Life is a bumpy process. Sometimes the road is filled with potholes, speed bumps, or police barriers. Other times some bit of the machinery of life gets neglected and starts thumping and shaking things about (this is happening with one of our cars right now). Usually we can fill the potholes, fix the wonky bit of the system, or bump our way through, riding out the rough bits and moving on. This happens to everyone, and is one of the things that makes life interesting (at least in retrospect.) Every once in a while as you are cruising down life’s super highway something else happens. The wheels start falling off the wagon for no apparent reason. Makes a BIG mess. This happened to us recently. CC and I each realized that what we were doing wasn’t working. She hated her job (loved the people individually, and the work with the kids, but hated (to the point of feeling ill every day) the job. I hated the stupid broken-down, under-funded farm, the livestock, the kids, the crappy old house, everything. One day things just snapped. We each, almost simultaneously said, ” it’s time to move.” Things just weren’t working. We have been over this ground before, and usually we find something new and interesting to do somewhere else. Lots of moving, lots of adventures. EXCEPT… this was a really bad time to move. The real estate market is terrible, jobs are hard to find, and we would have to do a ton of fixing to even be able to sell this place. The other thing that is different this time is our reason for being here. In the past we have taken interesting jobs in fantastic locations and gone for the adventure. Once the adventure was over it was time to move on. This time we picked a spot that wasn’t very interesting because it was where we wanted to create a home base. It was close to family and friends. It was enough space to live the life we wanted. It was affordable. There were jobs in the area. It is a nice, mostly safe community where we are happy with the people we know, the connections we have made, and the lifestyle we have. We should be happy, but we were not. The wheels were definitely coming of the wagon at high speed. Then it happened. Huge, gaping pothole. Crash and burn, bits go flying everywhere. Goats in the garden. DESTRUCTION! The produce for the market was ruined. It would take at least 6 weeks to get back in production. The worst 6 weeks of the year. It’s hot, dry, and the things we had planned for the market won’t germinate well. Our costs will go way up because we will have to shade a lot more and irrigate a lot more. Profits out the window. Why are we doing this anyway?
Five years ago when we were planning this move we worked our way through a brilliant book At Home With Holistic Management by Ann Adams. As we worked through this book we wrote a plan, starting with a vision of the life we wanted to create. Then we moved out here and set to work creating the place and the enterprises we thought would get us what we wanted. Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the vision. If we had been following ALL the steps in the book we would have been checking every decision against our vision and adjusting what we were doing to ensure all our actions moved us toward our vision. Instead we worked on creating successful enterprises. CC worked on job success and kept moving up in responsibility and pay. I worked on successful market gardening and had really hit my stride this year. The enterprises were really ticking along. Successful. Except the number one thing in our vision was time together as a family doing the things we love doing. The more successful our enterprises were the less time we had that fit our vision. CC hated her job and resented us because she had to work away from home. I resented the kids, the animals, the house, and CC because they always demanded my time and I wasn’t getting things done the I needed to in order to be a successful market gardener. Fortunately the gods gave us goats, and they helped us stop, analyze what we were doing, and get back with the program. The past month and a half we have spent building a new plan that fits our vision better. CC is renegotiating her contract for something that is a better fit and beginning to create a private practice. I’m gardening for the family, growing things I love with lots of help from the CC and the kids. I’m also launching a new line of goat milk fudge. It has been a great success at the market, and I’ll be offering it on line soon. We are checking back with our vision and our plan as we make decisions, and working our way through Ann’s book again. We’ll soon have the wheels back on the wagon and be moving down life’s byways again. The road will still have bumps, and the wheels aren’t the same ones we started with, but we are still together, in this place, living the dream.