The modern world… it can leave your head spinning, am I right? We struggle to go against the grain, but modernization pulls us back in at every turn. We aspire to live more simply, but find ourselves overwhelmed with the sheer complexity of simple living. It’s so very difficult to find a balance in homesteading.
Modern homesteading isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s challenging, it’s every day, and it’s nothing like a lot of us were brought up. At least for myself I wasn’t raised even with a garden, let alone chickens in the backyard or the desire to bake bread from scratch. And sometimes I feel like I have one foot in two different lives. One in the 100 years ago lifestyle I yearn to live in and one in the today lifestyle that allows me to type this blog post and publish it to reach anyone that cares to read it worldwide.
I grew up with a spaghettios and sandwich bread diet. My dad was a chef, but admittedly, when I became an adult I didn’t even know how to fry potatoes or an egg. And for a while that was okay. I was comfortable with simply existing in today’s world, keeping up on societal norms and being a normal member of society. Allowing the corporations to take my money and provide me with the convenience and ease they all promised.
Then, we had kids and while I felt like something was missing before we had then, the births of our children really started to change my mind and shape who I am today. It started to force me to remove my rose-colored glasses and see modern life for what it really was. But, I struggled.
How to find the key to living a lifestyle set for 100 years ago in a world full of iPhones and synthetic muck boots. I turned to my friends…
Who all laughed at me and looked at me like I had three heads. Why would I want to grow a garden? I can pick a tomato up at the grocery, right? Hunting? That’s not necessary, that’s inhumane. I can get a slab of beef at the store. Or, better yet, become a vegan.
My principals began clashing with the people I held near and dear to my heart… except for my husband and my children. How could I exist in their world when all I wanted to do was go home and dig in the dirt?
I didn’t want to be dependent on a failing system anymore. And I saw all of it for what it really was. Simply a way to improve profitability and make us subservient to their every whim. And I couldn’t anymore.
I lost a lot of friends when we first began adopting this lifestyle. I’ve gained a lot more in the past few years, though.
Balancing this lifestyle with the modern way of living isn’t easy. On one hand you have a life that is slower, simpler, more in tune with mother nature. And on the other hand you have a life that is a fast-paced, convenience and consumerism centered, materialistic way.
And in today’s world, I have to join the consumerism centered hoopla sometimes. We all have bills to pay, even if it isn’t some massive mortgage. We all have limited time and resources. But, that doesn’t mean we have to be all in one world or the other. There are certainly benefits to learning the old-fashioned way of living… and one day we may need every single one of those skills we learn.
Besides, there are so many incredible benefits to homesteading in the modern world. And we have a lot of advantages over the pioneers. Famine could strike at any time on any family. Epidemics, pandemics, and natural disasters with absolutely no warning could wipe out entire families, towns, and counties in short periods of time. Travel was incredibly difficult, time consuming, and, oftentimes, deadly. They didn’t have modern healthcare advances, the modern conveniences of motorized vehicles, or weather alert systems that we all take for granted.
But, by utilizing some of those old-fashioned skills I can eat quality, organically grown food that I can actually afford. I can deal with power failure a heck of a lot easier than I could’ve 15 years ago. We are more in tune with nature, the seasons, and the world around us. We have gained countless skills that will help us further our dreams of becoming self sufficient. And we all have a much deeper sense of belonging and fulfillment than we did living in the synthetic world that modern life truly is.
The key to balancing today’s world with the world of yesteryear is to use all of those modern conveniences and amenities to make learning those skills easier. Running water to water the garden until you figure out your drip irrigation system, hoses available for purchase to make that drip irrigation system.
Using electricity to bake bread or preserve meat or food. Using modern compound bows to hunt for wild game. The internet to research or print books to keep on the shelf for reference when you need to learn a skill.
And while you’re using all of those modern conveniences, you can also learn how to do things the truly old-fashioned way as well. That way, you’ll always have those skills in the back of your mind should the need every arise to truly need them. Like… learning to dehydrate food using only the sun, for instance. Or using wood ash to make lye.
There are so many ways to use the modern world to allow us to gain the knowledge and skills we desire from the old-fashioned world.
Balancing life with two feet in two completely different worlds is not easy. But, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks and I’ve never looked back.
Homesteading, in a lot of ways, is more difficult today than it was for people that knew no other way. But, I wouldn’t change it for the world and we will keep working toward our goals no matter how complicated modern life makes it.