I'm not ready now, or ever, to be non-productive

I fear there is a dumbing down battle going on. It's there in food - why would we want to cook for ourselves when there are constantly changing, easy products to buy and heat up? It's there in clothes - most of us have lost the dressmaking and mending skills our great grandmothers had. It's there in general daily life where there is a constant buzz from the social media peanut gallery made up of criticism, self-rightiousness, inane comments and fake concern for, well, you name it, just about everything.  Busyness and distractions are highly prized, shopping is an entertainment rather than a necessity and there is constant pressure to follow instead of lead. Gone are the days when we were encouraged by our elders, friends, politicians and neighbours to do our best, help out, create community, cherish uniqueness and try to do better and be better. We are now learning you are what you own.

A torrential downpour on Sunday afternoon.

I think simple life is a safe haven for those of us who refuse to be dumbed down and who want to continue learning and developing ourselves all through life. School and university are the launching pads for learning but it certainly doesn't stop there. Once we have our basic education, then we have the abilities and reason to learn about the things we want in our lives. That might be home skills, traditonal skills, craft skills, developing creativity and productivity or nurturing a family, but it could also be a career with an emphasis on calmness and sustainability at home. There are always choices along the way and it is only through building your skills and knowledge that you'll be able to make the best choices for you and your family. If you take learning and self-development seriously and if you use it to enrich your home and career then you're well on your way to living the kind of splendid life that we dream about in our younger years.



The choices are key here. Instead of following a straight and monotonous "normal" path, we can step away from that to embrace learning, independence, daily contemplation, critical thinking and individual choice. Sometimes we take the easy path, sometimes the difficult one, and each day, small step by small step, we move through life. There are times when we stop and reevaluate what we're doing, sometimes small adjustments or huge leaps are made but if we resist the noise of modern life and stay focused on our own life being a work in progress, then these periods of adjustment help us continue along the road less travelled.




Having lived through six decades I'm about to move into the most challenging one. It's not easy growing old but it's certainly better than dying young. I don't want to live a fake life where I buy everything I need and take the path of least resistance. That kind of life is always partnered by the work it takes to pay for it and a huge amount of waste. I want a life that is challenging and interesting. I want to work for what I get. I want to sit in the sun when I feel like it, grow food, take cuttings, mend the things I love and do as much for myself as is possible. I'm slowing down now because of my age but I'm not ready now, or ever, to be non-productive. 





What stage of life are you at?  What are you doing with your days? Remind me of that exhilarating phase, that lasted many years for me, when I went to bed thinking about tomorrow's plans and wanting the hours to pass quickly so I could be catapulted out of bed to face the new day. I miss that.

81 comments

  1. This was just what I needed to read today, as I'm facing the same age issues and some disabilities. It's a time to step back and re-evaluate what's important and what's realistic! But sometimes you can go for weeks or months without being reminded that it's possible to take a thoughtful approach to your life - so thank you for the reminder.

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  2. Hi Rhonda,

    I am in the phase of being a single mother to a 10yo (whaaat?? where did that time go?!) in her early thirties. From reading your blog and the confidence I have developed, I have chosen to only work school hours which is a luxury I know, especially in a small rural town. This enables me to spend quality time with my girl and teach her all these valuable life skills (sewing, knitting, baking, gardening, etc.) that I hope will bring her the confidence and satisfaction to live an authentic life that brings her happiness. I am so fortunate to have the best of both worlds - working for income and the time to live a simple life. It is something I definitely don't take for granted!

    Sarah

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    1. Sarah I have found myself in a similar situation. I have just turned 40 and my marriage is over. I have 2 girls in primary school and we live in a rural area. I am facing re entering the workforce. I believe completely in the simple life. I am feeling a sense of freedom in my newfound situation also some trepidation. I have always been grateful for like minded people in my life.

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  3. Oh, what nice big eggs! There are so many distractions, Rhonda, which take people away from the more hands-on things. I am known at the library where I work for being someone who likes to bake, and I think there's some wistfulness when I talk about making bread, I mean on their part, that they see something appealing in that sort of thing, but can't imagine having the time to do it. One co-worker actually did make a bread recipe I gave her, with complete instructions and was terribly excited! So now she knows how, if she wants to do it again. I'm concerned about so many young people who are attached to their phones and don't even know how to deal with others, let alone make anything from scratch.

