As a Home Educator I have many times been waxing lyrical (banging on about!) how learning is not confined to a classroom, a curriculum, a specific time or period of your life. In the last 3 years I have probably learned more than in the previous 23 years. Loads of it practical stuff – about our chosen life – rearing animals, growing food, alternative energy, island life… it’s been a very steep learning curve indeed.
I have also learnt a lot of new ideas though, new approaches to life, new ways to think about things, to frame stuff and methods in which to deal with challenges.
We had this dream of self sufficiency and about not doing tedious soul sucking jobs to earn money to pay for someone else to do the things which we could do ourselves and would probably rather be spending our time doing. It’s a sound philosophy and has served us well. Just yesterday Ady and I sat out, in a brief window between rain showers, and surveyed the croft laid out below us. Three years of our lives spread out infront of us like a picture book. A victory here, a mistake there, a failed experiment over to the left, a crazy idea which panned out just fine on the right, behind us the caravan – a symbol of the triumph of naivety over common sense, of community, reliance on others and teamwork over independence. We concluded that despite disappointments, challenges and tricky bits our current life here on Rum offers about 80% of everything we could ever want or wish for. That’s pretty good I reckon.
Somewhere in the last three years though we have managed to get a little bit too single minded and fierce in our quest for self sufficiency and this week we realised that it’s fine to not want to do every single thing ourselves. It’s fine to delegate some stuff, either to volunteers or even paying someone else to do it and earning the money to pay them to do the stuff we don’t enjoy and want to do but finding something we do love doing. I can’t believe I have not listened to the same career advice I happily dish out to others including my own children.
Do what you love, love what you do. If you don’t enjoy it don’t do it and either accept it won’t happen at all or find another way of making it happen other than doing it yourself. So simple, yet so easy to lose sight of.
Having volunteers work on the digging out of the cob project has been fantastic. A task which loomed over Ady and I during the winter, one which we struggled to do a few hours of most days but felt bleak, dismal and endless. Suddenly it is nearly done. The next phase in the project is equally gutty and physical – neither of us are desperate to do it ourselves, looking yearningly towards animal related stuff elsewhere on the croft, wanting to spend time with Davies and Scarlett, to plant seeds or weed the raised beds, to get stuck into a different task. We’ve been berating ourselves for that, feeling guilty, having that Sunday night home work not done back to school type feeling. Then being resentful that we have to do something we don’t really want to do and it’s not fair because we live in a caravan and it’s all too hard.
So back to the mantra, do what you love, love what you do. Accept it won’t happen at all or find another way, use your skills to their best application. A plan is forming…