You may have noticed that I stopped taking orders for my soap last Friday. I will honour the orders I have, but take no more. This may seem strange to some of you because I'd only just started selling the soap when I opened the Corner Shop. Well, I thought I'd sell a few bars, definitely not as much as I did. I didn't think it would be so popular that soap making would take almost all my spare time. I will still be selling things I make with my own hands, like aprons, a few dishcloths, tea cosies, table runners and few other bits and pieces - these are the easy things and are part of my relaxation.
It's important that I have a good balance in my life. In the past, balance did not enter the equation. Now it's everything; that elusive sense of stability between having enough and knowing it, and blindly wanting more. I'm not interested in having more than I need now. I am satisfied with enough. As long as Hanno and I are comfortable and have an emergency fund in the bank, I'm fine. I want us to retain our independence and to live the freedom of our days, without having to worry about "what if..." We have that without selling soap.
Don't get me wrong, we are not rich people and this is not about doing less work. It's about doing productive work that helps Hanno and I live well without worrying about work that will make money. If we're careful with what we have, if we look after what we own and are frugal with our purchases, we'll be fine. I believe it's far better for us to save money than to earn it. A saved dollar is 100 cents; an earned dollar will have about 30% tax removed, so it really is only 70 cents. I prefer now to spend time doing things that will save us money instead of working to earn it. Cooking from scratch, shopping wisely for groceries, growing food, making our soap and laundry liquid, using green cleaners - all these take more time to do but they save so much money and give much better quality, it's worth the effort.
I also want to continue working in my community helping people, teaching what I know and returning a little bit of the goodness I've received over the course of my life. I want to show others that earning more money isn't always the key; sometimes saving more, through creative ways of working and being prudent and frugal, is. Modelling how we live at this stage of our lives has been a wonderful teaching tool. We are ordinary folk, so if we can do this, anyone can. But don't think you should be living like we do if you're at a different stage of life. How we live is a pay-off, if you like, for being debt-free and having long lives of hard work behind us. If you're at the other end of the age spectrum it's all ahead of you. But work is not the enemy, it will help define the person you become, and if you think about your life you won't necessarily have to do what your neighbours do. You are free to fashion the life you want for yourself and it does not have to involve having every sparkling thing that is dangled in front of your eyes.
I love working in my home. I also love relaxing here. If I can get that balance right, I get a payoff like no other. Imagine getting up every morning knowing there will be a changing mix of productive and interesting work as well as rest and recreation; that you will make the decision about what you'll do with each hour and that you can work, rest, or go out whatever you feel like it. That is what I call independence and freedom, and balance and the freedom to choose how I spend my hours, plays a huge part in it.
So that is the reason I'm not selling soap again. But that doesn't mean you can't have this soap. Like me, you can make it yourself, and tomorrow I'm writing my last ditch effort to explain the ins and outs of soap making. I won't guarantee that everyone will be able to make it. Some people can't get their head around the accuracy of the measurements and the chemistry, but the post will be there if you want it. Otherwise I'll see you again on Wednesday when I'll have another simple recipe for you.