The many ‘if onlys’ of my life

May 30, 2012 at 10:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Flickr photo by Stig Nygaard

Today I was reading the latest post from Mike at Minimalist Lifestyle. It was about enjoying the moment, which also lead to another one of his posts, a plan to become location independent.

These posts had me questioning the many “if onlys” of my life.

If only I didn’t have student loans.

If only I didn’t spend so much money on my college education or planned better.

If only I didn’t have something — BILLS! — that keep me from exploring life.

If only I didn’t have student loans. Those freaking students loans are ruining my life.

What would I do without my student loans?

Backpack through Europe, LIVE in Europe for awhile, freelance while I travel cross-country, being a hippie mom, who carries her kids around on her body and makes all their food.  Save every single penny I have, load all my crap at my parents’ house and EXPLORE.

A girl can dream, right?

But for now, I am embracing some things that gives me a sense of happiness despite being stuck to a 5-day-a-week job (that pays well, mind you.) I hike. I farm at my CSA. I make crafts. I lessen my load in life so I can enjoy the things I DO have, instead of accumulating more that I don’t need.

And this is how I feel about a lot of things: my future wedding, my future house, my future path. Lessen my load and enjoy what I have.

Identity crisis or quarter-life crisis?

June 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I’m struggling with who I am right now, and I feel at some weird crossroads.

Recently there was a job opening at my workplace, and it was in an area that I thought I was desperate to transfer over to, something I thought was ideal. I tried for a similar job in the winter and never got it, so I knew that at all costs I would make it work next time. Well, next time is here and I turned down an opportunity. (I wasn’t given the job, just a chance to try out.)

This whole event, on top of my sister’s high school graduation, has me thinking, and hard.

I’ve changed identities before, when I went from the cheerleader high schooler to the journalist college student. The past three years I’ve changed a bit because of money: Not as many new clothes, luxuries or trips. And the past two years as a vegan has changed me a lot, too, in addition to my struggle with IBS.

Me on the right, circa 2003. Peppy, eh?

When I used to describe myself, I used to say happy, peppy, athletic, smart, loving (in highschool); cynical, night owl, smart, loving (in college).

Second from left, hard at work at the college newspaper

HIPPIES!

Now, I’m still a night owl but vegan, runner & hippie.

It is that last word I am struggling with, immensely. That word doesn’t bode well in today’s society of consume and spend like you are going to die tomorrow. It has gotten a bad rep and it’s not fair.

I’m trying to live a happy life and preserve the world. That means frugal. That means thrift stores, fixing my old bike, washing my hair with my own shampoo, canning, CSAs, farming for my food and so much more. And as I wrote that sentence, I smiled. Because that is who I am becoming.

But I am stuck between that and who I was. Friends who are more consumers, which is OK, but will they still love me as a hippie? What about family? and the world at large, when I stop washing my hair every day and wearing used clothes? (Because, honestly, the crap at some box stores just is such a waste unless it’s less than $10.)

The boy and I were driving to a friends’ house recently, which is in a cul-de-sac, where all the homes were beautiful but NEW and almost generic. Once we drove into the development, my eyes reacted in horror. The perfectly lined streets, the houses perfectly spread apart. Now, I don’t like looking at a eye-sore house all the same, but where’s the irregularity? Where is the well-worn of an antique house? Are we all obsessed with new?

And what shocked me about this is, I don’t know who I am anymore. I was the girl that wanted one of these houses about three years ago, when I got married and had 2.5 kids.

But now? I want to build that hobbit house with the boy, and have a huge garden, and sew clothes and preserve all my food for the winter. I want a small community of similar-minded people as we work together to have a farm, raise our children and help the environment (solar power!!) Don’t get me wrong, I better have running water, TV and Internet, air conditioning when I can’t take the heat anymore, and a car that can be used when I need to drive farther than I can bike.

But this is me now. But I am scared to become this person, scared people will leave my life, that it’s just another fad I’m into.

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