Hey everyone. So, I figured I should kind of put out some info about what this whole blog/site is about, and to bring you up to speed on where we are at, what’s been happening, and what the plan is for the future.
For years my wife and I have talked about eventually wanting to move out of town and into the country. Even before we were married (which was almost 14 years ago!). Something that’s always been in the back of our minds, and something that we’ve always wanted quite badly, but always kind of put off the reality of doing it because of the high costs that can be associated with building a new house and setting up a little farm in the country.
Fast forward to maybe a year or two ago, and I’m pretty sure I was having a midlife crisis. No corvettes in the driveway, crazy hairstyles, piercings or a brand new whacky wardrobe. Nothing like that. Just the thought that life is passing by too quickly. It used to be said that 3 score and 10 was a good long life. 70 years. I’m almost 1/2 way there now. That was really starting to stir in me. At a deep level. I know people live longer now than ever before, but, older age to me is more about relaxing, visiting, enjoying your achievements and not working towards accomplishments like the younger years are. My younger years are disappearing all too quickly. I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have always had good jobs, live in a nice house, and be comfortable. But ultimately, I was living a life that I had not deliberately chosen. Again, there was nothing wrong with that life, it’s just that it’s the exact same life that everyone around me lives. Get a decent job, get up in the morning go to work for some company that treats you well, come home to your nice little house in the suburbs. Look forward to weekends, put the kids in the sports that they should be in and just the feeling of doing what everyone around me is doing.
On a deep and honest level, that life isn’t me or my wife. We feel like a fish out of water going through those motions. Again, nothing wrong with that if you enjoy that life. We simply don’t. I get so much more satisfaction out of doing something myself, building something, making something than I do going to the store and buying the latest model of a similar product. When I was working for a big company, I didn’t have the time to build, create and explore activities that really give me a deep sense of satisfaction. My wife is the same way. Who we are as people, what makes us excited, what makes us tick just wasn’t lining up with the so called “american dream” that we were living.
And now, fast forward to current day. After seriously thinking of it for a few years, we figured it would be better to dive right in, pursue the life that we would rather live, than continue on in drudgery living someone else’s dream. Okay, maybe drudgery is a little too strong. I am incredibly thankful for the life that we’ve been able to live thus far. God has been incredibly good to us. Instead of drudgery, more of a constant questioning in our minds of what we are doing and why we are doing it. So, December of last year, we bought 12 acres of land. Close to our currently home of Strathmore Alberta, but on a gravel road, free and clear bare land that has only ever been used as pasture. This is our blank canvas. No one has tried to establish their dream on this land yet. Now we are going to establish ours.
The process has unfolded and is currently working out like this: We had planned on taking several years to develop our land and weren’t planning on moving out there right away. Then earlier this year I was laid off from my work. I worked in oil an gas, and with the currently oil market the world is in right now, downsizing had to happen. The sense of relief that I felt when I was let go was indescribable. After months of watching my co-workers get laid off, their lives being flipped upside down in one quick morning meeting with HR; the flaws in the “american dream” were making themselves more and more obvious to me. I was so sick of working hard for a company, and sitting there like a duck in a pond not knowing if or when I was going to be the next to get shot at. The feeling of (false) security from having a good job with a big company that we’ve been raised to cherish and value so much, was holding me in that pond. I could have up and flown away, but everything in our culture teaches us otherwise. Then, one day, bang! I was laid off.
With the decision to no longer work for that company made for me, we took that as a cue to hit the ground running on the plan that we actually came up with. Not the “american dream” that is fed to us from birth, but rather our dream. A simpler life. Maybe with less riches and convenience, but with more reward satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. What an incredible blessing to get laid off!
From that point, we realized the next logical option would be to try and sell our house. We weren’t very optimistic about this actually happening though. In an economic downturn, houses typically don’t move that well. But thanks be to God, our house sold in 5 days, for more than we were hoping to get for it! What?! Crazy.
So now, present day, it’s a Saturday and it’s raining. We have to be out of our house June 26th. We have purchased a 5th wheel to live in while we build our own house. We had a 30’X36′ metal building delivered yesterday that will be my workshop. We’ve got a bunch of shelter belt trees being delivered (out on the bald prairie, tress are one of the first things you want to deal with on new land. Even before grass and a lawn). I’ve purchased a tractor, quad, pick up truck and a generator. We bought a beehive and 8000 bees. We have some fertilized chicken eggs incubating in our kitchen right now.
Immediate action items are: (there goes that BS corporate lingo again) get the foundation poured for the shop building; decide on a plan for the house we’re going to build; install a septic field; build a driveway; bring power and gas onto our land; get a chicken coop built; plant our garden; pack up our house and get ready to move. There are heaps of other smaller things to be done, but as you can see, we have our work cut out for us. It is going to be a busy busy summer, but one that I am looking forward to like no other.
All of the work that I put my energy into, pays off directly to me and my family. There is no big cheese sitting in a downtown office that charges my labour out at over twice what I actually see. When you work as a tradesman in oil and gas, the bosses make at least twice the money per hour off of the work you do than what you get paid. At least. You are a cash cow to them. If you choose to be.
We choose not to be. Or I should say, we are choosing not to be. Hopefully it will pay off. Hopefully it works out. There is no guarantee that it will. But, I’ve spent almost half my life living the other way, the “american dream” way, and I see serious flaws in that system. Might as well try something different. The “american dream” will always be there.