Monday, November 15, 2010

The changes we had to have....

Warning- this is a long post! Getting it off my chest at last.... (you might want to get a cup of tea!)

I've been putting off blogging about our lives for a while, part denial, part hope that things will somehow all work out as we planned. But I have found that I can only wait so long for the good luck fairy or fate or mother universe or whatever you believe in, to bestow the goodness upon us. Some big decisions had to be made, and some big changes had to happen.

Some of you will know we bought a block of land over 2 years ago with all the hopes and dreams of building an amazing home for our family, and managing the land to live as sustainably as possible. We would have a home that would be as green as possible (for a project home) built facing north and a long homestead style designed to be solar passive, with solar power and huge water tanks. The chooks would have a large run, and I could have a rooster again and breed wyandottes. I would try to work their area into my food forest plan, permaculture style with raised rotational veggie beds and a small orchard of fruit trees.

Sounds idyllic? We really thought we could do it. We have come very close. It has been 2 and a half years of planning and working with builders, discussions with council and the RFS, struggling to make our dreams a reality. I can't express in writing what we have been through, but it has been so much hard work- blood, sweat and certainly tears.

I love that land. We all do. We knew the moment we saw it that it was for us. There were 'signs' everywhere. It is totally unique, 22 acres of amazing bushland, with views to world class bushwalk areas and canyons. But is is more than the description to us. It was our dream.

So what has happened? Well, the dollars required have increased (as these things usually do) and our dollars available have decreased. The council and RFS have changed our plans from our dream to 'something-kind-of-close'.

But the biggest change of all has been our thinking. We sat down and worked out what kind of lifestyle we would be living if we continued down this path, following our dreams. We worked out how much it would take from us, and for how long. Even if we could fund the building work, we would be paying for it for a very long time. Its not like we didn't know at the start, but somehow our priorities have changed over the past 2 years, and 'living the dream' at the expense of actually enjoying life just seems so wrong. The important thing is that we are all together, healthy and as happy as we can be.

We don't want to be always worrying about money, whether we can afford school excursions, Christmas, kids parties, not to mention emergencies like illness or car problems (having just lost our car has made this foremost in our minds!) I know lots of people do have to live that way through no fault of their own, but why would we choose to live that way when we can choose something else?

We had planned on selling our old home to help finance this dream, but after 8 months of having an empty house for sale while we pay rent where we are just wasn't working. We know for sure that we don't want to go back to our old town, so the first decision was to take our old home off the market and rent it out. This way we can get some income at least, and the house is being lived in.

The same day we made that decision, we decided to put the land up for sale. We had agonised over it for so long, that it was actually a relief to do something about it. It felt like I was taking charge again, instead of waiting for it all to somehow work out for us.

So, less than 2 weeks later - tenants moved into our old house on the weekend (we had a choice of applicants within 3 days!) and the land went up for sale on Friday, with an interested couple visiting on Saturday and have already put in an offer which we are negotiating at the moment.

All of a sudden things seem much clearer and easier. Have you ever struggled on down a path in your life thinking the best things are worth fighting for? I thought they were, but now I am not sure. Maybe the hard struggle is not the way to go. When things seem to fall into place easily, maybe that is meant to be.

If this works out and we sell the land soon, we plan to buy a house again. A regular house, probably in a regular street. It will not have acres, but it will be big enough to grow some veggies and maybe a couple of apple trees. Our kids will love it and it will become our home.

It will not be our old dream, but it will be our new dream.