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Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that people seem to have the misconception that simple living is easy. We all love to tell ourselves that simplicity means easier. We’ve all told ourselves that we’re making it harder than it has to be. But the truth is? It ain’t easy. Not at all.
Homesteading is not simplistic, get up with the sun, do a few chores, and retire for the day.
Homesteading is constant, it’s unpredictable, it’s real life.
The picture perfect ideal we all give ourselves isn’t real life. It’s a fantasy, one that will never, not once, come to fruition. Sure, there will be days that things go smoothly, everything goes your way. But, there will be many, many days that the opposite is true. Nothing works out the way you want, everything is a disaster.
The days where you come in the door at supper clean, energized, and ready to tackle the evening will be seldom. The days you come in late, dirty, exhausted, both physically and mentally, and ready to throw in the towel? Those days will be frequent.
And yet, we will all continue down this path toward simplicity.
You won’t throw in the towel. You know why? Because even after all the dirt, sweat, blood, tears, and excrement it’s still totally worth it.
You’re going to have bad days. We all have bad days. We all have things that happen or that we fail at that we don’t want to admit. That’s life. But all of it is worth it.
You Can’t Do It All
You cannot do it all, and you’re not supposed to! Believe me, even if it appears that some of us do it all. None of us do it all. It’s an impossible goal. We all have to let things fall behind or cut corners. We all have gardens that could stand a little more weeding, or fences that really need mending, or barns that really need painted. Every single one of us. None of us are perfect. None of us get everything done.
We have days where the hours are long and still it seems nothing gets done. We have times where supper is a box of mac & cheese at 930 PM. Whether it be because we had an epic failure in the kitchen or there simply weren’t enough hours in the day, it happens to the best of us. Guess what? That makes us human!
You’ll Make Mistakes
We all make mistakes. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. Screw. Up. We aren’t perfect. We can research to our hearts content. We can write it all down broken down into steps and statistics. We can plan for every impossible thing we can think up. We can prepare. We can try.
Sometimes, things look good on paper….
Things happen. Unfortunately, in the world of homesteading, sometimes those things happen to innocent creatures. Just when you think you have your coop secure, you wake to find you didn’t. Sometimes, those things happen because the nature of other, not so nice, people.
Case in point: we tried to start this whole homesteading thing in Montana and a couple of people ruined it for us.
Those failures will teach us how to make it a success next time, though. Learn from your mistakes. That’s what they’re for. Mis-takes. Think about that word in it’s syllabic form. Mis-takes, takes that were amiss!
But, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
You’ll Do Things You Said You Never Would Do Again
You’re going to have things that take a back seat to more pressing issues. You’re not always going to have time to make homemade laundry detergent. There are going to be times that you aren’t going to cook from scratch, you’re going to settle for that aforementioned box of mac & cheese. You’ll buy vegetables from the store instead of the farmers market or using your garden because priorities change and life happens.
We’re all guilty of the occasional splurge of store bread or paper plate dinners. We all buy a bottle of fabric softener once in a while. Our dogs feast on “dog” food instead of a species appropriate diet. We indulge in artificially colored whoknowswhat. We use the dryer to get our clothes dry or a hundred other things we said we’d never do/use again. Sometimes we all give in to the convenience culture, sometimes you just have to play the hand you’re dealt.
My House/Barn/Farm Will Be Perfect
Well, sure, it might. But, I’ll bet your ideal of perfect is going to change a lot over the months and years. That pretty red barn and beautiful white pony rail fence will soon turn to as long as it’s standing and keeps things contained, safe, dry it doesn’t matter. Having a cute little cabin in the woods will turn into, we have a roof over our heads, even if it isn’t perfectly pitched.
Priorities and plans change, a lot, in the lifestyle of simple living. You just have to change your perspective. We thought that 40 acres in the mountains with a small cabin was going to be the way we entered this lifestyle. Well, it wasn’t. We live on an acre, in a house that needs more TLC than we can give it, next to a corn field. But, we’re still grateful. We don’t live in the city, we have room for animals, a large garden, and many other things and we have amazingly giving neighbors. We couldn’t ask for more.
Homesteading and simple living are hard. They aren’t for the faint of heart. They aren’t for people who can’t take failures or adjust their plans because the unthinkable happened. There are going to be bad days, there are going to be times when nothing works out and you’re dirty and tired and hungry. But, there will be successes, good days, and those will all make up for it.
Simple living really should have a name change, because there isn’t much simple about it. Giving in to the modern, convenience culture is actually easier than embracing the simple life. Yet, that doesn’t mean that modern, convenience centered lifestyle is better.
Sometimes, the road less traveled, the bumpy road, that’s the road worth traveling down.