Downshifters are the antithesis of the acquisitive yuppies of the eighties. They believe that time is more important than money and that it is better to work less and be happy and fulfilled than be well paid for struggling with jobs that are stressful or unrewarding. Though it was heralded as “a new Renaissance philosophy” by the Trends Research Institute in New York, which is credited with inventing the term in 1994, the idea is far from new and, for example, echoes the Gandhian “voluntary simplicity” of the 1930s. To downshift means to cut out unnecessary expenditure and cultivate a simpler lifestyle with time to do more of the things one wants to do, but not go to the extremes of dropping out of society or attempting self-sufficiency. Some who have gone this route say that they have been able to make savings because a substantial proportion of their income was spent coping with the emotional and social consequences of overachievement and maintaining a consumerist lifestyle. Ironically, it seems a requirement for remodelling one’s life is financial independence; significantly, downshifting has been taken up principally by middle-class professionals who can afford the loss of income. The word is a figurative use of a term originally applied to changing gear in a car and which dates from the 1950s.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added pieces
Vape; Bridegroom; Lilly-low; The Language Myth by Vyvyan Evans; Boot and trunk; Zoilism; Fish-faced; Poach; Immensikoff; Habiliments; The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker; Agister; The Word at War; Not so green as you’re cabbage-looking; Peely-wally; Draw a line in the sand; Porphyrogeniture.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!