9 years ago.
This “Facebook memory” popped up today in my news feed while having coffee and relaxing on this long holiday weekend. It is a long weekend on account of:
Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. The Congress actually voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2.
This is a photo I took of myself long before selfies were a thing. I was working as a consulting utility forester, working with major gas/electric utility systems to address their vegetation management needs. Much of this involved working and walking alone to assess the terrain, habitat, and environmental conditions where the work needed to take place – it was a great job. If you’re interested in learning more about this type of work, visit this site here.
There are so many times that I think about what activities I’ve chosen to engage in for a primary source of income over the years. While the decisions I’ve made and the actions that I’ve taken have never resulted in what many would consider a large income stream – they have resulted in happiness and a good quality of life.
This year, I will turn 40. As part of my personal wellness program, I see a counselor regularly. One thing I recently observed is that I *never* find myself bitching or complaining about my work. I’ve created a life where I’ve spent half of my years on this planet working outdoors during all seasons. It seemed natural.
However, it wasn’t good enough. For the last few years, I began voraciously “chasing my dream” of becoming the next rock star market farmer, permaculture farm designer, community organizer, green industry entrepreneur, writer, blogger, content creator, or whatever else I found myself focusing on at that time.
Much of this work was performed to my own detriment. I pursued the “good cause” and failed to embrace many of these principles I stood and for and preached in my own life – specifically “self care.” The article titled “Why Many Farmers Eat Like Crap” sums it up very nicely. I began to hate my #hustle.
This year, I decided this year to step back from the pursuit of those dreams. The reality is that many of those dreams were little else other than someone *else’s* dreams that I admired. I’ve shifted focus to living the life *I* am living…now and in this moment. It’s all I’ve ever done and all that I know how to do.
One man whose dreams I was chasing was Curtis Stone. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Curtis and the work that he’s done. He’s a mentor and a friend. He has always advised people to keep their ideology in their back pocket. I’m going to take this a step further and suggest you put your dreams there too.
That’s not so say that you should leave them there, but sometimes it’s important to take time and reevaluate what you are chasing and why. Sometimes, when we get so caught up in the #hustle, we lose sight of the life we’ve been actively creating for ourselves. Let’s give ourselves some credit every once in a while.
Rather than tirelessly chase dreams, think about the dreams you’re chasing. Why are you chasing these dreams in the first place? What’s you’re purpose in life? If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
You don’t necessarily need to figure it all out right now, because it’s also very easy to sit around getting nothing done while contemplating your navel and the universe. However, I do encourage getting these thoughts down on a regular basis. This will help you identify the purpose in mission is your life. The why.
Last September, I wrote a blog post titled, Three Primary Components of a Deliberate Living System. This post and many others like it helped me determine my why. Blog posts since then have been sporadic at best and the weekly email I used to send also seemed to lose its’ purpose. It began to show in my work.
It bothered me, but I soon decided that I needed to do what’s best for me. I needed to begin practicing self-care first. All of this is relevant and culminates in the content of this long blog post that I find myself writing today. It is relevant because the development and creation of Deliberate Living Systems was based (in part) on the idea of self-sufficiency, freedom, and independence.
As we read at the beginning of the article, “Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. The Congress actually voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2.”
As the forefathers of this country declared independence from the British Empire, I find myself continually thinking about ways that I wish to declare independence from the systems of support and the mindsets that I know. I am my own sovereign being and I encourage each and every person that reads this to understand that this is the truth – but only if you want it to be and allow it to happen in your own way. You cannot live through other people’s dreams…
…you must find your own. You must find your purpose. You must find your way. You are creating your own Deliberate Living System. The primary components that comprise your systems will change, but before you can recognize this as truth, you need to understand and identify what those components are in the first place. I’d encourage you to take some time and do so this weekend.
There is no better time to celebrate Independence Day than to figure out what it is that you seek independence from and how and why you seek it. Declare your independence today and celebrate the life you are actively creating. Moreover, share it with someone and talk about what you’re doing to make it happen. Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.
Live deliberately, my friends.