This second book I am grinding away at is not funny. It is airy-fairy. It’s psychological. It is more ‘explanatory’ and deals a bit more with how to make the move, how to transition, what steps to take and what to expect. How it all feels. It’s about the thinking process and the shift from one way of living to another. I am writing it from the perspective of having done it but having done it without knowing what I was doing at the time. I still don’t. Not really. I am still in transit.
Still, this book is about hindsight, partial hindsight – hindsight while still underway.
For example; one of the little weird, odd things I have discovered is how much time, interest, learning and investigating alternative energy took up. It seemed to be the number one topic from the get-go. I was attracted to the technology and I felt that I had to know all there was to know. Then I had to get a ‘good deal’ and put together a ‘good system’. The energy system became the focus, the iconic symbol of the effort to move off the grid.
I was talkin’ solar panels while still living in the cul de sac. In retrospect, it was like a flag is to a movement, a leader is to a country, a loss-leader is to a supermarket. It’s a symbol.
To be fair, talkin’ trash about alternative energy is part of the fun. It’s new and evolving and there is so much to learn. But, by way of making my point, people who move off the grid also talk a lot about sewage and water. Somehow, we think OTG is all about power, poop and pipes.
Those topics have to be dealt with, of course, but they are not the essence of moving off the grid. It is true that ‘the grid’ is all about power, poop and pipes but, if that was all there was to it, one could move off the grid simply by moving in to the garage. Moving and living off the grid is 10% alternative systems, 90% lifestyle shift.
OTG is some new kind of different culture, some new kind of mindset, it is a different way of spending your time on the planet. Flicking a switch to get power from a different source does not make a person OTG. Even peeing in the woods doesn’t do it. Living OTG is a shift in perspective, values, behaviours and possibly, relationships. It is like moving to another country. A third world country at that.
Of course, those topics are very subjective and personal. It is hard to wrap your head around attitudinal shifts to the point that you can talk about it. It is hard to imagine a new perspective until you get one. Adding up your electrical needs is so much more graspable. Piping in water is simpler to understand. Newbies fixate on systems for the simple reason that they are needed and they are different from before when they lived in the cul de sac. We know that stuff is going to change. For many of us, we fixated on carpentry, too, simply because we hadn’t done it before – but now we are doing it and so it falls back in to the mundane. Those topics are tangible, present and necessary. They are also easy.
Still, the initial discussions: Lets talk poop, power and pipelines.
But the real topics are mental. They are philosophical. They are attitudinal. They are the reconstruction of ways of thinking. The real topics are hard to talk about because they are deep in our psyche, they are still changing, they are about life.
I am trying to give that a shot. Feel free to help.