    I have not forgotten that you want to hear about the fermented cranberry soda - just have to get organized and get my thoughts together. :)

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    1. Thanks Lisa. I'm in no rush, dear. Let me know when you have the time to do it. xx

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  4. Well today I have caught up with you in age, Rhonda. Hmmm, what will the next decade bring I wonder. I can't remember if I was ever catapaulted out of bed to face a new day. LOL! Perhaps I was and it is just a distant memory :-)

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    1. Happy birthday Chel. I hope those two blokes of yours take you out for dinner. xx

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  5. I turned 60 this year. At 57 I left a well paid job that I had done for almost 30 years. I was ready to go, not financially, but physically and mentally. We are making do, growing some of our food, buying used and fixing what we can. I am determined to enjoy the time I have left and not be a slave to the system. I have enjoyed your blog for a number of years. It encouraged me to try making my own soap and cleaners, do more preserving and cooking from scratch. We make our own beer, bread and clothes. I quilt and knit too. Three years ago, I finally learned to knit socks. I love to learn new things, and I will keep going until I can't any longer.
    Barb

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    1. I enjoyed your comment Barb. I am in the process of a bit of a transition at the moment that is a bit like the one you made seven years ago. Your comment is a source of encouragement for me.

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  6. Had to laugh when you said folks don't know how to sew as the thought that came to my head was a time when I received a compliment on a shirt I was wearing. I replied thank you and that I had made it. Their response was "But it looks store-bought." They meant it as a further compliment, but that's an insult to most tailors. Just sharing that funny thought. I have to wake up and go to work tomorrow. We just have the mortgage, but want it gone ASAP so we can get on with our life and spend a little more time in the garden😉

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  7. This post is very pertinent to me as a teacher.

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  8. You are still there, Rhonda. You bound out of bed more or less (like all of us) and get on with things. You still feel the old eagerness to meet the day because you still do it. You guide us and remind us what is important and how to go about it with the ways that are beneficial and that have meaning to us individually. The goal is the same for each and every one of us: to make a meaningful life and avoid the traps that modern life has a lot of us ensnared in: an endless treadmill of spending, meaningless work, no goals that matter to the individual, and blindly following along. No matter how we get there, the important thing you remind us, is that we do. It is the only way we will enjoy life and build meaning. I thank you for that, and it helps to have someone such as you to encourage it. It is not easy, you tell us; but it is necessary to have a real satisfactory way of living. I am trying it all, and I have found a new way of living, and it suits me wonderfully.

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  9. For the past four years we have lived on hubby's part pension. Gone is my corporate position and the income that came with it. What has happened is a developing happiness based around our home and our time together. We are living a good life and I am so grateful for this.

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  10. I absolutely agree. I have never been so happy or relaxed as when I gave up work and downsized for a more self sufficient lifestyle. I was taught home science at school, at the time I didn't care much for it and looked at it as a bit of a skive lesson but now I understandand and am So grateful that I can budget, cook, sew and knit. I don't understand why it isn't still taught

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    1. Ha! I had to laugh and agree on the comment part about not caring for it; I felt exactly the same way. Now I cannot wait to do domestic things!

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  11. Your last paragraph rings so true for me. Only problem is I'm that excited to get started I wake very early. I'm bouncing the second I leave that bed, huge smile, motivated and extremely happy. I used to stare at the alarm clock willing it to hurry up. I don't bother using one now.
    The more I hear and see advertisements shouting out 'here we'll do it for you' the more determined I become. I say to myself 'no thankyou I can do that myself.' I seem to be noticing this more and more. I think that's because there is more of it plus the more I learn the more noticeable. I just feel like saying out loud - 'I can do it.'

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  12. Hello dear Rhonda,
    You have made your blog very beautiful. I miss the translation link. My english is not so good and so I always have to work with an external translator. The back and forth copy is very cumbersome. It would be very nice if you can activate the translation link again. Thanks for that. Your regular and faithful reader from Good old Germany.
    Gudrun :) von Lebens ~ Baustellen

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    1. Hi Gudrun, thanks for reminding me to put the translate feature back. I meant to do it but it skipped my mind. I think it's something quite a few readers use. Sending our love to you in Germany. xx

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  13. We are a couple of years into the decade you are entering Rhonda so, as a previous commentator has said, we have some health limitations. If anything this has made us even more determined to be as self sufficient and innovative as we are able to be.
    This is more in the way of DIY projects than growing/rearing food.
    My husband is never happier than when he's working out how to prolong the life of a piece of equipment or make a substitute and this has rubbed off on our boys who helped us build a three roomed extension when the were in their teens. I was taught to knit, sew, cook etc as a child and still do.
    My sadness is for our grandchildren who are either at school or in some other organised activity, or are plugged into some form of technology. We can do our best and they love being creative with us but never branch out on their own,nor are they given encouragement to do so by being allowed to become bored. If they were maybe they would create their own entertainment/ achievements. Sue

