For most of us, the journey is planned out even before we actually start living. You learn to crawl, walk, run. You go to kindergarten, primary school, high school and then tertiary. You get a job, build a career, hopefully, live in between.

While the world has been rapidly evolving and the idea of ‘work’ or ‘job’ has evolved as well, we still operate within the paradigm we always have. Having worked in multiple industries and positions, I was often told I wasn’t qualified enough or too qualified for certain positions, particularly within the corporate space. And this is after doing the things I was supposed to do; I always knew I would go to university.

Not going to university was not an option in my father’s eyes. But, because he was in business, the actual ‘get job’ part of the equation was structured very differently for me. I have had the liberty – to a certain extent – to work in spaces that I wanted to, doing things that I want to do. It does make me an unstable employee because I tend to be vested, emotionally and mentally, in everything I get involved in. And when it starts to drift from where I feel it should be … inner turmoil.

Over the last few years, one question has continued to make its presence felt in my world, namely “why do I work?” Making money is great and I intend on making a lot of it but it’s merely a tool/vehicle. Being a parent, the answer is tied to my children and building the lifestyle I want, and want them to experience. But, as often happens when focused on work, I do have the tendency of becoming so submerged by it that I am not totally accessible to my children, even when physically present.

The concept of lifestyle design has always fascinated me. In a post on Tiny Buddha, Angela Severance defines it as follows “In a nutshell, lifestyle design embodies the attempt on your part to design a life of your choosing, whatever that looks like. It’s your life, your plan, and you call the shots.”

While responsibilities and a dependence on others – employers, clients, family, etc – have often been the main excuse for not building the kind of lifestyle I want, I am finding that this idea is becoming more and more pressing the older I become. While the total model continues to elude me, I am finding that the more I sink myself into the thinking, the easier it is to make decisions with regards to work, my family and myself. I also feel less guilty about taking time for my children as opposed to constantly being at the mercy of work.

So. Are you living your life or is your life living you?

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About Kojo Baffoe

Of Ghanaian/German heritage, raised in Lesotho and currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kojo is the proverbial slashie, the professional ‘jack of all trades.’ He is an entrepreneur, writer, facilitator, content architect, former men’s magazine editor and speaker. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) with majors in Economics, Marketing and Business Administration from the former the University of Natal (Durban), now University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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