I like to think of myself as a modern pioneer. There have always been mountains to climb and challenges to test me and even though many mainstreamers may think the life Hanno and I live is a bit extreme, to us, it's just what we do. It does have its difficulties, there is no doubt about that, and the amount of time it takes to make a sandwich here, if you consider that we make the bread first most days, well, I'm sure many would look at us and ask: "why!?"
A new fleece blanket to keep Alice warm this winter.
There are some home tasks I like more that others but to tell you the truth, I like all work. I am a worker bee. I don't know what I'd do with myself if I didn't have work to do everyday. Just like when I was working for a living, work defines my days and that is how I like it. I couldn't be one of those people who rise late, go out for lunch, socialise in the evenings and have everything done for them. And maybe that is why this simple life, as we live it, suits us so well. We thrive on the work. I don't want to just slow down, be mindful, frugal and content. I want to express my simplicity every day, by simplifying not only my life and what I buy, but also by breaking down the tasks of everyday life and being prepared to home-make instead of buy. I want to stay in my home to experience my life here instead of wandering through shopping malls, never knowing the whys or wherefores of real living.
But life is generally paradoxical.
I embrace the skills of yesteryear while writing about them everyday on my computer. I sometimes sew while listening to my iPod. I like the idea of the old and the new sitting comfortably side by side. Feeling comfortable with those new technologies helps me live a rich and full life, while practising the art of simplicity. And while I would never buy certain new gadgets, a computer, an iPod, bread maker and digital TV recorder suit the way I live very well. For instance, I have not watched one skerrick of TV at night for many years. If I want to watch something, I record it and watch it later. That way I can filter out all the advertising. The same with the iPod, it allows me to listen to the music I like without any advertisements intruding on my brain space.
Seeing these boilproof vintage buttons sitting next to my iPod yesterday is what triggered this post.
And maybe this is where being a pioneer comes into it. Maybe we're the ones, you and me, who will say it's okay to marry old ways with part of what's new. I first wrote about using a breadmaker a couple of years ago when I constantly read other women apologising for using one, or writing they didn't have time to make bread. If time is the only reason you're not making bread, buy a breadmaker. It will give you cheaper, healthier and tastier bread than what you buy, even when you take into account the cost of buying the machine. It will pay for itself in less than a year, maybe in less than a month if you buy one at a garage sale, and then you have the significant benefit of knowing what is in your bread.
Of course, the tough bit is knowing how much is enough and when the implementation of the old with the new just becomes unsimple. It would definitely not fit well if you had to go into debt to buy anything, but the rest is for each of us to work out for ourselves. For me, I can happily do without TV advertising, tasteless bread, mobile phones, shopping trips, and consumer debt while being content living with a couple of things that make my life easier and more pleasurable. This way might not suit everyone, but it suits me, it helps keep me on this track, and that, my friends, is all that matters.