We’ve been living life a little different than most for a long time now. Last year, we met a wonderful family who desperately wanted to get out of the rat race. With 4 at home who are homeschooled, the father was the only provider. He was great at it too, but growing tired and wanting to live life on his terms, not the “mans”.
In a conversation with us one day, he asked us how he was supposed to do it? He was serious, confused and maybe even a little put off by the fact that my husband didn’t have a full-time, outside-of-the-home job. Mind you, we’re taken care of. I don’t want for anything; our son has everything he needs and more. We both love the fact that Dad can be home with us all the time.
My husband looked him in the eye and straight faced said “It all depends. What are you willing to sacrifice?”
It was interesting because I hadn’t really thought of it that way before. I don’t look at my life now and think that I have sacrificed anything. If anything, I feel richer now than ever before. I have more peace, more patience, and a greater appreciation for what I have than I did even a year ago when we started this journey.
In thinking about it, my husband is right. (He’s a smart guy like that, lol) In retrospect, we have sacrificed a ton of things. It depends on how you look at things and what you hold value to.
Is running water and consistent electricity a necessity for you? Or do you see those things as a luxury? Have you ever even thought about living without it? Does that thought scare you?
Ladies, are you willing to live without a mirror and perfect lighting for hair and makeup? What about your clothes? Can you live comfortably without name brand labels, the latest trends or the newest pair of shoes? Are you willing to mend and darn until there isn’t anything left of the material to fix? How do you feel about shopping in thrift stores for everything (other than food of course)?
Are you the kind of person who can appreciate the small things in life? If so, homesteading won’t be a total drag for you.
Just so you can appreciate where we’ve come from, I’ll tell you a little about what we’ve given up to live this lifestyle.
A 3000sfq home, a brand-new vehicle (that I was in love with I might add), too many clothes, shoes and purses to count. Nearly an entire kitchen full of ‘stuff’; pots and pans, dishes, drinkware, gadgets, and appliances. We’ve given up running water, consistent electricity, our furniture and the best bed I’ve ever had the pleasure of sleeping on!
We’ve left behind or sold all our household furniture, sofas, TV’s, dining table and chairs, hutches, desks, and so on. Our son got rid of too many toys to even think of, and we still aren’t sure how he had so much, to begin with! He gave up video gaming systems, and friends. We’ll talk more about his sacrifices in an upcoming post as well.
Could you imagine that 90% of our possessions we didn’t actually need? We live in a consumption society and we wanted less consumption. This equals less waste from us, a happier outlook on life and stress-free living not trying to keep up with the folks next door.
I focused on the absolute necessities when we decided to come to Alaska. Blankets (because we all know it gets cold here!), towels (but only one per person and a few for the kitchen) silverware, and enough dishes for each of us to have one of each. I got rid of pots and pans that I had duplicates of, and even quite a few that I only had one of but rarely ever used. All the kitchen appliances were sold along with vases and decorative items. (believe me when I say I had a lot of them too!) Last but not least, we took clothes, but even at that, there was a lot that we donated as well. Let’s face it, I knew I wouldn’t have any use for all those pant and dress suits from work. I kept jeans, but only a few pair. No shorts made the journey because I didn’t think it would be warm enough to wear them here. All my dress shirts were given away.
And jewelry, ladies can we talk jewelry here for a minute? I LOVE jewelry, and not always the expensive kind. Anything that I could find at Wal-Mart or through Avon was my favorite. I had at least one jewelry set for every work outfit I owned, and most had two or three. We’re talking necklace, bracelet, ring, and earrings. For every. Single. Outfit! Can you tell that I may miss my jewelry sometimes? I would be lying if I said I didn’t, but then I remember that it would do no good here and I’m thankful that someone else is enjoying it. Don’t fret though, any family jewelry and the real things I still have. I have no use for them, but I couldn’t get rid of them either.
Now, let’s talk about Kirk. He sacrificed so much to do this as well. He sold tools, projects, materials, and possessions as well. He is truly a Jack-of-All and had the tool for ANY job. He let go of anything he didn’t think he would absolutely need and it was a hard decision for him. I mean, come on here it’s an off-grid life, you’re going to need tools!
He got it down to one tool of each kind and then from there, he took a chance on what we would need and what we wouldn’t.
We both left friends, and the hardest part was leaving friends who became family.
Basically, we left behind everything that makes life easy to live. We left behind certainty and security. We’re crazy, we know. But the reward has been worth every bit of sacrifice we’ve made.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re still new at this and we have days where we fumble through. There are days when I miss the things that make life easy. There are days when I wish I could go back and I wonder what in the world we were thinking. But those days are farther and fewer between. But there are also days when we’re so glad we did this that we ask ourselves, “Why did we wait so long?”
I’m not saying that everyone who homesteads has to leave all this behind. For us it was a necessity as moving from the lower 48 to Alaska isn’t cheap! It came down to what we could fit in our two vehicles! We didn’t rent a trailer to load up, we didn’t have a mover take anything for us. It was literally what went in the vehicle that got to come. We wanted simple, we wanted less clutter, we wanted peace and freedom. We’ve found it!
So take a look around you. What’s in your home or your life for that matter? Take stock and then decide what you’re willing to sacrifice for a self-subsistence lifestyle. Anyone who tells you this is an easy lifestyle is lying right to your face. It’s nothing but hard work. However, it is a rewarding lifestyle and one where you can honestly feel yourself connecting with nature, God and past generations.
So, what are you willing to sacrifice? We welcome your comments and look forward to reading them and responding.