245: Calling all Lifesteaders
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It doesn’t matter what you do or who you are, one thing is true for all of us: you’re building a life.
Who are the lifesteaders? It’s all of us. You and me.
Many people know me best as the homesteading gal from this longstanding Farmish Kind of Life website and podcast. But there are many more facets to who I am. I’m also a fiction writer, a veteran homeschooling mom, a firearms enthusiast, a law enforcement wife, and a hardcore motivational mentor for misfits.
I know YOU are lots of things, too.
Why are we boxing ourselves in?
Social media and the internet asks us to niche down and categorize ourselves for better reach. And while “know your audience” and “read the room” is admittedly decent advice in certain situations, it doesn’t realistically celebrate the whole of who we are.
And honestly, I’m tired of that.
In a time where we can be so many things, why have we settled for boxing ourselves in?
Back a million years ago when I decided I wanted to raise chickens and have a big garden and started searching for a farm, no one called themselves “homesteaders”. But they do now.
And when this way of living became a thing again, when it got popular again, and people started reinventing the wheel again, they added rules and boundaries. Dos and don’ts. Things we like and talk about and things we like but also hide.
And that’s a lot of work for someone who happens to like raising chickens and pigs because they are tasty but also kind of likes watching live theater and likes to blow off steam at the range and likes to pick up agates on the road and has a mouth like a sailor and really adores her husband and likes the idea of being a 1940s housewife but sometimes also kind of wants to burn the world to the ground.
All of this to say…
Lifesteaders have chickens or pigs or ducks or grapevines or sunflowers and maybe they also dress up for a full time office job they actually like that’s an hour from home.
Lifesteaders grow organic tomatoes and cucumbers and also maybe treat themselves to a campfire mocha or a Fender guitar.
Lifesteaders raise rabbits for meat and make comfrey salve and also maybe really like Dairy Queen ice cream cake or trashy novels or serial killer documentaries or pole dancing fitness.
I don’t know what lifesteading means in your specific situation but lifesteaders are all about living a full, honest life. On and within and apart and aside from whatever you equate HOMEsteading with.
I want to know. I want to see.
So yes, I want to see that awesome tomato you grew. But I also want to see the trip you took with your friends or the cool thing your partner built (that has nothing to do with your farm).
I want to see the ducklings you just hatched but please don’t be afraid to also show me the iced coffee drink with all the whipped cream that you’re hiding out of frame.
I want to see your garden that failed. The bread that didn’t raise. The messy kitchen. The dog hair all over your living room furniture. The poem you’re working on. The new fantasy novel you’re writing. I want to know your favorite show to unwind with.
I want to know about the salve you made and how it helped you stop itching but I also want to know about the cool new glasses you have. The song you can’t stop listening to. That thing you bought that you didn’t need but you really wanted. Your tips for keeping your house organized, and your admission about lazy days when you just sit on the couch with your dog and a book or the remote. I want to hear about the raspberry bushes and the grapevines and also how you dyed your hair blue.
I want to hear that you’re alive and experiencing every facet of life you want to and that you’re not worried about how or if it fits with chickens or cucumbers or mason jars.
Because this? This is all of us.
We’re not just building a homestead. Ultimately, we’re building a life.
Go live your life, fully and authentically. Be you. Be a lifesteader.
Where does The Lifesteaders go from here?
I’ve got a few different directions I want to explore with The Lifesteaders, but I thought the best place to start was a group where everyone could chat about life. Whether that’s the tomatoes you’re trying to grow, the trip you took with your friends to the beach, the cool agate you found, the guitar riff you’re trying to learn… or whatever.
So right now, you have a couple options:
A Farmish Kind of Life isn’t going away, but you may see a few new things crop up as well as a few other things morph.
Because I approve of full, honest lives… and that includes BEYOND what might be happening in your barn, garden, or kitchen.
— Amy Dingmann, 7-3-23
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