I just got an email from our realtor wishing us a happy anniversary for being in our home for 2 years now.
It got me to thinking about just how far we've come since we changed the path of our lives and decided to pursue something more self reliant and self sufficient.
It seems like I don't really think about it all that much,but when I stop and look or stop to write a few things down,it makes me see just how far have come toward reaching our goal of self reliance.
This all goes back to 2001 or 2002 when we were over 40K in debt(the bad kind)and had nothing to show for it,we were trying hard to keep up a lifestyle for people that made way more money than we probably ever will,and trying hard not to let it show just how bad we were sinking in the sea of debt we had created.
Our "friends" were all the type that made a lot more money than we did,and often let it show that they were taking pity on us for all our bills and not having a lot of extra cash flow.
The final days moving up to where we called it quits,we had numerous falling outs of sorts with these friends,many of whom just didn't see why I felt the need to be so independent,and why I was perfectly fine letting my husband go tromp around the woods for a week during deer season without worrying about where he was or what he was really doing.
They didn't understand why I was ok with having to mow the lawn myself or shovel some snow,or take my own car in to get fixed as needed.I didn't need someone to do all that for me.A husband should be a partner to stand beside you,not someone for you to hide behind.i wasn't raised that way,I wasn't raised to sit back and let the man of the house do everything.
It was around that time,we became so disgruntled with our lives,our selves,and everything around us,that we nearly called it quits....but as fate would have it,we didn't,instead we took a look at how we were living,seeing what we were doing wrong and what it was that was making us so freakin' miserable.
Turns out we didn't need therapy,we didn't need a divorce,what we needed was a lifestyle change.Why were we trying to live a lifestyle for people who made so much more than us? Why were we trying to keep up?
So here we were,strapped with 40k in debts,living in a crappy old mobile home in a crappy old trailer park,barely scraping by working two full time jobs....not having any children,our only dependents were our pets.So why couldn't we pay our bills? Because we were stupid,there,I said it,we were DUMB..
SO,we looked for an answer and found it in a debt repayment program.Sure we could have filed for bankruptcy and probably been able to do so,but WE created those debts,WE spent that money that we didn't have...so WHY would we expect someone else to pay for it all? I have higher standards than that.
There are situations that do call for bankruptcy as the only option,and I really feel for the people who must make that choice,but it wasn't for us.We chose instead to pay it all off,no matter how long it took.pay it off we did,slowly,it took us all the way until 2008 to get it all paid down,but we did it.
Something else we did during that time though,was learn,and educate ourselves.We didn't want to go back to living that life again.I learned in that time to sew quilts,cook,can and grow food at home in a container garden on the patio.I had some help from my Mom learning to sew and can,but for the most part it was all hands on learning.
In 2009 we were finally able to realize our dream of home ownership,and purchased our first home.It's not a huge fancy farm out in the middle of nowhere,heck,it's not even a farm,but fate stepped in again and for some reason unknown to us,we are meant to live where we are,in town on our 1 1/2 acre lot,where we've built our raised bed gardens,planted all sorts of fruit bearing trees and shrubs, and vines.
This year has been a lot of work,and hopefully we will be able to see some of the pay off as the trees mature and begin to bear,and shrubs and vines starts to produce,and gardens get better as the years go by.
It's not the lifestyle many of our friends chose,and many of them probably still wouldn't understand,but maybe,just maybe that's why they are no longer a part of our lives.Those that are in our lives now,are there because they accept us for who we are,how we live,and don't expect us to change to fit into their lives.They are the ones who don't think we're nuts for wanting to raise our own meat animals,and fully understand the satisfying kind of tired you feel at the end of a day of working around the house and canning food to fill the pantry with.
But all this goes back to choices,the ones we made those few years ago,and the ones we make now,I can mark this anniversary as one of those milestones in life that marks where the old is gone and the new begins,and the progress we've made in between.