Create a Life You Don’t Need To Escape From

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin I know this quote will stir up some feelings. However, I want you to dig deeper and think about the true meaning of it, which I’ll get to in a second….

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 27, 2023

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“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin

To make life better, create a better life you don't need to escape from. Do you constantly dread going to work or some other task? Here are ways to make your life better.I know this quote will stir up some feelings. However, I want you to dig deeper and think about the true meaning of it, which I’ll get to in a second.

First, though, dreaming about vacations isn’t a bad thing – we all do it.

Honestly, I’m always looking forward to the next destination (after all, I do travel full-time). But, if you aren’t traveling full-time, vacations do allow you to explore new places, relax, have fun, and more. And, because of all of that, they really can make life better.

When thinking of the quote, though, I think it’s saying – you should create a life that you don’t hate. Honestly, it’s possible that taking vacations are causing you unhappiness, especially if you are taking on more debt to travel.

However, the life this quote mentions is one where you don’t have to purchase things to make you happy, a life where you don’t dread every single day, a life where you actually look forward to things, and are positive.

A lot this comes from finding what brings you passion and finding a way to pursue it, which is really one of the best ways for you to make life better.

This doesn’t mean that your day job has to be your dream career, but maybe you’re able to find a way to see how your day job can facilitate your dream life, which can be as simple as spending a little more time with loved ones.

Your career should allow you to, at least, pursue your passion in your free time and to be happy with your life.

It should allow you to have happiness outside of work, and going into work shouldn’t stress you out either.

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Sure, work won’t be butterflies and sunshine 24/7. However, it shouldn’t cause you to lose hair, sacrifice relationships that you care about, absolutely hate your Monday through Friday, and so on.

I truly know how bad all of this can be – not enjoying each day and living as if everyday was its own job to be done, especially work. This is how I used to live.

I used to be a financial analyst, and I remember being so excited to get that job, but as time went on, I came to dread my job more and more. Monday through Friday were absolutely horrible for me, and the only day I looked forward to was Saturday because Sunday meant work was right around the corner.

For some people, Sundays are great- one more day to catch up with friends and family, relax, etc. But, for me, they were the worst because just the thought of going into work the next day would upset me.

My job was stressful and boring at the same time, there was lots of work with spreadsheets and legal documents, and almost no human contact for 45 hours a week.

While this may have worked for others, I realized that it wasn’t the career choice for me. Imagining that I would be doing these same tasks, over and over, for decades was the worst feeling possible. It filled me with dread and resentment.

And, that just isn’t a way to live.

While my job paid the bills, I wanted to find a way to make life better. My job didn’t leave me with a sense of purpose, and I also knew I wasn’t the best fit for the position. Not only were the long hours and stress tough, my heart just wasn’t in it.

Luckily, I was also building a business of my own, on the side – one that I really loved. One that allowed me to feel purpose, enjoy my work, and have a good work-life balance.

And, I still look forward to Making Sense of Cents every single day.

While everyone may not want the same thing I did, finding a way to get that feeling blogging gave me will probably be one of the best decisions you can ever make. I believe it’s important to look forward to the majority of the days in your week, not dread the days, weeks, and years ahead of you.

This doesn’t mean you job has to be your passion, but it can be something like finding a passion outside of your job, finding ways to reframe the work you do to see how it really does make your life better, eliminating some of the other stressors in your life, and more.


So, what does a life that you don’t need to escape from look like?

A life that you don’t need to escape from may include:

  • Looking forward to every day, even work days.
  • Having hobbies and passions you can enjoy in your free time.
  • Feeling purposeful.
  • Not retiring at the age of 67 and wondering what you did with your life.

Like I said, vacations aren’t bad. Vacations and traveling are great!

However, if you are living your life just so that you can enjoy your limited vacation days, then you may want to reevaluate and change things so that you can be happier.


Is this even realistic?

When I first read the quote at the beginning of this post, I read through the comments and was surprised to see how many negative ones there were. Many people thought that it was a “stupid quote” that only one percenters could relate to.

However, I disagree.

I was recently talking to someone who left a job with a $60,000 salary to become an Uber driver. He said he loved the salary of his old job, but that was it. He said the long hours at his old job combined with the stressful work made him look for another position, and he decided Ubering was it. He said he had never been happier because he was able to spend more time with his family and didn’t dread going to work anymore. While he may not Uber forever, he said the happiness he felt now was worth it.

As you can see, you don’t need to win the lottery to make life better.

You need to figure out what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy.

For a lot of us, finding the happy is easy, but finding ways to eliminate stress and unhappiness can be more difficult. Really though, it may surprise you how small these solutions may be, such as getting a little more sleep, reading more, eating healthier, and so on. Other times, they might take a little more sacrifice or a leap of faith, especially if you are wanting to grow your emergency fund, pay off debt, make a career change, and so on.

No, it will not always be easy. However, good things hardly ever are!


So, how can a person make life better?

