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working towards my dream life

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I’ve noticed that in my normal life, most of my stories start the same way, and it’s the way this story is going to begin.

I was in the pub the other day…

I was in the pub the other day with a friend, when he asked me what my realistic dream life would look like. I think he was looking for reassurance since his dream life is apparently nothing like his actual life. He didn’t get any. My dream life is pretty much the same as my life now, except that I work four days a week instead of five, my blog is more successful, my house is in better condition and location and I take more trips abroad. Possibly I’d be living in the Netherlands. It did get me thinking though. It was pretty easy for me to enunciate my dream life and I’m part of the way there already, it seems silly not to make my dream life part of my goals.

working four days a week

Working four days a week, rather than five would mean earning less money. I’ve calculated that if I could do it right away, I’d be taking home £250 less a month, with a reduction of about £350 in retirement contributions as well. I can’t afford this at the moment, but if I earned a bit more, and I was more frugal, this could become possible. My immediate goals are a promotion at work and maintaining my existing spending (incorporating some inflation) when I get a pay rise - almost certainly in April.

a more successful blog

What I mean by success for this blog, is in fact more commentators. I love getting feedback from people and interacting. I like both agreements and disagreements. My immediate goal is to double the number of comments that I receive on average per post.

my house in better condition

My house needs work doing to improve its condition, when I had the survey done the surveyor said that it was in typical condition for its age (it’s about 100) and gave a list of jobs that need doing. My ongoing goal is to complete these jobs (which include redecorating the interior and putting in a new bathroom and kitchen).


Travelling means happiness to me. There are so many countries that I want to go to, and so many things that I want to see. I’ve got a list of places to visit and my ongoing goal is going to be to travel to every single one.

Now that I’ve defined my goals, I need to work out next actions to be associated with pushing each one forward. That’ll require some brainstorming.

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26 comments for “working towards my dream life”

  1. It is not often I can so directly help someone with a goal.


    I can’t resist but do it. :)

    Good luck! Those all sound like worthwhile goals. :)

    Posted by paidtwice | October 29, 2007, 12:48 pm
  2. I love reading that you are so close to your dream life already and I’m sure you’ll get there since you have goals and plans already. But I’m curious: was your friend disappointed by your answer?

    Posted by Chief Family Officer | October 29, 2007, 3:05 pm
  3. The feasibility of working four days a week depends in large part on the kind of work you do. In consulting (which I do), it’s really hard to maintain a four-day workweek. I tried several times, cutting my time (and pay) back to 70 percent and working just 32 hours a week, usually taking Fridays off since those tend to be the slowest days at work. The problem is that my clients and co-workers always forgot that I wasn’t working on Fridays and would frequently call with emergency requests. If I didn’t work at home it would be easier, but I often found myself working on Fridays and just not getting paid for it. After a string of weeks where I worked 50-hour weeks but only got paid for 32, I decided to switch back to fulltime.

    Posted by brad | October 29, 2007, 3:56 pm
  4. Wonderful job laying out your dreams. I love the 4 day work week idea. You’re doing great and I hope you continue to work towards your dreams!

    Posted by Laura | October 29, 2007, 4:01 pm
  5. @cfo:
    Yes, my friend was pretty disappointed with my answer, but then we ended up working on trying to think how he could get closer to his dream life. He’d already started moving in the right direction, so hopefully things will work out for him.

    I have that fear too - that I won’t be able to separate home and work if I do a 4 day week. I know a couple of people in my workplace that have made it happen so I’m going to remain optimistic.

    Posted by plonkee | October 29, 2007, 4:14 pm
  6. Hmmm.. I notice almost all of my stories about living in England begin one of two ways:

    1. When I was stationed in England…
    2. When I was in a pub in England…


    Posted by Patrick | October 30, 2007, 2:04 am
  7. I’m doing my best to make one of those dreams come true.

    My dream life is to be able to support my family by coaching soccer full-time. A difficult goal in the US.

    Posted by rocketc | October 30, 2007, 2:32 am
  8. Plonkee - I like that ending!

    Posted by Chief Family Officer | October 30, 2007, 3:06 am
  9. @Patrick:
    Yep, there’s a theory that everything of any importance in England involves the pub.

    Full-time football (soccer) coaching is quite hard to make a living at over here as well - being the manager of a professional league side generally requires professional playing experience.

    Posted by plonkee | October 30, 2007, 9:09 am
  10. I’m hoping to be able to work from home one day a week soon, which in some ways is the best of both worlds, or at least a compromise towards the 4 day week.

    Posted by debtdieter | October 30, 2007, 8:00 pm
  11. Why Holland?

    Posted by guinness416 | November 1, 2007, 5:10 pm
  12. @guinness416:
    I like the attitudes over there, liberal, progressive and successful. I’ve even attempted to learn Dutch.

    Posted by plonkee | November 1, 2007, 7:21 pm
  13. Having a well-defined dream makes it easier to dig ourselves out, innit?

    My own dream is to pay off consumer debt, save enough for 20 percent down on a house in the country (I live in Maine, USA–I figure 40k is what is needed for the type of house, land I want), and the icing on the cake is work full time as a writer, photographer and eventually SAHM.

    Thanks for sharing….

    Right now it’s all digging, though….

    Posted by Amity | November 3, 2007, 12:21 am
  14. What about spending more time in the pub? My idea is to work 4 days a week at “real job” and Wednesday at some job I like (outdoors/hiking store).

    Posted by Mark | November 5, 2007, 9:48 pm
  15. Some people look at their current situation and see that it is not ideal, and yet they do not do anything to work toward the ideal because it seems so far away.

    And yet we MUST take small steps toward a goal, else we will never get there.

    Not only that, but completing small steps toward our goals will improve our confidence and will help us be happier in the moment.

    Who is happier? Someone who is X amount of distance from a goal but is doing nothing, or someone else who is also X amount of distance from a goal but is taking steps to try to reach the goal? My guess is that the latter person will be happier in the days before reaching the goal, and that the former person will be unhappy both in the present and in the future and will never come close to achieving the ideal.

    Posted by shela | November 6, 2007, 12:52 am
  16. @Mark:
    I’m always up for spending more time in the pub.
    I actually like my real job, if I could work 4 days a week, I’d probably spend the extra day doing volunteer work and/or working on this blog.

    I agree that if you are making progress towards your goals you will be happier, even if you are a long way from them.

    Posted by plonkee | November 6, 2007, 8:50 am
  17. Well - you seem to have met one of your dream life goals… you have about a million comments on this post, give or take a few hundred thousands.

    For me the dream life would involve living on the road with my family - winter in Aspen, Tahoe or Deer Valley; and three months out of each year backpacking through one exotic location or another. Fun and games. I am no where near that dream life, although I was surprisingly close at one point in the past…

    Posted by shadox | November 7, 2007, 2:30 am

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