This millennial was blinded by dollar signs, until one day she decided to trade in her business wardrobe for bare feet and yoga gear on the beach.
The idea of spending your days practicing yoga on the beach with the sea breeze blowing in your hair sounds like a life most people could only dream of.
Or perhaps it’s something you plan to do upon retirement, after slaving away at your desk for the next 40 years.
After all, we have bills to pay and a nest egg to build; we’ve all got to do our time, right?
Less than two years ago, Lindsay Adamson led her life by exactly this mentality. She was living in Toronto, Ontario, working seven days a week, and logging 16 to 18-hour days. This was her fourth year living this way, after getting promoted to the role of National Sales Director at a company she had been working with for eight years.
“I missed everything in my friends’ and family’s lives,” she says in an interview with The Reply. “Weddings, showers, birthdays – although I always made it home for Christmas. But I was so addicted to trying to be successful.”
It wasn’t just a lack of work-life balance Adamson suffered. She lived with her co-workers in a makeshift apartment her boss built inside of a machinery warehouse. “He built a shower inside of a closet by taping plastic inside of the walls,” Adamson explains.
When she gives details like this, it’s hard to believe why anyone would live or work in such conditions. Looking back now, Adamson says she was brainwashed. Her employer repeatedly convinced her she just had to “put in a few more years,” and she would “be a millionaire by age 30.”
“I can’t believe what I sacrificed to make money,” she says.
The True Cost of Freedom
Adamson spent eight years of her life living in these conditions, sacrificing everything she wanted in the present moment because she felt like it would buy herself freedom later.
“The difference between me and the people I worked with is I never wanted the money to buy fancy things,” she says. “I wanted the money so I could travel and retire early and raise a family and have a chilled out life.”
Finally, she realized she couldn’t live this way anymore. After weeks of trying to figure out what her options were, she decided to take some time off, and she started looking up yoga retreats offered all around the world.
I realize the less I have, the happier I am.
In April of 2014, Adamson quit her full-time job to pursue a year of “learning, not earning.” She told herself she wasn’t allowed to earn even a dollar. She had the savings to get her by. After all, when you work 18-hour days and live in a makeshift warehouse apartment, you don’t spend a lot of money, she says.
“The challenge [of taking a year off] sounds like paradise, but it’s hard. You feel like less of a person because you’re not achieving, and you have to retrain your brain.”
She credits this experience for turning her life around, and helping her gain new clarity in how she wanted to spend her time. “I learned a lot. The biggest lesson is that the key to happiness is to figure out what kind of lifestyle you want to live, and then to plan your job around that.”
Adamson flew off to Costa Rica and spent the next 10 months working on the self-care she had neglected for so many years. She fell in love with the country she now calls home – the people, the energy, and the “pura vida” lifestyle. “Here, I see how happy people are with how little they have,” she says. “And I realize the less I have, the happier I am. I am way happier riding my bicycle down the street here than I ever was driving my car [in Toronto].”
In November, 2014, she earned her yoga teaching certificate. Less than a year later she launched her own yoga, surf and wellness retreat in Costa Rica, called Samara Soul Adventures.
A New Look at Life
In addition to teaching yoga, Adamson spends her days sipping smoothies blended from fresh fruit off of the trees in her backyard. On her downtime, she hangs out with her dogs at the beach or goes surfing with the instructor she hires to provide lessons to travellers. She doesn’t allow herself to stress about money – there are much healthier ways for her to use up her energy.
I don’t even use the word ‘success’ anymore. I don’t like that word.
“Money has to be a part of any business, because you have to charge for your services, and I need money to live off of; but as long as I can cover my living expenses and am able to save a bit, that’s my only concern with money,” she says. “I spend the rest of my time focusing on what we’re doing here to make a difference.”
It’s not only the dollar bills that leave a bad taste in Adamson’s mouth. When I ask her about how she defines success in her new business endeavor, she recoils.
“I don’t even use the word ‘success’ anymore,” she says. “I don’t like that word.”
She associates the term to the emotions she felt in the corporate world, where it was always a competition, and people would do whatever they could to get ahead.
“I don’t want to compete anymore,” she says. “I was very good at competing, I loved winning, but I’d rather live in a community where everyone helps and supports each other and that’s what I have here.”
She is especially passionate about the female community she has found. “I’m excited about helping women come together and support each other, and help one another heal,” she says. “That’s something I really look forward to getting out of these retreats.”
Her retreats are open to both men and women, and they offer an all-inclusive, holistic approach aimed at inspiring people to make powerful changes in their lives. The process is designed to help people better understand the steps they need to take in order to make themselves happier.
“It’s important to think about your future and plan for your future, but you should never sacrifice ‘right now’ for that,” she says. She believes her own improved sense of presence has led to a more fulfilled life.
“It takes a leap of faith to make a big change in your life; but if you’re not happy with where you are right now, then it’s something you need to do or else you’re going to continue to be unhappy.”
Are you thinking about making a big change? What’s holding you back? Share your thoughts with us in the comments. For more information on Lindsay’s upcoming retreats, visit http://www.samarasouladventures.com.