Would Your Rather Have a Big House Or A Big Life?

The original Ruby slippers used in The Wizard ...
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Do you hear a voice in your head whispering?, “I need to be free.” Is there a secret part of you that yearns for more adventure in your life? If money was not a factor would your life be dramatically different from the one you’re living today?

If you said yes to any of these three questions you might need to seriously reexamine your values and the life path you’ve chosen.

My response to all three questions is a resounding yes!

I’ve always known deep down inside finance wasn’t the right fit for me, but for some reason I was driven to do it. With each successive year I felt myself exerting more and more energy to squelch the voice that was screaming, NO, NO NO!

When I was growing up I dreamed of being a writer.

I’d read many of New York Daily News  journalist, Jess Stearn’s books and longed to travel around the country to interview people and write books on metaphysical topics. He wrote best sellers such as, Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet, Yoga, Youth  and Reincarnation and Alpha Thinking.

I would see myself writing and I could feel how happy I would be doing it too. But somewhere along the way I got the notion that it was too risky. I opted for the safe thing, the sure bet. The job with the steady paycheck and my little dream withered. Everybody said I had a head for business didn’t they? At the tender age of 21 I figured that’s the way it was supposed to be. You took a job you were good at and you stuck to it until you retired. The only problem was that my job never made me happy nor satisfied.

They say there are no mistakes.

I feel I had to learn to be a business person and earn a living in a very conventional manner in order to complete my education on the earth plane this time around. But at this point in my life I can honestly say: Okay Universe  I get it now! I now know how to navigate the material world. NOW – can I  please finally do what I really want to do?

I feel ready to redesign my life in way that allows me to have more freedom to experience and do what I enjoy and to help others through my writing and by reconnecting the living to their loved ones who’ve passed on.

To finance my new lifestyle I’ve decided that my house has to go.

When I think of my dilemma: Big House vs. Big Life, a scene from the film The Wizard of Oz comes to my mind. You know the one where the Wicked Witch is crushed by Dorothy’s house and all you see are her red striped stockinged legs sticking out from under it? Dorothythen puts on the dead witch’s magical Ruby Slippers. Like Dorothy I realize I had the power all along too. All it took was my accepting that it was okay to sell my house and downsize. So, I’ve clicked my heels and decided, “There’s no place like home – and home is wherever I choose it be!” Now that I’ve accepted that this is the right decision I feel lighter and freer already – my house is no longer crushing me.

Over the last few years I’ve been reading more and more about the minimalist lifestyle.

I first encountered it 2 years ago on a blog called Zen Habits, written by Leo Babauta. At the time I had another blog on personal finance and one of the topics I wrote about extensively was scaling down and paying off debt in order to enjoy your life more.

When I discovered Zen Habits I realized there people who were actually doing this already. They were living with less and finding the joy in having more freedom and less stuff to maintain. Having all this stuff to contend with and then needing a big house to store all the stuff in created a vicious cycle of my having to work and work and make more money all the time. It was as if my stuff was running my life instead of the other way around.

After Zen Habits became such a huge success there was an explosion of blogs on the topic of living a minimalist life style. One of my new favorites is Far Beyond the Stars, written by Everett Bogue. He wrote a brilliant post I recommend reading on 27 Reasons Why You Should Never Have A Job.

Last week, I happened upon a wonderful post by Courtney Carver from her blog, Be More With Less. Her post really hit home with me. It’s the story of the American MBA and the Mexican fisherman. After reading it I could see how I’d adopted the values of the MBA in the story when what I really craved was the simpler more rewarding life of the Mexican fisherman.

I now know I’d truly Rather Have a Big Life Than A Big House.

So, that’s my story.  What’s yours?

Are you ready for a Big Life? What’s your idea of a Big Life?

Have you already scaled down? Tell us about your experiences, or what you’re going through.

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44 Responses to “Would Your Rather Have a Big House Or A Big Life?”

