It is also about being more present in everyday life, knowing that the big issues are still out there, but right now, I can be happy in the little things. My kids artworks, framed in black and white, stylishly preserving memories. Decorating the family room in which they feature, a simple task that helped preserve my sanity in a challenging period. A bowl piled up with homegrown lemons, received from a generous member of The Urban Homesteading Club, adding colour, destined to be squeezed into glass jars, with salt and time. I also learnt that I will be OK, even if I don't follow 'the big plans' or ideals I think I should. Like ignoring the onion seeds that didn't germinate, even when my mind suggested sowing a second lot, my heart replied with a deep sigh, 'eh, whatever'. It's just onions. It is just one season of onions... we won't starve without home grown onions. Yes, the big issues will be lurking in the back of my mind, no doubt, but there is room for joy, for happiness, for contentment, and for relaxation. For the journey.
It is OK to find happiness in styling my home, not just preparing our household for hard times. It is OK to spend money sometimes, not just on 'equipment' or survironmentalist gear, but on a piece of fabric that makes me feel so pleased when I look at the cushion it became. It doesn't matter if I don't learn how to grow and preserve and store all our food (like that was ever going to actually happen anyway!) It is OK to enjoy the here and now, even as the future looms from dark corners and bright screens, its message stick poking me in the ribs... hold on tight, be prepared, holy shit batman. In fact, enjoying the here and now, in light of such a dark possibility, is oh, so, much more pressing. Am I suggesting we just go party hard, and live out our days in a spending-spree-hedonistic-come-what-may-as-long-we-look-good-and-feel-good frenzy? Heck no. But for my husband and I, who tend to be hard on ourselves, who push ourselves, who want to protect our family, to survive and be ready for hard times, who sacrifice frivolity and reward sacrifice... well, we could do with letting go a little. Instead of a sombre dance with practicality and frugality as our partners, we could do a jig once in a while.
To accept that aiming for 'the ultimate' isn't actually helping achieve anything much, and to take a step back to reality... such a relief. Can I promise I won't set my sights too high again in the future, and start imagining moving to a farm and setting up a CSA? Or to dream about not working, and spending my time growing all our food on our suburban block (milking goat included) instead? Or my vision of self-sufficient-ish living in an off-grid earth-sheltered home built in the side of a hill? I can't, but at the same time, I've learnt that focusing on and being content with the backyard projects we will tackle, it feels good. It feels easier. It feels possible. It feels 'whatever!'.