When we first began living off the grid, we were somewhat amusing for ‘watchers’ in a slap-stick, city-guy kinda way. It seemed that most of my blog reports were based on (my) injuries and projects not working out. (And I did not even write a blog for the first six or seven years! That was because I was either too tired or too wrecked ) . Sal and I were pretty hapless and, at times, pathetic in our efforts. We were classic ‘newbies’ trying to learn the OTG ropes.
Of course, time heals all wounds and gives scars and lessons as rewards. We learned. We got better. We are NOT GOOD, but we are better. But, as we learned more, we also got older. As we implemented better systems, we NEEDED those systems more. And, as the major financial hemorrhaging waned as the empire got established, the empire also started to show some wear and tear and the revenue stream – such as it was – trailed off. In other words, it was two steps forward, fall down, get up, fall two steps backwards. Get more First Aid supplies. For the most part, we are keeping up with the changes but, at this stage, we are not getting ahead.
Actually, that state of being was to be expected. We started late. I was 56. Sal was younger. And we had a LOT to learn, not the least of which was how to build crap. I have not mastered crap-building yet but most of it won’t fall down – at least not for 15 more years. We tried to build to the 30 year rule and we have been here 15 years…ergo, we have 15 theoretically ‘engineered’ years left. We’ll see. I do NOT have 15 years more of ‘healing wounds’ left, that’s for sure.
This weird, push-pull influence of doing and failing, learning skills but losing the energy to employ them, gelling as a work-team but seeking more time with individual hobbies, becoming more anti-social while doing more for community and living every day in the moment but also writing about it for posterity…it is the natural dichotomy of life, I suppose. But that dichotomy shows up MORE and more out here. I see the two steps forward, two steps back-thing alla time. There is definitely less physical trauma but, of course, that has been more than made up for by the magic of aging. I used to groan as I lifted a log. Now I groan as I get out of the chair. There is a poetic element to it all…..there may even be some more falling down in our future.
“So, why tell us?”
Because I see it in others, too. ON-gridders thinking of getting off-grid. They wish to trade one life for another. And they will (if they leap) be pleased with their decision. They will learn a new lifestyle. New skills. And they will begin to ‘fit in’. But, as they do, they will also age and the world will continue to race on in the ‘other’ direction. They will be left out. The city will become more like the hive it is, OTG will become more ‘hill-billy’ than it currently is. The division will become a chasm. Rural folk and OTG will become the new marginalized and we will be THANKFUL for that.
It is a weird observation….