As you can see, the title is an obvious play on ‘Luxury Lifestyle’. After five-years of working on my own, what I have come to realize is that I have a lifestyle that is considered luxurious, mostly by people who work a regular job. Luxury, in this context, is not being able to afford a fancy dinner every evening, but the ability to go for a walk or a run in the evening when the streets are starting to fill up with the evening rush hour traffic. It is the ability to take half the day off, on a weekday, to have a nice lunch by yourself out in the winter sun, or catch a movie all on your own.
Like other luxuries, this one also does not come for free. I have had to give up having what most would call a regular life — owning a home, family with kids etc. — to support this lifestyle. To be fair, it is not an exact correlation or causation, as there are other factors too that have played a part. I did struggle through most parts of the five-years on my own, trying to bridge the gap between what I don’t have and what everyone else seemed to have, only to realize recently that it is a gap that remained unfilled not for a lack of ability, but for a lack of willingness to fill it.
Like other luxuries, as long as it delivers contentment for you and if it feels right, the price is always right. I, for one, find it hard to own something extremely expensive. I’m one of those people who merely don’t own things, they are owned by the things they own. Thus, even the thought of owning a luxury car (not that I could probably ever afford one) is an unsettling one for me. I would probably love to rent one some day and experience it for a short period of time, but not own one. For someone who loves owning one, doing exactly that is the way to go forward. You don’t owe an explanation or justification to anyone for what makes you truly happy.
That said, luck is a significant part of being able to live this lifestyle, unless you are someone who is extremely good with their financial planning. I am not one of those people. This is partly because of one of the bizarre outcomes of subsisting on very little money when I moved to Delhi. When a time came where I had more than what I needed, it really didn’t get me much joy, especially as I tried to buy my way into respect, consideration and love. Money, for me, is something that is necessary to have at a basic level. It is nearly impossible to live without it, or live without someone who has enough of it to take care of you.
But, I digress.
You need a good share of luck as being unwell or getting into a serious accident can dent seriously even substantial bank accounts. No matter how careful you are, or how gifted you are, the fact is that you cannot control most of what happens to you. If it does go wrong badly, a lifestyle like mine won’t be possible. The corollary is that even the most accounted-for and provided-for existence cannot account for or provide for all eventualities. Should there happen a massive global market crash, odds are that me, a newly minted millionaire and the beggar on the road are all going to be on the same boat pushing up the river of survival.