A couple weeks ago I found myself talking to someone who didn’t have the faintest idea what homesteading was.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve been around anyone completely unexposed to this lifestyle, which I think is fairly remarkable, considering homesteading was still a fringe concept ten years ago when the notion of chickens and goat milk first entered my consciousness.
It caught me off guard so much, I was only able to mumble out a semi-coherent explanation that went something like,“Uh, well it means we grow some food… and have chickens and a garden and stuff…”
Wow Jill, that was compelling. Way to go.
As I contemplated how I could have done a better job of communicating the magic of homesteading, it got me thinking about the bigger picture.
And sometimes I wonder…
Is this homesteading movement really that important?
I mean, what would happen if it just went away? Are the problems I think I’m “solving” by writing a homesteading blog and blasting my life all over the world wide web really that pivotal in the grand scheme of things? Because I’m pretty sure if my thoughts on steaming fresh eggs and determining how many vegetable seeds to plant suddenly vanished, the world would keep on turning.
Think about it for a minute.
We don’t *have* to grow our own food (at least not at this point in history).
There are grocery stores everywhere. And farmer’s markets. And mail-order grocery services.
We don’t *have* to create, and grow, and craft, and build.
There are factories that produce. And people we can hire. And buttons we can push that do almost everything for us.
The fact is, homesteading is hard. And often expensive. It’s WAY easier to opt for living in an apartment with a goldfish for a pet, buying frozen meals at the grocery store, and watching TV at night instead of worrying about seeds sprouting or calves freezing or baby chicks surviving out in the brooder.
So, then WHY. Why, my friends? Why are are so many of us obsessed with chasing this homesteading life?
Is this all just a hobby? A pastime? (Heaven knows I don’t need another way to pass the time…)
After a good bit of pondering and even asking many of you the deeper reasons behind why you love this vintage lifestyle, I’ve come to the conclusion that homesteading is far more significant than I ever fathomed when I started my own journey.
Even though learning how to grow a carrot or knit a sock might be the initial reasons we’re drawn into this lifestyle, the inherent value of this homestead life is so much more than the sum of its parts.
You see, homesteading IS about laying hens and homegrown potatoes, but it’s also about living your life on purpose. It’s about pursuing a life rich with meaning, not just possessions. It’s about hands rough from manual labor in a society that lives and dies by computers and pushing buttons.
It’s more than just the recipes and skills associated with this old-fashioned lifestyle. It represents something deeper…. It’s an intentionality. An awakening.
In this modern-age of every convenience we could ever desire, homesteading is a way we can return to old-fashioned values and ethics. It’s a way to teach ourselves and our children the cycles of life. And death. And how satisfying it feels to do something hard.
And throughout the process, we find ourselves gaining a measure of reassurance and much-welcome slowness in an unstable world that feels like it’s rocketing towards complete chaos more and more each minute.
We NEED homesteading, ya’ll.
More than ever.
Homesteading is not my religion, nor is it my god. I don’t think it’ll solve the world’s problems or bring world peace. But I do believe it is one very valuable way we can choose an intentional lifestyle in a modern world with a smorgasbord of shallow options.
It can be a roadmap for helping us to slow down and embrace what really matters, a method for more deeply tasting and appreciating the good things in life, and a blueprint for creating a more meaningful existence.
It’s way to take back control, at least in a small area of our lives and say “Yes, I know what the Jones’ are doing, and I know what culture tells me to do. But I’m purposely choosing something else and I will live this life of mine on purpose.”
And after 10 years immersed in this old-fashioned way of living, I an attest these choices yield a deeply satisfying result.
What I’ll Always Come Back To
My life has taken some incredible turns over the past few pasts, and I’ve had the privilege of experiencing things I never previously thought possible. (Thank you doTERRA!) I’ve been able to travel the world, speak in front of thousands, and connect with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met.
But no matter where this life may take me or what exciting opportunities may arise, I can promise you I’ll always be coming back to this—>
This homestead life grounds me and centers me. It’s the one of most tangible things in my life. I stumbled into it by sheer accident, but it’s a part of my fiber– now and forever.
What started as a simple desire to eat better food has morphed into an insatiable craving for a life full of meaning, deliberate living, and rich memories. And I’ve found all of these things in between rows of beans in the garden, nestled in baskets of brown eggs, and floating through the air on quiet evenings spent standing in the barnyard listening to the crickets chirp.
While not without heartbreak and hard work, homesteading is still one of the most beautiful and meaningful lifestyles I can imagine living.
So yes, I’m wholeheartedly convinced that homesteading does matter. It’s worth the time it takes to learn it’s nuances, and it’s worth the effort it takes to master the skills. It’s counter-cultural, unorthodox, and intentional, and we need it now more than ever, my friends. <3
Listen to the Old Fashioned On Purpose podcast episode #30 on the topic Why Homesteading Matters (The Homestead Manifesto) HERE.
Want to keep listening? Listen to episode #59 about intentionally Choosing Hard But Good HERE.