The Circle of Life

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba
Sithi uhm ingonyama

I can talk myself silly about the Circle of Life, which I fondly think of as my gateway to success.

It's hard to stay on track a lot of the time, but what if your life is optimised to stay on track? What if walking to work is not an inconvenience, it's actually the quickest option? What if getting groceries was as easy as going out to eat?

The further away something gets, the more of a hassle it will become and the less likely you are to utilise it. By moving things closer you'll not only be more likely to do whatever it is you'll have to do, you'll also free up more time for life and happiness!

When you are looking for a place to live, keep this in mind. For me, it's super important that I'm able to walk to work. Sure it currently takes me 35 minutes vs bussing for 10, but walking lets me have some me time and I gain a lot of insight listening to podcasts every morning an afternoon.

I also have a desk job so walking to and from work is a good excuse to stay in shape. Optimising optimising, optimising. I used to live 5min from my old job but realised that I was way worse at getting to work on time, and I actually let my boyfriend at the time drive me the whole 2 minutes down the street a few times! (ok, on a hot day the ac in their car was AMAZING).

Having a grocery store nearby is vital, especially if you don't own a car. I have an IGA pretty close by, and their prices aren't that bad, on sale they can even be great. Maybe I'm biased because they gave me a free grass fed steak once ($5 off coupon, I bought a steak and gummy worms) but for normal, non-bulk grocery shopping they are the bee's knees. On the other hand, if your nearest store is whole foods.. you're in trouble. At my old place the closest grocery store was choices and it was 20min of uphill to get home from the local NoFrills. Thinking back on the times I lugged way too much up that hill sends chills down my spine. With a decent grocery store nearby ordering takeout or delivery is almost silly. It will take way more time to order and wait for your food to be done than to quickly whip up a meal from scratch. Sure you could spend the time waiting for the food to be ready being productive, but honestly you're most likely spending that time just watching netflix anyway. Putting some time into cooking will not only save you money but also help you hone your skill as a cook.

Finding a place close to your work and a grocery store isn't really that hard, what is hard is coordinating your situation so that you have friends nearby. The closer your friends are the more likely it is that you will hang out with them in the evenings and the less likely it is that you will all meet up at a bar (unless you are a cast member in How I Met Your Mother). Spending the evening at home or at a friends place will allow you to eat home cooked meals and drink liquor you bought at the liquor store rather than paying the exhorberant markups at a restaurant or bar. Even if you do get takeout every once in a while, it's usually cheaper to all share something than to get takeout just for yourself. Not to mention delivery charges.

Being close to transit is the last thing on this list but before we get to that; if you have any particular hobbies that require you to be somewhere outside your home, maybe it's a gym, pitch, studio or library including that in your circle is always valuable. This is harder to do if you've already got a set meeting place and you practice your hobby with other people (thus rendering transit more important). If your hobby is independent and you can do it at any gym, pitch, studio, library finding one close to your prospective home shouldn't be hard. Sometimes you have to make adjustments, be creative and break out of your comfort zone, but once you get over it there will be smooth sailing.

Back to transit! I'm not a huge fan of public transit, but I don't drive and currently don't own a bike (I should though as should you!) When it comes to going to special events or visiting the friends outside your circle, having transit close by is amazing. Transit is similar to the grocery store vs takeout argument, but instead it is transit vs taxi. Now living in Vancouver the preference leans heavily towards living close to a skytrain station. Busses don't leave often enough and chances are, to get where you need to go you need to take the skytrain at some point anyway. Of course this judgement is left to each individual, if you have a lot of friends on the east side you will make different transit choices in comparison to someone who has a lot of friends in Kits.

I live in North Van with a good chunk of friends in Vancouver. Right now I live at a happy medium where I can easily walk to the seabus where I can also access busses covering the North Shore. At the same time I can take a bus 5 minutes from my place which takes me to Phibbs Exchange, a bus hub that both connects me to more of the North Shore and takes me to the Downtown Eastside should I prefer.

Now of course there are things that could make all of these options easier, such as having a car or being a strong biker. However having a car is going to cost a lot more money each month, with insurance, maintinance and gas. If you are low income or attempting to save a large chunk of your income, owning a car is most likely a bad idea. If you do own a car you also have to make sure you can secure a parking space wherever you should decide to live. Biking is a great alternative, but if accessing your basic needs isn't going to be convenient, you are more likely to start paying for the convenience of a restaurant meal or a cab.

In conclusion, sticking to a small circle of life is one of the best tools you have towards reaching a life where you aren't living paycheck to paycheck and where the convenient lifestyle is the affordable lifestyle.


What are some things that help your lifestyle be both affordable and convenient?