When you downshift, you have to look at your real current situation and not the imaginary...

When you downshift, you have to look at your real current situation and not the imaginary one in which you might find yourself if only six of those forty-nine little balls would fall just right for you. Reality says that you must clear your debts, build up some savings and consider where you might live and the work you might do. If you are very lucky, you might already be in a position where you are financially independent – in which case the world is your oyster.

Others are not so lucky. Their decisions have perhaps been at least half made for them already. Major changes in circumstances often force people to look for radical solutions to their problems. If you suddenly realise that you are fifty years old, redundant and used to having an executive’s salary, but that companies are only ever going to interview people under the age of forty, then you have some serious choices to make. If you’ve had a serious illness and can no longer do what you did before, you too are facing a difficult situation. You can either rail against the injustice of a system that scraps its experienced workers of the unfairness of your illness or you can turn that experience into something else more positive and use it to your advantage. Downshifting provides one way of addressing these kinds of problems.

Life is so often a series of ladders: school, college, work, greater responsibility; bed-sit, flat, semi-detached house, detached house. But if you don’t feel comfortable with the conventions, you don’t have to follow them. Basically, if you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always had. Thoreau, the great American downshifter of an earlier age, puts it in a nutshell: “Life is a journey, not a station”. If you think that your life is stuck at the station and you want it to be a journey, then downshifting is one way of achieving it.


Fuente: Escape from the rat race. Nicholas Corder. Elliot Right Way Books. U.K. 1988


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