Today a friend and I were discussing Doug Fine's book Farewell My Subaru, and looking around at land outside of the city. I want to talk a little more about this.
This isn't the life for everyone, I understand that.
I think that people can take personal responsibility and live better in any setting. I also firmly believe that taking that time to reevaluate one's personal living habits is becoming increasingly important. It's actually getting urgent. It is not some kooky thing being cooked up to frighten people, but the way that we live HAS to change. It will not survive for very much longer as it is, and everyone will be forced to change. If that's what it takes, people.
It's unfortunate that not enough people are really concerned with the way that they live and choose to see it all as "somebody else's problem" (SEP field, anyone?). Oh well, can't really do much about that, right? I guess we'll all learn how much of an impact all of those carbon miles are having soon enough.
Anyway, I don't see my desire to move outside of the city as anything that will become necessary. I think that city community building and urban reclamation is an awesome way to go, too. Just not what I would like for me. I think that no matter what falls before us, living in the city is still a viable option to any who choose it.
So why do I want to live outside of the urban jungle? It's about lifestyle choice. I have expressed before in my blog my realization that any type of office work or "career" is not the way I will go, and that it took me most of my life to this point to realize I should stop looking for that one thing I want to be when I grow up.
I have also come to realize the things that I do want. I want to run a household, I want to have lots of animals, I want to live simply, I want to participate in my local community in a real way. I want to have time to do the things I enjoy and that matter to me.
When I move outside of the city it will not be in order to cut down on my reliance on the consumer aspect of my modern life. This is starting now, not later. This is going to be and continue to be a progression. I am not waiting for something big to happen to change the way that I live. I am making my "tiny choices" now, and I am learning and doing more each day. By the time I am able to go where I want to be I don't plan for it to be such a vast unrecognizable change that it will be overwhelming and leave me feeling a sense of loss and like I have entered an entirely alien landscape. When it's time to move much of my home off of the grid I want it to be the next natural logical step in the progression of my lifestyle. Not some random thing I am going to do tomorrow.
You know, I hear so many people, when bringing up living outside of the city their ideas about it being some primitive wilderness with no plumbing and an outhouse, or WORSE, no highspeed internet. This is strange to me. I read TONS of blogs from many farmers and homesteaders and ranchers, and I don't think any of them have to send a carrier pigeon to post to their blog. Nor do they have to use dial up. And these are people in very remote areas much of the time.
And taking another look at Doug Fine here as another example. At some point in his book he talks about being out in a deer stand in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico with his laptop and wireless, surfing the internet. Doesn't sound particularly primitive to me, even with his managing to get nearly off the grid.
I want farm animals. I want my life to be full of animals for food, for companionship, for endless amusement. In return I can give them the best life that I can, a warm place to sleep, food, safety. I think this is a fair trade. I feel that my time spent caring for these animals is worthy of my effort. I won't look back on it in 20 years and regret doing this and think "what a waste of my life".
I want to grow much of my own food, and barter with others in my like minded community for other things with the food I have grown. Money is totally overrated and overused. I don't believe in buying new if you can buy used on just about anything, and I think that people have so much more to offer. I don't need some cheap plastic crap from a sweatshop in China when a person in my community has what I need or can build it or provide materials or whichever way it can work. I think this is an example of the type of primitive lifestyle I could get behind.
I want to do all of this with a small group of like minded people who are willing to split the work and the land, and to grow together as a community.
It's late and I don't have this very well organized into a post, but this is the way it's going to be for today.
Have you made any of your own tiny choices? What have they been? What are your plans for the future? How have you worked to relearn new better habits (I still forget my reusable shopping bags from time to time, argh!)?