I always new I was destined for a slightly different life. I’ve never been what people call “normal” (whatever normal actually is) and I have always deviated slightly from what my friends and others my age are doing. Firstly I chose to take a gap year when I was 18 rather than going straight to uni because I wasn’t sure uni was for me, I wrote about that a little bit here. I then proceeded to go down the usual path – going to uni but soon realised it wasn’t right and so quit and tried again but this time decided to do it my way and do a degree where I get to spend the majority of my rime actually working rather than in a classroom. However as the years have gone on after school I have started to realise what I want from life and that it is very different to what the world tells me I should want.
It all started when I began to watch the 1970s sitcom The Good Life (which if you haven’t seen get on it straight away!!). In the Good Life the protagonist Tom reaches his 40th birthday and decides enough is enough, he wants to start living rather than existing and along with his wife Barbara the two of them turn their suburban Surrey home into a model of self sufficiency. They earn no money and what savings they have they use to buy equipment to help them go off the grid and they buy pigs, a goat and chickens and plant vast amounts of vegetables. It was a completely radical idea to me and the first time I had ever heard of self sufficiency, it totally bowled me over and made me realise that there were actually many paths possible in life.
At first I ignored the niggly feeling the normal path of uni, 9-5 job, buy big house with lots of stuff wasn’t what I wanted. But eventually it began to eat away at me. Having lots of money and lots of material possessions wasn’t making me happy in fact if anything it was just making me worse. The nature of material possessions is that the more you have the more you want, after you have bought some expensive clothes in a few months you will only want more, when that iphone looks less shiny you will want another one and when the novelty of your new car wares off you will want to buy the latest model. I am not saying it is bad to have material possessions I myself have loads of technology and an expensive camera but ultimately they don’t make you happy.
My boyfriend has a medical condition which we have been seeking help for from a neurologist at the local hospital. Recently the neurologist told us that for him to feel better and be able to function normally we must live a simpler life, one that involves lots of time outdoors doing exercise that isn’t too strenuous like walking, hiking, gardening e.t.c. And as I have begun to discover recently this type of life also helps to keep my anxiety and depression in check. We therefore have come to the conclusion that we are going to say screw you world and live exactly how we want to live.
We are not sure exactly what this will entail but we know we’d like to cut out processed foods, buy less and grow more, have a lot less stuff and make a lot more things that we need and spend as much of our time outdoors as we can. We’d like to make a difference in our community and create memories and moments rather than buy more and more. Our general idea is to save up, buy a small home in the country with land to grow our own veggies and keep chickens, a horse and maybe some other animals and to own our own local and sustainable business. These are very big dreams but what is the point in dreaming small, we know that together we have a possibility of making this a reality.
We are starting to make little changes now like I’m slowly cutting out processed and packet foods, I’m trying to buy more local, I’m making do and mending my clothes or buying them second hand. I have also started knitting a lot more with all the random balls of wool around my house. From September I am growing my own veggies back at uni and my own herbs as well as spending as much time as I can learning to cook new things and baking from scratch. I am trying not to buy anything new that I can get second hand and I am reading a lot about self sufficiency and owning my own business. I know that we won’t be totally self sufficient we do want to own a business and make some money but the idea of that is just so we can survive.
I know its a bit of a crazy radical idea but I love it and it might seem like a crazy dream that will never come true to some people but its my dream and I intend to try my hardest to make it come true. What are your dreams? Are you also interested in self sufficiency?