  1. Angela, Thanks for the mention! Congrats for having the guts and determination to live your dream. Can’t wait to hear more!

  2. Jean Sarauer says:

    Count me in as a member of the ‘Big Life Club!”

    Congrats on making the decision to sell your home. It’s a big step, I know, but a life full of enriching experiences fills a person up more than any possession ever could.

    A Big Life for me means that my days are filled with things that resonate with my personal values. I create, enjoy nature, share time with loved ones, sit in solitude, walk . . . it’s a simple existence but to me it’s joyful and Big!

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Courtney Carver, Angela Artemis, Jean Sarauer, Angela Artemis, Angela Artemis and others. Angela Artemis said: New Blog Post: Would Your Rather Have a Big House Or A Big Life? http://bit.ly/cCacQ4 [...]

  4. angelaa says:

    Hi Jean,
    Glad you’re a member of the Big Life Club! Finally, I am too.
    Thank you. The listing agent is coming over tomorrow – gulp. Don’t know where I’ll end up yet….that’s a bit scary. But, all I do know I can’t move on until I take this heavy yoke of mortgage debt off of me.

    Jean, I think my vision of a Big Life is very similar to yours~!

  5. angelaa says:

    Hi Courtney,
    So nice to see you here!
    You’re welcome. Thank you for putting that story on your blog.
    My guts are a bit are bit queasy right now – and my knees are a knockin’ but thank you for the vote of confidence!
    I’ll keep you posted.
    Thank you!

  6. Manal says:

    Count me in the big life club too :)

    I relate to your expereince in so many ways. I worked as a CPA and advanced quickly. After a while I realized that the perceived success came with a hefty price and I valued my freedom more. So I left and never looked back.

    I have been living a much simpler life for 10 years now and intend on simplifying even more.

    Hope the house sale goes well and you move in the direction of your heart and passion. All the best my friend.

  7. angelaa says:

    Manal, Glad to be among such good company in the club!

    How inspirational Manal that you left corporate life too and that you’ve survived and thrived! Thank you for sharing this with me – us!

    Thank you for good wishes concerning the sale of my home and moving in the direction of my passion too.

  8. Your blog post came at the right time. We are trying to sell our big house for a more simple life. But our house won’t sell in this economy! So we’re thinking of waiting a few years. In the meantime we do have a great life in our very close community, esp. for our sons.

    I, too, discovered Zen Habits as I researched blogs I liked. And I love the Mexican fisherman story which has made it’s way to me via the internet before.

    Let us readers know what you decide to do!!

  9. Hulbert Lee says:

    Hi Angela, thanks for this great post. That story was actually come from Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek, and I think it sends a great message for people to examine what happiness really means to them. For the fisherman, he was happy with with just fishing, playing with his kids and wife, and playing the guitar. It’s simple, but it made him happy and sometimes it’s the simpliest things in life provide the most happiest to people. :)

  10. Baker says:

    Hello Angela!

    Excellent post with an insightful message. I resonate well with your story as my ambitions as a writer were early on hidered out of fear of it not being lucrative enough early on. So I ventured into the real estate business, with a fair degree of success, yet my heart was whispering to me to focus on creativity and writing, lucky for me the real estate market began to collapse at around the very same time my spirit was calling me to write more. Wonderful article!

  11. Angela, What a wonderful post. Your passion for the work you need to do now (along with just a hint of uneasiness) come through so strongly. It’s inspiring to see you taking these steps, and I have lots of confidence that your Big Life is within your reach.

    It’s hard for me to describe my Big Life, given all the turmoil in my life over the past year. But it includes work that I’m good at and passionate about, strong relationships, and good health.

  12. Greg Blencoe says:

    Hi Angela,

    Fantastic post! I’m so thrilled that you are following your heart and will be pursuing your dream of focusing on writing and reconnecting people with their loved ones who have passed. This is very inspiring.

    You have done something very powerful and that is make a decision. I know the universe is going to rally around you and bring you everything you will need.