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  14. Oh, I think this is my favourite post of yours yet (and I've been reading your blog for years but only just worked out how to comment)! I'm in my early 50s and am planning how to move to a simpler life step by step so that when I retire I will have a place to live that's mortgage free. It will mean moving to a different area, so I'm starting by getting involved in community arts projects there and getting to know people. It's exciting planning a new life and yet daunting too. Your blog is hugely inspiring! Thanks so much for continuing to write such useful and thoughtful posts. Meryl

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  15. What a beautiful post! Domestic life is not for the un-educated. It is life itself.

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  16. I am in my 70s and this post resonnated with me. Every stage of life has its plusses and minuses and although I no longer wish for life to hurry up so I can get to the next thing I enjoy the slowing down of the journey and my only regret is that I didn't know even some of what I have learned along the way back when I was young but then who was it that said "youth is wasted on the young" and yet another quote says "In youth we learn and in age we understand" and yet another one that I now live by is "To live at all is miracle enough" I love your blog thanks for all your time taken in writing the posts.

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  17. Raising four beautiful boys all in school, working full time, finishing a PhD, cooking everything from scratch, neglecting my garden although bless permaculture systems they look after themselves better than I deserve and the trees are doing their thing with or without me. Trying to make time for what matters, spouse and friends and family. That's the biggest struggle with this stage of life, not losing track of days and weeks where it's all head down and work your tail off and another month has gone by without putting enough into the people who matter. Always tired, nostalgic for that teenage feeling after a Saturday sleep in where you couldn't sleep another wink if you tried to! Liesel

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  18. Today we have spent the day talking and playing with friends who are currently relocating to Australia from England. Tomorrow I get to be with my two little girls, spending the day in the rhythms they need, all the while knowing I am working towards our move to a beautiful little country town next year. I am content, fortunate and working hard.

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  19. Hi Rhonda,
    I'm in my early thirties with 3 daughters, aged between 3 -8, a hubby, a cat and 3 chooks. We're a busy household with 2 parents working full time. Simple life for me is tending to our chooks for fresh eggs daily, pre cooking and preparing all meals on the weekend so when we return from work, it either needs reheated or veggies simply need to steamed as they've been pre cut. It involves hanging washing on the drying racks instead of using the dryer. It involves using gentle cleaners so my girls can help me. It involves many more things that may seem mundane to many but give me a sense of peace outside my working hours, living true to my values. Jade

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  20. Your sentiments remind me of my grandmother. She didn't just 'survive' through tough times...she thrived. She was an achiever, a contributor and a motivator - as are you.

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  21. Hi Rhonda, thanks for the thought provoking post. I am a 51 year old mother of one young adult. I work full time and long hours in a corporate position. It saps me so much, I only survive each week. I won't be financially free for another 10 years and the thought of it frightens me and wearies me. I live for the weekends when I can barely stay in bed for all the excitement that the day will bring, even simple cooking and cleaning, gardening, reading in the sun, catching a movie will a good pal, walking my dogs. I read your blog because it reminds me of what is ahead and what I am working towards. I don't want to wish away my years, heaven knows they speed by fast enough, but it gives me hope to know that others have attained an interesting and contented life after the corporate slog. Thank you.

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  22. I am excited about the new opportunities in life. Being able to earn an income at home through an on line business saves me so much money. It's so nice not to be stressed out and drained by my work anymore. I made your citrus cleanser and used it last night. The kitchen and bathroom are sparkling this morning. I looked over my notes from your blogging course and felt pleased.

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  23. I just turned 40 and quit my job. I love staying at home and learning new skills. I'm trying to go back to all the simple thing in my life that I remember from my childhood. I am planing to enjoy every moment of my life, the happy ones and the challenging ones too.

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  24. I agree with you. I find it very disheartening to see so many young people who don't know how to cook, clean, mend, or take care of themselves in general, always depending on someone else to do take care of their every need. We seriously live in a throwaway world. I'm 61, and plan on staying active until I drop. I don't do as much as I used to do, but I'm still as active as I can be. I love to work in my yard, cook, clean and enjoy this wonderful gift of living. Thank you for your post, it really made me stop and think about why I choose to live simply.

