This isn't how I was raised.
My upbringing was not extrodinarily different than yours. In fact, if I ventured to guess, there would be so many similarities that would make this post seem, well....ordinary. I was raised watching tv, eating fast food, going to public school, then college, then a 9 to 5 job. I did what was expected...not just by my parents, but by society. I didn't question. I just did it. I got married soon after college, had children, bought a house in the suburbs and went in debt. We woke up to an alarm clock, went to work, made money, spent money, looked forward to a vacation and then would come back from said vacation needing to work even harder to pay for the vacation we just took. We lived for the weekends...when our time was actually ours... no bosses to answer to, no deadlines to meet, no alarm clock to wake up to....just ours.
We wanted to own more of our time.
Well, this is where it gets messy. All good stories have a bit of dirt and grime to sift through and this one is no different. A death of a close family member, a move out to the country, a divorce and some serious soul searching led me to unpack my suitcase of what I have learned so far and toss most of it to the wayside. That's right. I threw most of it away. Whatever wasn't useful to me, I had to unlearn it. How I ate, what foods I put in my body, how I looked, what a family looked like, how I spent my money, how I made my money, how I looked at western medicine, and how I lived. I spent countless days thinking about how I could own more of my time and have a more meaningful existence. I had countless 'teachers' come into my life...some beautiful souls showing me a different way of thinking, manifesting and living, some dark souls giving me the unexpected gift of wisdom and strong boundaries. It would have been easy to get stuck in the dark lessons, but instead, I chose to focus on the good. Where did all of this good lead me?
My three children and I live in a small Amish built home. We have an outhouse and a solar shower. We haul all of our water that we use and store it in 5 gallon containers. We heat our water on the cookstove that heats our home. We raise a lot of our own food. I changed the way I define my beauty. I no longer wear make-up (gasp). I wear my clothes for longer than three days in a row and my span between showers is even more (double gasp). On most days, you will find me with black muck boots on my feet, even when I am wearing a skirt. I sometimes eat two desserts in one day and have popcorn for dinner. I like myself. I like my ex-husband and I adore his wife. I homeschool my children and I raise really happy farm animals. I sell eggs, grass fed beef, chickens and farm made jams for income. It isn't much, but I am carving out a life that doesn't require much. It means making food at home instead of going out to eat. It means not having a tv, fancy cell phone, or new car. It means shopping at garage sales, bartering with local folks for goods we cannot otherwise afford, learning to heal myself and my children, canning and storing food and checking books out at the library instead of buying them new. It means creating a life that feels like a vacation so that I don't have to go on one. It means finding the good in the moment, right now, no matter how ungood it may sometimes feel.
Because there is always something good I can find.
I am still unlearning. I will always be unlearning. I slip up often and fall back into my old ways of thinking, but then I gently remind myself that this life, as hard as it may be sometimes, is also very beautiful in little ways I never expected it would be...especially when my time is my own.