written by Arne Bollinger on Oct. 23, 2015, 6:03 p.m.

Arne goes full gift-economy

Last month I quit my job to fully live for and from what I am doing "voluntarily" on my free days, in the nights and on weekends.
What I experienced in the first month after that decision inspired me so much, that I want to share it with you!

I always struggled with my ideas and projects, that are so "alternative" that they often don't find easy funding or they are still in the early stages. I tried to work on them anyway, as much as my free time would allow me.
Luckily I live in germany, where we are so privileged that we can have the Jobcenter paying our very basic needs if we stick to their rules. I just told them what I was going to do and they liked it and actually support me now! I told them that I work with gift-economy and that I already get regular monthly donations from people that like what i am doing. I want to spend some months to make a social business plan that builds on these relationships and develop some kind of "corporate identity" for my own person. That is funny, because I only did this for customers, but it really makes sense to use these skills for myself now! Also, I will make a blog that unites all my projects and services, so you can follow what I am doing and support me through donations if you are too far away to invite me for a cup of tea directly :)

This step feels so good, that I want to share some insights from my first month as an inspiration:

I have TIME, A LOT!

Time is the most precious value we have.
Now it actually feels like I have too much and in the first days I was lavish and spent a lot of it reading books. (I didn't do this since years!) Ah yeah, well I feel a lot more relaxed and happy!
No project seems undoable, it is just a matter of time and motivation. Both I have a lot. So it feels like I can move mountains!
I can do so much with my time! I think I can feel infinity :)
I feel as free, as you can feel in this country, I guess
This is life quality, spontaneously meeting friends, chilling in the sunshine, going to juggle in the park as long as the sun still shines..

I am happy every morning I get up.

I am pretty much just doing what I like and what i find worth doing. So I am super motivated. My friends say, they never saw me that happy!
I am looking forward to every next morning and all the great things I can do. Often it is hard to decide what project I would like to work on. But hey, if I don't feel any inspiration, why not take a day off? I am working very hard other times. Sometimes I get inspired after midnight, when I get home. Instead of kissing the day goodbye, I go for the flow and spend the night programming, designing, writing or making music until the morning comes. What a great feeling sometimes! I think it is natural to find your own rhythm and use your energies when you have them in the way you have them. I at least am very creative at night. The day I actually prefer using the sunlight and being outside, working in the garden, lalala..

The quality of my work improved a lot!

I don't have to look at the clock and stop on a project when I would really like to spend more time on it, just because it is not payed! Now every project gets the time it needs to be good and that I am happy with it. Of course sometimes the people I work for and their low budget for donations are demotivating. But it is not just about me, but about doing a favor.
So now that I have the time, I can be more involved in the creative process of jobs. Like this I actually make them mine and the old customer relationship becomes a partnership.
And the best part: Because it is all about favours, I don't have to work on something that I don't like.

I am flexible to respond to life's challenges.

If it is raining, something breaks, plans don't work - I am flexible to give attention to what is needed and what makes sense in that moment.
For example my desktop computer was broken - for 3 years! I managed to bring it to 2 repair shops, when I had a free day, but they could not find the error.
I could not produce music or cut videos in that time! I was blocked creatively and just the feeling of working on a slow laptop killed my inspiration and motivation a lot of times!
It took me 5 days to find the bug and now it is running smooth again and I learned a lot about the Mac kernel and some self-made drivers :)

My relationships flourish

Every time I am doing a favour or give a gift to somebody, a relationship emerges or deepens. I don't have to watch the clock to see how much time I spent with a client, but I can just be a 100% there with and for them. It feels great to be in unconditional service! Even more without money, because it is voluntarily and then i can fully enjoy it. When I feel bored or I get tired I can say so and it is fine to stop, because there are no conditions binding me..

And of course I have more time to see friends or surprise my girlfriend. I do more for people that I like, because I like them. I think this sounds quite natural, no? Sadly it is not always like this..

This project moves forward!

Even though I was already dedicating one day a week to ecobasa, I was getting sad and frustrated because of the mountains of work that this project needs to move forward. I didn't know where to take the time from to see significant progress. Some things are not manageable on one day and some things require a very special kind of motivation, like dealing with german bureaucrazy.. A strange motivation that I could even find in me, but very rarely and not on my "free" days :) Now that I see it moving I am very happy and motivated to do even more :)
Well, actually all of my projects move in a very satisfying way!

I am much more inspired!

Somehow I need peace around me and to be relaxed for really great inspirations to come and for dedicating time to them.
Now I am singing new songs on the bike, I have ideas for little documentaries and movies, I am inspired to design new logos for projects that I am involved in. Just because I like to do it. This gives me a boost of motivation and satisfaction every time I complete something and get good feedback. Also being able to spend some days in a row on a project, enables me to really dive into it. I think about it in the night and can continue the next morning. The best ideas come when I take a break and then I can get back into it. Being stressed about deadlines, didn't allow me this creativity. I discover more mistakes and can take the time to rework them. Also I can get more inspired like this and put more love into it.
Because of my many underpayed jobs, I had to do little on a lot of different stuff. So I could not really go forward somewhere.
It feels so good that 
I don't have to negotiate about money or pass a nice job, just because it is not payed good enough!

I feel inspired to inspire others!

I started again to see things in a poetic and artful way. I fell in love with life and its creatures. I don't want to just rush through this experience! I want to interact with them, to leave a trace, some loving memories, to move somebody in a beneficial direction, to leave gifts that they will be thankful for and remember me with good feelings. I want to share with the world all this moods, colors, images and ideas that I see in my head - It just feels so nice, I want to share this feeling with you.. Maybe you feel inspired to join me in this experiment?
So far I can promise: It is not easy and takes quite some courage, but it's worth it!

The magic is back in my life

I was for the first time enjoying routine in the last years with a more or less stable job at a media agency for social change. But now that the routine is gone - my life is more magic.
Yesterday for example I wanted to go dancing in a club. Not very magic, and not very gift-economy like. I was prepared to spend some money, as I hardly spend any money usually I could even afford this :) But surprisingly a friend from a community close to Berlin, that I worked with since some years, worked at the entrance. She knew what I was doing with the gift-economy I guess, so she didn't want any money and gave me a stamp. When I wanted to buy a drink at the bar the guy next to me started talking to me. I ordered a drink and he ordered the same. He invited me for the drink and I told him that I didn't spend any money that evening. He just smiled and said: "And so the magic continues..." 

Support me in this transition!

If you like what I do and/or you want to support me, I am actually depending on your support! That will determine if I can keep going with this lifestyle or not.
I found this great platform, where you can become a "patreon" for me, you can give 1$/€ a month or more and I can post regular updates of the work that I am doing. I have some nice music coming up, so its worth it ;)
Please become a patreon for me!

Thank you for reading, have a great day!