{31 Days} Intentional Living – Day 8

You can find the rest of my {31 Days} Intentional Living series here.

I have been thinking about self-sufficiency and how it relates to intentional living.  To me, it seems like self-sufficiency is an integral part of intentional living.  But, to someone else, community involvement might have the central role.  I’m not entirely sure why self-sufficiency seems so important to me, it was never a huge concern several years ago.

It seems like everything comes back to food for me.  I want to make sure that I can provide food for my family, or at least find it if I am in a situation where I need to find it.  More recently it seems like I have been trying to find ways to not only provide food for my family, but to also figure out ways to rely less on “the system” and more on our own abilities.

The struggle seems to be living with one foot in each world.  I’m not saying that I want to completely remove myself from civilized society (although sometimes I do consider it!), but I do wish that I didn’t have to rely on the government for basic things such as water and sewer, and also to have the ability to be less dependent on the electrical grid.

I wonder if my family was able to live in a cabin in the woods a la Frontier House, if it would make a difference in the grand scheme of things, or if it would only matter for my family.  And if it only mattered for my family, would that be enough to go through the trouble of getting to that self-sufficiency point?  Or should it be for the “greater good” of the world?

The constant pressure to have have have is definitely wearing on me.  I am constantly looking for the alternative.  I don’t want to buy presents for Christmas, so instead I will make them, I don’t want to buy prepared refried beans, so instead I will make them.  But, with one foot still in the formal economy and certainly not being self-sufficient, I see people buying instead of doing for themselves, and I want that ease.

If I didn’t see everything available, would I still have that desire for it?  Probably not.  So what is the answer?  How do I move forward if I am constantly seeing what I don’t have?  It becomes exhausting.  Maybe I need to add a degree of minimalism in with my desire for self-sufficiency.  This month of intentional living continues to have me questioning everything, and it is fun for me to put thoughts down and really start to get some answers from it all.

Do you think that self sufficiency relates to intentional living, or is that not even on your radar?  What would be your central theme when thinking about intentional living?  Is minimalism even on your radar?

I’m linking up at the Barn Hop

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  1. Good thoughts gal. I think if we didn't see it or know society's expectations, we wouldn't care and we'd all want and be happier with less. Part of the simplicity movement (I think) is this notion that our society is based on the wrong things these days…but it's limiting at times to disengage. This is something I struggled with when I first got into simple living..and in a lot of ways I feel I "sold-out" when I got married/moved/became jaded by seeing how so many other people live & don't care, etc. At this point in where I am, I feel like intentional living means being mindful…recognizing the choice, making the best choice, embracing and cherishing the moments of life, creating good, and just plain enjoying-period. I'm sure my concept will continue to evolve however…

  2. You bring up a very interesting point. I try to make it a point to live with what I have and not want "that other thing". But what if "that thing" is a composting toilet, or a solar panel, or a water collecting system. I want all of those, but they are not available to me at this time. They require money which is allocated elsewhere, they require time, which is definitely allocated elsewhere. They are in the "some day" pile. So, in my efforts to live life more simply, more intentionally, I seem to have shifted from wanting what I used to want, to wanting different things. I never would have coveted a water barrel a few years ago, but I surely want one now. I realize they are all goals towards self-sufficiency, but it still leaves me feeling that I should be more content with what I do have now instead of always looking to that "someday" list. It's something I am constantly struggling with. I have to accept that doing my best is all I can do, and if that means I can grow enough food to eat fresh for the summer, but then I have to buy all my food through the winter, then at least I am doing my best. I just have to convince myself that my best is going to be good enough for now. Thanks for sharing this post.

  3. I think it helps the more cut off you are. I don't have tv and don't think much about what others have or are doing. Also, when I do go to the grocery store I buy ingredients to do as much from 100% scratch as possible…BUT if I'm feeling really drained from all the cooking I will give myself a one-meal-out where I buy ingredients for one meal that will be really simple. It helps to know I'll have an easy night if I want it.

    We have our own water and septic, but man would I LOVE to not rely on the electric company. Sigh.

    The Little House on the Prairie is on dvd. I swapped for it on Listia. Email me if you're interested – I can tell you more about the site.

  4. I understand exactly how you feel about being "in both worlds". But,I think we think of it in the wrong way. Maybe we should look at it as having the best of both worlds. We can make the items we want and grow what food we can.But we have the conveience of having stores when we can't do or grow something. I think it all goes back to "baby steps",too. I want to do it all myself,but I know that it is not going to happen all at once…or maybe not at all. But I can start with the things I feel are most important and start there. When I do make something or grow something myself,I feel such a sense of accomplishment.
    And I do think we need to get back to being neighbors again and helping each other. I am sadly lacking in this area. So much to think about from your posts! I am enjoying this series very much! Darlene

  5. So much to think about this morning! I think it's important to have a local network of friends and like minded individuals who can rely on one another. I also think that growing and making your own food so that we don't have to rely on conventional methods is important.

  6. Simplicity is what we believe in when we say that we would like to live authentically. We don't own a lot, don't express any desires to be minimalists or to be self sufficient, rather we would like to see families and small communities working together and sharing objects that we all need – in this way we can learn to work together, not apart.

    1. These are great thoughts! Yes, I definitely see the value in having a small community of people working together. I think that people now (myself included) are not as neighborly as we used to be, which is unfortunate. I am trying to figure out how to balance my desire for privacy with also being a welcoming neighbor for people when they drop by 🙂

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