Hello, this blog is about the attempts I’m making to simplify my life. I’m a procrastinating, somewhat unfit female living in innercity London, not a self-sufficiency guru living a rural utopia. Nevertheless, I want to get closer to nature, grow some of my own food and learn to make and repair things. I believe that simplifying is one of the most radical responses I can make to the current world order, a powerful way of saying ‘no, I don’t believe in this’.
Of course I’m not kidding myself that my taking this step will be enough to change the global economic system. But should I wait until that happens in order to change my way of life? Or wait until I manage to escape the city, and get to live in a country cottage with clean air? No, I don’t. I start here, where I stand, in the city, with all its myriad resources and problems.
Whilst I know that complete self-sufficiency is probably impossible for most of us, we could all benefit from becoming more connected to our services, goods and food. Not only will we feel a bit less impotent as individuals, we’ll feel healthier and become more connected with the many other individuals around us on the same path. Which – duh – makes us feel less lonely!
I’ve begun to experiment with guerilla gardening, community activism, urban foraging, and a forest garden on my allotment. I’m a total beginner – learning as I go along. Daring to have a go is part of the adventure and the power of what I’m doing, and of course I’m not the only one. There are thousands of us doing this all over the world. Who knows? Combined with collective and political action, maybe this movement will help change the current self-destructive system to something more sustainable.
I’m not a hippy, I’m not especially practical but I’m fascinated by the adventure of learning what I’m capable of and of sticking two fingers up at the system. I hope that this blog will inspire other people, especially women, to experiment with self-sufficiency, and I’m intending to make it useful too, with tips and (sometimes hard) lessons learned. Like many women, I can find the DIY aspect to self-sufficiency daunting at times. Expect humour, and a few rants. Nearly everything in our modern culture is set up against simplicity so it can take quite a degree of effort and strategy to ‘be simple’.
Cautionary note: If we’re not careful self-sufficiency can become another stick to beat ourselves with and and compete over. So you don’t have a beautiful farmhouse in France and you’re not managing to bake your own bread on a weekly basis? So what. We don’t have to be perfect earth-mothers and fathers. Even if we haven’t baked the bread or grown the vegetables on the table, for me the gift of being simple is about appreciating and being present to those gifts. Having the space in my mind to take in their taste, texture, their meaning, and the space therefore to be grateful – not in a sanctimonious way, just in a way that keeps me sane.
Another world is possible, but how do we get from here to there? We’ll need to learn from each other, and that’s what this blog is about.