I find that I do a lot of proverbial fence sitting. I am perched on the narrow board between two worlds most of the time.
I moved back to Mississippi so I could stay home with my children, but when I got here I was lured into working by well meaning and needy family members and work has escalated from there. Now, I precariously balance school, the house, the farm, and work. I long for time to play, without educational motivation, with my children, yet I truly enjoy my work.
I truly believe in eating local foods that are sustainably grown, yet I want the convenience and ease of all those off season fruits and vegetables and pre-made foods available at grocery stores. Sometimes, I just get tired of the effort involved in producing everything we eat so we eat some garbage that I later feel embarrassed for eating or serving. If we lived in a less rural and more educated area there would be farmers' markets and whole food stores. There would even be restaurants that serve food you could trust. But, in order to live small and have land on which the children can freely roam, you must live in a rural place. So, here I sit wanting to eat and serve sustainable, locally grown foods without doing all the work. The fence is increasingly uncomfortable.
I want to live a small, sustainable life, but I can't seem to quit wanting stuff. Trained to maintain a household in the greedy 80's and 90's, I just can't seem to stop wanting five different china patterns and thousands of books. I even have a problem with homeschool curriculum and accessories. Do we need all this? NO! Does this stuff make our life better? NO!! So, why am I unable to let go and embrace a simple life where living small can help me focus on real needs and free me from the cycle of materialism that keeps me lashed to work.
I know. I know. By making small changes, I can move in the right direction. But, it's not that simple. We moved to the farm a few years ago. Much work has been done to restore the fences, house, gates, and orchard. All that stuff took, and is still taking, money. We had to work. The farm provides little income. In fact, we give away more eggs, vegetables, and honey than we sell. True, the cows produce income. True, the eggs, chicken, beef, vegetables, and honey are produced for our consumption. But, also true is the effort involved in producing these items. Also true is that we are not really any closer to living off the land than we were when we moved to the farm.
So, here I sit - straddling the fence between two worlds - feeling frustrated, torn, and tired.