    Since I graduated college, I have chosen to do fulfilling work. And while I haven’t achieved financial prosperity (yet!), I would not have done things any differently if I had to do it all over again.

    Furthermore, I’m pretty big into minimalism, so it was great to see you discuss this.

  13. Aileen says:

    YAY Angela!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Yes count me in the “Big Life Club.”
    There are always ways. Even when we can’t see them clearly. It is possible to be financially sensible and do what we enjoy doing. I’ve had a major battle with that one and I’m clear now, clear about the totality of possibilities and how things unfold when we let them. You are making bold choices and I give you a standing ovation!

  14. angelaa says:

    Hi Betsy,
    I’m so glad the post hit “home” with you! I’m so sorry to hear about your house not selling though. My cousins from CO were just out for a visit and they have their house on the market as well. They said the same thing about waiting if it doesn’t sell.
    I’m glad you have a great life already in a community that you love. That makes a huge difference.

    I will keep everyone posted on my next move.

    Thank you so much for visiting and your comments Betsy.

  15. angelaa says:

    Hi Hulbert,
    I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. You know I forgot about Tim Ferriss and his great book, The 4-Hour Work Week. I read it when it first came out and loved it! That book also contributed to the change in my mindset that I’ve been going through.

    You said Hulbert – it is the simple things in life that make us the happiest!

    Thank you for your support Hulbert.

  16. angelaa says:

    Hi Baker,
    It’s great to see you here again. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

    Thank you for sharing your story too. I’m currently a mortgage lender so I can totally relate to difficulties in the real estate market. This too has contributed to my decision to downsize.

    Thank you for your support Baker!

  17. angelaa says:

    Hi Madeleine,
    I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. You’re so insightful Madeleine – I do have a hint of uneasiness. I know that choosing to go down the road of mediumship isn’t going to be that easy.
    Thank you so much for the vote of confidence too!

    I know you moved from Seattle to MD this year, so that must have been very stressful to go so far from home. I definitely resonate to what you’re saying about your big life. It has to include work I’m passionate about, good relationships and glowing good health as well!

    Thank you so much for sharing your comments here Madeleine.

  18. angelaa says:

    Hi Greg,
    I’m so happy to see you here. I was worried about you the other day when you closed the comments on Positive Waves Baby. If you want my two cents – keep your blog going – just post less frequently and when you can.

    I”m so glad you enjoyed the post and that you found it inspiring. I spentmlast night bringing messages through at an open circle. It was so rewarding to see the happiness it brought to those who’s loved ones came through.
    I realized I need to be doing that. It’s my passion for sure.

    Thank you for saying the Universe will support me too! I know it in m gut as well. I’m just trying to focus on having faith and not allow fear to wiggle it’s way into my frame of mind.

    Greg you have the right perspective. Do what you love and the money will follow – is not only a quote but the title of the best-selling book by Marsha Sinetar. I wish I’d followed my passion from when I was in my 20 instead of always following the money. You’ve made the right decision. Please please – invent a reasonably priced hydrogen car!

    Minimalism makes a lot of sense in so many ways – environmentally for one, which we really need more of right now..

    Thanks so much for commenting Greg!

  19. angelaa says:

    Hi Aileen,
    I feel like I have my very own cheer leading squad here! I love it!!!

    Yay, another Big Life Club member!

    You’re right it is totally possible to be financially responsible sensible and do what you love. My dilemma is the cost of living in the NY area. My property taxes alone could pay the rent on a one bedroom apartment for a year in some parts of the country. During the boom times of real estate I could easily afford my home, but those times are gone – forever I think. I wish I didn’t have to move. I do love my home very much – but it isn’t meant to be. Time to move on.

    I’m ready to let things unfold and be led to the next exciting phase in my life.

    Thanks for your support Aileen!

  20. Chania Girl says:

    Count me in, too! And I will join Aileen in her standing ovation of you for the choices you are making. Bravo, you!

