Can You Turn Your Life on a Dime?

Dime

by Ryan

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “turning on a dime,” but would that be a way to describe your life? Most of us wouldn’t be able to move within the next 24 hours or simply hop to the next destination via a plane ticket without leaving a mess behind at home. We’re not built like nomads and moving often isn’t something that’s normal in our society. When researching the subject I ran into this way of summarizing turning on a dime which I liked quite a bit:

“Anything that can “turn on a dime” can make a radical change in direction very quickly.”

Do you think this type of radical change is ever necessary, or is it something that you would even want to embrace? Does anyone ever turn their life on a dime anymore, and should they even want to?

Flipping Your Life

The advantages of turning your life on a dime allow mean you’re living small, which means low overhead. I write quite a bit about living small so I’m a tad bias, okay actually very bias! Especially when looking at my inventory it’s not shocking to think that turning on a dime is a great way to live because you’re always open to “radical change.” Having the ability to follow any opportunity geographically for minimal costs and time delays sounds pretty sweet to me, but do you need to tie down roots and get established to become successful?

Tying down Roots

Instead of living like a dime you may want to plant some dollars 😉 . As people get older they like to tie down roots, and become a part of a community. I think this may be referred to as nesting? Things like your job, your house, and a social community are often the major things that cause one to be unable to leave, or at least leave in dime fashion. With time the roots grow deeper and stronger and it’s harder to leave or do any life flipping without significant emotional and financial changes.

Can You Have Both?

Can you build your life so that you can flip it on a dime while still having roots somewhere that aren’t disturbed by the upheaval of your changes? When considering my own life I’d like to build a house in the future, have a rewarding career, and have rewarding social interactions with those who live by me, but would still like to have the ability to leave it quite often. The only way I see this happening is if it’s a mobile oriented career, if you have like minded friends, and have someone who can watch over your house. Not exactly the hardest things in the world to accomplish, but not exactly common either. Do you know of people who keep a home as a base, flip their life often and have the best of both worlds?

How long would it take you to move all your stuff if you found out you had to move as soon as possible?

Do you prefer to the dime lifestyle or the dollar lifestyle?

Image from atoxinsocks

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Simple in France April 5, 2010 at 2:07 am

We’ve been living with the ability to ‘flip’ our lives for years now since we’ve been having trouble deciding what country we’d settle in and where . . .I think we might finally be slowing down though. I’m looking forward to it myself. I actually thought that getting married would cause me to slow down and stop moving all over, but it didn’t. My husband and I just moved around together!

For a while, we were both very happy cruising all over the place with everything being new and foreign etc, but suddenly it got old. And you can’t put down roots retroactively. . .I mean, first you have to apply the breaks and come to a stop. It doesn’t happen overnight.

What I do know is that I’ve never found a way to ‘have it both ways’ at the same time. And the weird thing is that–as much as I think it will be an interesting new experience to stay in one place for a while–I already wondering how much I’ll miss being able to just pick up and move.

DaybreakJoe April 5, 2010 at 6:28 am

Someday I hope to have the type of lifestyle where I can “turn on a dime”. Parenthood tends to make that very difficult in the present. I would feel very guilty and selfish if I made drastic changes in my life so quickly. However, it doesn’t mean I can’t strive for this because someday my son will have his own path to blaze. I do wish to have some flexibility so I can take some chances and try new things. That means eliminating the overhead in life.

It’s kind of a long winded way of saying you can have it both ways. Have the stability provided by a strong “home base”. Live on that dime instead of the dollar so you can have the freedom to try new things while operating from that base.

Kiesha @ We Blog Better April 5, 2010 at 3:23 am

I’d have to say that I need to be planted. While I have made a few “turn on a dime” changes in my life, it’s not something I enjoy. I like to think things through and make the best decision I can – that means making that decision will take longer to make.
I also don’t have the kind of friends who would be responsible enough to be able to take over things while I’m away, so having it both ways is probably not realistic for me. But I must say, it sure would be nice to have a base camp in one place and be able to travel to anywhere else in the world.
Maybe one day I’ll get there, but no dime action is happening today. :)
.-= Kiesha @ We Blog Better´s last blog ..The secret to getting your subscribers hooked on your blog =-.

Little House April 5, 2010 at 3:44 am

Just out of college, I lived this way. However, my moving around wasn’t exotic, it was usually because roommates moved away and I’d have to find a new living arrangement to meet my finances. I could pack everything I needed into the bed of my pick-up truck. Now that I’m older, with much more “stuff” and 3 cats, I could never just pack up in a day and bolt somewhere new.

As for being able to have it both ways, perhaps if you lived in a mobile home or portable Tumbleweed home. This would only work in the Continental US , moving to and fro across the states. Just a thought!
.-= Little House´s last blog ..Virtual vs. Reality…City Comparisons =-.

myfinancialobjectives April 5, 2010 at 5:57 am

Hmm… I’m kinda torn on this subject. I am younger, so right now I think I would prefer the flipping on a dime lifestyle. “New better job in Florida, Ok no problem I’m your man”. And with that, I move to Florida. However a few years from now I will definitely prefer a few more roots. As you suggested, regular social interactions, networking, your social community, and other aspects of tying down a few roots are a huge benefit for staying put a while.

