When we moved to our new house we left behind our dryer, dishwasher, microwave and TV. We are reducing, simplifying and powering down. I never really enjoyed living in the twenty-first century, and I have realised recently that actually, I don't have to if I don't want to. When I was a child I read Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables and the Billabong books and thought, "That's how I want to live," but then I grew up and it felt like rather an impractical fantasy. But now I am forty-five and life is uncertain and I have decided I can and will live exactly however I want to.
And what I want to do is to live in a way that won't make other people miserable. That so many people half a world away are living miserable lives so that I can have convenience and stuff seems very wrong. And the fact the habitats all over the world are being destroyed and our planet's climate is changing for the same reason is outrageous.
So my question to myself and my girls is this: How can we live a rich and fulfilling life using as few resources as possible?
It shouldn't actually be that hard. As I look around I see a natural world just full to overflowing with bounty, if only we could see it and use it and share it. And there is a world of 'stuff' out there that nobody wants because it is not new and shiny, but is perfect for wombles like me. There are artists and crafters making marvellous things that are not the product of making anyone miserable. Also, there are so many resources that are not 'things'. Like friends and sharing and the knowledge in people's heads, and making music and how snuggling on the couch with a small black dog can make such a difference at the end of a hard day.
Of course, I don't live in the nineteenth century on a prairie or on Prince Edward Island or on a large Australian cattle property. I live in a small cottage with a small garden in the middle of a small city. It's all about small with me. I can't be self-sufficient, and don't want to be. I want to live as most of us humans do, as part of a non-intentional community of the neighbours that happen to be around at the time, plus a network of friends and family, in whatever town or suburb we find ourselves in. Many of us want to live the 'good life' in some distant dreamy future in some perfect setting, but I am pretty sure the good life is available right where we live with whoever we live with. I want to find out if that is the case anyway. I think often we get on a treadmill of living mindlessly according to the culture we are part of and can't imagine that it is possible to live any other way. But it is. It must be, because we can't keep on living the way we are.
I have come some way along the path to thinking about living differently and ethically but I want to see how far I can go down that road. Still, convenience is convenience, and I often need a nudge away from the easy and towards adventure.That's where you-all are so important to me. You, my blog people, are one of my best resources for change, due to your wisdom, experience, great ideas and general loveliness and I am looking forward to some excellent conversations with you on creating a happy, ethical life.
Tell me about the life you want to live and how you would like to get there...