There are many ways to make life better. You don’t have to see your current situation as the only possible option. There are ways to change it and to make your life better!

Here are my tips on how to make life better:

Figure out what makes you happy. What are you passionate about? What makes you happy?  Should or could you be doing more of that? How? What needs to change to make this possible?

Figure out what makes you unhappy. What brings you stress? What do you dread doing? What exactly makes you unhappy about what you’re currently doing?

Save more money. Many people feel stuck on their current career path because of money. If you feel like your job is something that you absolutely despise but you can’t leave due to money, then you may want to find ways to change that. This could include finding ways to save more money, seeking out passive income streams, building an emergency fund, saving for retirement, and so on.

Think positively. I say this often because I truly believe it. Thinking positively can greatly improve your outlook on life. Being positive can motivate you, it can help you focus less on regrets, live in the moment, and more.

Sit silently. When was the last time you just sat down in complete silence with no distractions? This is probably a rare occurrence for many of us. Sitting silently can help you reflect on your life and what’s going on in the world around you. It can also help you relax, destress, and clear your mind – and these are all things that will make life better.

Stop being afraid of failure. Yes, failure sometimes happens. However, a fear of failure means you are giving up on your goals before you ever try working towards them. Often times, failure teaches you valuable lessons and actually paves the way for later successes. Also, wouldn’t you rather know that you tried something instead of always wondering if your idea would have worked?

Don’t be afraid of hard work. Great things usually require a lot of work. It wouldn’t be much of a goal if it was just handed to you. You might have to work long hours, work your brain like you never have in the past, handle multiple jobs, provide support for your family, take classes and more. Remember, just because it’s hard does not mean you should give up.

What do you think of the quote at the top of this post? Do you think living that mindset will make life better for you? Do you think that a person should enjoy life more than only on their vacation days?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle

    Personally, I love that quote. I get to live the way I want, although never the way I planned, as a SAHM/WAHM. But my husband, while the company he works for is awesome and takes great care of their employees, he isn’t happy there. That’s why we are constantly saving and working on a side income, so we can get to Financial Independence earlier. We don’t want to wait til 65 to retire and enjoy life.
    We work hard to get there earlier, plus make sure to do what we can to enjoy life daily. We do things with our kids and eachother, and while we are pretty frugal people, we work to always have fun and splurge in the places that mean the most to us.

  2. Paige @ Fixing My Finances

    This is a real thoughtful quote, one that I have been thinking about a lot lately.

    There are some days I really do not want to go to work at all and other days that I am so excited to go. I am a engineer and I realized the days I looked forward to the most were the ones I got to spend a lot of time in our R&D lab and the days I dreaded were the ones that I had to sit and do spreadsheets and test reports. I have been trying to balance my days better so that each day I am doing a mix of each instead of putting all my reports off. Ultimately at the core of my job, I love figuring out how things work and that is what I get paid to do.

    I also agree with you that hobbies play an important role in one’s happiness too and it is important to do something you are passionate about in your free time.

    1. Yes, hobbies are so important.

  3. Kim

    I love this! I love being able to create a life that I enjoy and don’t have to take my “yearly” vacations like I did at my former full-time job.

  4. Mr. FWP

    Totally agree with your comment, and, like you, I’ve made job changes before to make it happen. No job is perfect, but if you hate life, you should see what you can do to make it better, whether it’s switching jobs or reorganizing your finances. Or making time/space for family, friends, or a fulfilling hobby. There’s no right answer for everyone.

    I love your blog – and this idea right here is the thing that drew me into blogging as well. Life is too short to spend it at a job you hate, working for things you don’t need, or being enslaved to debt.

  5. YES!!! This article got me fired up. You are so motivating Michelle. Thanks for always sharing your amazing content with the world.

  6. Le

    I know a few people who did the exact same thing that you mentioned in regards to Uber. It’s a total 360! They become happier almost instantly and are practically walking uber billboards 😂

  7. I love that quote, and this blog post! As a student not really knowing what career to choose or what pathway to take, it gets overwhelming. I really needed something like this to put me back on course, whichever course that may be. xx

  8. Building your dream career online through working on your blog as a side hustle is a blessing and a beautiful labor of love. It allows you a piece of mind knowing no one will stand over your shoulder and pressure you to make sales. It is a lot of work because you have to create lots and lots of content and stay persistent in your content marketing and creative efforts to earn and maintain readers’ interests when creating and publishing blog posts or related press releases. If I would’ve known back then what I know today, I would be way ahead in my online business endeavors. But everyday presents a beautiful opportunity to begin again and learn from valuable business lessons learned. 🙂

  9. Pete, do you have any specific ones you like, or ? Sounds like a great idea.

  10. Sitting silently has been one of the BEST things I’ve done to really see what brings me happiness and what I want out of life. It’s crazy how much we are influenced with our choices, without even realizing it. Advertisements, friends, family, and several random things all play a role in making us feel a certain way.

