How I discovered a good life by working remotely

After a prolonged phase of struggle and self-doubt, I am finally in a happy space right now. 80% of this must be attributed to fate. If I had not take that online course in Ruby on Rails, things would be different. If the Rails community did not vehemently speak about remote working, I’d never had taken a leap.

The rest happened because I deliberately pursued it. I remember telling my friends unabashedly about the intention to work remotely. Even my parents as well 😄.

But these crazy dreams were backed by small steps. And now that I have been doing this for real for last 1.5 years, I am much better off. So let me share a few reasons how remote working has helped me to discover a good life.

  1. Helps me to create an environment where I am comfortable in. Helps to practise deep work.

“If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you and you may not like their particular balance.” – Nigel Marsh (TED Talk)

I am an introvert person by nature. Hence I never felt comfortable working in an open office. The beauty of working remotely, is that I could create an environment which suits my needs. I love that I have that choice to work from home or work from a co-working space during my travels.

Software writing requires some attention to get good work done. In office, it is often difficult to practise deep work. You are like a civilian caught in the cross fire when a discussion breaks in the room. While you are there trying to find some headway into the problem, someone can come in and disturb the mental workflow.

  1. Helps to spend time with the people I love the most

“You won’t remember working a little later or catching up on Saturday because the people you love interrupted you but you’re certain to remember those little interactions. And even more, they will remember them, too.”

I wanted to spend more time with my family. But when I had a regular job, it was near impossible to find big pockets of time for them. There were annual vacations, however they would become exercises for choosing between spending time at home and having time for personal vacations.The awesome part now is that I spend at least 8 months in my hometown. The rest of the time, I get time for myself and my friends. The quality of relationships has improved as a result of spending more time with them.

  1. There is no time spent commuting.

“Even short commutes stab at your happiness. According to the research, commuting is associated with an increased risk of obesity, insomnia, stress, neck and back pain, high blood pressure, and other stress-related ills such as heart attacks and depression, and even divorce. But let’s say we ignore the overwhelming evidence that commuting doesn’t do a body good. Pretend it isn’t bad for the environment either ?”
Jason Fried, Remote: Office Not Required

Oh Lord, I can’t even remember the number of times I have complained about the fuckin traffic. This is the major life bummer. When you are having the most energy in your day, you need to take the office commute. For some people, that time can be even be 2 hours 😶. And the same happens in the evening, when you have the least energy, and you need to take the commute back home. With remote working, you can prepare a cup of coffee and get started on your work. Further the zero time spent on commutes has opened a lot of time for creative activities.

  1. Have the option to spend more time in beautiful places

“Money, of course, is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live. So, save what little money you possess to meet basic survival requirements, but spend your time lavishly in order to create the life values that make the fire worth the candle. Dig?” ― Rolf Potts, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

Ever wondered, how it would be to live like a local in a new place. When I was at a regular job, I got a chance to travel when there was an onsite trip. Those opportunities though were very limited and I did not get to choose the locations of these work travel. On the other hand, most of my personal leaves were used in going home. I could only think of weekends for short sojourns outside of Pune.

Things have changed a lot now. I have travelled at a slow pace and spent some really quality time with the locals. Last 6 months, there were month long trips to Rajasthan and Dharamshala. Sipping tea and watching the traffic pass by. Eating the same breakfast that the locals prefer. These are the things which take some time to explore. But in the modern society, travel has become this super-conscise packaged form of entertainment. I can rant about it a lot. But I will do that in another article 😁.

That’s all I can think for now. But I am sure this list will evolve with time. I am actually quite curious how things will change when I start a family.

I want to make it clear that the definition of a good life is subjective. The points, I mention above, resonate with my values. You might not necessarily agree with some of my arguments, and that’s perfectly ok. My sole reason for writing this article is to coax you into contemplating – “What is your definition of a good life”.

“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.” – Bill Patterson (via the Brainpickings)

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