I nursed the self-sufficiency daydream for the better part of twenty years. Though it flared up inconstantly and intermittently – usually when I felt particularly demotivated and disillusioned by events in my day-to-day life – it was always there in the back of my mind, simmering away like a small pot of gravy on the back burner.
The daydream involved buying a parcel of land, building an off-the-grid house, learning how to farm and tend animals, and living a life in peace and tranquility far away from the maddening world. Occasionally, I invested small chunks of time into researching all of the previously mentioned points. Yet as the years ticked by, I remained in big cities and my self-sufficiency daydream remained bubbling on the back burner.
When we moved to Hungary four years ago, we spent the first year in an apartment in downtown Sopron. With a population of approximately 90,000, Sopron is a village compared to the cities we used to live in, but my wife and I had grown tired of living in apartments and urban settings, and we began to look around for a house in the countryside.
We went to view an old house with a 1500 square meter garden in a small village thirty kilometers away from Sopron. The house came complete with a well, pigsties, a small barn, a chicken coop, a smokehouse, rabbit hutches, raspberry bushes, fruit trees, and a large, neglected vegetable garden. Though the self-sufficiency daydream was more-or-less dormant in my head during this time, it did not take me long to realize the previous owner had succeeded in establishing, at bare minimum, a semi self-sufficient life for himself on the property. This recognition became a major buying point for me despite my overall abandonment of the self-sufficiency daydream years before.
Over the past three years, I have invested time and money into renovating the house, but I have left the pigsties, chicken coop, and all the rest of it neglected and unused. My wife plants a small vegetable garden every spring, enough for a few fresh tomatoes and peppers in July and August, but the vast majority of the yard remains uncultivated. The other day I experienced the following flash realization - I possess the thing for which I had yearned most of my adult life, yet I feel little motivation to utilize the potential the property offers.
As I thought about this, I slowly realized my self-sufficiency daydream always had more to do with my past situations than it did with any authentic desire to construct an independent, agrarian-based lifestyle. I now know that the self-sufficiency daydream roared like a hot fire whenever I was in situations that went against my person and destiny, and cooled considerably when circumstances aligned closer to my being.
It appears my being aligns well with my current circumstances and, for the most part, I must be doing what I should be doing because I never feel the yearning to create the kind of self-sufficient life I had daydreamed about in the past. That the means to do so are now firmly within my possession makes it all the more ironic.
In any case, I plan to fix the chicken coop this summer and landscape the yard to create a place for a huge vegetable patch I would like to plant next spring. I may not feel like becoming self-sufficient or semi self-sufficient now, but one never knows what the future may hold. One thing is certain – if I ever again feel the need to disentangle myself from the maddening world, I will not have to waste any more time daydreaming about it.