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  25. Thankyou, Rhonda for the beautiful, thoughtful post. I will be 70 next year and have been retired for 3 years. I feel very fortunate that I am mortgage and debt free. I have been working at simplifying the physical work around my home so that I can enjoy the next years. I just purchased some raised bed boxes so I can continue to grow veg and herbs . It is such a blessing to cook from scratch, make bread, hang clothes in the sun, sew and read. Such simple things but so enjoyable. I love my small life!

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  26. I'm 37 and spend my days chasing my almost 2 year old around, am about to send off my 6.5 year old for her first year of school and am a stay at home with a hubby who's corporate job has brought us to Germany to live for the past 4 years ( from sydney). I'm blessed to be having some time at home with our girls while enjoying working in our home, learning a bit of German, adopting and learning about some new ways of doing things and seeing the world. This move has been the best thing apart from kids, that we have ever done but it has throw up some questions about the life we want if and when we return back to Australia. Sydney has always been home but I now look at the eye watering cost of living and both my husband and I are really rethinking if we want to get back into that pace of life. But we know we are lucky to have choices and feel empowered by possibilities that life won't necessarily go on the directions we thought it would 5 years ago...and that's exciting and terrifying all at once!

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  27. We're in our thirties. Two young children at home, whom we homeschool, and we're living in a fairly rural area where we can have our chickens and enough space to grow fruit trees and expand our garden (a little bit more each year). I work at home as an editor/proofreader and my husband works as an engineer. No debt but the mortgage, and we are working hard to make that go away, because once that's gone a whole lot of possibilities open up. We've got the cooking side of things more or less handled--we both knew how to cook already, and the necessity of switching to a low-sodium diet meant that most processed foods that were in our diet (there weren't that many) are gone now--but we're still learning how to grow a successful garden and while I can knit, learning to sew is still on the (long) list of things to do. :) But we do the best we can, and we're raising our children to be capable and do for themselves. And our kids pay us the high compliment of wanting to be home more than they want to be anywhere else, so I'd say things are pretty good! :)

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  28. Dear Rhonda, You are a wise and inspirational friend. Thank-you so much for all the sharing you do. Have you heard the Graeme Connors song "The Road Less Travelled"? I think you will love it. It has become my theme song...!He is a wonderful Australian songwriter, story teller and musician. Have a great day. Cheers

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  29. Hi Rhonda, I love seeing your photos. I am 56, still working full time, but share your love of home, and the simple life. We had a family celebration this past weekend for my father's 90th birthday. I cooked roasted pork and big free range chicken, because that is what my parents love to eat. Lots of vegetables and my daughter made him a lovely cake. Four generations all together, a day full of love and new memories made. This morning, I woke up knowing my little grandsons were asleep in the next room, and I just heard the 2 year old calling out 'Daddy' to my son. Sweet times indeed. X

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  30. I am seeing the attitude of 'stuff will make me happy' starting to lesson in the southern USA. It is still here but not in my circle of friends for the most part for which I am thankful. We still try to take care of ourselves and do for ourselves and good old ingenuity is still big at our house. We do eat out some because we enjoy just sitting and talking and not worrying about meal prep and clean up but we know that the best food is always at home. We can't do all that we used to but I think we could do more if we just slept better, you know, that aging thing that keeps us up at night for no apparent reason even though we have done everything to make sure we can sleep. We intend to continue to live like this as long as we possibly can and make small adjustments when we need to do so. I certainly do not want to move to a retirement community where they are entertaining themselves to death and spending the day on the golf course or laying around the swimming pool. Not for us!

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  31. I love this post!
    I absolutely love cooking, gardening, mending and making things by myself without rushing to the store for everything. It's a blessing to be able to live a simple life, away from the rat race that the society expect us to be in.

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  32. Hi Rhonda, Brilliant post just at the right time. I'm in my earlyish 30's and my dh and I are planning a big move next year from sw England to Wales. I'm excited but scared as well. But I don't want to live a life with any regrets or feel I didn't try so wish us luck, we're going for it! Xxx

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  33. I like to make things but over production makes me feel overwhelmed. Same with busywork, which is actually the kind of work most people do, paid or otherwise. I really do like to do nothing as a choice, albeit not all the time. By nothing I don't mean tv as I haven't one, I mean nothing at all. Why is that bad? That being said, I am productive within my means.

    I don't shop much as I have little money. Cooking, making etc costs money. Charity shop/thrift shop purchases need money. Raw materials etc for knitting, sewing, mending, cooking and so on need money. Gardening relies on you having a garden, money for tools,seeds etc. Cooking relies on buying ingredients, having equipment buying fuel and so on. When it boils down to it, all the things I need to save money cost money. It is easy to downsize when you start from a good vantage point. If you are poor then I am afraid it is not so easy. Resourcefulness comes at a price, just as everything else does. I have lots of craft skills but I am unable to utilise many of them.

