19 Replies to “What would you do if you didn't have to work for a living?”

  1. Learn:

    • French (relearn)
    • Korean (relearn)
    • Latin (relearn)
    • Portuguese
    • to play pool (better)
    • to sail
    • to play poker (better)
    • to draw
    • jazz improvisation on the violin
    • guitar (better)
    • piano (better)
    • calligraphy, in both Korean and English
    • salsa
    • advanced mathematics
    • advanced physics
    • chemistry
    • parkour
    • jiu-jitsu
    • to fly a plane
    • silks [trapeze]
    • to cook (better)
    • to drive stick
    • to kitesurf
    • mixology
    • to fence [leaning towards sabre]
    • to paint
    • to ice skate (better)
    • to ride (better; or again, really, since I haven't seen a horse up close, nevermind ridden one, in ages)
    • archery (again)
    • to throw knives
    • blacksmithing
    • gymnastics
    • pharmacology
    • harp
    • photography & darkroom skills
    • to dance like this :
    • composition of house, dubstep, and trance music (at minimum, but many other electronic styles also desired)
    • trading
    • designing and making clothing/costumes
    • to ride a motorcycle
    • to crochet (better)
    • metallurgy
    • to craft jewelry

    Honestly I could go on.

    (Not to say I haven't started some of these things but I imagine it would go much faster if I had more time (and money).)

  2. I actually tried this for two months. I

    • watched movies. Sometimes more than 2 every day. Because I love movies from the core of my heart. Movies of all kinds, all genres, all languages. Movies are beautiful.
    • contemplated. About everything in my life. 'Why I am doing what I am doing. Do I like anything at all, or am I doing these things because I don't know anything else. Will I ever fall in love? What if all fruits disappeared from the face of the earth? I should shave my head, it builds character.'
    • wrote. Not a lot, but in bursts. I wrote when I freaked out from all the contemplation. It felt really good.
    • found caving. It is a demi-sport, but it is so cool (literally and figuratively!) I found that liked to do certain kinds of things that not every other kid did. I found that I wasn't as good at everything as I thought I was. I learned to accept comments like "I hear you are more on the mediocre side rather than the exceptional" without being bitter about it. And then I got better at it, to an instructor level.
    • read. And I read different versions of one story. The Mahabharata. I realized that I love the epic, but overdoing all the love made me love it less. And then I realized that hate-due-to-overdoing-xyz spreads to all other lovely things in my life. So I started reading more diverse books. Turns out that reading is very satisfying, and addicting.
    • experimented with people. I know it went well, but I don't know if I was right/wrong in doing that. But I did. 
      Then I experimented with myself. Almost completely changed my personality type.
      I experimented with playing a musical instrument. And later gave up on it, pretty much feeling like I wasn't made for making music.

    And in the end, I found myself getting pretty desperate to get back to work. Although I liked to do all these things, I realized that what I really wanted to do was to create. Create something that wasn't in this world before. Or create wealth. Or create knowledge. Create something to be remembered for.

  3. I would manage to get a good night's rest every night.

    I'd spend every day at the gym exercising until I felt I'd done enough.

    Go on long hikes for some good quality me time.

    Eat balanced and proper meals.

    Visit friends and family more often.

    Invest in a house with a large yard and grow a garden.  Maybe even get a pet for company.

    Be happy with life overall, not stressing about deadlines, social engagements, etc.

  4. About 6 years ago I became too disabled to work due to the effects of my mental illness and its treatment (and maltreatment). I not only no longer had to work for a living, I couldn't. This was a big adjustment for a workaholic who would have kept working even if she'd won a large lottery. Here's what I ended up doing (from my Life Unlimited essay published on the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) website:

    In 2002, I was on the way to marriage with the love of my life. I was a workaholic technologist with a comfortable income. Anxiety disorders and a misdiagnosed mood disorder had troubled me since childhood. Ten years later, I'm divorced; my mood disorder is more severe (ultra-rapid cycling, drug-resistant bipolar); my anxiety is worse; I'm going through menopause; I've been unable to work for years; my only income is a social security check 85% less than my last paycheck; and—my life is so good my friends and family are jealous.

