16 February 2011

Days of our lives

When I started blogging I felt like a bit of an outcast.  Many of the people who were blogging about simplifying then had a political agenda wrapped around peak oil or climate change and almost no one was blogging about simplifying their homes.  But I kept plodding along, developing my style and just writing about our transformed lives.  I didn't expect too many people would notice what we were doing and it didn't matter much.  What I was aiming for in that first year of blogging was to record a faithful and, hopefully, interesting account of how two ageing hipsters, turned their backs on mainstream life and built an unconventional but decent simple alternative.

Most of the books on simplifying then focused on debt, mindfulness, or going back to the land.  I wanted to write about everyday activities, the practical side of life - those things we all do during the course of a normal day.  So I wrote about getting out of debt, slowing down and producing food from our land but I also added how I made my bed every morning, the ins and outs of washing up by hand, hanging washing on the line, making dog food, aprons, dishcloths and soap at home, farming fish, fermenting, recycling jars and a hundred other things.  For me, they were the actions of my day, I was interested in the mundane tasks of my home, I wanted them to be part of our simple transformation, and if they were that, to write about it.  I wanted to write from the heart, to be open and non-judgmental, to show rather than tell, and to support and encourage those who wanted these things too.  

For some reason people started writing and asking my opinion about many things and when I thought I could help, I answered.  I don't like giving advice unless I'm asked for it and I really dislike reading blogs that preach a narrow one size view of simple life.  As far as I'm concerned, if there are 5000 people reading this blog today, then there are probably 5000 different interpretations of how a simple life may be lived.  Sure, there are points of overlap, but on the whole, we're all different, have different values and should not expect, nor want, to be carbon copies of each other.  Difference and contrast are part of the appeal.

I'm often asked why I think my blog is popular and I never have an answer.  If I were to guess, I'd say that I put the everyday tasks of a simple life in context and, hopefully, write about them so that others feel they're accessible and doable.  I still love blogging, we continue to learn new skills and ways of doing our work and soon we'll have two new babies in our family to get to know, marvel at and to write about.  I once thought there would be a certain short lifespan for my blog but if I continue to faithfully record the day to day lives of those two ageing hipsters, I cant see it stopping any time soon.

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