But basically, all my thinking keeps coming down to this: I'm not a big fan of the American lifestyle and the direction my generation is taking, specifically.
We are in a rat race. A rat race I will not take part in. We work and work and work. So that we can spend more, buy more, waste more, drive more, wear more, weigh more, spend more time on our phones/computers/iWhatevers, and live in bigger houses. Why? Has a single person in the history of this planet ever found these things to be the key to happiness? If so, more power to you. But I'm pretty sure that at the end of our lives all we will treasure will be the people in our lives, the quality time we spent with them, undistracted by all the crap we are now so distracted with.
We've spent the past 6+ months without a personal computer. Our phones don't even come close to accessing the internet. It has been a huge blessing, forced upon my parenting skills. I don't have to even worry about the distraction of a screen/computer during my children's waking hours. I still have to deal with the distractions of cooking, cleaning, and gardening, but those are the type of distractions I want my children to witness. There are no magically fairies that appear after hours in this house. Children, at least my children, need to participate in the doing of those jobs. They learn so much by watching and doing. Someday they will live on their own and may even become a Mama and Daddy themselves. My children will be equiped for the work of the home. Besides, I have been amazed at just how much a two and three year old can do to help - clearing the table, loading the washing machine, unloading the dryer, handing clothes to me to fold or hang on the line in the warm months, making their beds, putting their clean and dirty clothes away, weeding in the garden, scrambling eggs, grading cheese, and SO SO SO much more. Kids are awesome, let me tell you.
Our latest blessing in disguise is being forced into life with only one vehicle. It appears it will be temporary, maybe only one more week. But I've realized the blessing of time this has also been. We are distracted by all the places we could go. Even when I try to keep the errands to a minimum, there are still errands that I find myself "having" to do, that in all honestly are about as far from necessary at it gets. Instead we've crafted, built, and explored right here at home. Today we ran to the library (and back). Good old fashioned foot transportation just doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Yes, it takes more planning and coordination to make do on one car, but if Hubby's truck couldn't be fixed easily, I would be happy to go without.
Granted, our lifestyle is partially forced upon us by our decision to survive on one income. It's tight, but I know with 100% certainty I will look back on these days as some of our closest and best days as a family. We are blessed beyond words. There is an extremely nice, sturdy, and generously sized roof over our heads. There is always food on the table (maybe more beans and less meat, but balanced, healthy food it is). We don't have more clothes than we can wear, but we always have more than we can wear in a week.
Yes, simple is beautiful. I hope I can always have simple. To my generation, you can keep your over-worked, over-tired, over-spent lifestyles. I'm going to live my life with purpose, passion, and full of beauty.
Sap dripping from the woodpeck holes in our maple tree. Excellent lesson on where our syrup comes from!
How we spend hours of our days.
Latest backyard discovery - added to the tree on our nature table.