Monday, March 15, 2010

Maybe Its My Generation

My sister in law over at Here Is A Brighter Garden just posted about striving for a more simple life.
Reading it made me smile because my mind has been so overwhelmed by the same thoughts lately. Right down to the couple of chickens and a goat.

I can't say for sure if this common feeling is a narrow result of my family history or a reaction to the broad state of affairs in our society these days. I would bet on a pretty even split, at least in my case.

As my husband and I go through the laborious and disheartening process of trying to buy our first home, I am becoming far more certain of what I want for my future. Subtracting a few key points, what I want is my past.

I grew up living in a twice-the-size-of-the-average-American family. Another child was born, on average, every two years, which coincidentally was also the length of time we spent at any one place of residence. Though, while I lived in well over dozen houses by the time I was twenty, one thing that nearly all these places held in common was their setting - the country, the boonies, the middle of nowhere, twenty miles from the nearest grocery store, etc. I always had land. There was always a creek or a pond somewhere on the property - and realized these were property not simply yards - there were woods, fields, sometimes even livestock, always chickens, always vegetable gardens. I remember harvesting pure white clay from the sides of creek beds to make my own sculptures - always the artist - and building furniture out of logs and scrap wood that I would arrange in my "forest house" - always the designer - and gathering poison berries from the bushes behind the sheds and old walnuts from the hill to dye my doll clothes - always the fashion lover - and these are the best things about my childhood. Have I mentioned I was home schooled? So not only were these the best parts of my childhood, but also common occurrences?

I am sure I always knew I never wanted anything besides a home and more importantly a piece of land that would inspire and allow me to be the person I wanted to be. What I have learned along the way is who that person is. She is a simple person, a mother, a wife, and an artist; the type of person that needs seclusion from others, but also enough space to house dozens of friends and family, the type of person that needs to be proud of her surroundings and yet feel insignificant to the natural order of those surroundings, the type of person who plants the potato, which feeds her family, who save their scraps, that feed the chickens, which lay the eggs, which cook up so nicely with the potato, so she never has to buy breakfast food again.

So here I am, a week of from closing on a nice little raised rancher with a postage stamp back yard and a prime view of my neighbors bathroom window and I am wondering, "what am I doing?" The good answer is planning, investing in an affordable home so that some day down the road we can sell for a profit and buy our little piece of land where my brothers the contractors will build/renovate my little dream home complete with artist studio and huge soaking tub. Unfortunately there is another answer that is less ideal but still holds a tiny bit of truth; I am settling.

My youngest sister - I have realized that due to her age I can no longer call her my 'baby' sister anymore - told me something yesterday that made me happy. She said to me "Silvana, you know what makes you cool? you always want to make things better, you never settle for just good enough." I really want her to be right about me, so I am still striving for a simpler life. Better doesn't always been greater, bigger, wealthier, it just means better.

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