I like to lead a simple life but I do love some of my time saving, modern devices. I was thinking yesterday, as I used the stand mixer to make my butter, how hard life must have been for my great grandma. She lived in a deprived area, in a small house with 13 children, and didn’t have the luxury of labour saving devices like me. My Great Grandad was a fisherman and used to be away for weeks and so she had a very independent streak which she taught to me. She learnt to do the jobs that were stereotyped as male responsibilities as she had to (until her boys became old enough).
I had a line of washing out yesterday and I was still thinking as I pegged it out how long it would have taken her to do hers. I wash my clothes after a few wears, all I have to do is toss them in a machine. I have reduced my wash loads to two a week but I bet I would wash a lot less if I had to do them by hand and didn’t have a supply of other items to put on.
I looked around my house and there are so many things that take electricity that weren’t invented in her time. Life would be cheaper if I didn’t use them, but the cost would be time, and we have become very reliant on them. As I am retired, time isn’t an issue, but for young parents who often now have to work as well, it would be. Even I who sweeps and mops and rarely uses a vacuum, or has devices using wood to heat and cook would struggle without some modern appliances.
My Gran was creative but had no time for hobbies and so her sewing and knitting of clothes, and her baking were her outlets. They were things she had to do still, she had no choice having to clothe and feed so many children. To me cooking and crafting are hobbies. I feel grateful, but guilty that I have all these choices, but sad that I don’t have her skills.
I love my simple life. I get pleasure from reducing my reliance on technology and consumerism, but realise from growing my own food, reducing my spending, using less transport, and cooking from scratch that it is hard work. I know, though, that I am only playing at it in some ways. The modern infrastructure is still out there as a back up, and I am just chosing to dip out of it sometimes. Lots of people wish that they could live a simple life, but don’t realise that this will entail lots of sacrifices and hardwork. The fact that I have less stress, am more mindful of nature, and that I am more grateful for little things has changed my life, and me as a person for the better. I do wonder, though if it became the norm, and we had no choice but to live that way, if I would love it as much.