    Also, please can older people (I am not so young) stop pointing fingers at young people and telling them how dreadful they are. They are really not. Besides if they were it would be our fault would it not, as the older generation responsible for the current world and educating the younger people in it.

    So what stage of life am I in? Poor and frustrated with little hope that things will improve as I get older. Trying to stay happy despite the nature of existence if not because of it.

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    1. I think being productive without our means is what we should all be aiming for. And doing nothing isn't bad, I see it as one of the rewards for the work.

      I don't think young people are dreadful. I don't think anyone is. That's quite a generalisation you've made there. From what I know of the young people who read here, they're trying their hardest to live well, just as the rest of us are. And the young people I know in person are wonderful.

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    2. Tour post has bothered me ever since I read it because what I hear is that you have lost your way and all hope. I would like to recommend that you go to The Prudent Homemakers Blog and look under the Live Tab for Encouragement. She has a lot of good thoughts from when she was in your shoes and perhaps it will give you some ideas to begin again.

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  34. Wonderful post. Thank you for your inspiring words. x x x

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  35. Great post! My husband abd I are 71 and 65 respectfully. And yes it's time to smell the roses. We have been traveling these last 3 1/2 months and it's time to take a break.
    I hope Gracies is behaving herself today!

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  36. As I get older, the more I want to live a simple, worthwhile life. I try to savor each day because tomorrow isn't guaranteed.

    Thank you for what you've written as it is nice to know that I'm not the only one in the world whom thinks like that. It's quite disheartening at times to be the only person in my world whom makes the same or similar life choices, but you and your words are always a grounding and comforting force as I trod along the path to a life worth leading.

    Blessings to you and yours.

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  37. Morning Rhonda. I was hoping to see a post as last night I finished reading all through the archives. I just turned 60, hubby is 65, and I work 15 hours a week. It is getting to that feeling of 'cannot wait to finish early next year'. Like you, we are settled in our place. We have lots of herbs and vegetables growing (frost not helping��) and working hard to live as frugally as possible. So now my problem...... I have absolutely no idea what to get my granddaughter for her 9th birthday. We all know younger families and their children own or pay for everything that opens and shuts! No idea at all. We love our simpler life and like you, I'm a bit of a hermit too. I love being home. Catapulting out of bed - umm, I would say never. Hahahaha, I like my bed ��.

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    1. Hello Brigie
      As a mum I am going to start suggesting movie tickets or tickets to events/shows when I am asked what my kids would like for their birthdays. Not sure if that helps you but it's such a waste when they are given toys that break or clothes that they don't like or don't fit. Hope your granddaughter enjoys her special day.

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    2. I don't seem to be able to add a reply to Rhonda's page at the bottom so will pop,it in here too, hope that's ok.
      I am in my early 40's and left my very good job a year ago and have been cooking one or two days a week at a friend's cafe this year which I have really enjoyed. A much gentler pace which allows me to be home much more for my teenage boys. Having worked a lot when they were smaller I really want to be there for them in this stage of their lives which can be pretty critical especially mentally for them. I spend most of my days trying to make home as comfortable and calm as possible for my husband and my boys. I make almost everything from scratch and daydream of being self sufficient and living off the grid. You inspire me constantly Rhonda. I've read all your books and its thanks to you and other like minded ladies I've found online that I've made the choice to live the way I do. I still love going to the shops to look, around but I rarely buy anything as I know I have all I need and more. When I do buy something it's because I love it and know it will work in our home or will get plenty of wear or use etc. We can manage on one income as long as we are careful. Luckily saving money and environmentalism complement each other and once one has the right mindset it's so easy to be happy with wanting and needing less!

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  38. I am a 48 year-old farmwife. We have a 16 year old son at home in his sophomore year of high school, a daughter who is married with 2 babies of her own, and we care for my 86 year-old father in law. My mom told me that my husband and I are in the sandwich generation...meaning we have young kids at home and care for an elderly parent. It's very challenging and frustrating as we have no help from any of my husband's siblings but we muddle through. I love staying home but I do long to go back to work part-time for a little extra money and some social stimulation. I have read your blog since you started writing it and I dearly love your posts and the comments people leave here.

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  39. I've read your blog for a few years now and it is a favorite. I'm in my early 50s and was a child who did not take advantage of the opportunity to learn these things from my mother.

