I am no expert. Definitely not. I actually fail miserably at this often, but I have been thinking a lot about how we have simplified and what we have accomplished. Today it feels simple and other days it does not. But I can tell you a little bit about our journey with simplifying.
For me it began with what we own. I wanted less. I wanted less, because I wanted to “pick-up” after the kids less, I wanted to have less housework and I hate clutter. Partly a healthy obsession, and maybe a little OCD. Probably. So I started getting rid of things. I brought bags of things to the “freebox.” I had yard sales. Gave things away any opportunity I had. We’ve moved homes often enough, and this was a perfect opportunity to really, really downsize. We’ve downsized on furniture and even on books.
I don’t buy anything, besides books, that isn’t really necessary. Most of the time. I’m not insane about it. But if we can do without something, then we do. And it really works. My home is super easy to keep clean and surfaces empty. Things have spots to go in. I love this.
And then I had to move on to commitments. As a mom of two active teens with busy schedules, I have to look very carefully where I wanted to place my time. I love my work, I love being AT work and I love being at home and in the garden. I try to cut out everything that I really don’t enjoy. Sometimes I even have to cut things out that I enjoy, because it is too much and it has become too much work. I want to have lazy afternoons when I am home. I want time to read books and be in the garden. I want to sit with the girls and be together, to talk. I want to drink coffee with Falko or have a glass of wine outside in the evening. It’s true.
My Miranda Canyon Kinderfarm story is just about that. I enjoyed the farm, I loved the feeling of accomplishment I felt with my part in creating that. I loved seeing the girls out there working and munching. The community that sprang up around the harvesting was fun and it fed me.
And it was too much work. It consumed me, my family and every ounce of time we had. The work was good and honest, the food was incredible and I began to feel exhausted. I started to feel guilty about not working even more on the farm, I wasn’t able to give it my all – not because I spent time on my couch reading, but because I worked at a super busy Birth Center with oh so many projects to fill in any time that wasn’t already filled with bellies and babies! I was homeschooling the girls too. My life was full.
We went on a long vacation – just girls, Falko and I. We had so much time for each other, we lazed around, we strolled the streets of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas. We ate mangos, read books. Had siesta. And I realized that I needed this. I needed this time with the family without a focus. And we made the decision to not do the farm anymore. Oh it caused a lot of pain and my farming partner felt betrayed and very angry with me. She was unable to support our family’s decision. I don’t have the guilt about it anymore and I am proud of my courage. I actually cannot believe I was able to do it! I grew tremendously throughout the process. It was painful and necessary.
And I still garden and eat fresh greens and veggies. We grow enough for ourselves (well not enough, we could do more….) but not for the community. We are still fed, body and mind, from our garden. Yet my life has been simplified. We support our friends and community who farm. We buy yummy goat cheese and fresh chicken eggs (and even one turkey egg) from my adored farmer friend. She has an insanely beautiful homestead bursting with food and love. (I worry about her level of exhaustion though!)