    Since December 2011, I've worked, lived, and traveled the U.S. in a 100 sq. ft. eco-campervan converted to my specifications with solar electricity and a dry composting toilet. The van conversion is designed to be economical, have low environmental impact, and to be a safe, healthy environment for me. It reduces my chemical exposure, provides an environment with no incandescent or florescent lighting, and is a secure, cozy refuge for me, my cat, and my psychiatric service dog. Unlike traditional RVs, it has no propane tank, no open flames, no blackwater tank, and no leveling system. This makes it easier and safer for me to handle when I'm not at my best.

    I camp on federal lands, including stunning national parks, much of the year for $10 a night. I have no utility bills, no rent, no mortgage, and no storage fees. My income is spent on high quality, healthy groceries, insurance, and fuel. I love outdoors activities and am proud to be living a greener life with extremely low water use and energy conservation. I have solid relationships with my parents, children, and grandchildren. My mental health is improved; my weight and physical health are excellent.

    This low-cost eco-recovery allows me to pay for my mission, the Service Poodle Outdoors/Outreach Tour. I became inspired to do this during my training by Advocacy Unlimited in 2010. My psychiatric service dog, Maeve, and I get the word out about federal civil rights laws that give people with psychiatric disabilities in all 50 states the right to have trained service dogs accompany them wherever the public is allowed, as well as the right to have untrained pets (emotional support animals) in no-pets housing without deposits or fees. I talk to groups and individuals. I have a website; blog; Facebook page; Google+ page; and am active on Quora and in a number of Linked In's groups on the topics of disability, Americans with Disabilities Act, and psychology.

  5. What work would you do if you didn’t need to work?

    Last year, Finland announced it’s plan to pay all it’s 5.4 million citizens 800 euros every month – just enough money to be able to eat, drink, sleep, learn and live a life without fear of not having enough.


    Can you imagine a world where everyone worked on what they loved?

    If you got paid enough to not have to work for the money, what would you do? Would you create art? Do something to change the world? Do something to help a fellow human?

    Finland’s plan is the furthest any country has gone so far to introduce the concept of a “basic income”. This year, two Dutch cities, Utrecht and Tilberg, have also began their own “basic income” experiments.

    Why the growing movement towards basic incomes now?

    In this technological age, we’re getting greater productivity and also greater unemployment. It isn’t as easy to get jobs, but there’s more money than ever.

    The solution? Give everyone enough money to not need to work, and then people will do the work that they would actually want to do, and to do the work that’s actually needed.

    Andre Daniel, the Editor of Basic Income News says, “If technology replaces human labor in an ever growing number of tasks, then only some kind of social contract which says we all get a fair share of those machines work will actually reap the benefits of it.”

    “People will work on task of their choosing, not on paid jobs with which they only barely identify with, if at all. Now that cannot happen if people don’t have the means to get the basic resources they need to live with dignity.”

    The problem? Many are against the idea. In Switzerland, the Swiss Parliament voted down a plan for Basic Income proposed by the citizens, with politicians saying it was “The most dangerous and harmful initiative ever.” Why? Because they believe it would make people lazy and disruptive if they didn’t need to work…


    What do you think? If you were paid each month with enough to live on, would you get lazy and disruptive? Or would you find ways with your time to add value and be productive?

    Personally, I look at those who are already not working for money – Children, retirees, stay-at-home-mums-and-dad, wealthy entrepreneurs – and see what they are doing with their time.

    Most aren’t being lazy and disruptive. Most are following their passions and purpose. Most do more meaningful work than those going to jobs for the money.

    I would love to see a future in which we give all of humanity for free the same privilege we give our pets – a home, food, drink, a healthy and vibrant life. Combine that with Bill Gates’ proposal of zero income tax, replaced with a consumption tax. So we reward those who create more, and those who consume more pay back into the pot.

    I believe if we all have enough to not have to worry about survival, and were given the same opportunities for growth, we would all discover and pursue the real reason we’re here.

    We would have less suffering, less violence, less fear, less sickness, less separation, less poverty.

    We would have a world with more art, more music, more world changing creations, more people caring for each other, more love.

    “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” ~ Marc Anthony

    If you have more questions and/or would like to discuss your work/business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

  6. I'd have time to volunteer my services to the veterans instead of working for them.

    I'd have time to crochet the blankets I've been gawking at in magazines.  Because I'm only half stingy, I'd keep the prettier ones but put the others on ebay and donate that money to the veterans food bank.

