Recently, I just realized that I'm living a life that others could only dream of. No, I'm not relaxing on the beach everyday. No, I don't have a private jet. No, I don't live in a mansion. No, I'm not driving a Mercedes -- and I don't care about any of those things. And no, I don't have a bank account full of money -- and no, I'm not rich, famous, or have any kind of widespread recognition. I'm just a regular guy with a very modest and boring life with very little that's going on.
So, how in the world am I living a life that others want? Well, I'm home with the kids and the wife and I see my kids more times in a week than the average working parent would see in a month! I am no longer an employee for anybody. I am truly self-employed, which means that I make my own schedule, take off whenever I want to, and answer to nobody but me.
I am able to work from home on most days. But if I have to work outside the home, I am able to bring my family with me. My kids are well-behaved, they love being home with the family, I am able to homeschool them and work, and we could go on a road trip any time we want -- including to the beach. I could stay up late binging on Netflix movies and wake up late if I want to. There are only a few hours a week where I have to physically be somewhere, but as I already mentioned, most of those times my family is with me.
Now, this would really surprise you: I am able to do all of this without having a working spouse, without being on government assistance, and you'll laugh when you see how LITTLE I make per year. You'd even wonder how in the world could a family of four survive on my income -- and I am not being modest. I really don't make much! For some people, making $50,000 a year isn't much. With us...I'd feel like a millionaire if I could make anywhere NEAR that much. See...told you I don't make much!
So, what's the secret? I took the back roads -- that is, I took an alternate route to get to where I am.
When you're using GPS, you'd know that GPS usually takes you on the quickest route. However, the quickest route isn't always the BEST route, and it's definitely not the only route. Sometimes, GPS would take you out the way. Sometimes, GPS would take you on a route where there are no traffic lights, which means that crossing a road could be a problem on busy streets. Sometimes, GPS would take you out of the way when you could have just simply made a U turn. But for people who are "directionally challenged," GPS is all they could depend on, and since the people wouldn't know of any alternate routes, they would be subjected to GPS's routes.
I am a map man. I would use GPS to find a location that I am unfamiliar with and for their suggested routing, which I may or may not use. When I see their routing, I also look for alternate routes if their suggested route is unpleasant. With me, I am always about alternate routes. The reason I know the Raleigh-Durham area so well is not because I let GPS baby me: it's because I am always looking for different ways of arriving to a destination.
In the same way, there are always different routes to your intended destination. Find out where you want to go and look at all the different ways you could get there. If you just depend on GPS alone, then you'll be subject to all the challenges that the GPS route would give you.
After we left Buffalo, NY this summer, we were on U.S. Highway 219. When we were driving for about 45 minutes or so, we hit a detour. U.S. 219 was closed -- and there were no detour signs. The highway was just closed! So, you pretty much had to figure out what to do next! I looked on the GPS to see where it would take me, but the route didn't look all that attractive. But looking at the map closely, I saw a lonely road that ran parallel to U.S. 219. This road was State Highway 240, so I took that route, and man, that was one of the prettiest roads I've taken! There were no traffic lights and hardly any other vehicles on that road. It was very serene whereas the other route that GPS wanted us to go, State Highway 39, looked like it was full of traffic lights and vehicles.
Why didn't GPS took us on the pretty, serene route instead of that busy route? I don't know, but I do know how pleasant that drive down 240 was, and it didn't take us that much out of the way and it didn't add much time to our trip back to North Carolina.
If you are always looking for alternatives, you WILL find them. But if you just simply go with GPS, then you wouldn't know how many options there are for you.
It's like graduating from college and trying to find a job. Well, you can't find a job in your field, so you go traveling all over the country looking for your "dream job" and getting stressed out while doing it. After a year of searching, you do what any rational college grad would do: you would go back to school and get another degree!
Now, here was your problem: you just followed GPS. You just did what you were supposed to do. You didn't ask anybody if there were any alternative routes. Instead of traveling around the country trying to find your dream job, you could have found a regular ol' job waiting tables or delivering food while you started a business that would allow you to do what you went to college for. There were plenty of options in your own city to work in your field, but you just followed GPS.
One of the most stressful situations is to be in traffic. On Interstate 95 in Virginia between Woodbridge and Stafford is a strip that ALWAYS has traffic. For YEARS, I have traveled down that strip, and it seems like no matter what time of the day you go, you'll experience stop-and-go traffic. There is never a reason for the traffic. In fact, one of my wife's aunts who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland said that it took her about 5 hours to get from her town to King's Dominion theme park in Doswell, Virginia, which should have only taken 2 hours or less -- all because of that small strip of traffic on I-95.
Getting tired of sitting in unnecessary traffic, I looked at my map and saw U.S. 1, which ran parallel to I-95. Once again, it was a peaceful ride -- not as peaceful as 240 in New York, but it allowed us to bypass all that horrible traffic on I-95.
There are always alternatives for your life. You just need to stop having so much tunnel vision and see all the alternate routes that are around you.
Here's the thing about alternative routes: they aren't as straight-forward as the suggested routes. You have to do a little more mapping, travel down dirt roads, and drive 30 miles UNDER the highway speed limit. You may add a few more minutes or a few more hours to the trip. When GPS tells you where to go, you don't think about the drive anymore. You just follow directions. When you have to map it out (like in the good ol' days before GPS), you have to study the routes a little more and even memorize where you need to turn and all the streets and highway numbers you need to drive on. It's more of a pain to map out alternative routes, but here's the one good thing about alternative routes: they are usually prettier and less stressful than the quick routes.
I have so little stress in my life right now. No, I am not showered with gold and silver coins, but I enjoy the life that I have. I definitely don't have all luxuries that other people have, but I have freedom, I have lots of family time, and the stress is minimal. As far as I am concerned, I am living the good life. Other people would have you think that you need to be an internet marketing millionaire to have this kind of life. You don't. All you need to do is to find an alternate route, and you need to be willing to travel on it.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.