Around 2008, the goal to attain a lifestyle block where I could have a food forest and plant native trees began to form in my brain.
Over the next few years it turned into quite an obsession. An almighty goal in life. An absolutely audacious and hare-brained scheme, where life would be much better than the one I had at the time.
By 2013, I’d burned out in my office job and found myself in the office of a careers counsellor. In our first session, we did an exercise where I envisioned where I’d be in 10 years, and how I’d get there.
I sat in that office a decade ago, and what I described was a lot like the life I now have.
Things aren’t perfect, and the series of events that got me here wasn’t what I’d planned, wanted, or expected; but I did it. I reached the destination.
Or did I?
You see, I’m feeling like I’m just floating along. In this moment, I’m constantly reacting to what’s going on around me without a unifying vision, or really any idea of how I got here.
Last week I wrote a list of all the things I do. I am –
- A gardener (at my actual job, and at home)
- A grower of garlic (at least, right now)
- A purrveyor of catnip
- A (small) beef farmer
- A (small) egg farmer
- A mover of mulch/occasional landscaper
- A grower, planter, and guardian of native trees
- A crowdfunding coach
- A writer/blogger – not only do I write this blog each week but I have 4 separate books I’m slowly working on, plus the content I put together for the Garden Club each month.
- A family historian.
That’s…. a lot of stuff. It doesn’t take into account the house we need to build, and it doesn’t really pay me a whole lot either.
And I’m tired.
I’m really tired
In the years before I owned a lifestyle block, I had so many plans about what I’d do once I got here.
Looking back at my first post, I arrived here with some laser focus and a whole lot of optimism. And then a pandemic happened. It almost seems like a fever dream now, but the world stopped for a moment there, and I don’t know if the flow ever resumed when capitalism did.
Cancer hit Richard’s family – twice. One of our dogs arrived here after a sudden death on my side.
There’s been funerals to attend, jobs to find and retain, bills to pay, emergencies to attend to. Life!
In the meantime, reality has set in about some of those big ideas. Priorities have shifted like (and because of) the weather. And at this stage I’m just… trying to get through each day.
I’m treading water. I actually achieved my big hairy audacious goal, and now I’m here, I don’t know what I’m doing!
I know that objectively, I do things all the time and I’ve absolutely achieved stuff since we got here. But the whole reason I write these posts at all is the chronicle the journey, and it’s the truth of where my head is at right now.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve been in counselling over the last few months. It’s why I’m finally moving the huge-ass pile of mulch in my driveway, and how I convinced myself to put my fears and anxieties aside to get on a plane and spend a wonderful week in Wellington earlier this year.
But we haven’t quite answered the question of what the heck I’m doing. Probably because I couldn’t actually articulate the fact that was the problem when we started. I just knew that I didn’t feel balanced, and that I needed some help figuring it all out.
I spent so long trying to get here – and learning all the things it turned out I wasn’t remotely prepared for – that I’ve lost any kind of unifying goal.
It’s all just a huge pile of random things that I’ve just… found myself doing. Most of which I don’t feel particularly successful at.
Some of the things I do, I do well. I enjoy them even if I don’t find ‘success’. And then there are other things I just don’t think I want to continue with. I need to free up some of the mental load, step back and look at this differently.
I’m just reacting. I’m a ship on an ocean floating with the current. Our course isn’t set, the captain has lost her map, and the rudder fell off some time ago.
For a goal-oriented person with drive and a good work ethic, it’s a tough spot to be in.
It’s time for a rest
I’d like to regain the same kind of drive that got me here in the first place. This land has so much potential. We can see we’re having an impact. I like it here. But honestly, I’m so, so tired that I have lost my long-view.
So, as well as quitting growing garlic, this will be my last blog of 2023. Rather than taking my usual 2-week break over the Christmas period, I’m giving myself six weeks off publishing the blog. At this stage, the plan is to be back on January 28, 2024.
Hopefully I’ll still write – half the time I can’t help but write. Writing is literally the only consistent thing I’ve done for more than 20 years. But I’m even struggling to do that right now.
I’m 100% sure I’ll miss it, but it’s also the thing that makes the most sense to drop, at least temporarily.
I’m also going to significantly reduce the catnip harvest this year. It’ll remain available, but it will be more limited in 2024. And I don’t know if Kat’s Nip will survive into 2025.
I need to rest. Read some books. Arrange some flowers. Fix my fences. Do some yoga. Move my mulch. Maybe then the fog will clear and I’ll be able to figure it out.
Otherwise I hope, dear reader, that you have a silly season filled with joy, people you love, and fresh delicious food. I hope you find time dip your toes in the Big Blue Doctor, and your fingers into the soil.
See you next year.