I know that most of this year I have been missing in action. It has been hard to keep up with the blog because I have not really been feeling it this year. I no longer feel the need to document each and everything my children do, more important for me is to spend what time I have with them. But, mainly I have not been on because I feel like I have become one of those tin-foil hat-wearing doomsdayers. And, I just don't want to pass on all these negative thoughts I have about our future.
For 5 years I have felt that our economy was unsustainable and have been pushing towards more self-sufficiency and simple living in our own household. Urging family members to also be more proactive, although that has resulted in mainly lifted eyelids and a reputation for overreaction. Anyway, the last year everything has seemed to move forward very quickly and I've been even more focused on building our own theoretic toolbox for the future.
Right now I consider ourselves lucky. DH is still working and his job looks secure for at least awhile. We don't live above our means, but the last four months have been really, really tough financially as we were paying off medical and dental bills along with the Christmas/birthday holiday season. Thankfully, we are past that and our budget isn't hemorrhaging so much anymore.
The best thing for us has been going back to ground zero and determining what we really need in life. Needs are pretty basic: food, shelter, & love. Food right now is easy, but I am keeping a three month supply (what will currently fit in our space available). But, the worldwide drought is taking an affect on food supplies around the world. All the major agricultural exporter nations are experiencing some type of extreme drought. One can't help but to compare to the severe weather conditions on the 1930s, no matter what the talking heads on TV want us to think. Low supply will lead to high inflation of most foods. It has been important to me that we become more accustomed eating foods that are local to us as much as possible. I am no purist, by any means, but we may face the day that our available grain is corn meal because it is grown & milled locally. Driving around in my little corner of suburbia I become sad & angry as I continue to see farm land bulldozed over for new subdivisions & shopping centers even as no one is buying anymore. Someday soon we may find ourselves needing that old farmland.
As far as shelter goes, we made the gut decision a few years ago to stay in our small home. It is affordable and fairly inexpensive for utilities. But, even those have sky rocketed in the last couple of years as our use has declined. This winter we have gotten very used to living in a dark house. We only have lights on the we are using, almost no use of any ceiling lights. The fireplace has been used almost constantly this winter and we are still shopping for some type of woodstove insert. The thought is that we could close up most of the house, if necessary and live in the family room/kitchen area - hearkening back to days of one-room cabins.
The more simple our lives become the easier it becomes to share the love I know we have for each other. We are together, a lot. Sharing space and activities. Computer use has dropped a lot, although there are still days it gets a workout. Without cable the TV sits dark many days. We are reading, playing together and working on projects.
This is where I may get crazy for many others, I don't see our current economic, environmental "catastrophe" as a totally horrible thing. I see it as the wake-up call for our culture. Prepare, be ready to make formerly un-thinkable changes in lifestyle, and enjoy the new relationships that just may develop. I believe that we, as a culture and as people, will come out stronger on the other side. But, I also believe the other side is a long way off.