The times of my life that I was most unfocused and drifting were the times that I really didn’t plot and plan anything in general. It was the times that were stressful or difficult and I was in auto-pilot just trying to get from day one to day two. My dreams would be vague… more money, do artsy things, own a farm. But I did little to really make them happen, and felt depressed when life seemed dull and routine.
That’s sort of like sitting around waiting for Prince Charming and never opening the door or looking out the window for his arrival. In fact, it’s really like shuttering your house, living in the basement and just eating off a stash of old weird food. Sometimes you just doom yourself to failure because you are a lazy dreamer. You can’t even put much effort into your heart’s desire or even just a good decent plan to make life better.
You can ask my children, I am a plotter and a planner. I mull over ideas for days and weeks. I talk about them with them, I listen to suggestions, I search the internet, and I read a lot. I draw things out, I rattle over them in my early mornings and my late nights. I have journals that I’ve written in for years and years. And I do to-do cards and lists and all that jazz. I actually have this wonderful habit that I learned several years ago… just before I let myself drift off to sleep, I pre-program my day. I run through what I hope to accomplish, see myself doing the tasks, running the errands, doing the project. It doesn’t take long, but it seems that the days I preplan in that manner are the days that are much smoother and pleasant.
Sure, many days do not go as planned, but far more do, then don’t. And it’s relaxing to lay there and think, I’ve got it covered and I think it will go this way. Sometimes I surprise myself when I actually do something exactly as I had considered it the night before. Step by step.
I love to drive long distances because it’s my best plotting and planning time. Sometimes I can just mindlessly listen to music or the radio, but usually, I drive without much other than my brain wandering through plans, or chatting with my girls about plans and working them out.
I’m so pleased to see them doing the same. We are working on creative fencing ideas for the farm… cheap, free materials and clever combinations. Well, we were standing out back and moving some shipping crates that we had scored and Maggie tells me that she has a plan to move the water trough to the back, and to place it in a way that it catchs a lot of rainwater off the big barn. And she knows just where she’s going to place it and that she wants to get another for the other side and perhaps install a strip of gutter to really catch the rain. Hmmmm. Cool idea. No, wonderful idea! I said, yeah, sure, that’s awesome and she smiled and went to get it started. An hour later, stage one is done and it started to rain a bit and I’ll be darned if that idea wasn’t brilliant. It started to fill up. I asked her about it and she said she thought it up on the car ride home the night before! I love it.
I truely believe the reason we have this little homestead is because we planned for it in a way that we held it in our hearts and our minds and made it happen. I stopped dreaming and planning in vague manners about 3 years ago. I read “The Secret” and though I don’t believe in all the stuff they talk about, I do believe that anything you set your mind to, will have a much better chance if you really believe it can happen. I love the quote by Henry Ford…. “Either you believe you will succeed or you believe you will fail, either way, you’re right.” One of the things that really hit home was the goals and plan making. How so many people just dream wildly and vaguely. “I’d like to make more money….” “I wish my job was better” “I’d like to start a business someday…” And that was about it.
I found that the more distinct and complete my planning and dreaming was, the better the chance of it coming true. And it wasn’t just fairy dust and manifesting stuff outta the blue. It was working towards the goals, even a teeny bit a day or a week. It was looking up information, learning about skills, working out things, even little things and visualizing how I really wanted things.
If you could see into my head, the visions I had for our family homestead back a year and some ago, when the three of us were sitting around a few days after the new year, and talking about our dream place… and then compare them to our home now? It would be just amazing. I mean, it’s just such the perfect realization of all we wanted. And the odd thing, is that the majority of rural homes/small farms out here are NOT what we have. They are usually flat open pieces of land, without a lot of improvement, where perhaps a family farm split off a few acres here and there, or maybe the old house and a barn or two outbuildings are still there but the trees and such are sparse. Our little farm is really different than a lot of the places we have seen and would have considered. We have lots of buildings, lots of trees, a wild space, pastures, a little dry-bed creek that fills up when it rains, and a hedge around most of the property. All in a tidy little 3 acres that we can deal with. And bought outright, no mortgage. Just amazing. And we found it about 2 days after we sat there and discussed all we wanted… it was years before our “5 year plan” and we were struggling at best, dealing with a divorce and foreclosure of a home, bad credit issues and a lot of little what-ifs that made it seem like an unbelievable dream come true in the face of a less than perfect situation!
So, yep, I really do think that if you want to accomplish some things in this life, you really need to make concrete goals, plans and formalize your dreams. I think that when you share those dreams with others, you just never know what doors you might be opening and the connections and such you might make. I remember driving home from a music gig with my buddy Jeff one night, and just talking and such, like you do to pass the time. And then out of the blue, I just told him that one day, he was going to be our realtor and that we were going to buy a little farm and that it would be one of the best days of my life. Now, mind you, I’d never really told him that, that I was into farming and animals and such and aside from some radical gardening, I don’t think he would have ever imagined in a million years that I was totally a homesteading geek… but thank goodness, he just smiled and said, he couldn’t wait to help out when that day came.