    As you know, I did choose to downsize MAJORLY five years ago. I left my corporate job and then, six months later, moved to Greece, where I have taken a 75% paycut in the kind of salary I used to have. Talk about downsizing! But … look what I’ve gained: a simpler life, a richer life, and a WAY sexy husband (not that those come part of the Downsize Your Life package but …).

    Anyway, I wish you every good thing on this journey to a Smaller yet Bigger Life. Please keep us all posted on how it goes, the good AND the bad.


  21. angelaa says:

    Hi Carla,
    Glad to be among such great people in the club! You and Manal have already done your downsizing – so I will count on you for advice if I need to. Thanks for the ovation!

    When I was in my 20s my cousins wanted me to move to Alexandroupolis. They had a Greek-American school teaching English. I would had a job waiting for me. I chose to stay in corporate job here in instead. I could kick myself for the opportunities I’ve pushed aside.

    I think that’s why I’ve so enjoyed reading your blog Carla. I relate to your life as if it could have been my own – minus the sexy husband!

    Thank you for your good wishes. I’ll keep everyone posted.

  22. Kim says:

    Hi Angela,

    Congratulations of letting go and moving forward!!

    I know self-doubt can creep in on occasion. You took some of the words right out of my mouth — I just wrote a similar post and experienced similarly following college and doing the j-o-b thing.

    I’m thrilled for you and cheering you on!
    You go girl :)

  23. Mark says:

    Thank-you for sharing your story. I choose the “BIG LIFE” instead of the “Big Lie” AKA the Big House. When we travel this journey lightly we are free to be our authentic self. Your awareness is keen and is opening doors for you. Less is more, so much more!

  24. angelaa says:

    Hi Kim,
    Thank you for the congratulations! I just signed the papers with the realtor this afternoon – it was a very emotional moment…..

    Aah, yes I feel the self doubt right now. Some part of me is wishing for a magical solution – like winning the lottery so I don’t have to leave my beloved home.

    Kim, I’m going to go back to your blog and look for that post. I don’t know how I missed it.

    Thank you for your support and for commenting!

  25. angelaa says:

    Hi Mark,
    You’re welcome. I’m glad you’ve chosen the the Big Life too! Yes, we kid ourselves into thinking we can work at a job we don’t like just to make the $$$ we need to support our lifestyle, but after a few decades we see the backwards way we’ve been thinking. Scale down, spend less and enjoy your life more! No more big lies for me! Less is truly more.

    Thank you for your insightful comments!

  26. Ken says:

    The big life is definitely the way to go. You can’t take the big house with you. We work to live, not the opposite.
    Where did you get the ruby slippers Dorothy? I’ll get you and your little dog Toto too!!! I do, I do, I do, believe in spirits!

  27. rob white says:

    Hi Angela,
    Big life… without question. Having a couple houses and fancy cars I can tell everyone that nothing is more gratifying than my current epoch in life: Author. The act of creativity is the apex of spirituality and I believe that is why we are all here; to continually create ourselves anew so that we may experience grander and grander versions of our Self.

  28. Rosemarie says:

    Congratulations! My philosophy is to follow your dreams whatever it takes. Then when you fulfill those dreams you can have the big house too, if that is what you want. It is all about freeing yourself. Once free anything is possible.

  29. angelaa says:

    Hi Ken,
    So nice to see you here!
    Yes, the BIG LIFE is the one I’ve realized I want and that is worth living! You’re so right – can’t take it with you – and you should know!
    Another truth – we work to live not the other way around.

    Thank you so much for commenting!

  30. angelaa says:

    Hi Rob,
    Yes, the Big Life and the freedom to pursue our dreams for sure is the way to live. Being an author sure beats the big car and house hands down. Those material objects will not satisfy your soul for sure.
    So true – we’re here to be co-creators while on the Earth Plane – not co-consumers!
    I love that – a grander version of myself.

