Monday, 23 August 2010

Time to reflect on how far we have come

A few of my activities today have put me in reflective mood. Our little baby boy is no longer a baby, but a talkative and independent twenty-two month old! Time has flown and much has changed since he was born, in the last year especially.

Some of the important things that we have done in the past twelve months:

Finances - We have paid off £2000 debt. This is perhaps the most exciting thing to reflect on. I know that we could have done even better than this, but we afforded ourselves a few luxuries along the way. Even so, two credit cards are now gone, and we no longer have overdraft facilities. Every month we have a little money put aside spare, which is a position I never imagined we would be in for the next decade! We have also transferred the majority of the remainder of the debt to 0% interest rates, which means that we will be able to pay it off faster every month.

Home - We have been on a massive decluttering mission this year. We have charity bagged, chucked out and car booted possessions that I had deep emotional (read 'hoarding instinct') attachments to just a few years ago. the house is clearer (though by no means complete) and our lives are lighter. Hopefully other people benefited from our stuff too. We also invested in some solid furniture as ours wore out; I think we finally grasped the importance of quality and beauty and functionality over quantity.

Practical skills - Over the last few years we have been knuckling down and learning the skills for true self reliance. So new found money management skills aside:

  • This year I have put much more effort into the garden and developing my food growing skills; and from just a few containers our harvest over the next few months is looking promising. I am branching out into winter crops this year too. Unfortunately I haven't learnt the art of war against caterpillars. There's always next year...

  •  Our home brewing (OH's) and wine making (mine) enterprise is going well and is very satisfying work . OH is about to start his first non-kit, from mash brew. I have plans for lots of foraged fruit wines and perhaps some cider in the months ahead. As well as the finished product (which has an uncanny ability to win you friends and influence people!), I find the whole process fascinating. 

  •  I have developed my knitting and crochet beyond basic stitches and simple shaping. Now I wonder every time I need a soft furnishing or item of clothing, 'can I knit that?'. Being able to make basic items like socks, hats and gloves to keep us warm comforts me deeply.
  • I can finally bake a loaf of good bread, along with lots of other baked/skillet staples.
Parenting - we have had to learn patience, tolerance and a  good dose of selflessness. But thankfully our little boy teaches us as painlessly as possible, with the most fun and smiles he can muster (which is a LOT). Oh, and when handed a pooey baby, I can close off my smell receptors and have that baby cleaned and pinned in a terry cloth before others have stopped retching - which is good progress for an only child that was never entirely sold on being a parent.

I realise now that we are closer to living our dreams than I usually give credit for. It is so easy to focus on what we don't have, what we want to be doing and what we don't feel we are doing well enough. I know now that goals and dreams are built one and every moment at a time, until you arrive at the place where you want to be. If the goals are the right ones for you, then the journey will be as enjoyable as the destination.

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