Aurora @ Island Dreaming
We have lived in our current home for a little over three years - a
small terraced house with a small patio at the back. Our home is
a temporary one - we rent, in a city that we don't want to stay in past the
next five years, three if we can manage it. We hope to stay in this
house for a few more years until we are in a position to relocate across
the country - but we could be served notice by our landlord at any
time, adding another layer of uncertainty. Some of us carry a vision of a
self sufficient farm out in the sticks, others an urban backyard farm -
somewhere more permanent where we can put down roots. It can be hard to
reconcile those visions with a nine to five job and a rented
garden-less studio flat - and very easy to slip into the mainstream,
consuming lifestyle more usual to those environments. So what do you do?
This is a time for us to get our house in order - not that there
aren't other reasons to do so anyway. Cover the basics. The things that
take no more time, space and energy to do than 'normal' ways of doing
things. Begin to clean using natural cleaning products. Be mindful of
your energy use. At least say hello to your neighbours and find out
their names. Decide on a budget and begin to pay off debts and start
saving. Be concious of what you are eating. Read widely on the skills
and activities that you would like to incorporate into your life.
Take the time to declutter, not least because
moving possessions from house to house is a complete pain. If you are
storing possessions that no longer fit who you are now or who you plan
to be when you finally move on, then you are wasting space, time and
energy. Our DVD collection was one of the first things to be pared down -
we just weren't planning on having that much spare time on our hands to
sit re-watching mediocre movies, what with all the baking, brewing and
gardening we were planning on doing. Use the space creatively to stock
pile food or create a craft workspace.
Use this time to experiment and decide what you really
want your future to look like. Before you sink all of your time, energy
and money into a permanent home, test your vision on the smaller scale.
I can tell you now, after a few years of experimentation, that I want
to bake all of our own bread - as we infact now do - but it took three
years of false starts and resignation to even learn to make an edible
loaf, before that, it was merely an aspiration, a lovely vision of
something that we should do. On the other hand, after a few kitchen
experiments, I can tell you I have absolutely no interest in cheese
making and dairying - and by extension livestock rearing. Its better to
learn these things now than ending up in my 'ideal place' and finding
out it isn't so ideal.
It is important too to focus on the things you like about where you now are. I like our neighbours and will miss them. I love the fact that the city is so vibrant at night. I like the roar that reverberates across the city from the football stadium every Saturday and Wednesday. I
love the little community gardens and orchards that are popping up here
and there, the parks, the sunshine and mild climate. It has taken me a
while to recognise and be thankful for these things - but they enrich my
life in the here and now.
It took us a few years to realise that where we find
ourselves now is the perfect place to begin living the life that we
envision - because this is the only place we have. It marks us out as
fairly unusual in our street - we have herb boxes outside the front
door, food growing in containers out the back - and if anyone looked, a
food and brewing grain stockpile stashed in nooks around our house from
the kitchen to the bedroom. I know that whilst they might not live in
our street, their are others across the city living like this too and
doing what they can.
There are no guarantees in life; and waiting for the
perfect time and conditions to come along to begin living is a huge
gamble. The only thing to do is to be here now and do what you can.