consumerism, voluntary simplicity

Five years

Ah well, you can tell that this blog is not as important to me these days, since I let my 5th blogiversary blow right on by without even thinking about it.

Part of it is what many bloggers say after writing a blog for this long – how many times do I want to write about basically the same stuff? In my case, I started this particular blog as a garden journal and as therapy. I was changing my life a little at a time and journaling made my path clearer.

Eventually, when this blog became more of a project to support and interact with my readers, I found myself connected with a huge network of foodies, organic farmers, urban homesteaders, and those who were eager to begin moving in that direction. I found that there was a growing number of blogs and websites and discussion forums out there that did a lot better job of educating and supporting newbie gardeners and sustainable food advocates than me, and that made me very happy. I backed off the urban homesteading subject and concentrated on my artwork.

Because I was tired of writing about how to blanch peas and where I was buying my seeds from this year. I’ve learned a lot, but my life hasn’t changed much as far as food goes. I make the same dishes, pretty much. I still grow as much as my space and body will allow in my back yard, and I buy as much as I can from local farmers and food artisans. What I can’t grow, I buy at the farmers market. What I can’t buy at the farmer’s market, I buy at the local natural food co-op. After that, I go to the grocery or drug store. I have been able to avoid going to a mainstream supermarket for months at a time. I can afford to do this because I don’t buy a lot of processed food and the quality of my food is a priority for me. Food is still just as important. Food writing, not so much.

I’m a secretary, and I’m proud of it. I’m not rich, and I don’t really want to be. I want to be comfortable, with a car that runs, and a small house with a garden, and in good health. Voluntary simplicity is a philosophy that I am very comfortable with. It’s nice not to worry about always chasing a job that pays more money but creates more stress. I’m satisfied. I’m not interested in making voluntary simplicity into a contest to see how little I can buy, though.

Here is a blog that I just found through Grist: Possum Living. The author wrote a book about frugal living back in the 70s, and it has been reprinted. I like Dolly a lot and plan to keep reading this one.

I wouldn’t be able to raise my own meat and poultry, since I am too soft-hearted to kill an animal. It takes very little time for me to fall in love with an animal. I also fall in love with trees, rocks, sticks, and coffee cups. Ask my husband. But I admire those who do raise their food animals with humane care. I don’t think that vegetarianism is for everyone, but I admire vegetarians too. I fall somewhere in the middle – I eat meat, but I am highly particular about it.

The one trend that I see throughout the years of writing this blog is the tendency to care more about my priorities and less about how other people perceive them. I don’t waste a lot of time listening to people who talk about reality shows or fashion or whatever. If something or somebody gets on my nerves, I assess if they are really essential to my well-being or happiness, and if they are not, I avoid them rather than wondering if something is wrong with me for preferring solitude. I’m not willing to try that hard any more. And I used to, boy, did I used to. I tried so hard to be “normal,” to care about the things that “normal” people did. Now I think that “normal” people can adjust to me if they want to, and if they don’t, that’s okay as long as they don’t insist on me joining their club.

Maybe that is simply growing comfortable in my own skin, finally, or maybe it is more of a willingness to be selfish. I was about to say that maybe it is a matter of aging, but I see too many older people who are caught up in consumerism and what it means to be a “real” American and in the “right” group. This is probably the kind of thing that I’ll be thinking and writing about more as I ascend the final year of my forties. Whether I’ll do it here or not, I don’t know. I’m on Facebook and Flickr a lot more nowadays, and those applications seem to be serving my needs. I can’t imagine totally getting away from being online though. I’m definitely hooked on that.

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