If you ever feel frustrated about the scale of your dreams and your inability to make them happen soon enough, this post is for you! Practicing gratefulness in the here and now while we are on our way to “there” may be one of the most important lessons that homesteading can teach us!
*Author’s note: This post was originally shared with my email followers in 2017. While a lot of things have changed on our homestead since then, I think it’s a great time to revisit this post as we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season.
You Are Here.
Sometimes, I feel like I need a life map with a big, fat “You Are Here” sticker on it. I like to focus – maybe “fixate” – on the end result. Having a clear goal in mind is not a bad thing! But I have a tendency to want to reach that goal so quickly and so badly that I make myself miserable in the process.
Right now, I am here:
We’ve been on our property for just over a year. We’ve scraped, sanded, primed and painted every surface imaginable. We’ve seeded, planted and hauled endless truckloads of soil. We’ve built barns, re-sided hutches and coops, fenced pastures and removed piles of debris and junk from the property. But there are still many more piles to go. There are still barns to build and pastures to seed. There are herbs, berries and trees to be planted. There are natural resources to that need to be captured and utilized. The list goes on…. and there are still those full time jobs that require us to be away from the homestead when all I want is to be there full-time.
In the midst of all the work, I wonder “when will I ever get there?”:
When I close my eyes, I see our property as a fully-functioning microfarm, teaming with growth and life. I see children on a school field trip visiting the gardens to learn about growing food. I see a small raw goat milk dairy, complete with a farm store that customers visit to pick up their raw milk orders. While at the store, they can browse a selection of herbal lotions, salves, and tinctures that are made from the herbs grown on the farm. There are also real, whole food items available for sale, like gelato made with raw milk and berries grown onsite and sweetened with local honey. The customers say hello to the goats and pat them on their heads before they leave to return to suburbia, filled with a better understanding and appreciation for their food and where it came from.
We are all “here”. But most of us want to be “there”.
We all have a “here” and a “there”. Maybe your “here” is an apartment and your “there” is 20 acres. Maybe your “here” is struggling to pay the bills and your “there” is living debt free. Or, like me, maybe “here” is the beginning of a beautiful homestead but “there” is being able to homestead full-time.
How do we get from “here” to “there”?
I would love to write a blog post detailing an easy 10-step method to get you from here to there. I read those types of posts all the time! Titles like “Ten Easy Steps to Quit your Job and Travel Full-time!” and “Start a Home Business that Makes Six Figures in Six Months!” or “How We Paid off $40,000 of Debt in One Year” – they make it seem like it should be so easy! Then, when it turns out that it’s not that easy, I get even more frustrated with myself. I feel like there must be some magical solution that I just can’t figure out!
Well, folks, unfortunately I don’t have that one-size-fits-all magic solution to get you from here to there.
All I know so far is that “here” is usually a requirement of getting “there”. Because “here” is where the work happens. And “here” is where the adventure happens. And I’m starting to understand just how much time, energy and grit it can take to actually get “there”.
Practicing gratefulness in the here and now:
No, I don’t have a magic answer or 10-step solution for you – or for me! But, maybe I can help us both be able to look at “here” a little differently. Even though we live in a world that glorifies the end result above the journey, maybe it’s okay to not be “there” yet.
Take the time to look around. Maybe “here” isn’t so bad after all.
As we enter Thanksgiving, I’m going to work on reminding myself of the following things:
- I am here. And that’s okay. Because here is on the way to there.
- I am here. And that’s okay. Because my here today was my there two years ago.
- I am here. And that’s okay. Because I love it too much to give up – even if it takes time to get there.
- I am here. And that’s okay.