INTENTIONS FOR LIVING THE LIFE I WANT TO LIVE
Ever since I was a little girl, all I dreamed of was owning a plot of land. I put it on my birthday list every year for years. Just asking my parents if they would deed me a small piece of their property that I could make mine. Honestly I don't remember what I wanted to do with it other than to really just turn the dirt. To work it. I didn't want much. Nothing big really. No more than a 5'x5' piece would have made me happy. I don't know if they realized how much I really wanted that land or how very serious I was. Nevertheless, I did not receive land on any of my birthdays. (Side note: I fully recognize the ridiculousness of my request and the fact I fully thought it might happen.) That dream is still there, the dream of owning land. Land on which to live. I don't think I have had too many major dreams in my life that have remained as constant as that.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I had a conversation with a friend and coming away I was struck with how very unintentionally I have been pursuing my dreams. Instead, waiting, waiting as if they would just come true on their own. I recognize how I have not been proactive in my own life. And I want to start now. To start really pursuing my dreams rather than waiting for them to happen on their own. So, that is what I plan on doing. One step at a time. To head toward the life I dream about. To not be content getting sidetracked. To strive for and not make excuses why I am not.
Dream #1: I have, since high school, wanted to live a sustainable and self-sufficient life. To live off the land, my land. But, here I am, 15 years later, and I am no where near owning that land. So what does living sustainably and self-sufficiently look like to me now then? It means consuming less and being intentional of creating less waste. It means making everything I can whether it is food from scratch or my own cleaning and bath products. It means trying to grow as much food as I can with what I have available to me. I won't be able to transform my life overnight but I do know it will be about taking the time to be intentional and conscious of what I am buying and how I am living.
When I made the decision to move to California, I had a small list of goals and objectives for coming out here. One of them being I wanted to learn from others I respected and admired. I wanted to learn how to live more consciously and be aware of things I could change and do better. Not to take the easy road or the convenient one. But to take the road that felt right to me and my conscious. I wanted to learn to live with less waste, to consume less. I wanted to be responsible for my actions in everything and be better aware of how they were effecting others and this world in which we live. I didn't want to allow myself excuses anymore.
Throughout my life I have had the best of intentions, but been horrible with follow through. In college I convinced the administration to allow me to start a recycling program. I went to the head of the operations with a proposal and a plan and presentation and received approval! But did I do it? No. It was too lofty and time consuming and I was having fun playing soccer and hanging with friends and flirty with boys. Or at least that is what I say. I told myself I was too busy and didn't have time. Really I was afraid and too intimidated to take it on. When I started Dava (a food business in Chattanooga), I talked with the state and told my plans of using glass containers that could be returned for a refund of the deposit that would be built into the price of the food. The state talked me out of it. They did not say I couldn't. They just talked me out of it. I let fear guide me. Rather than my passion and beliefs.
I was listening to a podcast recently (I don't know what episode really as I was binge listening to catch up), The Slow Home Podcast with Brooke McAlary. During the conversation Brooke was having with one of her guests, she said how so much of the slow life movement is about convenience. In that moment you have to chose. Are you going to chose convenience over living mindfully? Is it better to go home and pick up the bags you forgot to use for the bulk section or the disposable ones at the store? Tough question that don't have a pat answer (because depending on how far you had got down the road would you end up using more gas and other resources and I could go on and on). I don't think there should be guilt or judgment of yourself or others. But I do want to be more thoughtful and aware of what I am doing and how I am living and how I can be living better. To not only reduce my waste but also reduce my consumption.
I am not perfect, nor will ever be perfect. I fear labeling my efforts to live more sustainably. Because with labels come judgement and disappointment and guilt. Instead, I hope for grace. Grace and acceptance that I am trying to live and operate my business to the best of my abilities. And I welcome and desire the knowledge of others as well as the hope that I can walk alongside others who desire to live the same way. So, if you have ideas or thoughts or suggestions, I would love to hear them!