We wanted land. We wanted to grow real food, and raise animals for real milk and real meat and real eggs. We wanted to sit at our dining room table without a goat jumping from chair to chair. I had enough of a background in historic agriculture (to say nothing of a full-time job doing historic agriculture) that I was willing to take the leap out of the suburbs and into hobby farming. My husband quickly jumped onboard. We are the ones who are actively resisting the industrial food systems of the twenty-first century. Are we radicals? Absolutely. Are we rabid? No. We've just simply assessed the way things are going locally, nationally, and globally, and chimed in with Bartleby the Scrivener: We would prefer not to. We are not alone.
This is Offbeat Home's archive of Philosophy posts.
Not everything on Offbeat Home centers around the physical. Sometimes being an Offbeat Homie is all about the mindset.
I don't celebrate New Years for a few reasons. But the most important reason I don't celebrate New Year's is because I already see each day as a fresh start. I don't need to party it up one day a year in order to cherish the fact that I get a chance to begin anew.
I've been thinking a lot about being mindful — about how to be as present as I can. Then I realize I am thinking so much about being present that I am letting it distract me from BEING present! So tonight, I tried a little exercise based on one of the mindfulness practices I learned during childbirth preparation: see, hear, feel, breathe.
My husband and I live in the parsonage of the church where we work part-time. What this means is really amazing, financially speaking — we get to live in a giant, lovingly-maintained, FREE house. All of this is obviously wonderful, but we moved into this house from a tiny student apartment. And we didn't have enough furniture to fill THAT place. Basically, our discretionary income doesn't rise to the occasion of this grand home. And I learned that you don't realize how much Wanting Stuff and Acquiring Stuff weighs you down until you just stop doing it.
Living abroad is great for so many reasons. Meeting new people, experiencing new adventures, and learning about new cultures are just a few of the perks of moving every few years. However there are difficulties with everything being new again and again. And one of those difficulties is the feeling of having a "home."
In the last few weeks, I have been thinking about stuff. Or more specifically, thinking about minimalism, the absence of stuff. I have lived that lifestyle before — minimalism is easy to do when you're broke. Now that we have two full-time incomes, and plenty of empty space to fill, minimalism is harder to achieve. In 2008, I owned only five pairs of shoes (and I will admit, I let myself feel a bit smug about that). Now, in 2013, I own five pairs of Melissa shoes alone. Gone are my smug days of shoe-minimalism. Did I need to buy two new pairs of sparkly Melissa flats last year? Not at all. But they are pretty, and I love them. Pretty things aside, I do feel like there is a difficult balance to achieve between minimalism and self-sufficiency.
It was a small revelation when I started reading about those studies that show that looking at Facebook makes you more depressed. Of course, what we see on a lot of those sites is what I would call a good-parts summary. People want to showcase the best of themselves, and so do I. I'm guilty of it too when I brag about my accomplishments but not my mistakes in my statuses, or untag the most unflattering pictures my friends have posted of me. I remember the moment I realized that everyone can feel like they don't measure up…
In today's society, with its emphasis on performance, it's so easy to feel pressured to be the best. Things aren't worth doing unless you can do them perfectly. But I call bullshit on that. Here's how my ukulele helped me get over the pressure to be "the best" and just have fun with the things I love to do.