work to live or live to work


A couple of years ago I came across a book quite by chance called Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel. I think I was already unconsciously searching for a simpler life, but I had no idea what that life was going to look like.

Rhonda and her husband had rejected their consumer lives to focus on a simple existence with a view to living modestly, but well.

One of the points in the book which really resonated with me was the concept of putting a work hour value on everything you buy. It made me really stop and think. Rhonda speaks about selling your life hours for money. You only have a limited number of hours in each day, week, month, year. Everything you buy costs you hours of your life that you’ve spent earning that money. It’s like a vicious cycle of earning and spending often to the detriment of all the things you really want to do in life, like “have time” for life, for example.

Obviously this is not about stopping work entirely for most people, but just about considering how many of your life hours are chewed up unintentionally by a life filled with consumer wants.

My life example, was with my partner working away (in a fly-in, fly-out role). My entire family started to really suffer with me squeezing in regular night shifts as an Intensive care nurse. I loved working, but the shift work took its toll and my kids suffered with a cranky, strung out, sleep deprived mum.

On the positive side, I have wanted to explore the possibility of writing as a career for a really long time. I finished a creative writing degree a couple of years ago. It now seems like the perfect conditions have collided and here I am. I made my life much simpler, I consciously dropped our living costs, and I have created the physical time and mental space to write. Perhaps one day I will actually earn some money from it! (I submitted my first manuscript to a local publisher today which is really exciting…and scary)

Using Rhonda Hetzel’s life as an example, she now not only lives the life she wants to live, but she has a thriving business based around her lifestyle. The simple life concept has generated so much interest amongst people disenfranchised with the endless cycle of working and buying, that she has blogged, authored, done speaking tours and generally inspired hundreds of thousands of people to find their own simple path…including me.


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