March 6, 2009

The Goal: Simplify

Life's nuts, isn't it? Feels like my family is on a treadmill set for the speed of sound and we can't get off. Run here, rush there, spend this, go into debt for that. Consume. Consume! CONSUME!!!

Well, I'm ready to step off the wheel and get off the track. To borrow from Timothy Leary, I want to Tune In to what's really going on in our culture and world...and then Drop Out of participating in the insanity of it. And unlike Leary, I won't be using LSD to make it happen.

Basically, it's just a matter of living the way our grandparents and their parents and grandparents would have advised us to live. I don't mean abandoning technology or comforts. But I do mean abandoning a destructive pattern of living and becoming productive, self-sustaining people once again.

It's not all planned out, yet, for our family. But several steps are set in stone:
  1. Grow food:
    We're gardening this year in a big way. We used to garden ten years ago, but my wife and I moved to another state and it wasn't practical for us in our new home. Now it is...and now it's time. I've plotted out two raised beds for vegetables and one for herbs. We also have a lot of containers we plan on using for greens and edible flowers. I'll post more on this later. I've also built my own grow light installation in our basement for our seedlings. We have over 60 varieties of seeds ready to go...

  2. Stop spending:
    We've mostly ended the frivolous spending in our home. No more debt...and compared to most families, we really don't have much anyway. It's mostly medical, really. I want us to be lean and mean and not dependent to anyone if we can be.

  3. Learn, learn, learn
    For the last six months, my personal goal has been to learn something new everyday about living a more sustainable lifestyle and to gain at least one new skill each week. That means a lot less TV and a lot more reading. It means going to bed tired every night, but waking up with purpose. So far, it's been a phenomenal process, sharpening my mind exponentially.

  4. Fix what's broken and use what we already have:
    This goes hand in hand with learning new skills. Repairing our own vehicles, when feasible (hey, I'm no miracle worker). Building a compost bin and working it. The grow lights. Etc.

  5. Grow closer together as a family:
    My job as a dad is to work myself out of a job. And that means I have to teach my kids how to become fully self-sustaining adults. We have to instill those values into our kids. And that also means spending a lot of time together, working and playing, gardening and building. We laugh a lot and we love a lot, too.
Alright...this was a ramble, but it sets the stage. I want to use this space to journal a bit about this process of transformation as it applies to our suburban family of six. More to come...

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