The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Full time ownership

In what ways has the "Walden Effect" life differed from what you originally had envisioned? What was romanticized that turned out to be totally different or more difficult? What unexpected pleasures did you find?

Walden pond moonriseThe concept of "Time Ownership" is one of the unexpected pleasures that first pops to mind when I think of that question.

It has taken some considerable distance from my previous corporate life to fully realize just how little of my time I was able to save for myself and how much of it was traded away for a paycheck and a parking spot. I fixed copier machines full time...the words "full time" being the operative point I'm trying to illustrate here. My time was full of an endless list of chores that always served the greater good of the company. My time off always seemed to have an edge to it because deep in my mind I knew Monday morning was only a day or two away. Before long you adapt to the less than healthy pace and forget what it was like to own 100 percent of your day. You eventually convince yourself that 48 hours on the weekend and a couple of weeks a year is all you need to survive.

I think I'm in the last stages of my corporate de-programming and sometimes it's a struggle to decide which hours go where for which goal, but it's a beautiful struggle that fully belongs to me and at the end of the day a by-product of that struggle can be felt in the form of a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach as I reflect back on a noise-free day of getting things done on the farm.

The future looks brighter when you fully own your present, and I believe you fully own the present by seizing all 24 hours of each day. Maybe that's what those Latin folks were talking about a thousand years ago when they were yammering about Carpe Diem?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Thank you both for answering my question. I'm having a difficult time reconciling the difference between my current dreams and our future reality, but at least I know enough to know it's not going to be all my daydreaming makes it out to be.

My wife said to me last Friday that she feels like where we are at now is "pointless". To me, that's a harsh way to say it, but I know what she means. People spend all their time working for someone else so they can make enough money to buy things they don't need to make themselves feel better about the fact that they spend all their time working for someone else. I don't even "see" the things I do. They're intangible little zeros and ones. Sometimes I too feel the asinine nature of being another cog in the wheel.

The GOOD news, we both agree, is that we're working on a means to and end that does not involve retiring from the machine at the age of 65-75. We don't have to face an entire lifetime of the 9-5 drudgery, but can save our money and look forward to the day when we work equally hard (or even harder) at living a simple/r life the way we want to live it.

Thank you for this great blog, for help with our questions, and for all of the inspiration!



Comment by Everett (and Melissa) Mon Feb 23 12:28:23 2009
I can't imagine how wonderful it must feel to sit back after a hard days work and fully be able to appreciate what you've worked so hard on. You guys have something really special and I hope I can get to that place myself someday. xo.
Comment by Amber Mon Feb 23 15:00:08 2009

Everett and Melissa --- it's funny to hear you talk about the 9-5 cycle that way because that's exactly the way Mark talks about it. I think it's increasingly difficult to break free of it the longer you spend entrenched. The fact that both of you agree on what you want is a great step --- I see so many couples where one of them wants to lead a simpler life and can't convince the other.

Amber --- Hang in there! It's possible to reach "The Walden Effect" in your own life. Once you know what you want, I've noticed that things start to fall into your lap.

Comment by anna Mon Feb 23 18:39:03 2009

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