There is a woman whom I recently met online. We have many mutual friends, mutual backgrounds, mutual “stomping grounds,” etc. In other words, we have huge commonalities. We hit it off right away and became fast friends. We’ve spoken on the phone, kept in touch daily via social media in our mutual group memberships and instant messeging, texting and many other modern communication technologies. We even have some mutual life goals we’re striving for, and frankly…I’m a bit jealous of her. Jealous is perhaps too strong a word. That I’m inspired by her is an understatement. She and her husband have settled, put down roots and built a life based on their long-term goal of being self-sufficient, long before my husband and I were “into” that sort of thing.
While she and her husband were building a solid foundation here in the States, my husband and I were galavanting around the world. We were traveling, and for 12 years out of our first 18 years of marriage, the world was our oyster. We had a wanderlust that ran deep. The rich experiences of immersing into other cultures and learning other languages is something we will never regret. But that also came with a price; we didn’t “settle” back home until we were in our 40s and approaching mid-life and all the crises those decades bring. We were basically starting over from scratch like a newly-married couple in their 20s. Sheesh! What were we thinking?!
We didn’t buy our first home until we were in our 40s. As a matter of fact, now that we’re in our 50s, we’re in our second home, away from our stomping grounds, a good 2-days’ drive away from immediate family, living in a desert, and we “started over” again about 4.5 years ago. We had no choice – we had to follow the jobs. Prior to this, we had a crisis in both of our careers, and within a 6-month period we both lost our jobs and lost everything as far as material possessions. We ended up shacking up with family for two years before we finally got back on our feet. And honestly, although I love my parents dearly and honor them for their kindness of opening their home to us when we were in dire straits, living with them as a married couple in our 40s was not easy from either side of the equation. (I’m sure they wouldn’t be ashamed to admit that either.) It was hard. Very hard. We struggled with poverty, homelessness, depression, and every other emotion that comes with a situation like that. When opportunity knocked for us to move across the country for what we thought was gainful employment, we went running toward it with an energy we didn’t know we had.
Two years after our move, my husband’s employment was not all it was chalked up to be, and frankly, we were both still reeling from the previous crisis and acted like babies trying to walk for the first time. We’ve often bemoaned the fact that such a crisis hit us later in life and not when we were younger. But we tried our best to keep our chin up and things are slowly working out. Although hubby is no longer working that initial job that required the move, we both work steady jobs, make enough money to make ends meet, and we were able to fulfill one of our dreams of owning a ranch house with some land. Only problem is… it’s in a dry, unfertile desert. During these last 4.5 years, however, we have developed the dream of being self-sufficient. We don’t want to ever have to depend on another man’s business to provide for our own. We want to mind our own business, and provide for ourselves. Meahwhile, our corporate jobs help us do that, and as time goes on, we are slowly but surely working toward that goal.
Back to my new friend. Here’s why she inspires me:
1. I want chickens. She has beautiful chickens and a grand coop to go with it.
2. I want the know-how to build my own stuff. My husband and I are totally ignorant of that sort of thing, while her husband is a handyman to beat all!
3. I want to learn how to garden with success (it’s very hard in the desert, believe me!) She has a green thumb, and her hubby built her these incredible raised garden beds that could withstand an apocalypse! LOL
4. I want to learn to make soap. She is a master at soap making!!! Wow! (Check out her FB group, Drippy Hollow Soaps!)
5. I want to learn the medicinal properties of plants that grow locally, and learn the benefits of various herbs. She is an herbalist and knows all about it! (Check out her herbal FB group, Drippy Hollow Herbs and Home Remedies!)
6. I want to live in a fertile area of the country. She and her family put down roots in a fertile area and are staying put! Brian and I plan to move yet again, to an area of the country where being self-sufficient isn’t nearly as hard as living in the desert, but for now we must bloom where we’re planted.
This is my dream. This is my inspiration. Maybe by the time we retire, we’ll get there..but I’m praying that it comes to us long before that. And someday soon, my dear new friend…we will meet in person! I’m excited about our friendship and hopefully, some day…I can be as much of an inspiration to you as you are to me.
Here’s to dreaming!
*Credit to my new friend (she knows exactly who she is) for all the pictures! Thank you for giving me permission to use them.