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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.
In some ways, I envy our ancestors. They didn’t have all of these modern, first world problems. No one had to worry about going to work so they could pay the light bill, or spending 6 figures on a modest house on a modest plot. They didn’t have to fret if their car broke down and needed a new battery, or their refrigerator went on the fritz the day before the Thanksgiving feast. In some ways, I do believe, that simple living was much more simple then.
But, in some ways, I don’t envy them at all. 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.
We struggle between the two worlds, us modern homesteaders. Finding a balance between the conveniences we either enjoy, or have simply become reliant upon and living in a simple, more intentional, back to nature way can be so incredibly overwhelming.
I often find myself at a crossroads of what to do and where to go. Do I continue striving toward simplicity that isn’t simple, or do I give in to the modern convenience of running water, central air conditioning, and grocery stores? Where do you draw the line?
If I go pick up every single ingredient I use to make dinner from the grocery store am I a proverbial homesteading failure? If my garden fills up with weeds from lack of due diligence, did I fail? Do we have to have goats to produce milk tying us to our property and denying us the ability to travel with our children?
I’ll be honest, I’ve recently become overwhelmed and the sheer thought of homesteading has become a burden on my mind. We worked so hard all sprinter (yes, I said sprinter, it’s not a typo) to build a new chicken coop, brood a bunch of birds, and prepare for goats, get the garden ready and the 101 other things we did that by the time it all came to fruition we were burnt out.
Why we began this journey was suddenly lost to… “what the hell are we even doing anymore?” I’m mildly ashamed to admit that sometimes it becomes a why even bother scenario. Homesteading is hard, especially when you have 101 things telling you that this is right, that is right, or you have to do.
I’ve been quiet lately while I have been contemplating the why’s and what’s. Contemplating what the future of our little homestead is. Trying to find that balance, taking a breather, and giving myself, my husband, and my children a break.
I’m not giving up, far from it. We’ve just reevaluated our goals and I do believe we’ve found a balance.
I want to tell you homesteading is, first a foremost, a journey. There’s no destination in mind, you don’t get to the proverbial finish line. Secondly, homesteading is a mindset and finding that mindset and balance in this modern world is incredibly difficult. I also want to tell you that even if all you have is a basil plant in your windowsill, dreams of a fresh egg from your backyard, and buy all of your food from the grocery, you’re still a homesteader.
If you find yourself cooking hot dogs and Kraft Mac and cheese and eating Oreos dipped in conventional milk for dinner tonight, it’s okay, don’t beat yourself up over it. Maybe tomorrow you’ll grill some fresh, pastured pork chops, make a salad from veggies you grew or bought at the farmers market, and eat a slice of watermelon for dinner. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’re in a season where frozen pizzas and crockpot meals win the night. It’s all okay.
As long as you still have that homesteader spirit, you are making strides toward balancing your way through this modern world while trying to live more simply, you’re still a homesteader.
Take a break, go on vacation, hug your kids, buy a cheeseburger. Don’t fret and worry about every single little thing. This is supposed to be a fun journey. You should never feel like you’re trapped in your own lifestyle. Live a little, take a deep breath, reevaluate your priorities and start fresh tomorrow, or next season, or next year.
And if your garden is overcome with weeds like mine is, learn from it, harvest what you can, and do better next year. Find a balance, smile, laugh at yourself, and give yourself some grace. It’s hard, folks, but we will all get there in our own time.