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“The problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat,” said Lily Tomlin, American actress and comedian. That’s a sharp and in-depth analysis of the frenzied chase-oriented lifestyle that most people seem to be condemned to live over and over again, their entire lives! A blind race after the supposed good things in life; for money, power and status and accepted definitions of success; a race on site simply to keep up with the next person; All of these factors have combined to make modern Human a powered creature that runs, runs, until the day of its death.

But is this the only possible way to live and be? Is there no other way to have a full and satisfying life? They are the daily stress and heartache of the rat race; associated physical, emotional and mental health problems; the inescapable evils of modern life? Not necessarily, as many people around the world are discovering. Opting out of the rat race is becoming a distinct possibility in the age of information, technology, and outsourcing and the possibilities have only greatly improved over the last year as the world and businesses have grown realized the alternatives to 9-5.

There are numerous stories of people who took control of their own lives and changed direction halfway through. From sales professionals who quit lucrative jobs at multinational companies to teach MBAs, to engineers who become restaurateurs; young people are choosing to move away from high stress, high speed, and crazy racing to do something they enjoy. It’s huge! It’s a risk! But most of them agree, it’s worth every minute! They may make less money, at least for a time, but what they earn more than makes up for the financial loss.

First of all, there is a huge drop in stress and distress levels. That brings huge health and lifestyle benefits. The onset of diabetes and hypertension is through the roof in most professions these days. Younger and younger people are affected, and most of them have no family history of either disease. Experts agree that this is due to the high levels of stress that these people experience every day. Heart attacks happen younger and younger, and fertility and libido are very low in most urban centers. Get rid of stress and go! The problems are significantly reduced, sometimes they even disappear completely!

Less time running after money or the next device or the newest TV means more time available to do the things you love and spend quality time with family and friends. Creative activities, hobbies, and social interaction further reduce stress, not to mention they make life a pleasure and provide an immense amount of meaning and satisfaction. And the really fun thing is, you don’t even have to give up the money! Consultants make a lot of money these days, as do freelancers and business owners. It might not be as much as your executive salary package, at least for a while, until you get things done to that level, but the advantages are many, too. And with modern technology, as we saw last year, it is very possible.

So take a look at your life and consider getting out of the rat race. Even thinking about it helps. Feeling like you have a way out, anytime you want it, makes the here and now less like a jail sentence and more like a choice.

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