Simple, small steps can make a big difference

11 June 2013

Just before I travelled to Blackheath, I received this email from "Mary". I asked if it was okay to use it in a post because I think it shows how empowering simple life can be. Mary wrote:

I first began reading your blog while pregnant with my first child back in 2009. I remember the amazement I felt back then that there was someone out there living my dream and felt inspired by you. Since then I have taught myself to cook from scratch, bake and grow at least the herbs, lettuce and spinach I use regularly. (Due to rheumatoid arthritis I can't maintain a full vegetable garden) I began stock piling and began teaching myself to knit and sew. As time has passed I found the tv on less and less and look forward to the quiet in the evening after my children are on bed. My life has become a lot simpler and as a result I am a lot happier, for 15 years I suffered from depression but since really living this simple lifestyle the depression has cleared, I still have bad days but I get through them and continue walking the path of my life. A simple life and getting back to basics and being true to myself cured what 15 years of medication could not. 

It is now 4 years later. I gave birth to my second child five months ago and then six weeks ago my partner was made redundant. I can honestly say that if I had not discovered your blog all that time ago I would be homeless and hungry right now. My disability payment barely covers rent and bills and we are only surviving right now because we only live on the basics and had built a stockpile. I have enough food to feed my family for a month right now and we are eating quite well. Vegetables and meat from the freezer and pantry (canning and preserves) baking sweet treats for my son and drinking water and tea. It is the skills I've learnt from your blog and book (your book was my 30th birthday present and the only thing I wanted) and the inspiration to cook from scratch and stockpile that is allowing us to be comfortable and not too stressed with our circumstances right now.

Mary, I wonder if you agree with me that the depression may have lifted because you took control of your life. I think that when you have a compelling purpose and plan for your days, you have structure. Maybe that structure helped you through. Whatever the reason, it's wonderful. I know when I took control of my home, I felt empowered by it. There is nothing like that feeling. Sometimes it feels like you're running a small business and that you're the CEO and work staff all rolled up into one. You know your decisions can make or break your family and in your case, you set your family up for success while working through your health problems.

I'm sorry to read that your partner lost his job but there is no better way to face that situation than with a stockpile, the knowledge you have and the ability to make do with very little. You've done really well. I'm proud of you.

Often people think this kind of living is for those who are retired and have the extra time for it. I think Mary proves it's for all ages and for many circumstances and how making a series of simple changes can be life changing.

If you have some tips for Mary, please add them to your comment. There may be something she's not yet tried that will make a real difference to her situation. Thank you.