I recently read an article on alternative lives, lives unlived or just doing things differently. The crossroads we reach at certain junctions which don’t appear to be anything like a fork in the road until we look back on it many years later and see that it was exactly that. There was a time in my life when I considered travelling solo but the timing never seemed right and it never happened. I went straight from school to tertiary to work to marriage to kids and have lived in the same location for 23 years. In fact, not only the same city but the same home! I’m lucky. Cape Town is beautiful and hard to beat.
Now approaching mid 50’s, with (same) husband, four children, three dogs, two bunnies and aging parents in the same province just five or so hours drive from my home, it’s hard to imagine living a ‘freer’ life working and travelling from different locations. (Actually, you may well be thinking, hell that’s enough to scare me to do exactly that! Run away!) And yes, in my daydreams it sometimes crosses my mind but how on earth would I get that right? For starters, what would I do with my STUFF, my clutter? My books? It’s enough to cause a tiny heart palpitation.
And so it was almost uncanny that I came across 10 Lessons for Living # LocationFree, a new book by Kate Emmerson and I’ve gobbled it up. I couldn’t wait to tuck in.
The simple uncluttered image of a glamorous woman sitting on a single suitcase on the cover and the almost ‘handbook’ type structure of clean white pages with bold headings, various fonts for ‘top tips’ at the end of each chapter kept me entirely focused for the first two hours of a beautiful day on my balcony as the sun began its daily passage.
It was almost impossible not to flick through it to scan the pages ahead. I needed to see immediately how Kate lives her life, wondering how it’s vaguely possible to reduce your life to THREE boxes and live clutter free.
The ten lessons are divided into chapters with titles such as ‘taking the plunge’, ‘doing business #LocationFree’, ‘wardrobe woes’ and ‘navigating relationships and building community’. I liked the sound of ‘The LAY Principle: Look After Yourself. In fact, I think that’s gonna be me over this holiday. Or actually the next few years. If anyone asks me what I’m doing, I’m going to tell them I’m practising the LAY principle!
But the book isn’t only about Kate’s experiences. She involves a number of like-minded people whose insights and experiences she incorporates into each chapter. It’s possible to imagine this type of living at the end of a relationship with no children or furry children but this need not be the only catalyst for a life lived differently.
Of course, it’s all about embracing the mindset and that’s exactly where the book starts. And it ends with a helpful chapter on relevant resources and networks which are useful to start planning.
For me personally, it’s going to take a few years of school and decluttering, but Kate has written that book too entitled ‘Clear Your Clutter’ (and a few others) so that’s where I’m going to have to start.
Ten Lessons for Living #LocationFree is a book that I intend keeping close and dipping into. If not to embrace in its entirety but then who knows? It may just be the start of that life lived differently.
For now, I’m going to get away from this laptop, try to ignore the heartache and fear and pain of this bloody pandemic and embrace the life I’m living with my feet up, my family, my books and practice of the LAY principle. Once I’ve packed my clutter and hit the road!
Here are links to buy this book: