Better off yet

I have a complicated relationship with blogging. It’s hard to be so private and yet write  on so public a forum. I enjoyed writing so much more when no one was reading it but I miss writing too much when I stop. Love and hate. Like I said, it’s complicated. Plus, I feel so out of breath trying to catch up in my regular life that I can’t handle the pressure of trying to catch up with my life expressed in blog form. But I’ll stop apologizing now and get down the the messy business of writing.

In a fairly circuitous fashion, we have arrived at the conclusion that we want to live a rural and simple life and that our best bet at finding someplace we can be happy and still afford it will probably be in Eastern Washington. Honestly, I have no idea though. We’ve been considering Montana and Idaho too. I have had it with sidewalks, and neighbor cats, and no yelling policies in the yard. I’m done spending my days just trying to get the house clean and food made and kids loved. I think some people thrive best under pressure and that’s definitely me. I don’t just want a house to manage, I want land and a half-acre garden and raising livestock and little kids weeding long rows in the summertime. I don’t just want to teach my kids to read and write and love God, I want them to learn the satisfaction of hunting garden beetles to feed chickens, and tire swings, and digging the last of the potatoes before the frost hits, and sitting in shocked silence in the corner of a barn while a goat welcomes a set of twins. I know these things because I’ve lived them. Nearly a lifetime of experiences ago, my parents did something brave and crazy that resulted in raising a pack of happy children on a forgotten corner of the world. Literally forgotten even by time in an old house that had no running water or electricity and the carved names on the attic walls were a century old. I’m not saying I want that exactly…running water has it’s perks and there’s nothing like the convenience of a light switch. However, if there’s one hard truth I”m learning, it’s that you have to want a simple life with every ounce of your determination because it’s actually much simpler to live complicated. It’s pretty easy to live in town. Not so hard to go grocery shopping. There’s nothing truly difficult about eating meat you didn’t bottle raise. And, I’ll never be as smart as my smart phone, so why bother.

But maybe crazy is genetic. Maybe we just inherited some of this nonsense from our parents and that’s why we can seem to shake the feeling that we’ll never be happy watching the sun set over our neighbor’s houses. I know not everyone feels the same way we do about this urge to live a simpler lifestyle, but I know way too many people only watch longingly from the sidelines.  That’s where we were until this year. Now our angst has reached a fever pitch of searching for options that result in stepping outside at night and seeing stars with no city lights or street lights to drown them out and enough land to run till you’re out of breath trying to catch a wayward farm animal.

Sometimes I feel like my whole damn generation has gone soft. We’ve spent too much time thinking easier is better, but it isn’t. Easier is weaker and softer and more placid. Easier is letting all the losers go home with a plaque. Easier is fatherless or motherless children because being a parent is hard. Easier is divorce because marriage is hard. Easier is politically correct because we can’t handle someone who disagrees with us. Easier is working all the time to give your children the life they deserve.

Well, let’s try it the hard way then.



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