“Nature never said to me: Do not be poor; still less did she say, Be rich; her cry to me was always: Be independent.”
Last night we all, in our own way, bid farewell to 2013, a year that many people were not sad to see depart. At the same moment, we welcomed the new year, with strong hopes that it will be a better one. If you’ll indulge me, today I’m looking back on 2013 and finding it to be a good year. I suspect this is true for most people pursuing a self-reliant lifestyle.
After all, my family fared well despite the general trends. Our homestead modestly increased its yield of produce, fish, and meat. We paid our few bills on or ahead of time. We worked hard at a satisfying, fulfilling occupation. We found many opportunities to relish love and laughter. We had a few minor setbacks, but we overcame them. At worst, we lost no ground; in fact, we thrived and prospered, in our own lights.
My small business, Yeldagalga Publications LLC, made a modest profit this year. In an economic downturn/slow recovery, with naysayers and fear mongers all around, that in itself is an accomplishment worthy of celebration!
I also wrote and published a second book, Sacred Coffee: A “Homesteader’s” Paradigm which is selling—modestly, reaching an audience beyond friends and family. It and the previous book, Shy Ghosts Dancing: Dark Tales from Southeast Alaska, are a fulfillment of a lifelong ambition.
These successes and satisfactions are, as I say, judged in our own lights. For most Americans, a year like ours would leave them appalled. Another year of living without a refrigerator, using an outhouse for facilities, making one’s way through hard physical labor, heating one’s own hot water? Unthinkable! No Kindle® for Christmas? No new car this year (or any year in the last 19)? A small, single paycheck, no health insurance, no 401K deposits? Reprehensible!
We are, to The American Dream, beyond the pale both literally and figuratively. And yet, I wonder: how many will join us, or at least wish they could, in 2014?
Time will tell. Happy New Year!