    Since reading your blog I have begun learning all these homemaking tasks. I've also started working towards the vision I have for retirement.


    Instead of waiting until I have more time to learn, I am slowly learning one thing at a time and giving myself grace when things don't go as I planned.

    When I retire I will be abl to keep on keeping on and always learning new.

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    1. That's the best way to do it, Jody. Start now, do what you can and add to it later. I wish you all the best. xx

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  40. I miss that evening thought too. In fact I was talking about just this with my 23 yo daughter last week...how we used to go to bed excited about what tomorrow held, and now it's not like that very often. But it prompted me to evaluate my mindset, to ask myself why the next day has become burdensome and the answers surprised me.
    I'm still a work in progress, and am learning to embrace each day as the gift it is instead of sometimes wishing it away. I hope and pray that soon enough I can let go of my business and just enjoy home making, family, creating for pure joy and purpose. But there's a goal to achieve first, a deposit for our very first home in our 50's.
    Have a wonderful day, Rhonda, and thank you for your ponderings.

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    1. Hi Jenny, I've never thought of my days as burdensome, quite the opposite. I believe that exhilaration cannot last forever. It was there when we were planning, discovering and learning new ways. It's been replaced by contentment and the comforting certainty of daily tasks. I miss that feeling of being so excited about what I was doing that I could hardly wait to get up and start all over again. Good luck with your savings.

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  41. Hi Rhonda, I'm about to hit my fourth decade! And I am getting clearer about what I really want to do with my days, and a lot of that is because of reading here over the years. I want to live simply, work hard doing something I enjoy and spend time with the people I love. I don't want to miss out on my daughter growing up because I am too busy. People say I am lucky I can stay at home. I can stay at home due to careful planning and thinking about our priorities. It isn't luck. I was a teacher by "trade" but that isn't my passion and I'm slowly creating the path I am meant to be on. It is an interesting journey and I'm excited by it!

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  42. Loved the post , very true . I'm at home and I really love it . I keep myself busy and love making all my own cleaning products preserve etc . I'm 40 and feel very much not the norm
    . I have a 13 year old and a very busy husband . I keep the house warm and everyone feed and happy . But most of all I'm happy . Something's I find hard but that's always feel excited about what's next . I have started trying to knit which I'm terrible at but I'll keep trying . I feel happy free and very blessed . I wanted you to know Rhonda your post make my day so much brighter

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    1. Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it. Keep knitting. It's one of those things that starts off slow but pays off if you keep at it. xx

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  43. Oh Rhonda, I absolutely LOVE this post!!! So powerful! You changed my life back in 2013 when I first found your book and then your blog. Over the past few months I'm finally able to live the way I want to live and I'm so happy about this! I just turned 41 and whenever I get sad about missed opportunities, I think I still have a another half of my life (hopefully) to look forward too so if I stay as happy as I am now, I'm winning!!!

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  44. Hi Rhonda
    This really does strike a chord with me too. Although I am not self sufficient, I would love to be. When we had land years ago, we grew our own beef, which we swapped around with friends for dressed birds and mutton. We grew our own veg and raised chooks for eggs and swaps.
    We now live on some very unproductive dirt, and the orientation of our suburban house block is not ideal for gardening. Things don't grow well and are prone to turning up their toes way too easily.
    I found patchwork about five years ago and that has been a sanity saver and the bonus is new skills and improving others. It has given me the confidence to branch out into other craft areas with a great deal of enthusiasm and pride in completing an item and the joy it has brought to both the recipient and myself. I've even dug out the knitting needles and crochet hooks. In this part of the world, nights by the fire with a knitting or crochet project is very rewarding.
    We find our tribe mainly by the values we choose to live by. I too am disheartened with the dumbing down, but then I am uplifted when I know there are people like yourself and the facebook pals I have who choose not to participate.
    Thanks for putting it out there. :)

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  45. Inspiring words as always Rhonda, thank you! Right now we have a teenage relative from Scotland staying with us for a few days. Straight away it´s evident that he is another product of the "ready-made-meals" trend. I saw such a lot of this when I visited my family so I guess I was prepared. So we have two whole generations who hardly know what home cooking is. I can tell you it´s a bit earth-shattering having it under your roof. Instead of appreciation of a lovely lemon butter-roasted chicken etc he´s obviously missing his chicken nuggets. Ah well, food´s not everything (maybe). He´s a nice guy and we will enjoy each other´s company. I´m just so greatful my grown-up children have passed on their interest in home-produced products and the adventure of cooking to our grandchildren.
    PS..I never log-in to google if I can help it so my comments come up as "anonymous"

