Namaste, everyone! My name is Lindsay. I'm 29 years old, married with an almost-17-month-old daughter. Over the past two years, my husband and I have been facing a lot of challenges, most of which have arisen because of a back injury which he sustained on the job back in July of 2009, which left him unable to work for over a year. During that time, I acquired a VERY part-time job working from home, which brought in a total of $400 a MONTH. We got food stamps from the State, as well as State medicaid, as well as the occasional help from family members, which have all truly been a blessing! While our family and friends have been fairly supportive during this time, we have gotten comments here and there regarding our need to "go out and find whatever work is available so you can make a living." Call me selfish, but I won't give up being home with my husband and daughter, and I certainly won't succumb to a job where I feel unappreciated, overworked, and generally unhappy. After a lifetime (well, starting at 15 1/2 years old) of trudging from one seemingly meaningless job to another, never finding something that made me really feel like I was making a difference, I discovered what my real passion is: Being ME.
What does that mean? It means that I'm a mother and I love it. It means that I'm a wife, and I love that. It means that I'm an artist, and a writer, and an interior decorator (at least in my own mind in my own home), and a cook, and a wild, weird woman who just wants to enjoy the life that I have, and work with my family to sculpt it into something truly beautiful.
And so that's what I've been doing. It took me a long time to know, without a shadow of a doubt, what I wanted my life to be. But after our daughter was born, and we transitioned from disposable diapers and wipes to cloth, from commercial babyfood to home-made, from commercial produce to organic, from toilet paper and paper towels to family cloth and unpaper towels, we have discovered more and more how much joy there is in using LESS!
We were brought up by parents who have been conditioned into thinking that they have to work hard and invest in their 401Ks so that they can pay their bills and afford a comfortable lifestyle, all so that when they turn 65 they might be able to retire and start really enjoying their lives. And I guess I thought that way at first as well, but then it occurred to me: Why the hell should I wait until I'm 65 to enjoy my life? Why do I need a 401K? Why do I have to wait for the government to allow me to access money that I worked hard for all my life without being penalized for taking it out early when I really need it?
All of these thoughts.. all of these experiences... all of these gradual changes in our lives have built up to this "Aha!" moment, where my husband and I have decided to throw these expectations aside and live the way we know we can and should. So when he gets his workman's comp settlement, we're going to build a solar cabin on an organic - or at least organically convertable - plot of land, maybe with a water wheel (which would be so amazingly wonderful), a home-made greenhouse, and one or two woodstoves. It will be simple, but comfortable. We will create a lush garden filled with seasonal vegetables and grains (I found organic Quinoa seeds that I'm already dreaming about). We will have apple, pear, and peach trees... we will have blueberry bushes and strawberries.. Pecan and walnut trees! We will work for US! For our healthy, abundant, beautiful, meaningful lives! And in doing so, we will not only be benefitting ourselves, but the Earth, and our community as well.
I believe that this is completely possible for us. I know there are many people out there already living, or transitioning into, this lifestyle, and I've just gotta say "Thank you, and I'm so happy for you!" because you made that dream a reality, I can only imagine how satisfying and beautiful it's going to be once we finally arrive.
I would really love to hear about anyone else's dreams of a self-sufficient lifestyle, or of anyone's success story of living a self-sufficient lifestyle!