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How To Become Self-Sufficient In Today's World
Is It Really Possible in a Modern World
I remember back when I was about ten or eleven years old. My dad woke up one Saturday morning and decided that he was going to re-wire the upstairs recreation room. He waited until after I had finished my breakfast and then he told me his plan and asked me to give him a hand.
So very cool! I was going to bond with my dad and learn some great “how-to” information in the process.
We dragged all the tools upstairs and laid them on the ping pong table; then dad stood in the middle of the room and started staring at the job before him. He stool rooted in that spot for a good five minutes and finally my curiosity got the better of me. “Dad,” I said, “How do we start the job?”
“Bill, I don’t have a clue,” said he,”but we’ll figure it out eventually.”
That was my dad, a man who was raised during the Great Depression when self-sufficiency was a matter of survival and not some resurrected theory on life that a few are attempting in 2014.
For those of you confused by this self-sufficiency nonsense, let me give you a very succinct definition. Self-sufficiency is the ability and practice of providing for all of your own needs and the needs of your household without outside aid or resources.
Is it really possible in a modern world? Most definitely, and there are pockets of people sprinkled around the country who are completely self-sufficient….but not many. To be completely self-sufficient one must be fiercely independent; one must have loads of motivation; and one must be passionate about changing their life.
A more realistic question is this: is it possible to be more self-sufficient in a modern world? To that question the answer is most definitely YES!
Reasons for Self-sufficiency
So why bother? Why should our modern generation, with all of the conveniences that are at their fingertips, even bother with this self-sufficiency garbage? Let’s face it, this is a tough sell. People love conveniences. People are rushed for time. People are just plain tired and worn out and it is not easy to convince them that they should repair their own car rather than have a mechanic do it.
Well, I came up with a few reasons why a person might choose this new lifestyle:
- Being prepared for the future is most likely the number one reason for the rebirth of this movement. The economy sucks! Politicians do not have your best interest at heart. It feels, to many, like there is a catastrophe just over the horizon, and they are looking for some peace of mind in the event of some disaster.
- Lack of faith in the established political and governmental system is another growing concern among people. Many are seeing the wisdom in divorcing themselves, as much as possible, from the oversight of governmental agencies.
- Many are saying goodbye to consumerism and waste. Many do not want to be a part of an unhealthy system of GMO food, greed and the theory that he who has the most toys wins.
- Personal satisfaction is playing a huge part in this decision. There are a growing number of people who find great pleasure in growing their own food and providing for themselves. They love being able to fix things, grow things and learn new trades and talents.
- And finally we have those who are concerned about the environment and see self-sufficiency as a way for them to diminish their carbon footprint on this Earth.
Problems You Will Face in Becoming Self-sufficient
Before you consider the self-sufficient lifestyle, you should probably be aware of some of the problems that you face.
Time is a major issue in today’s society. Families where mom and dad both work just to pay the bills will find it very hard to find time to can fruits and grow vegetables. There are only so many hours in a day for a hard-working family; how in the world do you find more time to do things that take a great amount of time? Burnout is a major drawback for many.
For those who are social animals, self-sufficiency means less time in a social setting. You are much too busy fixing the broken fence to go visit friends. You are much too busy mending clothes to go have coffee with the girls.
But perhaps the biggest obstacle for most is the fact that we now live in a convenience society, and living a self-sufficient lifestyle is anything but convenient. Things take longer when you are self-sufficient. There are no more trips to McDonald’s for a quick lunch; there are no more fifteen minute Jiffy Lubes in your future.
The Decision That Changed My Life
- Leaving The Rat Race For A Simple Life
Saying goodbye to an old way of living is a lifestyle choice. Social issues like unemployment and debt can be guarded against but it takes a conscious decision and willingness to change.
How to Become More Self-sufficient
There are no easy answers to this question. Very few people are totally self-sufficient, so let’s just talk about becoming MORE self-sufficient. Here are some areas to consider:
- Is your current job stable? Is it dependent on a healthy economy? If not, steps need to be taken so that you are less-reliable upon that job.
- Educate yourself! The more you know the more you will be prepared. Learn how to earn money in self-employment endeavors. Figure out your basic needs, namely food, shelter, clothing, and health care, and then find ways to meet those needs by yourself.
- Eliminate debt. Financial freedom is a huge step in the right direction.
- Housing considerations are difficult. Yes, you need shelter, but do you need 3,000 square feet? Is your yard large enough to have a garden? Are there restrictions in your neighborhood that would prevent you from having solar or wind energy? How can you make your home more energy efficient?
- Food: to be totally self-sufficient you will have to grow and/or raise all of your food. That is not going to happen for most people, but what can you do to become more self-sufficient?
- Transportation. Now we are really getting into difficult, especially for Americans who love their automobiles. The dependence on oil for transportation is ridiculous and yet it is a reality most live with; what can you do to become less dependent on the internal combustion engine? Can you do without a car? Can you at least buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle instead of a gas-guzzling SUV? Can you carpool more or take part in a car share program?
- Odds and ends. Can you start drying laundry outside? Can you start mending clothes? Can you buy a composting toilet or do haircuts at home? Or like my father, can you learn to re-wire your recreation room?
Is It Worth It for You?
And there is the number one question: are the benefits of self-sufficiency enough to convince you and nudge you to take action?
I am convinced that we are heading towards an economic collapse. I am not prone to “Chicken Little” thoughts, so my beliefs are not based on a nervous disposition. I look at the economy and those factors that greatly affect that economy and I can see no happy ending in the future. For me, moving towards self-sufficiency is the only responsible action to take…..but…..I realize that not everyone shares my economic forecast.
More importantly for me, however, are the feel good vibes I get when I raise my own food. I feel good about myself when I raise food responsibly. I feel good when I use recycled items rather than buying new and thus using more natural resources. I feel good knowing that I can rely on myself and my natural abilities rather than just pay money for convenience. I feel good knowing that I live with a social conscience and that I do not add to the waste in a wasteful society.
Self-sufficiency is not for everyone, but I know the numbers are growing and I suspect they will continue to grow, and that, too, makes me feel good.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out how to re-wire our rec room.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)