Monday, July 03, 2006

Dual Lives

Do you ever feel like you have two lives and they don't fit together?

I often do. After moving around a bunch and struggling to live on one income we have come to appreciate some of the insights in modern homesteading magazines. Many of the writers in these magazines and books extol the virtues of living within your means. It may sound like common sense but so many people just don't do this. That is why credit card debt is so prevalent in this country.

We have chosen to adopt some of the things we have read about. Growing more of our own food, being more self-sufficient, and living within our financial means. It sounds so easy but when we talk about this with other people we get those looks. You know, those looks that say you are crazy. We get questions like, "Why do you want to grow your own food?" or "What are you hiding from?" or just "Why?".

First, we aren't hiding. I happen to like living in the country. I like the quiet and solitude. What's wrong with that?

Second, I like doing things for myself. Why pay someone to do something that I can do myself. I get a sense of accomplishment when cooking food I grew in my own garden.

Third, I'm just happier without all the stress of trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing or buying.

That is where my other life comes in. We are confessional Lutherans. We have very specific beliefs so it's not always easy to find a church near where we live. We happen to drive a REALLY long way to church. We have friends at this church and enjoy spending time with these people. These people are our family.

But this family is very different from us. They don't have kids or their kids are grown. They probably don't even realize it but when they have parties or get togethers it's hard for us. Sometimes the kids aren't welcome because the party is an adult theme. It's so hard, we want to spend time with them but we also have to think about our kids. We don't have a huge support network here so it's not easy to have them stay with a family member. The other big problem is the money. We don't have any discretionary income. We don't have the money to go out to lunch. We have 4 people to feed and that gets real expensive. At the same time I have a hard time explaining why we can't go out, it sounds so pathetic. Although our friends accept our other life they will never really understand it.

So there are our two lives. It probably doesn't sound like much of a problem but it is very stressful. We have tried just living one of these lives at a time and it doesn't work. We need to be "near" a solid church so that puts very large constraints on where we can live. Living within driving distance of one of these churches put financial constraints on how we can live, the area we are in now is expensive! Maybe some day we will figure out how to mesh these two existences into one life :)

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