And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Double Life

In a lot of respects, I am two separate people trying to live the same life. First, there is the "Modern Woman" Barefoot. I work full time at a very difficult, thankless, but surprisingly rewarding job. I am always running Big Sprout to some activity or Little Sprout to Dr. appts (amazing how many of those babies need, huh?), the normal suburban mom stuff. I browse on the computer, grocery shop, run errands, pay bills, etc. just like millions of other women do daily. I worry about college funds and car repairs, watch (very little) TV, go out to bars, listen to rock n roll, and basically live a "normal" life.

The other side of me is the "Earth Mother" Barefoot. Or what my bro affectionately calls being a hippy. I know he thinks I am a little flaky, and sometimes I agree, but I can't deny my need to decrease my "footprint" on the planet and move away from the increasingly frantic pace of modern life. I love my time spent in the garden, I experience moments of profound spirituality while playing in my "grownup sandbox". I feel immense pride in every meal I provide with my own hard work and the good graces of Mother Nature. This part of me loves classical and traditional Celtic music, but much prefers it played live rather than on a recording. It is proud to accomplish things with time and hard work rather than money. This side of me moves at a much slower pace than it's counterpart.

My multiple personalities would be no problem, except for the fact that often their needs oppose and interfere with each other. It is very difficult to work full time, come home, put 2-3 hours of hard work into the garden every day, and still manage to not become a stranger or cranky hag to my family. Not to mention the cleaning and processing of everything I take out of the garden. I don't mind putting the time into my garden. I would much rather quit my job and focus more on growing and preserving my harvest and spending time with my family. I would much prefer to spend my days providing my family with a clean home and healthy meals than sleeping while they are awake and heading off to work every night at bedtime. Since that is not an option (yet), I am struggling to juggle the constant needs of garden, family, and pocketbook. Add to that my various hobbies (scrapbooking, photography, crocheting, needlepoint, furniture refinishing, among others), and you have a serious shortage of time in every day and week as well as one frazzled Barefoot. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to quit with the garden and get a second job to get us to a place financially where I really could quit work for good and do what I want to. But that seems like a step in the wrong direction. At least doing things this way, I am gaining practical experience in a situation where failure is not life threatening. And I do think I would shrivel up and die like a plant without water if I cut myself off from the dirt. Still, I am constantly evaluating exactly how realistic my plan really is. Sometimes I feel positive, and sometimes I feel like I am stuck in a hopeless rut.

For now, I will continue as I am. I will just keep on hoping that perseverance will win out in the end.

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