Yesterday, on Independence Day, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking deeply about the meaning of the holiday. Like most other Americans, I was too busy having fun!
In the aftermath, though, home alone while Michelle and Aly return to their work weeks early, I have a little leeway to think about independence, and what it means to us as a family.
In broad strokes and general terms, I’m satisfied that we live more independently than many, if not most, of our fellow Americans, and perhaps most of the denizens of western society as a whole.
I’m talking of off-the-grid living, of course.
We’re independent from the utility grids. We make our own electricity (see Off the Grid Electricity: The “Power” of Self Reliance). We collect our own water (see Fresh Water: Collecting and Conserving a Precious Resource). We provide the majority of our own fuel (see Heating With Wood). We grow, gather, fish, and hunt much of our food.
Moreover, we’ve whittled down our expenditures, beyond paying for utilities, to a very low level, which makes us independent of the need to make large incomes. This may be our truest level of freedom. Yes, Michelle works outside the home, largely because she craves more social interaction than I do. Yes, we have taxes to pay, food and goods we can’t produce to purchase, and more, but those costs amount to far less than those paid by even impoverished Americans.
As a result, while we work physically harder than many people here on our property, we do so far more independently, on our own terms, free from supervision, scheduling, and external direction. That feels like independence to me, on the 4th of July, and every day of the year.