The posts in this blog may seem haphazard, but they are taken from my journey to a life lived with more intention – including intentional finances, living with purpose, and using your limited time to its fullest possibility. Today I’ll talk about some of my story, and the progress I’ve made from a completely passive life, to a more intentional, fulfilling one.
Early years – Fumbling through life
I went through high school with no thought at all as to what I would do afterwards. I didn’t plan on getting into university, since I didn’t know what I wanted to study for.
From when I was fifteen and old enough to work, I worked at the Coles supermarket in my hometown. I did this because my Mum worked there, and I knew most of the people there already. I was sure I would get the job before I even applied.
When I finished high school, I continued working at Coles, and living at home. When I came home from work, I logged onto my computer and loaded up a game. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. For several years.
I also somehow spent every last cent of my pay, even without paying a cent of rent! Most of it likely went on lunches eaten out, and buying games, or books I never read.
Attempting to change – Enter Khin
I met Khin on an MMORPG, in 2009. I can’t believe it’s been nine years already! She lived in Singapore at the time, and I in South Australia, so we began a long-distance relationship.
Khin was much more of an achiever than I was. She was making her way through Junior College, giving it her all, and on the path to University. She gave me the push I needed to get my own life together, and aim towards something better.
In 2011, I left my work and moved to Adelaide to begin my studies again at TAFE (community college, for the Americans out there). As I had some interest in it, I chose to learn Programming.
My studies progressed well, and I picked up some work tutoring on the side. When the tutoring work wasn’t quite enough, I picked up a job at Coles again, this time in the city.
Falling back into old habits
I managed to get Certificate 3 and 4 at TAFE. I was intending to go for a diploma as well, but I begun to fall back into my old habits of laziness and lack of motivation. Although I could not be happier where life has led me to, this is one of my greatest regrets in life, and made the entire process feel like a failure and waste of time.
Disheartened, I barely searched for work in the field, instead staying in the safety of my current supermarket job. I was there for many years doing the same thing, day in and day out. I didn’t see myself doing anything different with my life, in or out of work hours.
On the bright side during this time, Khin and I married and she moved to Australia. We settled in to life together, and she worked from home with her design business.
Making an effort again
After so many years of working the same job, and doing not much at all, I finally began to make some small efforts again. I began to take up writing fiction in my free time. Khin and I spent more time out and about, hiking or visiting parks and other sights around Adelaide.
Although work was the same, I began to do more with my time outside of work. Instead of my usual lazy cooking (my go to was schnitzel and chips), I began to be more adventurous, and try new things.
But, I was still eating out for lunch every day, and wasting quite a bit of money on frivolous purchases.
I am certain that without Khin’s influence, I would probably still be wasting my life away.
Discovering intentional finance
We both had a rude awakening when we had a proper look at our finances. We were just scraping by with our money, even with both of our incomes. Although we never entered into credit card debt, this was not a good position to be in.
We spent some time figuring out where our money was going to: it was going to eating out every day, and to buying things when they were on sale, or when something caught our eye.
Making the change was difficult, but very worth it in the end. I began to bring lunch to work, and we both began to put a stop to impulsive purchases. I’ll talk more on this in future posts.
Soon after this, we were able to put a deposit down on buying a house!
When we moved into our new home, we took the opportunity to downsize our possessions. Although we were moving from a 1 bedroom unit to a 3 bedroom house, we still got rid of quite a large portion of our belongings!
Out went half the clothes, that had been left in drawers because we might want to wear them ‘one day’. Out went most of my books. Out went all the little trinkets we’d accumulated over the years.
Instead, we decorated simply, only buying things when we needed it. Although we had to buy some things, from new furniture to coat-hangers and curtains, we chose only the things that brought joy or usefulness to our home.
A change of career
Shortly before we moved home, Khin’s work was picking up, and was becoming too much for her to handle on her own. I started helping out where I could after coming home from my own work. We talked about Khin hiring someone part-time.
Once it was obvious that the work was too much, we sat down and talked through our options. I suggested that instead of hiring and paying someone else, I could join instead, and learn as I went. After some discussion we decided on that option, and I quit my work at Coles.
An intentional life
Since changing work, I have lost a lot of stress that I never realised I had. I discovered a purpose in work, in creatively discovering the best ways to grow the business, in working more personally with customers, and in managing my own goals.
Outside of work, I have been journeying every day towards an intentionally lived life. I have cut back on binge-watching TV shows, or playing a game for hours on end.
Instead of those, I have been reading books. I have been writing more, first in fiction and now in this blog. I have been cooking more instead of eating out.
I have been living more intentionally. And every day, I get a little better at it.