In 2017 I have more choices than ever on how I’d like my life to look. I’ve been gifted a whole new set of colors with which I can paint my life’s story. Colors that weren’t available to my grandparents and great-grandparents. The irony lies in my striving to create an environment that looks more like their way of life than that of my own generation’s. That’s one of the goals of this homestead life. My ancestors worked hard and valued what they had available to them. This is what I long to create in living simply.
That doesn’t mean their lives were easy, yet, to me, it means their lives were real. They experienced important lessons living close to the land, utilizing what they could, and leaning on each other when needed. Looking at all the options I have in this life I know they would wonder why I choose to live off-grid without the comforts most people have today. I don’t know exactly why others have continued to follow this homesteading path, but I’m sure some can resonate with the desire to live a simple, sustainable, life that is filled with gratitude.
I hope my ancestors wouldn’t find offense in the idea of “simple living.” Simple living isn’t living free and easy. To me, it means getting back to the basics. It’s about relying more on my own abilities to acquire the things I need-either by using what I have or seeking local sources that can fulfill this need. Sometimes that means back-breaking labor or learning to live without. It’s about not wishing to acquire more stuff than I am in need of owning. Simple living leaves space for the important things—relationships and experiences.
Sustainable living and simplicity go hand-in-hand. I want to create a homestead that is sustainable because it helps the Earth. Asking me to engage in her healing, I’ve been given this passion to keep Mother Earth healthy, just as I wish to maintain my own health. Sustainable living challenges me to think outside the box, and encourages me to live simply. Instead of relying on people far away from me to grow my food and bring it to me, I can do it myself—saving energy and resources in the process. This sustainability practice does wonders for my body and soul and inspires me to engage with Mother Earth in new ways.
Since beginning my homesteading journey, my gratitude for this life and all it has to offer has greatly expanded as my understanding of myself and the natural world have intertwined more tightly than before. I find reasons to be grateful for the rain and the sun—both gifting me with needed resources. Homesteading engages my mind in thinking about the spiritual reasons we exist, and how to live a good life. It has increased my compassion for all creatures and demanded my respect for nature and all wild things. Simply put, homesteading is humbling.
I’m new at this way of living. I’ve only been off-grid for a year, and my chickens aren’t even two months old yet. I have a lot to learn. Sometimes it feels overwhelming when I see how little I’ve dabbled in this lifestyle so far. Then I remind myself it’s not about how far I’ve come or where I am going. It’s about where I am right now. It’s about finding hope and connection with all of those who are experienced and eager to share their knowledge—willingly passing on this lifestyle with all of its challenges and treasures.
I beg you, if you have any inkling to farm or garden or live a sustainable life, but you aren’t sure you can do it—don’t believe your doubts. Homesteading is a beautiful life that you can be a part of, if only you focus on what you can do now. Do one small thing and build on it from there.