I want to share how EFILYM was born. I’m Robin Adams, 46 years old, (at the time of publication of this article) New Zealander living not far from Grenoble in France, married to a local ‘française’, Sylvie in a recomposed family with 3 children. Initially trained as an engineer in New Zealand, I now live in the French Alpes not far from Grenoble. After much soul searching, reflection, and long consideration we decided to radically change our lifestyle in 2018. To give up my comfortable long-standing career, completely change our lifestyle and to jump into the unknown was something that scared us to death.😟 This article has been written to share our adventure, and I’m sure it will strike a cord with many of you. Our objective is to help others find the courage to embark and traverse their own adventures also!
Lifestyle changing triggers
There are many reasons why people may want to change their lifestyle. An international study by OBSOCO indicates that 74% of people think that the rhythm of life today is too rapid (80% in France and the USA) and 78% look to find options to slow down their lifestyle and live differently. I discovered this during my research phase of our adventure which frankly blew me away, but also reassured me that I was not alone in my reflections, and starting my really thinking about what was important in life for me and my family. I had a strong desire to take back some control and gain more independence!
My own reasons
My personal trigger to look at changing my lifestyle was turning 40 (I know I’m not on my own on that one 😉) and starting to question the values of the company that I worked in as opposed to mine. I consider myself relatively fortunate in my career. I entered a company upon graduating from university in Christchurch, New Zealand. Relatively rapidly I took on more and more responsibility, had the opportunity to have international experiences in many aspects of running a supply chain, and finally after more than 20 years in the company, found myself in charge of deploying an IT analytics program while being based in France. It was a rich and varied career with a comfortable salary, holidays etc, so why decide to change my lifestyle?
For me as for many others, as I passed the 40-year mark and started to look back on my life with more and more maturity (I believe 😉), there were some questions that I started to ask about my professional activities:
- What value am I really creating for the company, for me, and for the planet?
- Why do I hard so long and so hard each week always longing for the weekend but being out of energy by the time I get to it?
- Even if I’ve always been a ‘good soldier’ for the company I work for and done what was asked of me without questioning, had I really understood where my energy and efforts go, and who benefits or worse who suffers from my actions or the actions of others around me?
- Do we really need to always look to do ‘more with less’ 🤔…..?
Then naturally I stared to ask myself some questions of a more personal nature:
- My family is growing and my parent are getting older, How can I spend more time with them?
- What if I had more time for my personal passions now rather than waiting for my retirement (and of course the realization of all the things we want to do in retirement requires good health and there is no guarantee of that)?
- Am I drugged to over consumption? Have I become a slave to my lifestyle so that I can offer myself and my family the best holidays, objects, the latest sports shoes, etc?
- Attending that funeral of a colleague or friend, makes us realize that we are not on this planet forever and that ‘bucket list’ we have been writing is getting longer without many things being ticked off!
With all that going on in my head, I really couldn’t just sit back and ignore these questions and expect to be truly happy in my life. I needed to start to structure my thinking and ideas to see what I could do about changing the situation (Yes, my engineering side comes out strongly sometimes 🙂). I was looking to investigate to see how to really throw everything up in the air and create a new lifestyle – for probably the first time in my life I was looking to challenge the rules 😁.
Being a structured, pragmatic person 😎, but also being someone focused on (or scared about) the financial aspects, I needed to see if it was even possible to change our lifestyle. As such built I simple application to support my thinking and to run many simulations for all the ideas, I was having about changing my lifestyle.
Ideas such as:
- What if I gave up my job to take lesser paid but lesser stressed one?
- What if I or my wife worked half time or took a sabbatical year as a test and make the most of it to attack our ‘bucket list’?
- What if I changed certain spending behaviors to try and make any lifestyle change easier?
- Could I buy that old house ruin that I’ve dreamed of and do it up to either rent it or sell it for a profit?
The reflection process
Frankly my initial simulations were scary 🤔 and indicated that any change of lifestyle was not possible and that I was better off sticking to my current lifestyle!! Over time and with research I found other ideas to test and without realizing it I was already in the process to change my lifestyle. Bit by bit things fell into place until eventually we had a plan that seemed to be feasible.
This process of evolving the plan, building confidence, and finally acceptance that making a lifestyle change was not only possible, but the best choice for our future, enabling me and Sylvie to be able to work on long dreamed about projects or spend more time on certain passions that we could just never find the time for in our existing way of life.
What become apparent to me was that this ‘process’ was the true value of the simulations and evolutions over an extended period of time. For me it took between 2 & 3 years (patience required!!) to be able to define and evolve a lifestyle plan that was feasible, and most importantly acceptable financially, AND mentally. ie: I was ready to make the jump! 😉
The Mirror Effect
As I become more and more comfortable with the idea to be able to change my lifestyle, I started to talk about it with close friends and people I trusted (a strong sign that my project maturity was growing 👍) The feedback that I got was not exactly what I was expecting. Id started sharing with the idea to check if I’d forgotten anything, or been a bit too much of a risk taker on some aspects – ie: I wanted to validate the quality of my simulations etc. Instead of getting feedback on the details, I got overwhelming feedback on the process and tool that Id built, and that this interested many people. It was during this period that I began to realize that the application I’d built could be helpful for many other people. The possibility to be able to help others started to appeal!
Current Global Trends 🌎
With the birth of the idea that I could help other people wanting to make the same lifestyle transition as me, I started to research a bit on the topic. It didn’t take long to realize with many global trends in the world today, the general desire for someone to change their lifestyle is only going to increase. Trends such as:
- The Slowlife phenomenon – people looking to live more simply and remove the pressure of daily life (speed, speed, speed…) to be able to spend more time with family or their true passions in life (and not spending all their energy and time in corporate structures so that others can make more and more money)
- Global warming – the world’s economic models driving high consumption are harming our planet as burn all the natural resources as a faster and faster pace. More and more people are become conscious of the true danger of this and are starting to take actions to live simpler with less and contribute to help save the planet for our children.
- The digitization of the working world that will force many people to re-think their careers and work differently.
Desire to help others
The accumulation of the realization that my application and the resulting lifestyle change plan evolution and ripening process that comes when you use it, along with the obvious ever-increasing need, I decided to focus on the creation of EFILYM and make it become the core of my plan to change my lifestyle. Id found by accident a process and value that interests others, and where there is a true need and desire to make lifestyle changes, I now want to be able to support those people who are courageous enough to take the first step from just thinking about it – move towards making their projects and ideas an eventual reality! For those of you who really want to turn your life around / upside down 🙃 the EFILYM application will be ready during the first half of 2019. Stay Tuned! 📡
PS: Ill explain the story behind the name EFILYM at a later date – another reason for you to stay tuned 😉
Credit Photo: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash