173: The line between hope and reality
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Today we are talking about the importance of finding the line between hope and reality in current times. The topic stems from questions I’ve received regarding two different situations that ultimately end up being answered by the same point.
Initially, I started thinking on this topic when I heard people ask me, how can you be so peace, love, and happiness when the entire world is burning down? Don’t you understand what’s going on? Why do you have your head in the clouds? You seem positive most of the time, so what’s wrong with you?
But this topic has also been on my mind because of some things we are starting and/or expanding here at our farm, and a couple people asking, why bother with all of those changes when the world is burning down? Aren’t you just wasting your time?
Before I get to the all encompassing “hope vs. reality” answer, I’m going to dig into these situations separately for a bit.
First question: why are you so peace, love, and happiness?
I often post deep thoughts and nice words regarding how people should conduct their lives. And whenever I do this, I invariably have a few folks contact me with some comment like, “it’s nice that you think we can all just say something nice to someone, and all the world’s problems will go away,” or, “have fun with your head in the clouds!”
It amuses me when people think I’m all peace, love, and happiness, or that I view the world as great and peachy. If you think that, you probably only half listened to what I said. Secondly, you probably haven’t listened to enough of my podcasts or seen me on social media.
But thirdly, as this blueish purple haired girl who often says, hey, maybe don’t be a jerk and hey maybe take some time to make someone else smile, I will walk into the grocery store with a smile on my face and a kind word on my lips, but you know what else I have? A permit to carry and a gun in a holster that you can’t see.
Because I know that the world isn’t peace, love, and happiness. I know that shit happens.
I know there is bad out there. And I’m not ignoring it.
Listen. You can believe there is bad out there and also know there is good. If you know there is bad out there and you choose to focus on only the bad you’re digging yourself an early grave. You can absolutely sprinkle some happy in the world without letting the world walk all over you.
How did we ever get to the point where it is assumed that if you try to convince people to maybe be a little nicer to each other that you’re some kind of person who has their head lost in the clouds and has zero grip on reality? How did we end up at that point?
Oh, wait. I know.
Our obsession with extremes
We have this problem with balance—meaning, a lot of us don’t have any. We are obsessed with extremes. The mainstream media totally understands this and feeds it. It’s either all bad or everything is perfect.
It’s like we can’t have both at the same time. We can’t recognize that both exist. Nope. We’ve got to find the problem, hyper focus on that problem, and anyone who diverts their attention for a half a second to something else is weak or distracted, right?
But real life, where I like to live, is yin and yang. Real life shows both good and evil exist. You need both to define the other.
Real life isn’t all or nothing. Real life means most of us don’t fit under one label. Real life means most of us are a square peg that doesn’t fit in the round hole we’re trying to be shoved into.
Real life often means that in between the time we wake up and go to sleep, we’re often walking a line between extremes, not entrenched in one or the other.
That’s where real living, breathing life happens, right? In both the good and the bad—because they both exist.
Second question: Why bother doing something new?
Now, for the second question I’ve been asked recently, which revolves around a bunch of new things going on here at our farm.
I’m upgrading all the equipment here for A Farmish Kind of Life. I’ve been dealing with tech issues lately and my live-in tech (sons) finally diagnosed the problem as, “Mom, the computer you have can’t do the things you want a computer to do. You need to upgrade.” So, upgrade it is.
I’m also looking at starting a little monthly print newsletter for y’all who are interested in having a resource that’s on paper, hands-on, and more personal.
Additionally, my husband is starting a laser engraving business. He’s wanted to do it for a couple years and has recently decided that now is the time. So we’ve been converting one room of our house into an office for him to run that from and pumping it up with equipment to start working on those jobs.
But trust me when I say that we also pay attention to what’s going on in the world. We look at news stories that warn of a cyber pandemic or the grid going down. And along with this, comes the people that ask, “why bother with the new business? Why expand anything? You’re wasting your time. You should pay more attention to prepping.”
A broader definition of prepping
I think it’s worth pointing out here that preparing is not just storing a bunch of food in your basement. It’s planning for how to move yourself forward in lots of different ways, ready for lots of different scenarios.
So, maybe that means having a generator and some fuel and water and food stored and being as self sufficient as possible—which I think is a great thing to shoot for. But maybe it also means starting a side hustle. Maybe it means quitting your job and making that side hustle you’ve had for awhile into a full time gig. Maybe it means expanding what you’re doing with technology. Maybe it means starting a new group or organization.
Preparing means looking into the future and being ready for what might come. And the thing about the future is that nobody knows what’s coming.
I think some people look at prepping as focusing on the bad stuff that might be coming, and that sort of devolves into sadness or anger and frustration for the future. Or having zero hope for the future. I mean, what do some people say? We’re preparing for the end of the world.
Do you hear what an oxymoronic, hopeless statement that is?
Y’all. Preparing is having hope. If you didn’t have hope for the future, you’d just sit on the couch and eat cheetos and not deal with the future at all. People who are preparing do have hope, or they wouldn’t prepare for anything.
There’s no contest about who is right in this whole mess of where current events are headed. If the grid goes down and the world falls into absolute disarray, it will have zero to do with my husband’s laser engraving or my new computer set up. The fact that we have these things will be a moot point, just like lots of other things we have and do here. Who cares? We will have bigger things to deal with if we find ourselves in that scenario, and you guys won’t hear about it because my podcast and website and social media and email will be gone.
But. If the grid doesn’t go down, my husband has a laser engraver and I have a new computer and we can do the things we want to do with those items.
Now obviously you have to make choices that make sense for you financially, and make sense for how “prepared” you feel you are for any impending circumstances, but don’t get so caught up in the shit is coming and it’s going to hit the fan and be flung far and wide that you forget to live, that you forget to plan for a life that happens if (gasp) the doomsayers are wrong.
And this is something I see people struggling with right now, especially if they’re new to this lifestyle and they get in with any of those crazy, extreme preppers that yell and scream until their eyeballs pop out of their faces to tell you that you need to have alllllll the things right now.
Folks, you have to find the balance between hope and reality. You have to find what that balance is for you.
Need permission? Here it is.
If you need someone to tell you that you don’t have to have your head stuck through a tv screen, gulping down the nightly news in order to prove you care, I’m here to tell you that.
If you need someone to tell you that can be kind and strong, that you can be generous to folks and also watch your back, or that you don’t have to be a stone-faced, antisocial jerk in order to prove you’re tough, I’m here to tell you that.
If you need permission to be aware of reality but also have forward momentum, I’m here to tell you that. I’m giving you permission to do both. Plan for your future. Build businesses. Make life changes. Continue to live and enjoy your family and do all the things. But at the same time you can be stocking stuff away, research alternative energy, add animals to your farm, whatever you want to do to be prepared for if things really suck at some point in the future.
You can do both. I give you permssion.
But what’s the point?
The funny thing is that I hear people say, “why would you try to build a business or expand a business in the midst of all this chaos and uncertainty, what’s the point?”
Can you imagine if someone said, “why are you trying to change your diet in the midst of all this? What’s the point?” or, “why bother with planting seeds or getting a couple chickens? What’s the point?”
Let’s be very real. Any of us could die tomorrow. So what’s the point of anything? Why go to work? Why pay your mortgage? What’s the point in being responsible? What’s the point in thinking or caring about the future?
I will tell you what the point is.
I will tell you why we all do it.
It’s because at the heart of who we are, we want to keep going. And that is the reason we prepare. That is the reason we look towards the future with hope and plans and dreams.
But it’s also the reason that we do things that don’t look like “prepping” to the crazy preppers who just want us to store MRES and ammo and hide out in our bunker until the world is reduced to ashes.
We are not preparing for the “end of the world”. We’re preparing to be able to keep going.
Be strong in your walk between hope and reality.
So whether we are talking about how you view the world and choose to conduct yourself as you move around in it, or we’re talking about actual hands-on changes you’re making to your lifestyle, the point is that you have to find the line between hope and reality. And you can absolutely operate on that line. You don’t have to be one extreme or the other, and don’t let people push you into those extremes.
Be brave enough to be you and do you and push through.
Doing what you can to move forward doesn’t mean you have to pretend that the crazy and the uncertainty around you isn’t happening.
Being someone who points out hey, maybe we could sprinkle some happy today doesn’t mean you’re living in a world of daisy chains and unicorn farts.
Stop living in the extremes. Stop assuming that someone’s kindness means they are weak. Stop assuming that someone who is trying to move forward isn’t paying attention to what’s happening around them.
When you embrace that line between hope and reality, you show others that walking that line is possible. And I think if we had more people walking that line instead of getting sucked into the extremes, we’d be on a much more productive and fulfilling path forward.
— Amy Dingmann, 11-30-21
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