Born for another time
One thing I have said most of my life is that I was born at the wrong time. In middle school and high school I actively reenacted the American revolution. Sometimes on the side of British highlanders, towards the end as continental artillery. It’s where I developed my love of kilts.
One weekend per month all technology was left behind and we truly lived as they did in the late 1700s. I loved the simplicity of it all even that young. As I got older, I never really lost my love for simplicity. I have always embraced somewhat of a minimalist lifestyle. My retreats and vacations always involved roughing it. There was no better place than in the woods living out of a tent.
This was abandoned for a few years of my life. I met a girl, fell for her but this was not her world at all. She was the city girl who loved shopping and eating out. In an attempt to please her and give her everything, I completely abandoned myself. And my lifestyle became much more urban as well. I worked as a tattoo artist in a downtown area. Living above the shop and spending all my time in alleyway pubs and local coffee shops.
This led me to a dark place of alcohol and drugs and a deep depression. The endless parties and shady people of the inner-city urban lifestyle I found myself in completely destroyed who I once was, or so I thought.
Fast forward to 2010 and I start thinking about some things, especially the economy. We had just come out of the great recession, and I was aware of how vulnerable things seemed and I had this fear that they may get worse than that was one day. Kind of funny looking at the world right now with the supply chain issue. But I decided that summer that I was going to grow a garden. And that sent me into the world of homesteading.
One thing I’ve always embraced is the old ways of doing things. I’ve always collected antiques or old photos. I enjoyed exploring old tobacco barns and houses. I chose the house I was renting on purpose because it was built in 1870. And that old saying was so very common. I was born in the wrong generation. I should have been born 200 years ago, etc.
This mentality took me awfully close to becoming a homesteading purist. If you don’t understand what that term is, it is someone who believes homesteading is only true homesteading when the tools and techniques you use are as old and labor-intensive as possible. We’re talking about digging gardens with a hoe, or maybe a mule and disc verses a tiller or refusing to cover a row of plants with plastic to prevent frost from settling on them because plastic sheeting didn’t exist 100 years ago. The examples can be many, but you get the idea.
At one time I would only own hand tools or manual powered items. Like a meat grinder or a grain mill. My thought was I can make it if everything goes down. Grid, economy, zombie apocalypse, whatever. And honestly, these still aren’t a bad thing to have. For those reasons, and probably for more because I live in a hurricane-prone area and have had to go days at a time without power more than once from a storm.
Eventually, I figured out I was being dumb by restricting myself to only the hand-powered basics and began incorporating more modern tech into my farm. Solar panels, power tools, electric kitchen gadgets, etc. I adopted this mentality that there is no reason to not use modern tech whenever you can. Homesteading isn’t the easiest thing in the world, make something easier if you can, whenever possible.
This shift in mentality is what led me to the thought that many of you have seen on Twitter, and the reason several of you signed up for my newsletter.
The thought of being born in the wrong generation can be a strange and even depressing thought. There are a lot of people out there that look back into history and long for a simpler time and a simpler way of life that our forefathers and ancestors experienced. Wake up with the sun, grow and raise your own food, hunting, fishing, and foraging, and then come home and go to bed with the sun.
A life free of the modern rat race, the commutes, the cubicles, the awful coworkers, the micromanaging bosses. The bills upon bills, the stresses upon stresses that all accompany the modern way of life. Through this discontent with the modern times and this longing for ages past, we end up experiencing generational dysphoria.
People tell me how lucky that I am that I was able to leave the rat race behind, the commutes, and coworkers, and while that is true, there are still taxes, power bills, cell phone bills, etc. I didn’t leave it all behind. And honestly, society is set up that there is a heavy requirement to leave it all behind.
Society is designed to keep us in it. The toll to leave is high. The price is more expensive than a lot of people can or are willing to pay. Not just finically but socially as well. People like me are labeled hermits and looked at strangely because this isn’t normal. And like I said, I still haven’t fully left society, and probably won’t ever.
The flip side of this is the acceptance that I am where God, or whatever cosmic energy exists, wants me to be. And because of this acceptance, I can say that I was placed here not so that I can long for another time, but so that I can keep the spirits of my ancestors alive in these modern times. I can make sure that everything they went through for millennia was not for waste.
I see a lot of people, from office workers to Social Justice Warriors running around, miserable, not building or creating, just existing, and wondering what their ancestors would think. Thousands of years of struggle and hard work for someone to waste away in their parent’s basement playing video games.
No, I won’t be that. I hail from a long line of Appalachian hill folk. They worked hard for generations to make sure I exist. And while I will work on building for myself, I will also ensure that their knowledge and skills are not forgotten. That they didn’t sacrifice in vain. I will pass it on to my kids and as society continues to evolve, and new skills are created and learned, the old pearls of wisdom will be in the background, quietly urging my descendants on.
So no, I wasn’t born in the wrong generation. I was born right when I was supposed to be. And because of that, my ancestors will live on into my descendants, and I will live on in my descendants as well.