I want to share with you a few old words of wisdom that prompted me to quit some things.
It’s a quick excerpt from an old book on agriculture that was given to me.
“Some people seem to think they must accomplish in a
few years what their grandparents spent half a lifetime
doing, namely, carving a comfortable home out of the
wilderness….I see no sense in turning a potentially
satisfying and rewarding experience into a period of
nerve-shattering frustrations. Why would you choose
to live in the country? Most likely because you crave
the peace and quiet of the ‘good life’ close to the soil.
It is entirely possible that you could spend half of your
lifetime trying so hard to make yourself “comfortable”
on the land that you never have time to enjoy the peace
and quiet that you have around you.”
(from The Country Way by Lloyd Eighme)
That hit me between the eyes and has prompted me to make some revolutionary changes.
Perhaps a quick bit of background is in order.
This is our first summer on a new (to us) homestead. While we feel so blessed to
finally have our own piece of dirt after all these years, here’s the stark reality…a
mountain of things are piling up that need to be done–yesterday! At least it seems
that they are all urgent.
The fire season is looking grim this year and our forest would go up in flames like a
match box if it was ignited. We need to thin it out and remove “ladder fuels” and
we need to do it–yesterday. We need to set up the water tank and fire pump that
will be needed if we do have a small fire pop up in the area, and we need to do that–
yesterday. We need to establish a sizable garden plot–yesterday. We need to plant
an orchard–yesterday. The current off grid power system in this homestead, while it
is operational, it’s old and needs some major overhauling before it disintegrates–
yesterday. The gophers have taken over the entire area and need to be brought under
control–yesterday. And the list goes on… (that’s without mentioning making a living :-0 )
Does my list sound familiar to you? Maybe not the specifics, but the long list of super
urgent things that must be done before…before…before what? Before something happens.
For many years I operated in what I call “crisis mode” moving from one “fire” to the next.
I never had time to do anything particularly well because there were always more pressing
items on the burner. And there was an overarching concern that these things get done
before…well, you know what. After years of this, I finally came to realize that operating in
crisis mode is liable to catch up with you in the form of hundreds of unfinished projects or
jerry-rigged short term fixes that had to be redone periodically. And that’s not to mention
the physical and mental stress it creates. Are you with me?
I’m just as concerned about the future as ever, and that’s one of the many reasons I live
this wonderful lifestyle. But I’ve come to realize that we can’t let our concern over possible
impending events lure us into decisions that we will regret later on. You see, I believe that
if we do things for the right reasons, we’ll not only be thankful for those choices now, but
we’ll be glad in the future as well.
So when making decisions, I’ve started to think further in the future than I used to. I now
believe it’s the better part of wisdom. Think back to the 1990’s. Back then, I couldn’t imagine
life going on as usual in 2…0…1…5! That was unthinkable! But here we are, and how I wish
I had thought about 2015 when making so many decisions over the years. I think it boils
down to a healthy mixture of being ready for “things” to happen now, but yet planning for the
future (ever heard the phrase “keep planting”?).
What I’m Quitting
So here is what I’m quitting. I’m quitting the band-aid approach to solving problems on the
homestead. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. But even more important than that,
I’m quitting the ever-present stress that goes along with living in “crisis mode”. God has
placed us on this earth for a few short years, and why not make the most out of each one of
them and enjoy them for what they are? Enjoy the blessings we have been blessed with, and
use those blessings as a means to prepare for the future.
So now, I do what I’m reasonably able to do, and then I don’t worry about all the remaining
things that are still on the docket. I’ll get to them when I’m able to do them and do them right.
And you know what? I think I’m able to get a lot more done with this lower-stress systematic
outlook, not to mention a much higher quality of life. But it all hinges on doing what you can
NOW. Procrastination is the mother of almost all panic. Steady action is the mother of peace
So what are some things you can do right now, even if you are far from having your own homestead?
Well, I put together a short PDF that you can download for free to give you a bunch of ideas. (see www.sustainablepreparedness.com for this PDF).
Reprinted with permission from Sustainable Preparedness.