    I could finish restoring my 74 VW Beetle.  Then I'd have plenty of time to learn how to fix up Charlie's 1930 Model A.

    I'd be able to spend more time on the Young Widow group that I co-admin on facebook.  I've gotten to the point where I welcome them to the group and then abandon them and I feel horrible about it.  There are just so many of them.

    I'd also make sure to do the things I jealously watch others do as I'm driving to work every day.  Sit outside of an ice cream shop and let out a big over exaggerated laugh at something my friend said.  Run into the gas station and buy a 6 pack of beer while wearing shorts and a coat.  Put my hair up in a messy bun and run across the street in front of cars so I can walk into the bike shop.  Things to let other people know that I'm not on MY way to work.

  7. I used to take a magazine called "TravLTips."  This was back in the eighties.  It was for people who enjoyed sailing around the world on freighters.  These people were mainly retirees on a fixed income who wanted to see the world and had plenty of time but not beaucoup bucks. 

    The contents of the magazine were mainly reviews and trip stories by people sailing on these ships.  The ship usually took anywhere from two to twelve passengers.  The passengers paid something to travel, but nothing like a cruise ship.  They ate with the officers in the officers mess, and basically spent days aboard ship entertaining themselves — reading, playing cards, painting, writing, lolling in the sun.  Some ships had game rooms, libraries, even television sets with VCRs (this was the 80s, remember.)  So really a person could do all the things most people responding to this question here have mentioned (the creative stuff), but they would be doing it while cruising to exotic places around the world.

    When they got to a port, if they wanted to get off, they would.  If they loved the port, they might stay awhile and catch another freighter later.  If not, they would come back aboard after the freighter had unloaded its cargo or loaded it or whatever it was doing in port.

    I just thought this kind of travel sounded heavenly.  Sort of a harkening back to a leisurely, no-frills bumming around the world where you had no place special to be and were excited by every new port-of-call.

    Of course, I remember the magazine emphasizing that the ships did not have stabilizers like modern cruise ships, so one had to be a good sailor.  Get your sea legs, I guess.

    I don't think that the magazine still exists, and I imagine that the kind of travel I used to daydream about has changed drastically, if it still exists at all.  But if I had the time, I would love to see if traveling by freighter is still possible.  That would be my ideal way to spend the next ten years.

    Thanks for posing this question, Garrick.  I haven't thought about "TravLTips" magazine for a long time.

    Edit:  I just googled" TravLtips," and there is a website for a travel agency called that which handles these kinds of trips:  River Boat and Barge Cruising.  (I don't know why when I typed in the link it changed to "River Boat," because it looked like it was for sea-going vessels, too.)  I don't know if they still have a magazine, but I'm going to check it out.

    So now all I have to do is find someone who will pay me not to work…

  8. In no particular order.

    * Go to the gym every morning and work out.

    * Take dance lessons of all kinds. ( I am into belly dancing right now. The traditional dance. Also, I'm learning tribal dance techniques. It is so much fun.)

    * Refinish furniture or buy used furniture and have fun being creative with them.
    ( Keep some or give it away… )

    * Finish up on my home projects. Definitely remodel my kitchen. I love to cook an I want a kitchen that is cook friendly.

    * Travel and go on long trip aboard a small ship. I love ships and anything that has to do with marine life. (Living on a sailboat would be something I'd try.)

    *  Catch up and deepen friendships with people that I enjoy their company.

    * Continue with helping in sewing hot air balloons. I would donate much more time. It is so much fun to be part of the sewing team.

    * I would continue to have my vegetable and flower gardens. I love to watch plants grow.

    * Go camping a whole lot more and spend a lot of time in the forest near lakes.
    It is so much fun to be in nature.

    * Check up on Quora and learn stuff but also read other's poems on the poetry blog. I love to read the words of people that write with their soul. To me, poems are portals to the soul. When one can tap into that inner voice it's magic.

    Some write but it's only word chatter. I prefer writers that write and do not care if they are being read. Those types of writers are genuine and write because they need to. Their soul needs to vent and get out of it's cage once in a while.

    * I would socialize a lot more too. I love to entertain and have parties at my home. I love to cook and with a cook's kitchen, it would be like heaven for me.

