“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life would be much easier if you could conform and obey but that was not mean’t for us. We took the plunge over a decade ago left our jobs, left the city to lead a life in the countryside and run this site and work from home.
This might sound like a dream come true for many, of course it has its perks, but it would be foolish to think its easy. This path’s laden with challenges and obstacles, let’s say this choice was a huge risk. Its not been a comfy ride, not even close to easy, but of course it’s always been up to us to decide if we wanted to keep trudging along or call it quits.
Before we took the plunge, statements such as “If everybody is doing it, it must be right!”, “Do you really think you’re capable enough to do things on your own,” were a constant bombardment. Everyone seemed to want you to fit in, but we din’t want to be another cog in this system that seems to be on self destruct mode.
There’s no denying the fact that everyone faces their own set of challenges, but what happens when you don’t conform, and live on the peripheries of non-conformity?
Here are some of the challenges we face or have faced on our journey thus far –
1) The lack of socializing and friends
When you talk about living in the countryside or even off grid there aren’t many who can relate to that idea, especially when you were born and bred in a big city. The thought of living without any TV, A/C, and newspaper sounds uncomfortable to many.
You slip out of your comfort zone as your used to the hustle and bustle of city life and all the distractions that come with it. A conversation with one of my family members went like, “What do you do the whole day? How do you spend your time without any TV (entertainment centers)? Don’t you get bored?” I replied with a chuckle, “You have to come visit us and see how the day goes.” 🙂
For most people the silence begins to feel claustrophobic, the fear of spending time with your own self with the lack of distractions is enough to put them off. This means fewer friends, rather only the real ones, actually come to visit, the rest just fall apart. But there are people who actually love spending time in nature, and those are the ones whose friendship you begin to cherish.
2) No guaranteed holidays – No fixed leaves
When you take up a job you are assigned fixed holidays, but when you work for yourself and family, you have to ensure things keep moving. I don’t remember the last time we took a vacation without working on the go.
It’s demanding and grueling to be tuned in all the time, but we are fortunate as well to have the flexibility to travel and work. Like every one else we have our slack days too, that’s the time we use to recharge and rethink.
You have to be prepared to work the extra hour too, after all you are working for yourself.
3) Money is unstable
There will be times when you don’t have enough, in fact we’ve faced those ‘dry’ days many a times in the last couple of years. It’s a real test of your tenacity and patience, to go through days when you don’t know how you are going to make ends meet.
Personally we’ve even eaten into our savings and drastically cut down on (redundant) unnecessary expenses. Along with that we follow a very simple lifestyle, that perhaps also acts as a repelling factor for many 🙂
On a positive note, it has pulled us out of mindless consumerism, purchasing things we don’t need and a constant learning to become self-sufficient. We grow quite a bit of our own food, if not entirely, but as much as we can. We’ve spent weeks eating of the land. I’ve always believed that money is a tool that can be used to gather experiences you desire, but when its scarce, the universe always finds a work around. We are still surviving!
4) Face your fears
Living in the countryside without much distraction, our children don’t count here, we’re talking about other human activities 🙂 The loudest sounds you hear are the rooster crowing or the dogs barking. It gives you the opportunity or rather you are left with no choice, but to confront what’s going on within.
Be it the voices in your head or the darkness outside, creepy crawlies, snakes, scorpions or even solitude. A setting like this forces you to a cup of tea with your inner demons, which are so often buried or shunned away under the pressures of a being busy.
I use to fear staying alone, of course a place like this where there are just a handful of houses not in close proximity as compared to the city, but over the years I have managed to overcome that dread. Overcoming my fears have left me feeling so good within which each one I encounter.
5) You will be the black sheep of the family
This is a big one. Many questions will be raised of the choices you make – how can you stay away, what about getting a job, schools, etc etc. Its so difficult for people who have done the 9 to 5 all their lives to understand and accept that there can be other paths.
Not doing this the conventional ensures you will be labeled as the black sheep of the family, you might even have to face indifferent or a cold shoulder from other members. What’s worse is the family support at times could be negligible, don’t give up, be the lotus in muddy waters and bloom anyway. Stay grounded, grow deep roots, your time to bloom will come!
Never stop believing in yourself no matter what the others say, don’t let words of discouragement get the better of you. As Joseph Campbell puts it, “Follow your bliss!”