I’m a modern homesteader. Here’s why I kissed the convenient life goodbye!
Alright, time to drop some reality: homesteading (even backyard homesteading) is hard.
What?! You mean you already knew that?!
Yeah, chances are, that if you have been living this way, even for the shortest period of time, you’ve experienced losses, hardships and discomforts. And here’s the kicker: the human race has spent a whole lot of years developing ways to avoid hardships and discomfort! We have other people raise and butcher the food we eat, we have climate-controlled houses, and we even have single-use disposable cutlery in case washing that fork is too much work. And then, along came the revival of homesteading. Yeah, we pretty much took all those comforts that people have spent centuries developing and threw them out the window while yelling “Eff that! Bring it on, life!”
We are those people outside in the pouring rain, digging a hole to bury the animal we just lost. The ones strapping a car battery to our bikes and riding home from town in an attempt fix the farm truck which also happens to be your only vehicle. The crazy people running outside into the hail and lightning in a desperate attempt to catch the ducklings that are running wild and cover the tomato plants before they are damaged by the hail. (And, yes, these are all 100% true stories of things that have happened to me in just the past year.)
People think we are crazy. And sometimes I wonder if they aren’t right. Why do we purposefully reject the comforts that are sitting right in front of us, waiting to be used? Why do we take the hard route… the route that often hurts our hearts and souls to the point where we wonder why we haven’t given up yet? And why, even after all the hardships, do we wake up each morning and walk head first back into this lifestyle that puts us through so much discomfort?
It’s something that you will have to answer for yourself time and again. I suppose everyone’s answer is different.
My answer: because it’s real.
This lifestyle… this way that I’ve chosen to live…. it takes all those parts of life – the good and the bad – and makes them that much more real. I have chosen to feel all of the discomforts and responsibilities that many have chosen to turn away from.
I have chosen to take back the responsibility of caring for myself and my earth.
Yes, we may feel more hurt and pain than those who chose to turn away from hardships. But we also feel more joy, more peace and are better able to embrace life for the crazy beautiful mess that it is. The heart is a muscle. Interestingly enough, muscles grow from being damaged and repaired. Cultivating happiness is more than trying to avoid pain. It’s learning how to experience pain fully, how to let it affect you, and how to move on from it.
We’ve made the decision to take back the responsibility of caring for ourselves. And that responsibility extends beyond providing our own food. We have also taken back the responsibilities of caring for our emotions, however raw and tired they may become. And so, we learn how to face hardships, to be okay with it, and to not turn away from it. And you know what those hardships allow us to do? They allow us to savor every bite, to let go of excuses, to embrace a constantly changing dream, to help and accept help, and to live fully.
I am not a passive spectator in my own life. I am living it – every raw, painful, beautiful, and amazing moment.