The importance of community
I feel that by far the hardest part of voluntary simplicity and living with a degree of self-sufficiency for me is not sourcing local produce or growing what I can where I can, it is the choice of opting out of certain social activities, the choice to not be part of the mainstream, living the ideology. What years ago would be common knowledge and family traditions now is unusual and carried out by a select few.
What has become the norm for me still requires me to have to explain to friends and family the reasons behind such behaviour. I find it hard sometimes to keep up my ethics and motivation, as even though this way of life is carried out by thousands of people across the world, for me amongst my friends I am still the pioneer. This sometimes gives me a feeling of responsability, to have to prove how things can work, to myself and especially to my family who may have given up something for the ability for me to experiment. Luckily I have a very understanding wife who supports me, but as much as I need the support of my family what I crave is the ability to discuss and share experiences with others. In our modern consumer lives we have lost not just traditions but the most importantly communal knowledge, the passing down of skills through generations. What is sad is that of all of my family and friends possibly two grow some of there own veg and dabble in brewing etc. I do not feel in any way superior to those who don’t but rather we all lack a common goal.
Even though the internet has provided me with information and forums to discuss, these such forums like selfsufficientish.com and rivercottage.net has made available this type of community and been vital to my successes in keeping to my goals, however these are only virtual, only on hand to offer advice rather than support or physical help. It is hard to be the only one but knowing that there are others out there gives me the confidence to carry on.