Sunday, 30 October 2016

Prison or Promised Land?



Beets fresh from the self-watering
vegetable box garden.


The inextricable thing about most of the goals I have set myself during my life is that I have not been delighted once the goal is achieved.....or at least not for long. The very 'promised land' that I was striving for ended up quickly becoming a 'prison'. (Snort) you'd think I would have suspected something was 'up' after years and years of this situation repeating itself, but uh-uh - nope.....I just kept repeating the same thing and expecting a different outcome.


Here are some examples:

I would set a career goal, work through the steps and behaviours necessary to achieve the goal, get the fancy new job (complete with a 'life-changing' pay rise)....and within two weeks would feel imprisoned by a whole new wave of responsibilities and corporate responsibilities. Enter deep anxiety.

Houses.....we have moved house over 25 times in our 27 years of marriage mainly looking for a better spot, a better suburb, a better life, a better situation, a better.....whatever. We would lug ourselves through yet another move and inevitably the 'wonderful, new, fix-all-our-problems' house would be no more a home than the last place - just more expensive. A new prison of financial commitment.

Churches.  We were both brought up as avid church-goers. We were on every committee possible, turned up to every single event like clock work, we taught, we gave, we shared, we changed churches every time something went 'wrong' truly believing that idealism was just around the corner and was possible. Every new congregation seemed like the promised land but inevitably ended out being just another emotional and social prison.

Cars - shiny new ones.  How much better would life be with a swanky new car?  MUCH better! The elation only ever lasted for two car loan installments. After two car loan installments got paid, the budget (ha! such as it was) would quickly fall over and turn into a session of me sitting up all night staring at the budget spreadsheet figuring out how to pay for the tin-god-on-wheels in the driveway. There is nothing quite like a shiny, air-conditioned prison with power steering. Meh.

You get the drift.


A rare special treat for date night. Once upon a time we used to eat out
every day for at least one meal.



Leaning into a new life

For the last three years (since the kitchen spray incident), we have been leaning into a new life. It is a life of less, a life of slower, a life of taking responsibility for our previous lack of financial integrity (AKA fiercely paying off consumer debt), planning to make the last 1/3 of our lives livable. We are only just beginning to forgive ourselves for stuffing up our lives this far - it is harder than we expected. Our new life is still unfolding and manifesting itself....and this  is a wonderful thing.

The most powerful things for me have been shifting my thinking, rewriting my pathways of logic, incrementally reinventing my life meaning and seeing a real sense of hope and possibility manifesting itself. I also am teaching myself to use my emotions for better outcomes.....that is a huge shift for me.

The things I once thought were promise lands I now see as prisons and the things I once saw as prisons (simplicity, quietness, self-reliance, productivity, healthy living, limited objectives, agrarianism, frugality, calmness, home, kindness, self-validation, private faith and home economy) I now see as truly achievable promise lands.


Toshi the cat pretending she is the head chicken keeper.
Pan the rabbit getting a little hug too.



Take care folks....and stay nice.


Mr HM

19 comments:

  1. Mr Homemaker wrote: The things I once thought were promise lands I now see as prisons and the things I once saw as prisons (simplicity, quietness, self-reliance, productivity, healthy living, limited objectives, agrarianism, frugality, calmness, home, kindness, self-validation, private faith and home economy) I now see as truly achievable promise lands.

    Me too Mr Homemaker. :-)

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    1. Thanks happyathome. The community of like minded folks world-wide make this path so much easier

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  2. Yes Phil, I think many of us feel the same. The promise for me to have a professional career, to be a Mum, to advance my skills.....It didnt resonate with me in the end. When I took a couple of years off to simply be at home....That was a transformative time for me.

    Now I am re-entering the work force, but on my terms. With no fully understanding the cose of my decisions. In a completly different area. With a completely different understanding and lens on how I see the world and my place within in.

    The church can be a difficult thing. Remember it is a church full of broken, human people. When we can change the way we look at it, just as we change the way we look at our lives and what we expect to gain from it....well it becomes easier to accept and love. The church can be messy, because people are messy. But there is beauty in that messyness. The more "real" down to earth people in the church willing to speak truthfully about our humaness, our faith, the stronger it becomes I believe.

    Go gently Phil, Your doing just great.
    Much love,
    Em
    xx

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thanks Em.....I'll chew on those thoughts for a while.

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  3. So glad things are on the up and up for you after all those years, Mr HM. I am sure you have inspired a lot of others along the way as well.

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    1. You were one of my very first inspiring writers and supporters Nanna Chel. This is your win/success too. Never underestimate the quiet impact you have on others' lives.

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    2. May I second that Phil, and also send my own vote of thanks to Chel?

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    3. Yes indeed, I so agree with everything you have written here. But you have done the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time. Me too. We are largely the product of our education system. (Another 'brick in the wall') Then we have been heavily influenced by the organisations in which we worked. (Another cog in the wheel) Everyone on the same road headed the same way. I didn't meet too many people going in the opposite direction. I too was brought up as an avid church goer and remained so for many years. I still love God and the bible and other spiritual writings but at this stage I prefer not to be part of a church. I have also joined and left a couple of political parties. When I look back I see I have gained lots of experience and lots of knowledge - now I am working on gaining wisdom. ;-)

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    4. Thanks Sheri Mac - now is the season for wisdom - it is slowly happening...very slowly.

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  4. What was the kitchen spray incident?

    I describe myself as a person of faith, but I've never graced the steps of a church, because I could never find a "religion" that aligned with my beliefs, so I like the way you use the term private faith, it describes me perfectly. Us humans always trying to fit into a "box" aren't we!

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    1. The kitchen spray post is the in post roll. Small but life changing.

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  5. Consumerism has taken over, here in the UK our economy is based on people spending. Back in the 70's and 80's we were dazzled by all the shiny new things, we purchased and then wanted bigger and better, and the whole bubble grew, fueled by TV and magazines showing how to live a perfect life. How we looked down on those who could not afford or worse did not want our shiny lifestyle, everything was built on desire. The stress of paying for it, long hours working with longer time driving, getting home too knackered to enjoy what we had, too busy to see we had a nice lifestyle, just wanting the next new whatever. Oh to do my life again, how very different it would be. Good post thank you.

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    1. Thanks Marlene - this mirrors my life version too.

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  6. well written
    we learn from our mistakes & our life experiences, not all of us are blessed with knowing how we want to live at 25, most get it much later
    great post
    thanx for sharing

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  7. I hear ya! Happy Sunday night.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts..
    I read so many blogs and seldom comment. I don't like admitting this as I believe it's selfish to take and not give back. However your words could have been written by me. So many hobbies, plans,religions,time spent acquiring the latest thing that would bring me happiness. Of course it never did.
    Today I embrace the simple life of less. I managed to do as you are doing - pay off all my debts accumulated from trying to fit my self into an image and lifestyle that left me hollow.
    I wish you well in your journey.

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    1. We're are all in this together. Great to hear from you Justme

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  9. Another brilliant and brave post. Now I'm dashing off to look at the kitchen spray post... intrigued!

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