At some point something broke. I had achieved or was well on my way to realizing all of the goals I had set for myself. The goals I had set when I was young, broke and sick of worrying how I was going to get my next meal and where I was going to sleep that night. Nothing was going to stand in my way. Find life partner – check (OK, this wasn’t on my list, but now I wouldn’t do without him). Own my own house – check. Get a good paying job – check. Get my degree – check. Closet full of nice clothes – check. Flat screen TV, new computers and an iPhone – check. In other words, living the American dream – check. But was this my dream?
My early goals were all about getting out of poverty and staying there. I didn’t want to follow in the steps of my father, who had allowed his drug use and self-pity to dictate his life, or struggle like my mother raising three kids single handedly with a waitress’s income. Nope. I wasn’t going to repeat my parent’s mistakes (not that I’m calling us kids mistakes mom, just in case you read this).
At times the weight of having no money and the challenges of living with and helping take care of a special needs sibling was too much. My focus became myopic and narrow. Overtime I forgot how much I loved being outdoors. How lucky I was to grow up with the beach in front of me and the woods behind me. We weren’t rich monetarily, but we were rich in many other ways. Some of my fondest memories are hiking in the woods with two pygmy goats in tow. Their antics could lighten any heart. At first I had discouraged them from following me, but over time it became tradition for them to join my daily treks and today I find myself day dreaming over a time when I can again have goats.
When I married my husband I vowed to become that successful, well to-do women I had always dreamed about. I tried to emulate everything I could in Martha Stewart Magazine. And over time, I found myself become the person I thought I wanted to be.
But there’s a problem. This isn’t me. My husband I are both “successful” people with a ton of creative energy and work ethic to match. Here we are living this “dream” but neither one of us want to be here. We’re both tired of our jobs in fields that don’t match our passions. Tired of working endlessly for what exactly? And tired of all the consumerism, marketing, TV shows and wasted time on meaningless stuff.
We decided this isn’t our dream anymore. Our dream involves independence, a large garden, good food, cared for animals, music, creative projects, more time outdoors an old house and just having less.
We haven’t achieved this dream yet. And I don’t expect things to change overnight. It took me almost a decade to achieve my first dream. I’ll be content if it takes me a decade to realize my second. But this time I’m confinement that this is my dream and not the dream I was told or thought I needed to have.
This blog is my outlet and my platform to share some of the things we are doing to realize our dreams. At times I feel stuck, as we try to dig ourselves out of the pit called the American Dream and other times I’m filled with hope that we are making great strides towards being real homesteaders – like when we got our chickens. I’m sure they’re will be more lessons learned and setbacks along our journey. But we are on the right path and I’m glad you’re here to share it with me.