You can skip reading this post if you want since I’m sure it will be deathly boring to some of you, and at best, irrelevant. The very few of my readers who dream of farms, off the grid electricity, well water and sustainable lifestyle may relate somewhat here.
Today I am in a pensive mood and feel like divulging my need to expound on my life ideals and dreams.
So, what would be my ‘ideal’ life? Well the older I get the more developed my dreams become they very generally involve having a self-sustaining farm. It’s a long stretch for my life because I can’t say that it will ever even remotely happen but I love thinking about it. I also like the idea that most of what goes into it, I already have the ability to put into action. Sure, I don’t have land or anything but becoming more self sustaining can be a process that anyone, anywhere can do.
I have a list of things I want to purge from my current lifestyle that would contribute to my dream lifestyle.
- I want to stop buying, using or throwing away plastics. There are a very few areas of life in which I feel plastics are necessary in our society and they generally involve such things and refrigerators, computers and other technologically advanced products. As far as toys, grocery bags, food packaging, food storage, clothing, carpeting, furniture, etc go, I think we massively and grossly over use plastic. It can’t be recycled into anything but plastic bags because of the huge variety of different components in each plastic product and the plastic bags that are made from recycled plastic can’t be recycled or reused. This is known as downcycling…..it’s a problem. The hormonal damage alone is enough for me to think twice about having a plastic environment but the fact that plastic doesn’t degrade for many many many years makes me want to limit my usage of it. As a country we seem to have more and more plastic products produced every year and if none of them are degrading then the build up is simply getting out of control not only in landfills but in nature too. Shoot, the amount of litter that ends up next to the road in front of my house is enough to make me swear it off!
- Coal based energy. Now you may think I’m a tree hugging hippy to want to stop using coal based energy but really I think it’s because I personally can’t generate coal based energy, therefore I have no control over my sources, and the big companies that control it are really starting to annoy me. Our own power company is a monopoly in our city and they recently screwed us over (in a fairly long line of screws) and I felt so helpless that it made me just automatically look at other things. And by look, I mean fantasize. Solar panels ain’t cheap folks.
- Eliminate all genetically modified crops from my diet and life in general. Many of you know my feelings towards Monsanto (something like they’re potentially the antichrist, etc) and those feelings have only increased the more I learn. But Monsanto isn’t the only one pumping out GMCs and just because I hate that company doesn’t mean I’m not being rational in wanting to avoid the products. The true reason, of course, is based in the health of my body and my family as well as the farming system in this country. I love food, REAL food and the biotech companies are putting real food in danger.
It’s surprisingly hard to get away from nearly all these things since they permeate our country, our culture and our daily lives. If you’ve ever seen No Impact Man you really get an idea of how hard our society make it to live naturally. I realize it’s a process but I am slowly working towards my goals. I have been switching my food storage from plastic bags and tupperware to mason jars.
I’m using cardboard to store my homemade laundry detergent instead of a plastic container, my homemade shampoo is stored in a jar, and any toys I’ve bought Avery are wooden. I am not trying to abandon technology in this pursuit since I understand the necessities of plastic in our electronics and even though I tend to be an extremist in my ideals, I do have some shred of moderate realism. The same goes with power. I understand our modern day usage but I do like to take advantage what we get for free from nature (light, fresh air, etc). Shane has done a lot of consolidating and making our computers/entertainment electronics more power efficient.
You all know my rampage against using GM foods and I am still holding strong. I have done very well for the most part keeping anything from entering our pantry/fridge but there are always those random situations (I used a cupcake mix for superbowl cupcakes, occasionally I buy a cereal without think or checking the label etc) that slip past my radar.
I also have a list of things I really would like to add to our lifestyle that we currently don’t have the resources to include into our life.
- At least a couple acres of land. I have such limited usable space in our current living situation that I can’t help but fantasize about having more.
I have one or two beds that get a good amount of sun but they are plagued by burrowing, stealing squirrels because we’re in a neighborhood with an aggressive squirrel population. I grew up in the country and saw a squirrel maybe once or twice a month. Here, they are EVERYWHERE. I’ve seen them climbing up the screen on our sliding glass door….seriously. But I would love to have land that I could really cultivate a successful garden on. It’d be nice to have chickens too. I want my kids to be able to run and play outside without getting immediately bored of the tiny yard…..the way I do.
- A cellar or basement. This may seem simple but I really have no place to store or cellar food. My pantry barely fits my biweekly groceries and my garage is in no way temperature controlled. When I can things they tend to get spread around the house randomly and the same goes with our batches of homebrew beer….we just need somewhere to put our homemade goods!
- As I mentioned above, I’d love to have sustainable electricity (wind or solar) as well as a water source such as a well or rain water storage tanks. Even if the sources are only used for watering gardens or animals, I’d like to have it all the same just in case.
It doesn’t seem like too much to ask to live a natural life but apparently it’s easier said than done, at least in this country. We are consumers, we want the next thing, we want our trash to disappear every week from the end of our driveway and not think about it, we’d rather pay a bill then go through the trouble to make our own, of pretty much anything, from food, to resources, to household products. I figure things are cyclical and if it’s not a sustainable lifestyle for a entire country we’ll have to change eventually but that change doesn’t just happen, we have to make it. I’m an naturally a researcher and because of this I come to learn of things I can’t live with so it only seems right for me to figure out how to live without. The usual outcome is that I spend less money, lose weight without fake foods, find fulfillment or character building in making something on my own, spend less time doing pointless things like wasting hours on Facebook…yes, I just went there.
I love that I don’t have to buy shampoo all the time and throw away the bottles, I love that I can use two Tblsp of my own laundry detergent rather than a cup of store bought (again with throwing away buckets or bottles), I love tasting tomatoes from my own garden, I just want more of these things.
In the past few years I’ve improved my quality of life significantly by educating myself, trying new things and keeping an open mind. Maybe some day I’ll be able to expand further with all my ideal components and lack of the less ideal ones. But until I’ll keep traveling the paths I’ve been finding. I’m blessed and I can’t deny it.
Question: Are you interested in any of this? Do you hate the amount of trash you product? What are your plans for improving the quality of your life?