Several years ago I came across the website of a California urban homesteading family. This family had two or three grown children who lived at home with them. The whole family "farmed" their little city lot, providing food for their family and to sell to local restaurants.
Damien and I had never dreamed of a "house in the country" or attempting the modern day homesteading that is popular in certain circles these days. We loved many aspects of Maine urban living, including Damien's walk to work. As long as we had our weekend fix in the mountains we were quite happy with city living.
But urban homesteading, like this family was doing in California, now this was new to me. (This was before urban homestead blogs hit the blogosphere big time.)
We lived on a small city lot, where we planned to stay. Perhaps we could build a little homestead there? Like SouleMama, in the city.
Problem is, I'm not married to a homesteader guy. I'm married to an adventurer. A man who's internal compass points to the mountains, not the farm.
In my last post Walking the Same Path, I talked about how Damien and I have worked to a build common vision in our marriage. Sometimes one of us leads and the other follows in our journey towards a common goal.
But if one of us has a dream and isn't willing or able to lead, that dream is probably not going anywhere. Such was the fate of my urban homestead dream.
Unlike that family in California, I lived in Maine, with a much shorter growing season. I had three young children who were not a significant help in my gardening endeavors and my life partner was not all that interested in growing things.
You see, there was another dream we both wanted to pursue. And that dream was to bring Damien home, to work together, and to build a location independent livelihood. We wanted a lifestyle that allowed us the freedom we now enjoy. Freedom to work from home, to travel and adventure, and to raise and educate our children together.
To realize this dream took everything we had to give (and then some). There were a lot of things I let go of, the urban homestead idea being one.
We all have to let go of some dreams to embrace new ones. In the process of letting go we experience both loss and fear.
The loss part is obvious, after all, we're letting go of something. But we're letting go of that thing to grab hold of something else. We're not left empty handed.
There have been times this past year where I have mourned my losses, that's only natural and I try be compassionate with myself as I experience that sorrow. But in the pain of those moments I also have to gently remind myself of all the goodness I am holding right here in my hand because of letting go of something else. Goodness that is easy to take for granted because it's so much a part of my life now. Our current home in the mountains, growing my writing work, and sharing everyday living (parenting, homeschooling, income-earning, etc.) with Damien. This was what we wanted. This was what I wanted.
Letting go of old dreams to embrace new ones is a frightening prospect also. We fear losing part of ourselves.
If I let go of this dream so I can pursue something else, am I still me?
Yes! You are. But you may be a different you, and that's ok. Not different in personality, temperament, or core life values. But different in life experience.
And this is where letting go of old dreams and embracing new ones gives us our greatest gift - our personal growth.
I don't want an urban homestead anymore. I love living where we do. I do miss my garden though, especially this time of year.
I will garden again someday and I might even have a small not-so-urban homestead but there are other things I am tending and growing right now - homeschooling our kids, my writing, and a working partnership with my husband. It's a good dream and it's a good life.
I wonder what the next dream will be?
Have you struggled with letting go of one dream to embrace another? Any words of wisdom to share?