It’s a rainy Wednesday evening and my evening plans changed due to the weather. Instead of heading out with the family, we decided to stay in for the evening. I opened a bottle of wine and sat down to write.
In my early 20s, I graduated from college and went to work for a large public accounting firm. My goal was to become a partner.
In my early 30s, I wanted to build an empire of related businesses. My goal was to become a multi-millionaire.
In my early 40s, I wanted to walk away from everything and just live a frugally. My goal was to be content.
Today, I want to be an abundant bohemian. My goal is to enjoy life.
And living frugally isn’t enjoyable to me. I love Mr. Money Mustache, but I don’t want to optimize my life for frugality. I want to optimize my life for enjoyment. This doesn’t mean being stupid with money. But it does mean using money as a tool to make life more enjoyable.
Throughout history, Bohemians have been known to live alternative lifestyles. Bohemians have historically chosen voluntary poverty in their pursuit of their musical, artistic, and literary pursuits.
In Alan De Botton’s book titled, “Status Anxiety”, he wrote:
“Bohemians lived simply, read a lot, didn’t care much for money, were melancholic, had an allegiance to art and emotion, led unconventional sex lives, and … some of the women wore their hair short! Most importantly, they did not fit into the bourgeois conception of respectability. Bohemians don’t like the bourgeoisie, private schools, debutantes and ‘eligible bachelors,’ blood sports, missionaries, bores, and people who worry about their reputations.”
The idea of designing your life around reading, art, music and other things you enjoy is something I believe is extremely important. It has been my new approach to life for the last few years. I love everything about the Bohemian lifestyle except voluntary poverty. Why choose voluntary poverty when you can create abundance?
So I began reading everything I could get my hands about bohemianism. One of the books I found was titled, “The Abundant Bohemian” and was written by, Joseph Downing, who is an attorney with an office here in Ohio. In his book, he outlines the same thoughts I’ve come to about life. We don’t have to choose poverty in order to be happy.
Downing describes the abundant bohemian as follows:
People living an unconventional life are risk-takers and have a high tolerance for insecurity. They are willing to step into the dark rather than stay in a safe, but uninspired cocoon. They value art, love and experience more than things and status. They don’t fear money, but they aren’t slaves to it either. Money is just lower on their value scale than it is for most people.
They don’t watch much television. Creative expression is more important…. They love the sensual, whether that be food, drink clothes, painting, dance or sex. They have a love for, respect of and connection to the natural world that exceeds the average, even if they are urbanites. They feel a kinship to nature as opposed to a desire to conquer it. Above all, they are dreamers. They dance, sing and play the fool. They are fun people to be around.
This way of life is completely different than how I used to live. I used to be so concerned with money. I used to so concerned with productivity. I used to be so concerned with pursuing opportunity. I used to be a slave to money.
I’ve found books like “The Abundant Bohemian” very helpful and this is because they’re good reminders on how to live our lives. We don’t have to constantly be in “chase” mode. We can stop and smell the roses. We can slow down and learn to enjoy life.