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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dare to be different

Rhonda Jean
Down to Earth



I want to encourage every one of you who choose to live simply to do it on your own terms. There is no rule book for simple living, we all do it differently. I think that once you’ve got it in your mind to change from being a consumer to a conserver, many of the practical day-to-day things will come from your change in mindset. If they don’t, and you’re unsure about what to do next, just be guided by how you live your life now. Examine the things you do – your work practices, your chores, your transport, your recipes, your cleaning, how you cook, how you do your shopping – and one by one, make each and every task simpler, greener and more sustainable. Now that might be 100% simple, green and sustainable, but if it’s not, that’s okay! You do what you can do, you add to it later. It’s fine, no matter what anyone tells you.

I stockpile and shop monthly, with a quick trip to the local supermarket for local milk and cheese each week. But that is how I find it works best for me, there is no rule that says everyone shops that way. Try several different ways, then stick with the one that works best with your way of living.

I see so many other homemakers apologise for using a breadmaker. Why! If you want to use a breadmaker and it makes baking fresh bread for your family easier, use it. There is no rule that states the bread is less if it’s made in a breadmaker. The point is to make bread so you know what’s in it, you make it to your exact requirements and it's cheaper. Yes, your bread maker costs money to buy and run, but it pays for itself in less than a year and if you stop buying bread because of it – the bread that contains preservatives, colourings and artificial flavours, AND comes packaged to the hilt in plastic, then the breadmaker option wins, hands down.



It’s okay to say ‘no’ to others and ‘yes’ to yourself. Stop living to the expectations of others, slowly build a life that is unique to you. Make things easy for yourself. For instance, if you want to compost your kitchen scraps, put a little bin in your kitchen to hold the scraps and empty it every afternoon. If you want to go completely green with your cleaning routines, start with one thing first – like homemade laundry powder, then when you’re working well with that first choice, add others. Think about all these little things you want to bring into your life and make them as easy for yourself as you can. That way they’ll become an easy part of your routine and not a struggle.

Be mindful, make your own decisions, work out what will work for you and don’t feel guilty if you're reading your favourite blogs and you’re not doing what others are doing. I know a lot of you a guided by some of the things I say but if I do something that doesn’t fit well with you, don’t do it. Make sure that everything you do is right for you, not just being done because someone else does it.

Imagine your own life, and how you want it to be, then work to make that vision a reality. Don’t be put off, don’t listen to the naysayers, go with your heart and do what is right for you. I’m a non-conformist and I don’t fit in the 60 year old woman pigeonhole. I have always walked to the beat of my own drum and I have never looked to those around me for validation. That has helped me build this life I live. If I’d listened to all the advice I got when I wanted to change, I’d still be running a red hot credit card and wondering “is this all there is?”.

One of the great wonders of this world to me is that we’re all the same but all so different. Celebrate your difference and custom-make a life that fits you perfectly. Forget the blathering of women’s magazines, don’t do what your next door neighbour is doing, don’t copy your friends – or me – unless it is exactly what you want and need for yourself. Make your own version of this simple life. Life is never a one-size-fits-all condition, pick and choose the portions of other people lives that suit you and custom make the rest of it so that your life fits you perfectly. If you try something that doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to get rid of it, or modify it to suit yourself. Do it all slowly, take small steps. You will never build a simple life quickly – it’s a slowly evolving process that never ends, but one thing is for sure, if you dare to be different, if you are mindful of your choices, if you downsize, declutter and get back to basics, the rewards are there for the taking.


18 comments:

Jenn said...

Thank you for such a sincere and to the point blog. I'm not a blind follower (thankfully),but your blog and a few others (most of which I looked into because of your blog)give us all simple, common sense ways to change our lives for the better.
And that container of thread looks like a tempting treat!
I'm trying to get back to making little things that catch my eye and scrounging through the scrap material and clearance bins (which I have always enjoyed). And my finds the past two days have made me extremely happy. Knowing I've gotten an amazing deal on a skein of soy-wool and can make a gift of it and a scrap of fabric to make an apron for my 4 year old to bake cookies with her great grandmother just put me at peace.

Sarah said...

Perfectly well said.... small steps all eventually lead to the big. This is how i have managed to change things here - looking back I have done so much and it is all normal part of our lives.

Winterwood said...

well said and it should clarify a lot for those who arent sure what the simple life is all about!

Desiree said...

A very important post to all of us out there who are looking to change our lives. At first, it can all seem too overwhelming. You want to make a big difference in your life, and you want to do it all at once, and yet, you can't. I think that can be very discouraging to many. For someone like yourself, who has been doing this for a long time, to come right out and encourage small steps and figuring out what works best for each of us, it's very enlightening and puts many anxieties at ease. Thank you for sharing.

Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

*Standing Ovation* Well Said!!

Sandy said...

Great encouragement, particularly for those just starting out on the journey. Thank you. -Sandy

MystikMomma said...

This was such a nice post. It provides inspiration and guidance without telling and instructing. I agree once the shift happens in the brain/thought process, life starts to look differently. The choices I make today seem in line with my heart and head.

Again, such a wonderful post.

Bobbi said...

Love the common sense, grounded tone of all your posts. Very helpful as I start my day and look at what I want to accomplish. Thank you.

amanda said...

great post...thanks for the reminder!

Jessica said...

Excellent points. Sometimes we can forget that there are so many different types of Joneses to keep up with -- not only the dreaded next-door neighbor suburban family of lore, but the green Jones, the blogging Joneses, the craft Joneses, the decor Joneses ... etc. It's hard to let all of that go!

Anonymous said...

Bravo Rhonda! Well said.

Patricia

Green Bean said...

Loved this post. In living a greener life, so often I and others apologize for not doing everything ourselves. But we should be making decisions that are right for us.

Homeschooling is great but not for my family. So we go to a Charter school where I work in the classroom. Baking bread? I use a breadmaker. Making yogurt? A Yogotherm. I'm not perfect but I am happy and am finding my peace with who I am as I travel down this greener path. Thanks for the affirming post.

Sharon said...

Wonderful-you have reminded us that we must make changes that fit into our season of life, and where we find ourselves living; that said: there is no such thing as one size fits all, whether in clothing or in life!

Lady Katherine said...

What a wonderful post, the things you had to say, were very refreshing. I always say I want to live in the old days. I live in a 1920 craftmans house and yes it cold, we are heating with wood that, hurricane blew down. Have not turned the propane on. My chickens get my scraps, and egg shells and tea leaves go to flower beds.

notesfromthefrugaltrenches.com said...

What a wonderful wonderful post. For the last couple of years whenever I feel pressure to conform or do things how others do, I say the phrase "I beat to the music from my own drum" it and this post are great reminders!

I'll post tomorrow, had a very unexpected business trip. I did email you but for some reason it bounced back!

Homemaker Ang said...

i am really liking your blog. i need to spend more time here.

i try to explain why we went off grid and sometimes my thoughts cannot make it to words as i do not write that great.

you just hit the nail on the head here by saying going from a consumer to a conserver. that is one of the reasons we are doing this also. I am not out to save the earth but I know all this surely is helping all of us as my family is wasting less etc.

God bless!

Homemaker Ang said...

oh yes, each family does not have to take it as drastic as we have. every bit helps!

Homemaker Ang said...

Rhonda, I must link to this post and feel it is so good I cannot ignore it so I hope you do not mind if I link to it. You have put my thoughts on paper but MUCH more eloquently so I will give you the honors as I could never beging to explain it this way!

God Bless!