I freely admit that such an old fashioned approach to daily living is somewhat unusual for a gal my age. But I savor (almost) every moment of it. To be sure, it requires loads of work. And sometimes, I do wonder if I’m going to lose my mind in the blessed richness of it all.
But in spite of the hard work and difficulties, I wouldn’t trade my current way of living for all the conveniences that come with urban life. And yes, I have lived urban in my lifetime!
Today, I want to talk straight from the heart. I’m want to tell you a bit more about why I’ve so eagerly embraced a traditional lifestyle. Things are going to get personal. Let’s do this!
It All Began With a Health Crisis
Although I grew up on a farm and loved it, my adult years consisted of the typical, urban lifestyle. I lived in a 4-plex, had a tiny front lawn that overlooked the street, shopped for my groceries and worked a 8-5 desk job.
While I certainly had “country cravings” from time to time, I thought it was time to grow up and become a “normal” adult. To lead a life that didn’t involved tractors, fresh eggs and home grown veggies!
I had accepted and settled into this new reality when my health took a sudden plunge. A debilitating disease swept through my body and the life I had built began to slip through my fingers. First the job, then my social world and finally, it began to affect not only my energy but also mind and motor skills.
My world literally crumbled around me. And when I finally received a diagnosis, I realized the crumbled bits were going to become my new normal.
Rediscovering How She Was Wired
I believe that every hardship we go through can and will bring something positive with it, so long as we remain open. In that time, God met me in a new way. And He taught me important lessons about Himself, about myself and the people around me.
That time solidified who I was as a person and revealed how I was “wired” as a individual.
I began to struggle with the professionalism of the job I’d been trained for. And my urban lifestyle just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
About once a week, I’d leave the 4-plex behind and drive out to visit the farm of a caring couple. They gave me permission to “free range” their farm. And I did, with great pleasure!
Sometimes, I’d take a wild, bareback ride on the stallion. Other times, I’d just sit in the hay loft, soaking in the smells and sight of the barn. Even the barn cats-not my favorite creatures-offered refreshment.
It slowly dawned on me: I was a simple country girl who desperately wanted to do life with other country folks.
And even though a change of situation wasn’t immediate, I knew it was coming. I knew I wouldn’t be content until I was living somewhere rural. In the meantime, I focused my energies on learning to live with a chronic disease.
Coming Out of Lyme Disease
Learning to live with Lyme disease required starting afresh. I had to re-learn how to do life because everything had changed. I pursue natural management options and over the course of several years, had what many would deem as “success.”
As I slowly returned to my “new normal,” I felt lost, bewildered by the person I had become. I wore out easily and had to spend a good part of the day tending my own needs in order to avoid relapse. If I had a purpose outside of caring for myself, I couldn’t see it.
I believe it’s something God gave to mankind, this need to work, to do and accomplish. Yet...there didn’t seem to be work for my hands outside of caring for self. I felt lost and my life, empty.
Wanting to Contribute
In the midst of that difficult season, my man and I made a drastic move to the south. We started life afresh in a small farming community and began saving for land of our own.
I so desperately wanted to help, to contribute to our goals! As a result, I took up a seasonal, part time job. After working at a local greenhouse for six weeks, I found myself back at the Lyme disease treatment center, using every penny I’d made (and then some) in attempt to reverse the toll work had taken my body.
With my limitations and need for rest, I learned I couldn’t do life at someone else’s pace. It was another new reality I had to accept.
Finding My Place
Sitting at home got old and made me downright gloomy. My need for purpose was bearing down on my soul. What could I do? How could I contribute to the life we were trying to build? To the people around me?
We had moved south in hopes of raising more of our own food, primarily because it made such a positive difference in my health. I’d always enjoyed gardening, canning and raising animals. In that season of emptiness, I threw my whole heart into it. And things evolved from there.
I learned that I could keep a very large garden by employing a few labor-saving tricks. Canning, fermenting and root cellaring was easy, so long as I planned ahead.
If we set things up properly the first time, I could look after and care for animals on my own.
And by being a homemaker who hang dried laundry, purchased in bulk, cooked from scratch and made our own hygienic items, I could contribute to our goal of buying land and settling on a farm.
Eventually, others started asking me to teach them what I knew.
It Gave Me a Place In This World
Suddenly, I realized I’d found a place where I could contribute. In spite of my limitations, a traditional lifestyle was one I could do and do well.
Today, a large part of my life is dedicated to homemaking, raising and preserving food. My schedule can be adjusted to my own personal needs. And I have work for my hands, a place where I can give and contribute.
I love feeding guests home-raised food. Having the satisfaction of living on the land. Inviting others into our happenings. And I especially enjoy teaching others what I know.
Traditional living has given me hope for better living in many ways. And this is one of them.
While I still struggle with my health and the limitations it puts on me, I’m grateful that Lyme disease led me back to a lifestyle that is both challenging and deeply satisfying.
And I love it.