Monday, April 30, 2012

:: Home is Where You Make It ::

Adapting in place. I've written about Sharon Astyk's article before, and I am keenly awaiting her new book, Making Home. You see, the reason I've been reminding myself about adapting in place, is because I've had those running away fantasties again. I guess when I've got a lot going on in everyday life, I tend to fall back into my farm-change fantasies... or this time, tiny cabin 'lifestyle' fantasies. This was greatly helped along by spending a lot my rest-time (to recover from the ongoing headcold) reading Wayward Spark. The way the family lives (off-grid in a one bedroom cabin that they built themselves, growing food, milking goats, beekeeping and more) is so exotic to me, and so enticing. I like reading and pondering about living that way, because like many of us, I get a bit overwhelmed by the 'daily grind'. I start to idealise how 'simple' life would be without the pressures of going to work, of relying on supermarkets, of trying to balance so much. But you know what, I am sure their life still has that balancing act, with children and various businesses and livestock and seasonal changes to deal with. I compare what I do each day, and ask myself, could I even handle living that way? Am I cut out for the physical side of it, maybe I am too lazy? Or the opposing thought, would I burn out from doing too much? What about dealing with the 'elements' or potential lack of comfort from living in an off-grid cabin? Or maybe the isolation, or lack of financial security? Of course, I don't know exactly what their circumstances are. I can only imagine what ours might be like if we ever tried living that way ourselves, which for us would entail selling our house, leaving our current jobs etc. When it comes down to it, we can't even afford to do it! Whether living off-grid in a cabin could actually be less stress and more comfortable and a better life, than where we are now, it doesn't matter... because we aren't in a position to move. What we are in a position to do is... make the most of where we are!

People might read this and think, hey, if you really wanted to go live in a cabin, you'd find a way, so stop complaining. Or they might think, what are you complaining about? You have money, you have a house, you have health, get over yourself and make the most of it. Yep. That is exactly what I need to do. I am in the awesome position of only working two days a week, and whilst my kids may be little and need me still, I do have some sense of independence creeping back into my life. I will have more a bit more solo time to focus on the building of our urban homestead when we settle into our new routine. Instead of worrying that the changes will mean less time with my 4 year old, why not make more time when we are here together. Instead of spending time on the laptop, or so much time in the kitchen, or trying to get garden projects done when they come home from school, I have the power to do it differently. I am not saying I can (or would want to) dump everything and play Lego with them all afternoon, because I have some stuff to get done, and they benefit from independent play too. But I feel like I've had such poor self control sometimes when it comes to blogging and online time, or getting caught up reading articles, pinning information to read later, or adding another great idea I've seen on Facebook to my 'Wish To Do' list.

To be honest, I am over it. Please know, I do feel there is so much positive to be gained from online community, the knowledge sharing and the abundance of information available. But there is also this overwhelming (at times) sense of keeping up with the Joneses, or the desire to want to do it all, or competition. Even though my interests are in the 'slow living', greenie, earthy homesteading movements, I still feel there is underlying 'outwit, outlast, outplay'... erm, I mean, 'out-do' rivalry sometimes. Maybe that's just me? I read about people who are concerned that Pinterest just encourages people to want more, to increase their consumption, to desire what they can't have. Not me, I thought, I'm immune to that evil, consumeristic side of it, it won't make me want to spend money or acquire stuff I don't need. But instead, I have Pinboards full of DIY, homestead, gardening, goat milking, crafting, repurposing, paint-blackboard-paint-on-everything, and use-pallets-to-make-anything pins. I don't even spend that much time on Pinterest! I have this great Facebook page set up, too, where my 'Home' area has loads (117, to be exact) of other pages, or people, that I've 'Liked'. This isn't on my personal Facebook area, but linked from my eatatdixiebelles Facebook page is other 'pages' and their links, status updates, photos and goings on. All good, positive stuff, that connects me to the world. A lot of it, though, is the same old, same old. So many links and quotes and gardening ideas do the rounds over and over. I am part of it, though, and that is the problem.

Maybe it is exacerbated at the moment by making myself 'do nothing' so I can get better, and doing nothing has involved way too much online time? Perhaps. In normal times I don't spend obscene amounts of time online, but I do feel awful when I find myself, yet again, just having a rest in between housework, or just checking a recipe, and oops, somehow I am checking my emails and Facebook too! Or reading another blog post, and commenting on it, then thinking, hey, I better reply to the comments on my own blog. Hmmm. Is running away to a cabin with limited internet connection and solar-power the only way to kick this habit? Instead of being inside complaining about my weed-infested garden on my blog, well, der, I could go out and spend that same amount of time pulling some of the weeds out! Or, hey, here's a concept, instead of accumulating ideas about goat play areas on an online Pinboard, how about I focus on building the basic infrastructure in our backyard first. I may not have a backyard full of woodsy foraging potential, but I have so much I can work with. Instead of adding to a disconnected/ disjointed/ disillusioned-but-photographically-delightful Pinned version of my 'dream homestead', I can work on the real one. Which is what I've been doing this morning! Not too much, just a little weeding & adding some extra seeds. After all, the grass is greener where you water it! Ha.