    Best wishes from Uppsala
    Ramona

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  46. Rhonda, what a wonderful blog. Me too! I'm getting a bit long in the tooth and I have health problems to overcome but I'm still dreaming and scheming but just as importantly I like to think I'm still getting some results on the board. Sometimes we have to adapt but quit? - never! Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration to myself and so many others. Warmest regards to you and Hanno, Wendy

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  47. YES!!!!!!! I just read your post out to Bren and he sat opposite me nodding along. Thank you, I love this post. xx

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  48. This post is so convicting. Very reassuring, and lovely photos! Yesterday I began what I hope will be a habit of making my own bread. We live outside of town and the only store that has the kind of bread that we like to eat is 40 minutes away. Every day I have to reevaluate the bread situation...(do we have enough to last us?) I'm getting so tired of it, and I'm trying to reduce my kitchen waste. All those plastic bags! The bread turned out great, but I was hoping that you have written or could write a post on bread, keeping it fresh without the use of plastic and how to slice it thinly so that it resembles what we are used to for sandwiches. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Melinda. If your bread only lasts a day then store it in a linen bread sack but if it has to last a couple of days, I don't know how to do it without plastic. This is what I do: https://down---to---earth.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/a-healthy-loaf-for-half-price.html

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    2. I used to bake a lot of bread, and have a keeper that allows you to let in humidity or not. It looks like a plastic box but one end fits into the other. On the larger end is a little dial that you can turn to let in air, or not. Also, you can buy a bread slicing guide in plastic or wood; depending of course, upon how much you wish to spend. But if you bake a lot of bread, the items are well worth it and if taken care of, will last for years. YOu can probably find these by googling bread slicers and bread keepers.

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    3. Thanks ladies.I found some 100% linen in my fabric stash and I'm really looking forward to making a bag and giving that a try. I've seen those knives with the guides, very interesting! I might try that, because my daughters tend to cut their pieces too thickish and then a loaf of bread only lasts a day. I'm happy they like it but...

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  49. Greetings from Canada Rhonda..

    I love reading your posts and today's was a great synopsis of what is wrong. You hit it on the nail. Dumbing down is it exactly. It's the modern version of ancient Rome's corn and circus. Doing it for yourself, in a traditional manner should be applauded not ridiculed. Thank you for your posts which keep reminding us of that fact.

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  50. When I had my daughter (27 years ago, where did that go!!) I decided after returning to work part time, it wasn't for me. I wanted to raise my child, so I became a child minder. Time with my daughter was more valuable that having the extra income to have a more lavish lifestyle. I have always been frugal, I upcycle, grow my own, mend clothes and I hate waste. It's very liberating to opt out of the 'spend, spend, chuck away society' and I know that my daughter has the same attitude, which is great.

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  51. Hi Rhonda, what a beautiful and inspiring post! I don't think we are meant to retire - but rather to move on to do more meaningful things, as you are doing. I'm now doing 4 days in an office job, and 2 days "on the land", trying to build us up to live more self-sustainable, hoping to swing that 4-2 equation all the way around! Keep up the good work, it's really inspirational. Martin @ muchmoremulch.blog

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    1. Thanks Martin. I wish you the best with your land work and your office job. At least it's paying the bills now and will help move you towards your dream.

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  52. At 40 years old with my youngest child now 14 years old I find that I am made to feel embarrassed by the fact that I am still a sahm. I have been studying a theology degree (for interest - not for employment) which seems to receive the same sort of ridicule from friends and strangers - why do something with no plans to use it for "work"? I find value in running my household, as does my husband and my children, and yet I often feel guilty that I am not more ambitious or that I am not truly contributing because I do not earn a wage. Reading your blog reminds me that what I do is valuable and important work. I just wish that I could truly believe it deep down myself instead of harbouring guilt and shame about what I do each day.

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    1. You are what you are, Noni, and you give others too much power if you allow them to make you feel embarrassed by your life choices. Many people believe that only those things that give us the ability to make money are valuable. You and I know that isn't true but you'd be wasting your time trying to explain it to your "friends". Try not to think about how others view you and what you do. Just get on with it, work to your best ability, be a good role model for your children and show your detractors, rather than tell them, that life in the slow lane suits you just fine.

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  53. Rhonda, I've been reading your blog for a while now, but of all the posts that I've read here, this might be the one that most resonates with me. It probably has more to do with timing - the right thing to read for where I'm at in my own life now. Thanks for doing what you do.

