Living the Dream | Finding My Way Under a New Paradigm


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.


  1. thegoodlifeinthecity March 6, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Great post. It’s interesting to see how many people are in the same situation….chasing one dream, only to realize you want something entirely different. I had read a report a few years back by a UK organization titled The 21 Hour Work week. It’s a real research based report. Their is even a Ted Talk by the woman who wrote the report. (Can’t remember her name) It discussed the benefits to us, our families, our surroundings, community, etc of working a reduced work week. I was amazed how things changed in my life to move towards this new reality. The result being that I now work in a job which funny enough is exactly 21 hours. With the increase in free time, I am able to cook more healthy food, grow more food, store more, etc. Overall things are so much better. Of course there was a financial element….but it was not as dire as I had originally thought it would be. Working less meant a lower tax bracket. The most interesting challenge was actually everyone else’s opinions about what we were doing. What do you mean you only work 21 hours? You must be looking for another job right? Nope! I’m happy with my ‘New American Dream’!

    1. humblebeefarms March 10, 2015 at 6:54 am

      Thank you for your comments! I’m glad to hear that part time is working out for you. It is something we have been considering in the future too. My office has counterparts in London. It was surprising when we compared notes about our benefits. Here in America, we get fewer holidays, less vacation and work at much more brisk pace. Not to say that London has it wrong – quite the contrary – I think we here in America have things backwards. We work to live not live to work!

  2. junglechickens March 8, 2015 at 1:21 am

    Nice post- I think a lot of people these days feel the same way, I certainly do. I’ve done the same thing, studied hard, good job, own house (well, the bank owns some of it!) but still feel somehow that something isn’t right. Not that I’m unhappy, but mI find that many of the things we’re told we have to work hard to achieve don’t actually pan out the way we thought when we get there!

    I’m currently trying to figure out what I do want, don’t get me wrong I’m happy with many aspects of my life, and proud of what I’ve achieved. But I find myself wanting to do something more meaningful, to make a lasting change. A bit vague I know – as I said I’m still figuring it out, but it’s great to read your blog and see that there are other people who yearn to live another way.

    On another note – I agree with you on the TV ads, marketing, consumerism etc. – I feel bombarded with it to the point that I feel slightly anxious and panicky sometimes. What really gets me is having tv screens blaring ads a petrol stations and train stations, I can’t even leave as I would miss my train, there’s no escape!!

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog, keep up the good work! I think you’re on the right path as you say, and each small step towards achieving your dream is a step in the right direction 🙂

    1. humblebeefarms March 10, 2015 at 6:49 am

      Thank you so much for your comments. I struggled for many years telling myself this is it, this is what you wanted!. But I’ve learned over time that I’m really truly happy gardening, making things, cooking from scratch, caring for animals and time with my family.

      I agree with you that we are not the only ones. Many people seem to be realizing there’s more to life than a 9-5 job (who works 9-5 anymore by they way, it should be 7-5 or something), new clothes and nice car. I’m still peeling back the onion to discover what makes me tick. But I have a much better idea now than I did a decade ago!

      Thank you again for reading my blog!

  3. audreanahopes March 10, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I’m a 25 year old full time artist living in a Area that many people said “get a real job” and “artists can’t support themselves without other jobs here” but I’m proud to say I am surviving happily. I don’t have much, but I’m doing what I love…seems like in our culture that’s a thing many people don’t get to do/decide to until they retire!
    Your page is inspiring to like minded people like me,I look forward to reading more. good luck to you!