When Spore and I started our lives together, we decided that we wanted to live simply. We found out pretty quickly that our vision of simple was quite different. Spore was thinking cave man homesteader, pull away from society, live off the land, tree bark for toilet paper kind of simple. I was thinking no TV and walk to work simple.
Compromise. We had to learn it in spades. Small house we both agreed on. I said no to tree bark essentials, he said no to a washer and dryer. I said no to a wash board and ringer. He said OK, no dryer. We were making progress. He said composting toilet, I said no way no how. He said no extras just the minimum, I said OK.
Simple is not simple to plan, but it’s also not terribly complicated. Chop wood, carry water.
We were learning that living simply could be a monstrous time suck, and some days physically and mentally exhausting, and frustrating. Loosing your entire market garden to one random hail storm is not an easy pill to swallow. Busy from sun up to sunset on most days. There is a reason that some homesteaders killed each other, ate their young, and went crazy. I was choosing to not go down that path, just yet.
But, surprisingly enough, I was loving our simple life. I’ve never been opposed to hard work, but I learned that I function much better without material clutter. I started to love going to bed each night, (yes a bed, after I talked Spore out of the tent in the yard), exhausted mentally and physically in a deep satisfying way. Things felt real, rich, tangible, and known.
We were young, we didn’t have children or dogs yet, simple was totally doable.
And then one day we looked at each other, maybe it was a blank stare. We now had a dog and two babies, and jobs in town. Laundry sat on the clothes line for days, I considered rain an extra rinse cycle. Wood needed to be chopped, the garden harvested, and goodies to be canned. Our dog and two babies took up all of the time I use to have to take care of our basic needs. I felt completely time poor, and exhausted in a not so good way.
So we hit the compromise table again. My new focus was our babies and my dog. Somethings around the house had to give, be made a bit easier. My declaration to not being super human stuck. I held up my simple white flag, to our simple little life, in our simple little home. And I was gifted a lovely dryer. Woop… I think it might still be the best gift I ever received.
Over the years we have added more dogs, birds, fish, and bunnies. Our children are growing up and are getting pretty involved and busy in their activities. My dogs are all hitting their senior years at one level or another and it is ripping at my heart. And I have some modern conveniences in our home that I am so grateful for.
Most days I have ample time for my kids and dogs. I mean hours worth, and I planned it this way. I also work full time, and still grow a market garden. But the ‘keep it simple’ is always at the forefront of everything I do.
I would consider myself to be time poor. There are very few days, if any, where I am at a loss for something to do. Even though my scientist friends remind me that time is a constant and does not change, if you are a mother you know for a fact that it does. Time goes by way to quickly with my dogs and they go from puppy to senior in no time at all. I have learned to stop and cherish each day with them, not that they are all good or productive, but that we are here and doing this journey together. My kids are growing way to quickly and I would like the clock to slow a bit, enjoy the time I have with them for just a little longer.
On days were I am feeling really time poor, I stop and take a deep breath. There is always 20 minutes someplace in the day to sit down with my kids and listen to them. There is always 20 minutes to go into the yard and play with my dogs and work with them.
Cutting out the extras and knowing what is most important is the simplest way to live, and love, and be grateful. Time poor doesn’t have to mean ‘no time’, it simply means there is no time for extras, only what matters most.