    A couple of months ago I started using Headspace. It’s an app that helps you meditate for 10 minutes a day. It’s been really helpful. Sitting silently and alone with your thoughts helps you uncover your inner “why” and motivations.

  11. Shanetta

    This is such a timely post. I’ve been feeling like the weird one in my family and group of friends because I don’t want my life of travel, exploration, and freedom to start at 67. Will I be healthy? Will I be alive? My mother died at 62 from cancer, so I am well aware that life is too short. The quote you posted is confirmation that my feeling of the “perfect” life is right on track.

  12. Pamela D Hammontree

    The quote is very valuable. I became so busy making a living, I forgot to live. I missed ball games with my kids, dinners with my parents and much more. Thinking all along I mattered to my job ( a big corporation) to only find out later that everyone has a season and when that company sucks all they can out of you, you then have no value anymore. I love the quote, and I am looking for the value in myself now later in life, because I don’t want to miss the good stuff anymore.

  13. Michelle,

    I refer to this quote every time I remind myself why I moved to Florida. I did not give myself any room not to move to Florida. I lived in Ohio and I could not afford to travel, so when I was given the opportunity to move, I did.

    Check out my blog about how I graduated high school and college at 16 years old!

    Thank you for the awesome post!

  14. I found your website after searching for – ‘design a life you don’t need a vacation from’, so the quote resonates deeply! I got stuck in my job and the rat race, climbing the corporate ladder. But, we didn’t realize this was a problem until much later in life. My husband and I had 2 teens and are near to and beyond our 50’s. Anyway, we are close to halfway through our year away from Canada. When we get back, I’m not going back to the apparel manufacturing sector, rather I’m in the process of creating my next life, something which will be sustainable for the long haul and let me never utter the words, ‘I need a vacation’, ever again.

  15. M. Michael

    This post seems to start from a premise I strongly disagree with. First that you should “Find what makes you happy” and “Find what makes you unhappy”. The goal seems to be after that to move towards happiness, and move away from unhappiness.
    What is happiness? Happiness is an emotion. Track your emotions during the day in a journal, you will find that you experience many different positive and negative ones throughout one 24 hour period.
    Changing a career based on a fleeting emotion is folly. Consider in an earlier comment, a woman said her husband hated working as a banker, but did so to support his family. Say that man had a dream- to be a guitarist, for example. Can you possibly imagine that he would be any happier, if he were struggling to busk on open mic nights or in the street, working whatever gigs he could, and his wife and child had no food or shelter? We can imagine even that if this fictional banker/guitarist became wildly successful, and exceeded his craziest dreams of success- what then? Are the rich and famous always happy? When you get what you want in life, are you always happy then, or sometimes disappointed?
    There is an alternative to the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of emotion- and that is Meaning. When you aim your life at meaning, you can say “I hate my job as a banker, but my job enables my family to live in comfort and safety.” Or you can say instead “I hate that I am struggling financially as a musician, but I love my craft and will stick with it.” When you find meaning in spite or your suffering, it does not matter how you feel in the present moment, because you have aimed your life at a higher cause. Suffering, feeling “unhappy” is guaranteed in this human life, all the great philosophical and religious teachings say it explicitly (Buddhism is especially strong on this subject).
    Do not attach your existence on the current state of your emotions, and find purpose in spite of your suffering.

  16. This is exactly what I’m doing with the “side hustle millionaire” agenda. It’s hard work to create content and craft to learn PPC ad writing. But if I want that side hustle millionaire status and never have to work a day job again, one thing I learned is growth is uncomfortable, painful, and will keep you humble while profiting mentally from learning a new way of thinking. 🙂

  17. Zoe Beatrice

    It’s 9.5.19 and I’m just reading this post. Today, National Public Radio published an article on the continuing saga of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. It’s hard to think of a life you can escape from when the “golden handcuffs” of a well-paying job you no longer fit nor enjoy is also the only tie to PSLF. It’s overwhelming to think – can I create a new life that provides an income to pay off the six-figure student loan and empower me to release the mindsets that the life connected to that loan and jobs/career to date have created? I bought one of your courses a year ago & am returning to it, overcoming great fear that I can build a different life. Your blog is more than an inspiration – it’s continual proof that doing what you say in your posts can bring change. I’m starting at the beginning and doing what you say, hoping that no matter the result or challenges, that the ultimate goal happens – I’ve created a life somehow from these ashes where I lived love and was able to share it. Thank you.

  18. Daliatys

    Thank you really inspiring this post. I felt the same way as the Uber driver when I start serving.

    I am an engineer and I hated my Job I used to felt so miserably. One day I was layoff and I was free!! I could try something different!!
    I was done with the office world, I start a business that didn’t work and then I start serving, I felt so well. Some friends were judging and I couldn’t care less I felt alive in my new found world.
    I knew serving wouldn’t be forever, however it showed me that you can actually enjoy work!!
    I still have to make some changes but creating a life I don’t want to escape from is my aim!.