You remember the condition my farm was in during the rainy season last year right? Oh, it was terrible! Even accessing the house and garden became quite a challenge due to water logging. Though it was a deliberate decision not to venture into any other area of farm planning except the vegetable patch and the house because…well, Budget$$. But, this year’s rain just pushed us over the edge to take that decision. It’s been two years since and so, after much hesitation, deliberation, cost-cutting and stringent budgeting later, we started planning on laying pathways and some outdoor seating. This had been a dream for us for about four years now since we last saw it in our mind’s eye.
But keeping the budget in mind, we only indulged in what was absolutely necessary at that point – The vegetable garden and the house to stay in while we are at the farm. We haven’t even done any interior work or furnishing so far. That’s another project for another day… Because we have to be very cautious about stretching our budget as we have two teenage kids and their college education to look after.
All this talk about budgeting takes me back to all those years of struggle…It also reminds me of something…something I usually don’t share with anyone…something that I think you should know, just to have a better picture.
You see, at times we get remarks like,
“Oh, you are so lucky to have this space!” or
“How nice for you to have a house and a farm and everything” or
“They must have big monies to afford this kind of lifestyle” –
Though some of these remarks may come off as innocent comments but most of them are not. And trust me, we know which ones those are! It always has a hint of sarcasm and taunt attached to it. It is as if we must somehow feel apologetic for living or even wanting this lifestyle. So, I wanted to clear a few things upfront to avoid being misconstrued.
–No, we don’t come from affluent families.
-No, we didn’t get this handed or gifted to us as an ancestral property.
-And No, we didn’t win a lottery either.
Flashback to 20 years back…
As a newly married couple, my husband and I started out as a single income family, literally living pay-check to pay-check. Every month we would budget and live frugally and still end up with no money at the end of the month. Yes, I remember those years as it happened just yesterday!
Being one of the elder siblings in a family comes with its own responsibilities. We worked really hard to save up to support the expenses of Education, Marriage and Job settlement of my husband’s younger siblings and to take care of the expenses of aging parents. For many years, we single-handedly managed all things while living on pay-check to pay-check basis and of course, on loans. We even took up assignments abroad to make ends meet when the going got tough. This was a familial responsibility and we were happy to be in a position to contribute. So, we whole-heartedly focused on making everyone else settle before we even thought of saving for our future. It gives me goose-bumps just thinking about those times. Though it happened a long time ago, it is unbelievably fresh in my memory…it’s almost surreal!
Despite all the hard work and saving there were times when we had to resort to taking loans as and when a major expense cropped up. And then, started the cycle of working to pay off those loans with interests, for years to come. It has been twenty years now since those times and we have worked very hard. Finally, after paying off all those loans, we bought this half-acre space to grow vegetables for our family. Today, every single thing you see in our lifestyle or on our farm is all because of those “behind the scenes” hard work we put in. Nothing got handed to us on a plate. So,
–Getting here wasn’t easy.
-We weren’t just plain lucky.
-And we weren’t born with a silver spoon either.
We are middle class people who rose from the bottom and WORKED PRETTY DAMN HARD for YEARS AND YEARS to finally be where we are today. It did not happen overnight!
I have been meaning to write this post for a while now, just to clear the air. This is a much needed post because many young people who aspire for this lifestyle, see us and think that we have always been living like this. But the reality is far from it. We have lived in one-bedroom apartments without even a balcony for years. We drove a second-hand car for almost 10 years before we bought our first new hatch-back. This, when people in similar economic statuses were buying expensive sedans around us. But it’s all about priorities. And just in case you missed it; it took us TWENTY LONG YEARS to get where we are today.
So, there you have it!
Remember, when people don’t know about your struggles and only get to see your successes, they could end up with a lot of false assumptions. You might also come across people who will be genuinely happy for you verses those who will be just plain jealous. That’s just how it is! But, you know your story and you know your truth and that is all that matters!
So, here’s a word of encouragement for anyone who loves what we do here. If you harbor a dream like ours, don’t let your current circumstances sway you. You can achieve it as long as you are ready to work for it. There is no short-cut for hard work man! And it doesn’t have to take you this long; it can happen sooner than it took us! (Remember, I am talking about two decades back when money flow wasn’t what it is today…so take heart, your dream won’t take 20 long yrs like ours)
With that, I take this opportunity to thank everyone who supports my journey and has encouraged me with your comments, likes and shares, who reads my blog, subscribes to my newsletter and has been so trusting in my abilities that you invest in my businesses whether it is purchasing my organic products or signing up for my workshops. Let me tell you, it means the world to me! Thank you for supporting me in running this farm and in sharing my learnings with you. Without your encouragement and support, I won’t be where I am today.
A Big Thank You!!!