I learned a good lesson that night. Don’t rain on other people’s parade.
So many times in my life, I’ve shared ideas and dreams with friends and family and usually, they are met with opposition. Or at the least, gentle criticism that is usually negative. I believe we all do it. And yet, the thing that I have really come to understand, is that it’s so incredibly unfair of us to make a snap judgement over something that a loved one has put a lot of personal thought into and has shared with us. It takes a lot of energy to share deep thoughts with someone, and how unfair of us to shoot them down with just a knee-jerk reaction. Of all the people I know, Jeff is one of the best examples of how to REALLY deal with people’s ideas and dreams. He listens and nods, and then just sort of tells you, “great… hey, let me know how that turns out…” or “go for it, how can I help?” Even totally weird ones, he just smiles and says, “Hey, you never know…” (trust me… I am an idea person and he’s heard a lot of them… and some are real dillies!)
I’m pretty sure if I told him I was going to rob a bank and was going to enlist street thugs and had planned the whole caper, he would have gently had me reconsider. I mean, you DO have to have some limit as to crazy ideas that might really mess with your life. But if it wasn’t inherently super dangerous, illegal or well, just plain really dumb, he is super supportive and positive.
So, I’ve been trying hard to do the same. And I’m amazed at how wonderful the response is, at the very least in my dear daughters and friends. It’s encouraging and delightful for them to have someone to listen to their ideas and say, “hey, that’s cool, hope you can do it…” So what if 9 outta 10 dreams never actually come to fruition. It’s that one or two that do that are wonderful and awesome for that person and you should relish and enjoy their success! Just like becoming small farmers. I know we really compuzzled a lot of people who would have sworn they knew us well.
I’m still getting some weird advice and such from well meaning folks on the most basic of farm/animal and other skills that make me wonder if they have much faith in us. I guess they just don’t consider that our move rurally was not some one evening decision and that we’ve just jumped into this blind. They don’t know the huge amount of time spent reading, learning, trying and planning on our dreams. They don’t see our huge library of books and resources that we can consult. Or the oodles of blogs and websites that we frequent, gobbling up information and resource ideas to make our little place awesome.
Nope, we have plans and the plans have plans! (haha) And we’re inching towards them, a little bit at a time.
Some of our very specific goals include….
Raising humanely grown livestock for our friends and family. Chickens, turkeys, and pigs.
Providing fresh eggs and live stock of chickens, French agora rabbits and Shetland sheep.
Having several large gardens to provide food and flowers for our family, and our animal stock, as well as share with friends and family and even sell in a small scale.
Create several homemade crafts such as soaps, candles, woodworking, dried flowers, pet cookies and toys.
Set up an area for folks to come to the farm for music events and fun homesteading gatherings & classes.
Continue to grow our rock and mineral business, our small publishing company and graphic arts as well as start a sign making studio for the local folk.
And publish writing, self-help how-to guides and art photography about our way of living.
It amazes me how far we’ve gotten in one short year. And I am very certain it’s because we have clear cut goals and ideas and we work towards them. We are not like super productive folks, working from dawn to dusk. We’re actually kind of well, slow and steady workers. We have a goal of two to-do cards a day. Usually one farm and one work related. Sometimes they only really take us an hour or two at the most. And of course, there are normal day to day chores and such to do. But it’s that card a day that makes things happen. So many people leave projects and such till the weekend and maybe even only Saturday. So it takes a month of Saturdays to really accomplish much. Even if you bust your butt on Saturday and get five or six things done, we’ve gotten 14 done in the week. At a nice comfortable and leisurely pace. Persistence and consistency REALLY are the keys to getting things done.
Not really sure what prompted this little posting… I guess it was just some thoughts that were rattling around in my head. I hear from folks so often that they just love to hear about what we’re doing because we do so much, but then I think, wow… we are not like super women or anything, in fact, I can move pretty darn slow with my bum knee some days! And with all the activity of the spring and getting cards done, I just have been thinking about bigger goals, like the ones above and checking myself to see if we are getting there. I believe we are.
I’m so pleased that our to do cards for the farm are getting lower and lower. We started with over 125 at the first of the year and we are down to 58. Pretty darn good. And I hope to get those down to under 20 by the end of May. About 15 or so are fairly big projects and will take a little more time than say, fix a shed door, or paint a fence, but still, it will feel good to get down to just big stuff and little things that pop up.
I hope you are taking the time to really plan your dreams out. Down to little details, its all important. If you don’t, it’s just not likely to happen. You really need to focus your energies into getting them done… to get them to work out. If you want to start a business, great… start learning about your options. Get some books on small business, help out a friend with theirs, learn from them, heck, get a part time job with a small local place that is doing something you might like to do. Get chummy with the owners and learn from their mistakes and success! You can take little steps towards any goal and start to make it happen. It’s so important… don’t just waste your life on vague dreams and goals that are unlikely to happen if you don’t give them your best energy and effort. Every day, even a little bit will make things happen.
And hey… let me know how it turns out! I’m sure it will be AWECIOUS!!!!Pin It