I’m currently in Taipei, Taiwan visiting my girlfriend. We’re currently doing the last distance thing (13 hour time difference) so it’s nice to be together for a change.
On this trip I started to think about how the culture embeds a certain life to the kids from a young age. It’s not at all unfamiliar in America too. It is always study hard, make good grades, get into a great college, get a good job, get married, have kids, and work until it’s time to retire. Life is made to be linear. There’s no time to jump off the track when the train is moving.
When thinking of my relatives or the friends that I know who were born and raised in Taiwan that is their life. That’s how my parents are. Of course they love to go out, see friends, and travel but all those times are saved for nights, weekends (sometimes) and holidays (few and far between). I do not see a culture that is accepting of a lifestyle redesign, finding a mobile lifestyle, and not working for work sake. I think mentioning it to a parent here would be more of a shock than back in the United States. Just a little though.
I’ve seen “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris translated in Chinese and sold in bookstores here but I don’t know how well it has sold. I guess it’s sounds absurd and passed over.
Just last weekend I met my girlfriend’s cousin who has the cutest three daughters I have met. The are 2, 5, and 8 years old. I instantly bonded with the older two and they liked the big playful kid inside me. We spent Saturday and Sunday with them around Taipei. Their dad wasn’t there both days. I asked the oldest daughter where her dad was. She said working. I then realized before my girlfriend never mentioned their dad when she would hang out with them on the weekends. This time I asked her where he works. She said in real estate. It makes sense. The busiest time for real estate is on the weekends but also the time when the kids are free from school. She said he only has four days off a month. I thought that’s terrible.
Yes he does have to work to support his family. Yet he’s missing out on so much of their childhood. Maybe he’s come to accept it. I don’t know because I’ve never talked to him. Maybe he’s at work on the weekends wishing he was out playing around at the park with them. I’m not sure. I just know when I hear about that type of work and life balance, it’s far from what I want.
On the other end, I have a friend in Florida who is his own boss, who works from home, and on some days when he drops off his young son to school, he is the only dad there. He’s not uncomfortable he’s the only dad there. He’s appreciative he can do that. That is a much cooler scenario.
I want none of the former and more of the latter. I want something different. This is what I want spoke in present tense (it’s more powerful).
I have the freedom to have my own schedule. I have the freedom to live and work anywhere I have an internet connection. I have the freedom to take a mini-retirement and go live in another country if I choose. I am earning a very comfortable living with out sacrificing my life and free time. I am working on projects I am passionate about.
If that sounds like you then we have something strong in common. If you tell 9 out of 10 people that, they will think it’s impossible. To make money and have freedom? Yet if you’re like me and reading online entrepreneurs like Yaro Starak, Darren Rowse, Corbett Barr, Pat Flynn, Chris Guillebeau, and Tyrone Shum to name a few from a much larger group, you know it not only does sound crazy but it is possible. They have the freedom, they make a comfortable income or more, and they absolutely love what they do. The perfect trifecta.
So what are you doing right now to make sure you have a great work and life balance? Are you on the right path?
Photo by Prince Roy