I’m a few steps closer to a congruent Life! Getting there is full of little steps that are born of hard grafting yakka, I can tell you!
The life I’m aiming for, just to refresh our memories, is one where I’m off the grid, using renewable energy sources as in solar panels and passive solar energy and growing most of my own vegetables and so on. The main aim is to downsize everything and have NO DEBT. Without debt, we are free and can get on with our “bliss”, whatever form that takes.
For me, that will be to build a relatively cheap, small abode out of cob (MUD!) and straw-bales on a cheap rural block of land in Tassie.
I have finally called an end to all renos on my present lovely lovely 1890s miner’s cottage after hauling it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. There is a small mortgage on it and attendant rates and all the exhorbitant utility bills that go with modern-day living, the usual suspects being water, electricity and the internet/phone.
In my previous website, womanglow, I offered a free e-book about how to buy a house, as I’d never done it on my ownsome before. When you suddenly have to do something entirely by yourself, you sure as heck pay a lot more attention!
These days I’m learning “how to sell a home”. Not sure if an e-book is in the making though. But finalising the renos came as the real estate agent’s recommendation. There were just a handful of niggling things that I’d lost all oomph about (as well as dollars) and I had the mighty task of finally pulling out my finger and just getting on with it. And no, I didn’t have a windfall of money to do it with – I’ve had to use my redraw facility BUT it’s a pragmatic solution. (At the end of the year, casual teaching simply dries up!)
So the house is now ready for its close-up and all legals are in place.
And I’ve been decluttering! Well, knock me down with a feather! I had boxes and piles of paper to sort through. Almost 2 whole wheely bins of the stuff. Out went a decade and a half of memorabilia, diaries, bills (!!!!), old photos no longer relevant, and very intriguingly, a lot of teaching resources that I’ve been lugging around for years and years and have never revisited. Also clothes, ornaments, books, some furniture, plastics in the kitchen, pots and pans, some crockery, just STUFF!!!!!!!
The feeling left over when that wheely bin empties into the rubbish truck and all that stuff is carted away is incredible. No longer carrying around loads of baggage! How freeing! Such liberty. I actually feel as if a lot of ghosts have been laid to rest. Old gripes, hurts and grievances put out to pasture. I can’t believe how much outrage and indignation I had stored up in my shed, both personal and professional. Yes, Life can be hard work at times, but carrying all those reminders from address to address is nuts!
My new self is a reinvention that even Madonna would be proud of.
- I’ve gone vegetarian – there’s so much pain and cruelty in the factory farming of animals to put meat and dairy on our plates that I’m re-educating my palate to favour beans, tofu, quorn, etc. It’s working!
- I haven’t shopped at the Big Supermarkets for years now – always shop local, despite the reduced array of choice.
- I no longer buy books but frequent the local library incessantly and review them for our local rag.
- Some days I don’t venture out at all in the car so as to avoid spending money. It’s just too easy to pop into shops for top-up groceries. And honestly, I’m an epic fail on that one. My current aim is to not buy any more food until I’ve used up everything in the fridge and pantry. Sooooooo hard to do. Epic fail is my default position.
- I only buy second-hand clothes now – as of 2015. (except for “smalls” and socks)
- I’ve learnt over the last 4 years here in my house how to NOT grow veggies – but I’m a novice and I am slowly figuring out by omission what’s really needed if I intend to feed myself in the coming year. The patch has to be BIGGER, more thoroughly thought through. The choice of vegetables has to be stuff that I will actually eat! And I’ve learnt how things don’t grow well in the heat. Enough heat is good, too much direct heat is killing. (sounds obvious but I had to experience it). This town is difficult to grow stuff in – climate-wise.
- Plastics have begun to exit my house. There’s still some unavoidable plastic in packaging and utensils, but recently I went out to the dump’s recycling shed and replaced as much as I could with stainless steel stuff – a whole $2 worth!
This list goes on but the point is that it is hard grafting yakka, this reinvention or RETURN to a congruent life. In my opinion! Please don’t think I’m judging anyone or personal choices – we each go our own way. This is just my heartfelt camino to finally living in line with my politics and ethics.
It’s banal and ordinary stuff but there is a really cleansing wave throughout – and it’s also a source of achievement to turn one’s back on a lifetime of learnt cultural behaviours – to finally see and do what one has always wanted to but never actually taken those first few steps.
I’d love to hear your own journeys – what does a congruent life look like to you?