  9. I would take the time to transform myself into a celebrity electronic music performer with 10 backup dancers and my Atari MegaSTE, a C64, Amiga and my Speak'n'Spell English version.

    Then I would spend the rest of my life around the Greek Islands, and the rest of Europe helping people party like it's 1999

  10. I'd work anyway. It'd be lonely as hell being alone all day while my friends and family are at work.

    I've managed to have a lot of hobbies during work and school (salsa dancing, snowboarding, drumming, etc.) so it's not like I feel like I'm missing out on life due to work. If I'm not already pursuing an interest then I'm probably not truly that interested.

    There's a lot I'd like to do in some perfect world, but without a strict work schedule I'd have no discipline to get anything else done efficiently. The only difference would perhaps be more emphasis on physical fitness and travel.

  11. Take a trip around the USA (possibly the World) to visit all the Quora members I want to meet in real life.  A Quoad Trip, if you will.

    Spend at least a month in every single country in the world.

    Take the time to write out several ideas I have never been able to put on paper before because I don't have the time to actually make my writing any good.

    Learn the guitar and how to create electronic music.  And learn how to songwrite.


    Watch movies.

  12. Philosophical answer:
    Start with the second half of the question, answer that, do that, and forget the caveat at the beginning.

    You don't have to work for money and doing so misses the whole point. Do what you love, people will pay for it. Even if they don't, you're better off living a life you enjoy (on a pirate ship, Mike) than one that you believe is inextricably tied to a full time job you're just doing as a means to pay the rent.

    See, What if money didn't matter – Alan Watts

    My answer:
    Answering Quora threads at 1:38am, compulsively.

  13. Surf.

    I actually took 1 1/2 years off after being laid off in 2009. (I still can't believe I did that.) I originally planned for a couple weeks, and then decided to take a month, and then it was almost June, and why not take the summer off? And then I discovered surfing and stopped looking for a job. (Surfing really kicks the shit out of a person's desire to work. Gotta be available when the waves are good.)

    During my 18 months off I didn't sleep in once, watched zero TV, read a ton of books, started running, and lost a significant amount of weight. I'm a pathetic workaholic at the core, but for those 18 months, I didn't miss working or get bored once!

  14. Write open source.
    Write fun apps.
    (Re)Learn the Chinese language.
    Practice drums or learn another instrument, and form a band again.
    Practice writing articles and essays.
    Read more non-technology books.

  15. I would be running an arts colony and teaching "classes" in dance and music and conversation and ideas. It would be located someplace beautiful near mountains and ocean. There would be many activities for people. There would be communally prepared food. Dance and music workshops every night. Conversations would arise from these workshops. People would fall in love with each other willy nilly. It would be amazing!

    I actually have a business plan for this sitting in the back of my head waiting to be unleashed.

  16. Ha! Unlucky George Tang! I can answer this question with "Exactly what I am doing right now"!

    Which, by the way, is finishing Grade 11 of high school. So I wouldn't really be working for a living anyway.

  17. There are a number of factors that could influence what a person chose to do with truly free time. The question is phrased as not having to work 'for a living', so one scenario that suggests itself is basic income or a minimum guaranteed income, or a 'citizen's dividend', whereby a free market is maintained but everyone is supplied with enough to keep them above the poverty line.

    In such cases, historically, people have tended to continue to work- albeit fewer hours, and with far more freedom to quit jobs that make them miserable. A guaranteed basic survival-level income is wonderful if you're starving, but it's not very rewarding to someone who wants more. So people might find jobs to supplement their income so that they can buy luxuries.

    Even those whose material desires were met with a modest income might well seek further employment. Most people don't like to sit around doing nothing at all, and most people do enjoy a certain level of socialization. When it's better than wage slavery or drudgery, work can fulfill those needs.

    Some people, no doubt, would like little more than to sit around with no commitments (economic or social), and indulge in their hobbies or creative passions. If nothing else, they might spend more and more time answering questions on Quora.

  18. I would explore uninhabited islands on this refurbished pirate ship I took a picture of today in St. Augustine, Florida. They wouldn't even have to pay me, I would work for food.

  19. I'd spend the winter skiing in the The Alps.
    During the summer, I'd visit friends, go to festivals and gigs, and generally bum around in beach bars.

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