There is an entire culture of do-it-yourselfers out there and they can be pretty hardcore...growing their own grain to grind into flour for their homemade bread, keeping goats and pigs and chickens, livng off the grid and loving it. I admire the hardy independence of such folks and I confess to an ambition to emulate much of what they do. Let's be real, though, most people are not cut out to live that life. However, even if you are one who would rather eat spiders than milk a goat, there are ways to incorporate some of that down home independent spirit into your own life and feel just a little stronger. Here are a few simple ideas:
1. HANG ON TO YOUR PAPER BOOKS
Paper and ink books -- they are as quaint and old fashioned as white gloves and antimacassars. But as much as we love our laptops and tablets and e-readers and smartphones (with Kindle app!), stop and think about it. What if you couldn’t recharge your gadget batteries? What if, (heaven forbid) someone decided it would be in your best interests to limit what books are available? So much easier to pull the plug on electronic books than round up all the paper ones. Push a button and, phwip, it’s gone from all the e-readers, never to be seen again. Maybe I’m paranoid, but if a book is important to me, I like to keep a hard copy of it around. Among my favorites…how-to books!
2. GROW A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR OWN FOOD
Here’s an obvious one, but it can seem overwhelming if you are imagining acres of ground to till, plant, weed, and water. Never mind all that, this is about being a little more independent. Plant a tomato in a pot, make a window box into your personal fresh salad bar, sow some herbs or a squash plant among your flowerbeds. Start small. Stay small if that works for you. On the other hand, you may find your thumb is greener than you first thought and if so, more power to you!
3. LEARN TO SEW
You don’t have to be able to whip up reproductions of eighteenth-century ballgowns to enjoy and benefit from sewing. Most of us can probably reattach a button when necessary, but go a little further and repair ripped seams in shirts or worn-through pockets in your jeans. Take it further still and you can start running up simple skirts, pants, and shirts of your own -- and a little further than that and you can begin to add design elements that free you from the tyranny of the available.
4. GET (OR KEEP) IN SHAPE
You can be a lot more self-sufficient if your joints function, and you can stand and walk and run and reach as needed. ‘Nuff said.
5. LEARN TO DRIVE A STANDARD
This might sound odd, but it really will make you a little more independent if you can drive a car with a manual transmission. Even if you only ever own automatics yourself, you never know when you may be faced with an emergency situation or the need to borrow a vehicle and a standard transmission vehicle will be the only thing available.
You can probably add a lot of things to this list if you give it a little thought. Just because you're not ready to head out to the ranch doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of the peace of mind and sense of strength that comes from knowing you can do for yourself and help someone else out too. Give it a try!