able to live totally free. I confess that I wanted to go to the beach during that time, and I almost did because airfare was so cheap, but I chose to redirect that money to other parts of my life. And I didn’t want to burn through my savings by traveling. The faster I used up my savings the quicker I would have to get another job.

What About Money?

Let’s talk about money now because I know you want to know how I funded my life during that period. I lived totally free because I saved up quite a bit of money starting in 2019, and increased my savings throughout 2020 because I got a monthly bonus as an essential worker.

To stretch that money I live by a lean budget, meaning I had a set amount for my variable expenses like groceries and clothing. To live within the budget I set I cooked all my meals, shopped grocery sales (so I ate what was on sale that week, not what I wanted), rarely bought clothing, learned how to repair things around the house, basically learning to live with less. I know there are people who won’t live like this and I understand. Yet, living such a lean life like I did for ten months was a sacrifice I happily made.

That has been the biggest lesson I learned from this experience: I don’t need much comfort to live happily.

Why go out to eat when I could cook at home? My food is going to taste better and be cheaper. Why seek constant entertainment through a streaming service when I could use my imagination and an used book? And why yearn for the latest game or electronic device when I don’t really need it?

Why Did I Stop?

Why did I get a job and stop living totally free? Some family members needed help and I decided to sell my house, move, and buy a new house to house said family members. Although I had my business I need consistent income, which is why I got a job. This didn’t sadden me because I was used to making sacrifices. Sometimes in life you gotta put the pause on a part of your life to do what you need to do. And that’s what I did. When the time is right I’ll return to my totally free life and pick up where I left off.

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[…] journey is long because of the amount preparation you have to take on before starting. I wrote in a previous post about this subject how long it took me to save money and prepare my mindset for the drastic […]

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