HOWEVER, if I move to a location that I absolutely love, than I can definitely see myself wanting to stay, who wouldn’t? I anticipate this happening in my planned move to San Diego in a few years!
.-= myfinancialobjectives´s last blog ..Lesser Known Link Rally =-.

Moon Hussain April 5, 2010 at 6:09 am

Seems like I’m flipping my life right about now. Moving has always been a hassle for me….. I like the idea of traveling but not all the mess associated with it. It takes a huge toll on me.

Why not live where you’d love to vacation?
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..A Conversation That I Will Remember For the Rest of My Life =-.

LenciB: Falling Into favor April 5, 2010 at 6:22 am

I can pretty much leave all that I have in the drop of a dime. I spend all of my time daydreaming about living abroad…so one day I pray that when the time comes, I take advantage of it. I do own a home in Cali and my husband loves his career here, but they can relocate him! And maybe I can turn my life on a dime because I lived in 5 places! Maybe I’m used to it.
.-= LenciB: Falling Into favor´s last blog ..The Resurrection of Easter =-.

Financial Samurai April 5, 2010 at 6:46 am

I could definitely do whatever for the first 5 years out of college. But after I hit 27, I started to want to settle down.

It’s a natural progression I think for most folks right out of college to be nomadic, and want to do this and that. It’s really hard to figure out what you want to do, and how good the gig you have will be until you try new things.

Good luck Ryan! It’s worth doing whatever you want at your stage in life. You won’t have regrets, unless it’s passing up working for a Google type company pre-IPO!

Best,

Sam
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Benefits of Debit Cards Over Cash and Credit Cards =-.

Kristine April 5, 2010 at 10:05 am

Hmmm…I prefer the dollar lifestyle, but the idea of flipping your life and embracing change sounds like a great challenge and adventure. I think you can have both. Why not? We’re only limited by what we think we can’t do. I can see myself having a home base, and traveling for extended weeks at a time absorbing new cultures and maybe even a new language! :)

Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey April 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm

At this point in life, I can go either way without because I’m not married yet with a family. Personally I would rather be planted.

Very thought provoking post Ryan, thanks for sharing!!
.-= Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey´s last blog ..You Know You’re Favored by God When… =-.

Money Funk April 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I just returned from my trip to Maui and thought of this exact subject. Like right now its, “don’t make me go to work tomorrow!” And I just wrote about ‘how much did you earn to give up your dream’. I think I may be going through a quarter life crisis. LOL.

I also thought about ‘all the stuff I have’ and that it would not be easy just to pick up and leave. As I was dreaming about becoming a ‘punk, hippie, raw vegan gal listening to local music in warehouse club smoking a cig and drinking a vodka tonic’.

I miss those nomadic, freestyle days when I could just move on a dime. And I did. Took off from home to live in San Francisco and then trekked to live in Austin, Texas. From there it was Chicago and then back to Cali.

But now, I have ‘grown up’ with the job, kids, husband, and house. They are not so ‘change life on a dime’. Although, my husband was pretty close to retiring yesterday to stay permanent in Maui for a bit. 😉

So, I guess what I am saying is that I don’t know if its possible to have a freestyle, settled life. I’ve heard the myths that it is possible. And today, I decided it is time to find out. I am going to shake up my routine, make some changes, be me, and see where it takes me.
.-= Money Funk´s last blog ..How much did you earn to give up your dream? =-.

Scott Barron April 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I have become very settled in my adult years. After graduation from high school, I spent 4 years in the Navy. I was able to get “traveling” out of my system. I always looked forward to the times when the ship was in-port. Eventually I got married & lived off the ship; however, every time the ship set sail, I was on it.

I’ve lived in my condo for 7 years and very comfortable. I cringe at the thought of moving. It’s not the material items I cherish. Its 7 years of blood, sweat & tears that have gone into this place. The home improvements helped bond me to my home.

Its funny how spending changes for homeowners. Putting money into a home is viewed as an investment. I recently replaced my porch light. The joy of shopping, searching & installing it was SO much better than a movie or night on the town.

Some people aren’t cut out to be a homebody – however, it’s not the “home”, but the feelings you have when there. The memories you build and foundations you create…
.-= Scott Barron´s last blog ..Why Use A Website Worksheet? =-.

Early Retirement Extreme April 9, 2010 at 9:28 am

Turning on a dime means more than being able to relocate. It means being flexible enough to survive or choose a drastic change of circumstances. I think in particular it means not having to do baby steps but just approach whatever full force.
.-= Early Retirement Extreme´s last blog ..Guest post on Monevator about extreme retirement =-.

Aury (Thunderdrake) April 28, 2010 at 8:48 am

That’s a very challenging question, to say the least. While I’m a strong advocate of chaos, I’m conversely deliberate rather than impetuous. If you live in the moment, there will be a lot of life change. But even if people believe in chaos the way I do, we all inevitably fall into a routine.

While I don’t believe you can simply flip your life on a dime (though it’s possible) You can certainly flip it to a desired effect as time goes on!
.-= Aury (Thunderdrake)´s last blog ..The Hoarding Dragon – The difference between knowledge and experience =-.

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