What I did not realize during these crazy times of loss and growth, was that I was asking for the wrong things. I didn’t need to ask, “Why am I not happy?” I needed to ask myself, “What will make me happy?” I think at some point in everyone’s life..even multiple times, we have to stop and think about what we really want. Things change. Goals Change. Hobbies Change. Wants Change. Life just happens sometimes. I thought because I was “Living the American Dream”, good paying corporate job, great family, paid off cars, and great house I would be happy. I was. To an extent. There was always that stress of losing my job, feeling like I was not spending enough time with our kids or Crab, and just being a slave to the dollar for someone else’s dream?? That is their dream. Why am I killing myself for them? I was miserable..and did not even know it. I honestly needed a push out of the door of my job because I would have stayed until it came crashing down..probably:)
After I lost my job, I had a lot of time to think. To practice. To do everything I wanted to do that I always thought about doing when I was stuck in my cubicle at work. I took an online class with Algae Labs and learned to grow my own spirulina as a replacement super food. We learned to garden in soil and aquaponics. We learned we were not good at raising rabbits where we lived in Texas. We learned how to incubate chickens, one turkey, and how to raise them well. We learned to process the meat, can it, freeze it, and even get chicken broth to can out of all of the bones too. I learned to make soy candles, and even started a small business, Escapes Candles, LLC. I attended my first trade show that Christmas of 2013 too, and many more the next year. I learned to dry spices, how to store food, how to homeschool in Texas, and so many more things I can’t wrap my mind around it!!
Crab and I learned to work better together on our projects. All we ever wanted to do was be together..but we had to learn how to do that again:). Between his Infantry job in the Army the first 5 years of our marriage of being gone all of the time on deployments, Training Exercises, schools, etc, and his one year working off shore as a Cement Supervisor, and then my job where I never felt like I had any time to do anything before or after work…it had been a while since we were together 24/7. It was tough. We grew during this time as a couple in ways I never knew. Our girls watched us, and absorbed the change. They learned from us and even grew closer to each other, and us.
By April 2014 (this year), we watched a documentary and TED talks videos that changed my life forever. And I watched these videos like 20 times each. “Tiny: A Story of Living Small” on Netflix, was the first one. Learning to live with less. Everyone seemed so free. They were doing what I wanted to do. Whatever the hell they wanted to do!
They owned their homes, most worked part time, and for themselves, and were financially and material free. I watched Ted Talks by The Minimalists and other people who inspired me to do what they did. Start selling and getting rid of the crap you don’t need. We were all in. We finally found a path that we were both totally excited about. Like I had not been this excited about something in a long time. Like since I had our youngest daughter, excited. “Like” am I in High school again? lol. I sometimes type how I talk..sorry:)
After all of the bull crap we had to deal with during our rebuild process with our mortgage company, we hated banks. I hated that I owed them money. I hated their greed and cold heartedness. I hated the vacation and sick days I had to claim WHILE AT WORK just so I could sit on hold for 3 hours while I waited to talk to someone so we could have our money from them that the insurance company already released. So, without getting all pissed off writing this, it was just hell. Maybe first world problems…but still HELL.
I love my house. Don’t get me wrong. But I miss our smaller homes we had lived in. I miss the land I grew up on with my horses in Mississippi. I miss not having so much crap tying me down. Maybe I sound like a hippy now:) But Crab and I are in a a very unique and blessed situation. I always looked at the fire as a negative obstacle, which I felt we handled a lot better than most. Now, I think of it as a blessing in disguise.
Our New Goal: Edit Our Life
We want to live with less so we can have more time and experiences with our kids and each other. We want more land. We want to be north again. Maybe we won’t head back to Alaska just yet, but Colorado will do. 100% on renewable energy, 100% our land, 100% our home that we build ourselves or contract out different work that we are not comfortable completing ourselves. 100% working for ourselves, for our family, and a business of multiple things. Synergy. We were so successful with selling fertile and non fertile eggs, chicks, chickens, turkeys, teaching a workshop on processing poultry,and much more. No, we didn’t make a fortune, but we made enough cash to cover feed costs finally! We can do this for a living and love it, when we get rid of our debts and own our stuff.
All of that= Happiness. 🙂 To some it = Craziness 🙂 But we have never been people to flow with normal anyway.
How do we start this crazy journey? By selling crap.
This past summer Crab and I sold and gave away about 50% of what was in our home. Thanks to ebay and consignment shops, we received money for things we didn’t use. Like our 300+DVD collection, Old Toys. Old clothes. Furniture that does not fit the lifestyle we want to move towards. Dishes and gadgets I had not used. It took us 2 months, and slowly but surely our list of items came down to nearly nothing. The fire incident forced an edit of about 10 years worth of crap for us, so we did not even have much in our attic.
It felt like we were being guided into this new chapter. I say that not because we lost everything, but because every time I sold something or got rid of something, I felt about 5 pounds of stress be lifted from my shoulders. Even something as small as a dvd. Poof, stress gone. Stress I did not even know that I had. It really felt “Freeing”. I finally understood what all of the people in the Tiny movie were talking about. What The Minimalists were talking about. I became obsessed.
Once our list of crap was gone, next on the list was our houses. Our rental home, (our very first home) was about to be vacated, and it must go. Still working on it, but I think it will be kind of stale until February. That month keeps sticking in my head for some reason, so we will go with that one 🙂 We also listed our current home. May the best one win. LOL. I packed most of our stuff and shoved it in the attic so we are show ready 24/7!! I am ready to keep our money. I am also tired of cleaning this house! Not that I am dirty I just get tired of polishing stone floors, scrubbing crown molding, and all of the other 2500sqft responsibilities. I feel like I have wasted so much time of my life cleaning this house. LOL. It is even worse since it has to be show ready all the time..but having less CRAP helps a lot!So they will have to go! I keep imagining us selling one, and then both, and how ultimately great I will feel. Sending positive thoughts into the Universe!! The offers have came and went, but we know when it feels right, it will be the right time.
So, What Will Make Me Happy? Spending 40+ hours a week at a job? Not being with my family? Driving through traffic every morning and afternoon? Missing my girls grow up? Not being there for my veteran when he needs me? On my death bed, will I say…OH I wish I would have made more money at my job?
Being my own boss. Watching my girls grow and learn. Being here for everyone. Being outside. Gardening. Having my chickens. Turkeys. Ducks. Watching my chicks hatch and experiencing new life with my family. On my death bed, will I say…I am so happy I had all of those memories and experiences with my family.
“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”
Here is a list of the videos anyone who is considering living a self reliant life with less crap and more time should start with.
Netflix- Tiny: A Story of Living Small
The Minimalists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgBpyNsS-jU
Sell Your Crap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XRPbFIN4lk
Living Tiny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7VCb-2h8Yc
The Secret: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-ep31_tYok
For more parts to the Series, Our Reasons for Editing Our Life: