This weeks’ post is a very difficult one for me to approach. Most of the people in my life right now have no idea of the extent of what I have gone through over the past few years. Circumstances have occurred that have increased my survival skills and perceptions beyond what I would have ever expected.
I am not going to go into this piece with a sob story of what I have gone through. It is enough to say that it has been very difficult, heartbreaking, and emotionally as well as physically painful at times. My hope for anyone reading this is that your independent lifestyle is by choice and not by circumstance.
What I have Learned
The learning experiences over the past few years have been eye-opening and I now feel that it has turned out to be a huge blessing. Waking up to only the sounds of nature and not the incessant electrical hum that we are so accustomed to is so refreshing. Following the natural sleep cycles of light and dark has improved my health in ways I could not even comprehend.
I have learned that any food cooked in a cast-iron pot or pan over an open fire will taste one-hundred percent better than anything cooked in your gas or electric oven. I have learned that the best way to get that weight training in is to haul large buckets of water daily for cooking, drinking and washing.
Most amazing is the appearance of ingenuity when you have to figure out a way to accomplish a task without the needed materials and modern conveniences you are used to having available.
The Biggest Problem
The one skill that has caused me the largest amount of stress seems like the easiest one to deal with. Laundry. It piles up fast and needs to be taken care of quickly. I had many past years of experience washing loads of clothing in the bathtub with a washboard and hanging them out to dry. The skill itself was not the problem at this point in my life.
The laundry issue this time was entirely one of water supply. We do not currently have a large tank to fill up and use over time, and no means of getting one just yet. Instead we fill up many small buckets and use only what we have to each day.
This is a problem when faced with laundry. Laundry is one of those chores that takes a good amount of water to perform no matter how you go about it.
I have to admit that I also completely dread using that washboard. I don’t have fond memories when it comes to that tool. What I remember from those years are extremely dry and cracked hands as well as bloody knuckles from scrubbing those clothes on the board. Not what I call a fun experience.
Because of the washboard history I had, I was determined to find another way. Thankfully, I am older now and have read and talked with many self-sufficient people since that time. This go-around I am using a system of five gallon buckets of water, a little soap and a laundry plunger to tackle this chore.
My hands are so thankful for this much easier process. I still hang everything out on the line to dry in the sunshine, and the fresh outdoor scent my clothes have when I come back in with them cannot be beat. The new-to-me process is wonderful, even if we have to lug around that much more water.
The Opportunity to Return to Love
No, this is not what you are thinking. I’m not talking about the romantic, flutter in your heart type of love here. I’m talking about something much deeper. Something that made you excited to just ‘be’ when you were just a child. Do you remember what that was? I do.
I’m assuming that love is different for everyone. Mine is music. Specifically playing the piano. I have had one in my home for many years now. It has been gathering dust and been a ‘junk’ hot-spot during all this time. Not all of the keys work and it is horribly out of tune, but it’s there. I had neglected it for years thinking there were far more important things to do with my time. I was wrong.
When my life as I knew it suddenly fell apart and the people I loved tried to destroy me, that piano became a huge comfort to my soul. I found that the emails could wait, and I didn’t have to spend twenty-four hours a day on chores. Having the time to play and heal my heart became very important to me.
I cannot even express how freeing and peaceful it was to pick up something I loved from my childhood and return to it as an adult. I have to highly recommend this to everyone out there. I don’t care what you are going through or not going through, how old you are, or what that love is for you. Go. Begin again. Learn to love life like you did when you were young.
Needless to say, I am working my way through the pain of the past few years, learning and re-learning new skills daily and truly living life instead of just going through the motions. I plan on going in-depth with specific skills, problems we have faced and hopefully a few good solutions too in upcoming posts.
In the meantime, you may enjoy viewing this very inexpensive YouTube video I found that is quite similar to the washing process I am now using.
Until next time,