    Thank you for commenting Rob!

  31. angelaa says:

    Hi Rosemarie,
    Thank you. The sign went up today – sniff sniff. I’m happy and excited and sad all at the same time. I’ve loved living in my home – and loved receiving company here. I just hope my next home will have the same feeling to it.

    I cannot wait to free myself! I want to feel like a helium balloon floating freely among the clouds!

    Thanks for your comments!

  32. Lauren says:

    Dear Angela,

    What great questions to ask. I find there a periods in my life in which I need to re-ask these questions. It seems that I’ve lived several lifetimes in one and it’s because I’ve always been willing to take a new path if it seems like what’s calling me.

    Now, I seem to be at a crossroads as well and this is timely. I actually just left a beautiful home I’d created over a period of 9 years because the area no longer worked for me.

    Also, I’m re-evaluating career and have been fortunate to love my work, yet I’m expanding to incorporate something I have even more passion for!

    Thought provoking and GOOD FOR YOU for going for it. That takes huevos! ;-)

  33. angelaa says:

    Hi Lauren, How lovely to see you here again!

    It is a good question for reevaluating your values isn’t it? So from you’re saying you seem to reinvent your life from time to time? I think that’s wonderful. Trying new paths keeps you feeling more alive.

    You are at cross-roads. I’m glad you’re not giving up on being a therapist. After reading your latest post I can see how good a therapist you must be! But expanding to incorporate something more that you have a passion for sounds wonderful.

    I wish you all the best!

    Thank you for your good wishes too!

  34. I like that you’ve used the description “Big House” rather than “Big Home”. Sounds to me like you’ve realised that a house is just bricks and mortar, but a home is more of a spiritual thing. You can always buy another house, but not another life. Enjoy!

  35. Ivan says:

    great post..I can relate…when I graduated college 4 years ago I realized the only responsibility I had was towards my self…my own happiness…so I made the jump into the unknown and moved to Prague and lived how I felt was the right way for me…which meant living in the moment…learning as I go…I was minimalist before it became cool :) ..I was not even aware I was…all my belongings are still boxed up in my parents basement from when I graduated school…I have no Idea where I am headed but I am enjoying life to the fullest and learning a ton in process…

  36. angelaa says:

    Hi Claire, It’s so nice to meet you and welcome to my blog! You know I never even realized that I’d made the distinction between house and home. Thank you for pointing that out. You’re right I do believe a house is an object but a home is where you feel happy.
    And, you’re so right to say I can always buy another home but not another life! How true!

    Thank you so much for visiting and for leaving your very insightful comment!

  37. angelaa says:

    Hi Ivan,
    Thank you for visiting here! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and that you can relate.
    Wow – moving to Prague. That’s a huge gutsy move. Good for you. Yes, you were a minimalist before you were even aware of what it was!

    You know I think living in a new environment and trusting your gut to make your next move is a terrific way to actualize all the knowledge you’ve gleaned throughout your life. You’re living the words you write on your blog Ivan. Good for you!

  38. Ralph says:

    Good for you for following your dreams. The minimalist life may be the way to go. Chasing material wealth never leads to happiness.

  39. Anna Conlan says:

    Hi Angela,

    Congratulations on making the change (and on this blog, I’ve spent some time reading through your posts and will be back…)

    I bet a lot more new energy will come into your life because you’ve made space for it…

  40. angelaa says:

    Hi Ralph,
    Welcome to my blog! Thank you for your support. I’m very excited about finally freeing myself so I can follow my dreams. I do think living a more minimalist lifestyle will payoff big time!
    You’re so right about chasing money – it really is a not the road to happiness.

    Thank you so much for your comments!

  41. angelaa says:

    Hi Anna,
    Welcome to my blog – it’s such a pleasure having you visit! Thank you for the congrats too!
    You’re so right about the energy coming into my life. Now that I’ve made the decision I feel more energized already.

    Thank you so much for your comments!

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