(HF is gone funny again and there are posts not displaying presently that I am responding to below.)
Reading all that though, I think everyone who posted replies to this is collectively less
screwed than they were before they used their ingenuity and drive and values to make non-mainstream decisions, and get a better present / future for themselves. I gather we've all started with no leg-up, rich relatives or not, and I applaud you all for getting to your current places in your journeys.
Brett and I feel decidedly less screwed now that we're no longer working two high-pressure jobs that we loved, but that increasingly exhausted us to the point that we could do little more than eat, fall into bed, snuggle up and sleep, and then get up and do it all over again. My job was highly meaningful and worth spending my time on, and I've never regretted spending nearly 20 years in science and education - teaching in particular was wonderful. What I did regret is that most of the money I made was disappearing down a funnel to the big end of society, frugal as we were - I really dislike social injustice and rigged systems. Also, the time was right to get out and to make more time for ourselves. We're the racehorses who went on to have trail riding lives (after a five-year detour impersonating draught horses!).
We love the peace in our lives and all around us in this remote location.
, are you remote enough at your place to save money on clothes by not wearing any for significant stretches of time?
Especially effective if you've got apples to harvest.
I look around me on our smallholding and can't feel screwed when I know that more than 90% of the planet is living in wage slavery, or actual slavery. I feel solidarity with this part of the population, and though I have known poverty as a young person, and briefly even homelessness, even at my most dire circumstances, there were always many millions who were having it worse than me, and I really feel that, and I think that's the part that is particularly screwed, and needs addressing. By stepping off the treadmill when we could, and now funnelling one income less to the upper echelons while we DIY, grow our own, write etc, we are finally able to make a significant difference not just to our own quality of life, but with who our money goes to and how much damage is done to the planet or to social justice in the process. We no longer subsidise the coal behemoths - our energy money, when we built, went to the alternative energy industry, to a local business who supplied and installed and supported their own families off helping other people to live on 100% renewable electricity for the rest of their days.
Our car is a Hyundai i20, a super-mini with incredible fuel economy (but still very zippy, which is important on rural roads) - masses of Australians drive 4WDs without needing them. Their fuel costs (and so on-road fossil fuel use) are quadruple ours, but they complain about how they are battling to anyone who will listen. Self-inflicted, say I. We're hoping it will soon be economical to convert our car to dual petrol / electric, as we have so much spare solar energy going begging in the middle of the day from spring to autumn, which could be used to charge a battery for an electric vehicle. We buy / swap "civil disobedience" milk and eggs directly from farmers around us, often bartering with honey - all of which has had regulations made against it by the big end of town - as has selling potatoes from your garden, that's not allowed either, you're supposed to get an expensive license from the potato marketing board! Our grass roots movement is saying, "Enough is enough, we're claiming our ancient rights to free trade not involving the top end of town back!"
There is a lot of unscrewing
that happens when you start to do things like this.
I also find it really hard to feel screwed when I am breathing fresh air, surrounded by birdsong, and warm sun is falling on my skin - when we eat every day from what the garden is producing, and are ecstatic with the flavours of fresh heirloom fruit and vegetables - when we have time to laugh and hug each other and just be. Most of the things we value aren't able to be taxed - sunshine, love, friendship, humour, the countryside, the wildlife, the three horses roaming free having interesting and sociable lives after lonely and experientially deprived beginnings, etc etc,etc.
, you're at an expensive phase of life, launching two fine boys into adulthood. Love and a good education are the best things you can give a child and will go far in giving them a shot at a happy, fulfilled life. But you will get through the other end, and find time to breathe again.
And will you tell us more about the building of your house in Spain? We find it's an ongoing buzz to live in a nest we made with our own hands... how nice that you have that too.
, I was so happy for you when you were able to get a rural place and have all your horses at home.
The first five years here were the most stressful for us financially and in terms of time, then it got better. You're a few years younger than us, and I think you too will get to a place where things will be less hectic. Meanwhile, enjoy the views from your window when you're on your computer, and the ability to go out anytime and hug a horse!
, I feel very happy when I see how much time you have for your children and each other.
This is something which is going to stay with you in so many ways, even when your children grow up and launch into lives of their own. The ripples of this time will extend right through your lives - all of your lives - and also into the lives of your children's children, one day.