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  54. l am right with you Rhonda. SOCIETY is being dumbed down ..people are not taught basics for living.
    They need to check before they do so many usual things..with facebook or twitter or whatever. The old suck it and see theory is seen as a frightening thing. l wonder if use by dates did that LOL
    But on the other side we have utube, which has taught me how to service my own vacuum cleaner and my friend , a lady of 60 can now change the belts on her ride on mower.
    l too am in my 60's and love growing and extending my skills every day. GARDEN, CRAFT, PETS, WALKING, COOKING , PRESERVES .
    Today l saw a photo on FB of potatoes wrapped individually in shrink plastic......germs may touch the spud. Oh dear.

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  55. Hi Rhonda,
    As always, an inspiring post. I am a mum of 2, aged 8 & about to be 6. I am 31, work 5 days a week & have been on a zero waste journey for 2 year's now, ever since discovering your blog. I make it a priority to learn one new thing a week - sometimes its something small like a new recipe, sometimes its a new skill - the list goes on.. I want my kids to know that food is planted, grown, picked etc & made by someone, we choose to avoid supermarkets for as much as possible, going to farmers market each weekend, bulk food stores, the butcher etc... All of this is because of your inspiration to get back to "the simple life" and for that I thank you. I continue to learn from you & serveral others & will continue to learn & teach my littlr family the simple way of life. :)

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  56. Im just about to enter my 5th decade of life! 4 decades done. I love your blog and have been following for years. I often feel I was born in the wrong era, like the world is going one way, while I'm going another. It's nice to know there are other people out there who share similar views.
    I believe that having a purpose and a reason to get up in the morning keeps people young. I love reading about how people live in Ikaria Greece. Still farming, producing, making well into their 90's.

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  57. It amazes me what ready made fresh food can be bought in supermarkets nowadays.
    Sliced mushrooms (how hard is it to slice a mushroom up!), prepackaged potatoes with butter and parsley ready to microwave, salads (although they can be a good thing), potato au gratin and many other fresh heat and serve meals.
    I feel fortunate that I came from an era where my mother cooked home cooked meals, lots of lovely casseroles and roasts. I used to use flavour sachets when I first cooked but now I love cooking from scratch and getting the flavour out of the meat. I will be trying your chicken dish soon, it looks like a real winter warmer!

    Cheers - Joolz xx

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  58. I will soon be celebrating my 61st year on this earth, which seems impossible. We are expecting grandbaby #7 in December - another girl. This one will make 5 girls and 2 boys. I am still working a full time job with no expectation of getting to retire anytime soon because I need the insurance and private insurance for someone my age and with preexisting conditions is too expensive for us to afford without the extra income, so I am feeling stuck. By the time I get home, check on the chickens, play with the dog, water the gardens, prepare a meal and clean up the kitchen, I have little energy to do much more than sit and watch mindless TV shows. My husband helps where he can, but at 67 with heart problems I don't ask him to do much other than keep our property (11.5 acres) maintained. Occasionally I muster up the energy to sew a bit, but not as much as I would like. I currently have 3 baby quilts in process and hope to complete them by the end of this month, but I will have to push other things aside in order to accomplish that. My Mother and my Mother-In-Love are both in their late 80's and we touch base with them daily. They are both having mostly minor health issues, so we are blessed in the respect, but keeping up with them, along with everything else, has its challenges. I am blessed to have all of our children and grandchildren within an hours drive and try to see them as often as possible. Most of them are involved in sports and we try to attend games when we can. Hopefully my health will stay good and I will be able to do some of the things I dream of doing after I retire. I would love to add a few goats to our place, sew more, bake more and spend more time with my husband.

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  59. I am 56 years old and heading into the same life stage as you, Rhonda. I keep telling myself that I have a good 30 years left LOL My paternal grandmother lived to be 100, my maternal grandmother lived to be 86 and, although my mother suffers with Alzheimer's, she is 84. My father is 78 so yes, I think another 30 years at least ;)

    I am slowing down a bit too but I won't admit it 100%. A lot of my drive has got up and gone so I try to plan the most busiest and active time of my day for early morning through noon. I realize that I won't live forever and that one of these days I will most likely be housebound but I'm trying to make good choices daily and feel GRATEFUL that I have lived as long as I have.

    Love your blog! You have a wistful way with words and I really like that.

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  60. Just discovered your amazing blog through 'Flow Magazine - simplify your life- an older one I just tumbled in again. I love to find people living a "real" life where the basics like daily making fresh dishes, family, handworks,creativity are all valuable matters. Oh I could talk hours about that ... wish you all the best .

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