Sometimes I just cannot stand how people focus on the monetary things in life- from our homes to our cars to how or children dress and the vacations we take. There are so many opinions formed just by what those on the outside looking in see. It amazes me because I’ve been asked numerous times to teach people to do some of the things I do on a regular basis: i.e. Canning, freezer cooking, etc.
So when a friend of mine stopped over to pick up some baked goods he ordered from me, we spent some time chatting and he realized that instead of buying mulch I was using leaves, he just looked at me, shook his head and called me CHEAP!
Now, normally this wouldn’t have been a big deal. It was just the fact that someone who knows me pretty well and knows my lifestyle was taken aback by my methods. I immediately felt the urge to jump up and defend myself in why I was doing it that way. Rationalization is just so ingrained in our culture that it’s really becoming a pet peeve of mine.
The problem is that I shouldn’t HAVE to justify myself or my methods. I shouldn’t even jump into that mindset. I accept that my lifestyle, hopes and dreams are not along the lines of society’s “norms”, however it’s very hard to not want to justify our lives…. even when the way you do things really has no bearing on that other person OR when you really don’t need this person to help you or support you in any way. How you choose to exist really shouldn’t have any bearing on anyone outside of your immediate parameters. But, the question remains: how do we stop the need to justify our life choices to others?
I think what actually bothers me the most about it all is that I, being of the “old fashioned” way of life; looking to live off the land and reduce my carbon footprint and become more self-sufficient, am questioned like the things I do are just “crazy”. In my opinion, living in a 4000 square foot home, working like a crazy person just to be able to afford all the high-end things that the modern person equates with success but without the time to actually enjoy these things, should be questioned more emphatically than the simple lifestyle I choose to live. Why is it that the bulk of society sees this culture of “have” as so appealing?
Not to sound flippant, but I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead and Z Nation on television. This isn’t because I think the zombie apocalypse is imminent, but because when SHTF, people aren’t going to have any idea how to survive on their own. I think that becoming self-sufficient is truly just a step towards self-reliance. With all the technology in the world becoming greater than man, it stands to argue that eventually all this can be taken away. I actually think that society would become better in such an event. We would be forced to know and share with our neighbors. We would have to work harder in order to find our next meal (hey, there goes the obesity epidemic!). We would learn to coexist with Nature again instead of fighting it tooth and nail to steal all of the fossil fuels and other things from it- fracking, anyone? We would truly know where our food was coming from and know what we were eating every single time we ate instead of having to rely on our government to mandate how many harmful ingredients corporations can hide (The Dark Act). Seeds and food would no longer be controlled by a corporation (Monsanto).
So regardless of how big your home is, how nice your car is, how many “summer homes” you own, or private jets or any of those other “Things”, other than for the sake of bartering (which honestly, those of us who know how to survive are really not going to want your car or big screen television if there is no gas or electricity, respectively, to power them?
I’ll still with teaching myself all of the survival skills I can in the meantime, and trying to teach others the same along the way. When we all contribute more to our survival, the better our odds to survive will be.