Family Vs. Frontier

I know this is the image you see when you hear off grid living. You might be right.

“The hidden gem is the appreciation in the little things. When this happens…I know I have made it. I know I am alive.”

Silent Echo

The honest misconception about living without electricity, city water, make up, dove soap, skin cream, Suave or Colgate is that you are filthy. The image that is featured for this article depicts the common thought about living from the earth. More words like hippie, commune, pot smoker, lazy, dirty, degeneration, regression and poor also make the list for some.

I hear things like, “What if your kids hate it? Why would you make them live that way?”. Truth is. I do not care who, what, when, where, why or how I decide to run my household…I RUN MY HOUSEHOLD. My children will follow me as they do now. My children do not determine how or where we live. Not to mention they will be just about on their way out the house by the time this happens.

Can you just image the reaction of family when you tell them you are going to live off grid? Well, if you can’t imagine it…that probably means you can’t imagine yourself ever saying it, let alone living off grid. That’s ok with me. When I told my family of my plans to live off grid…the responses varied and were far from what I was expecting.

My father. Well, we have always been close. He is someone who I can tell anything and we will always be connected at heart. His biggest fear is something he is already dealing with. I moved to Ohio late last year and the separation has been difficult for us as often as we spent time together before. His biggest fear is not having the ability to call me when he needs to hear from me or being able to show up unannounced. His biggest fear is not knowing.

My Mother. I am pretty sure she still doubts my ability or sees this as a pass time dream that is not likely to happen. I am not implying that my mother does not believe in me, I am just sure that like most, she does not fully understand. She, like my father, will miss the constant communication. She will miss seeing her grandbabies grow and grow. She will feel distant. Maybe my brother or sister will step up and have babies! Just saying 🙂

My grandmother. She appreciates the hard work involved and is excited. She is thrilled to see something “going back”. It’s a lifestyle she can remember vaguely and it is comforting. Will she come with me? Maybe. She might feel compelled to rock on my porch awhile. On the other hand, she does not want me or my children to go without. She is torn between the good ole’ days and the luxuries of today.

The others. The friends and distant family. The ones who always have an opinion but rarely a solution. They will typically be most negative. My friends, they think it’s “cool” or really interesting. Again, like my mom, not really sure what all it entails or what it means. They find it fascinating, yet unattainable. My distant family shocked me. I found common  ground with a few that I thought I didn’t know. Suddenly, we are closer. We have always been tied by blood, but there is substance now. I found life in my dream already!

Here is the truth about all of these…

They are all right.

Every opinion or view will be accurate. Not for me of course. The reality is that each person (who truly cares for you) will be right in how they will be dealing with your decision. My dad is right. He will miss me and I won’t be a phone call away. My mom is right. She will miss milestones and sometimes I will feel overwhelmed or like things are unattainable. My grandmother’s right. I will be content and I might even miss society and all the luxuries once in awhile. The friends and relative will be right. It will be different, cool and interesting. It will also be hard, gross and trying.

BUT…

There will be things that will connect us more than anything.

My mother. You know what my mother is really good at? Sending mail. She always sends random post cards, letters and gifts. That will be something I will be looking forward to. Her letters will mean so much more. I will read them again and again. I will look at pictures again and again, looking over every detail to see what’s changed. When we do talk…it will be such a pleasant call. Not like the routine check-ins we have today.

My father. He tells the best stories. When I am living off grid and we don’t talk as often…I will miss him deeply. Dad doesn’t write so well like my mom…but he is really good at telling stories. He always has been. The time we set aside for him to visit, the bone fires will be so much more than a routine Florida drinking party. They will have the best stories that he’s been dying to tell and we will laugh till our guts hurt. We will cry like we’ve never cried and our time will be well spent, unlike the time we took for granted that we spent together before.

My grandmother. She has always been far. In distance of course. I was born and raised in Florida and she lived in Ohio. Although, 1500 miles away has never stopped us from being close. I now live across the street from her and I am sure that when I am ready to go…she won’t be. That won’t stop her. She always visited me in Florida and always had a plan. She was always thinking about me and anticipating my needs. When we get together after a time apart…we will refuel our spirits and it won’t matter how she or I felt the day before.

The distant family and friends. Well, they might just join me. It takes one to make it and pave the way.

The hidden gem is the appreciation in the little things. When this happens…I know I have made it.

Read more about why I want to live off grid in my article, “My Why“.

 

 

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