A Simpler Life

When we started this journey a little over a year and a half ago–through reading, researching, learning, and dreaming–it was easy to romanticize the “simple life.” After all, I had seen the beauty of laundry hanging in the wind and drinking homemade root beer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I read blogs of chicken owners, talked to farmers at the farmers markets, and we even planted a few raised beds of our own. I began making my own cleaning products, cleaning up our eating, and trying to learn how to sew my own clothes.

Then we moved to the country and grabbed the “simple life” with both hands. We used less natural gas by doing things like hanging our laundry to dry. We planted a 140+ square foot garden. We began tending our orchard and grape vines and berry canes. We got chickens that will start laying eggs in the Fall.  Our living space got bigger and thus our ability to host friends and family joyfully increased. Ah, yes–the “simple life.”

But let me tell you–this simpler life of ours is certainly not easier.

Not that I’m complaining. But I’d like any readers out there who imagine this life as more recreational or less busy to understand that voluntary simplicity requires a lot of hard work. A lot. We rise with the sun and go to bed shortly after it sets, and are usually exhausted. Rob works hard at his job and then comes home and works hard on the land. I work hard to keep our house a home, to keep the behind-the-scenes show running, and then try to help in the evenings when and where I can.

And yes, there are things I miss. I definitely miss Rob and I having time in the kitchen together to cook. The demands of evening chores usually mean that dinner needs to be done by the time he gets home, so he doesn’t have the time to participate in one of his most fulfilling activities (which is also a great source of talent, I might add). The commute also is tiring for him, so I’m not sure if he would even want to cook when he gets home; but still, I miss the days when I used to play assistant chef. He makes such better meals than me!

I miss the rare night when we would dim the lights, make popcorn, and watch a movie on TV. Since moving here we haven’t set up the TV in the house, and don’t necessarily plan to (thank goodness). And we certainly have watched a movie or two on my laptop computer. But, I’ll admit, it’s just not the same.

I’m looking forward to the greater sense of relative calm that will hopefully come in the next few years, once our routine and garden and orchard and berry patches are established and require a little less oversight.  I pray daily that Rob’s job would be less stressful. I appreciate each sacrifice that both of us make on a daily basis to give us this beautiful, wonderful life.

This simpler life has it’s advantages and disadvantages, although I must say that it brings more fulfillment than I ever felt living in Los Angeles. It’s not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for the lazy. It’s for the hopeful, the dreamers, and the slightly looney. It’s for Rob and me, for the family we’ll someday have, and for Sugar, Midnight, Easter, eight chickens and a hive full of bees.

The simpler life is a harder life. But it’s a good one. Of that, I’m sure.

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