My Recent Reality Checks

Reader Contribution by Cam Mather

<p>Once again I’d like to thank everyone who reads and comments on the
blog. Yesterday I had one of those personal epiphanies thanks to our
reader Amy. She was commenting on the video blog that we posted about
how our chickens had faired this winter. She wrote:</p>
<p>”What a great video! I’m sitting in my cubicle, working and saving for our move to the country, and this was totally inspiring.”</p>
<p>Reading that comment was like being slapped in the head. A good,
wake-up sort of slap in the head. First off, it was nice to get positive
feedback about a video. They are actually a lot of work. After filming
something I use Final Cut Pro to edit, which involves watching the video
through and setting “In” and “Out” capture points to grab short bits of
video. Then I have to sit while it replays it and saves it into a
QuickTime file. Then I have to pull them all into a timeline and add
titles, music, fades… etc., etc., etc. Then I have to figure out which
of 11 million formats I should use to export it to so that it’s
optimized for YouTube watching. So I appreciate it when someone leaves a
comment and makes it all worth it.</p>
<p>But really, what was even better was the thought that someone had
enjoyed it while working in an office. I think it’s human nature to feel
that the grass is greener somewhere else. “It would be way better if
only I was…” “I’d be happier if…” I suffer from this. I also struggle
with going to the dark side. So often when I’m zoning out in the garden
or hauling firewood on sleds in the winter, I suddenly realize that I’ve
been dwelling on something toxic. That’s when I say to myself, “Really
Cam? You’re in the woods, in the middle of paradise, doing exactly what
you always wanted to do, but… someone makes more money than you, or
slighted you, or has a much nicer vehicle than you, or… or … or … What
is your problem? Smarten up!”</p>
<p>I fight this impulse, but it’s always there. In the words of Bruce
Springsteen “There’s a Darkness on the Edge of Town.” Heck, even when he
was rolling in cash and everything was going his way, Tony Soprano went
to the dark side.</p>
<p>I’ve been much better at staying positive ever since Michelle had to
deal with breast cancer a year and half ago. That was the ultimate wake
up call to reality. I find I am worrying less and less about the little
stuff and enjoying everything I do way more. It’s easy to forget what a
gift this all is until you get that wake up call.</p>
<p>My recent temporary job helping my neighbor Don in his wood shop
(which I called the saw mill to be more dramatic) was a huge dose of
reality too. After 25 years of working for myself it was really hard to
get out the door by 7:45 am. It sounds crazy since I’m often in my home
office earlier than that, or during gardening season I’m in the garden
much earlier, but it’s on my terms. To everyone who reads this blog and
has a job where you have to get to work at a fixed time, you have my
huge respect. You’re amazing. It’s hard! It’s an amazing thing you are
doing. Way to go! How do you do it? (Michelle likes to remind me that at
one time we both headed out to work at jobs outside of the home and
never thought anything of it. I guess the problem is that once you have
worked for yourself, it’s hard to go back to that way of life.)</p>
<p>And then Amy wrote the comment about reading the blog from her office
while dreaming about a life in the country. A life we have. It’s almost
like you need that reminder that some people would love to be doing
what you’re doing to make you feel better about it. It’s twisted logic,
but it works.</p>
<p>Now don’t get me wrong. It isn’t all wine and roses out here in the
country or in being self-employed. Book sales still aren’t where we’d
like them to be. I’m still having challenges getting our eBooks ready to
be uploaded to resellers. I’m getting a little stressed thinking about
everything that needs to be done in preparation for our CSA this summer.
And I’m working through the logistics of how to make the chicken coop a
little bigger this spring so that we can add a few more chickens to our
flock. I really need to build that greenhouse that I’ve been talking
about for a few years but can’t seem to wrap my head around. And I’m way
behind with next year’s firewood. The pond has about 1/3 of the water
that it usually has by this time since there was so little snow this
winter. Yup. So many problems. So many things to worry about.</p>
<p>On the plus side, I get to cut firewood from my property this
weekend! And the garden will get planted and the chicken coop will get
built and more chickens will arrive and the CSA will be successful. And
I’ll figure out someway to get enough water to keep the garden green
this summer.</p>
<p>Today the sun is charging the batteries and powering the house. And
we’ve had enough sun that we have 3 water tanks full of hot water, none
of it heated by fossil fuel, all heated by the sun. And we live in a
time of fantastic health care and technologies that allow us to keep in
touch with the outside world from our place in the woods, and we have
vehicles made of steel and rubber than can transport us in minutes,
distances that took our ancestors hours or days to cover. I get to buy
tropical fruit from Kim and Larry’s grocery store in town and tonight
I’ve reserved George Clooney’s movie “The Descendents” at Tim’s Village
Video store in town which I’ll watch on my TV that is powered by the sun
(stored in my batteries during the day).</p>
<p>And really, what else could I ask for? People appreciate my videos
because they show a place and a way of life they aspire to. A place like
where I live and how I live right now.</p>
<p>Yes, Cam, you professional whiner, just shut up. Shut up and soak in
how good you’ve got it. Cause it’s pretty great. And every day it gets
better! Thank you blog readers for reminding me of this.</p>
<p style=”text-align: center; ” mce_style=”text-align: center;”>
<a rel=”attachment wp-att-1354″ href=”” mce_href=””>
<p style=”text-align: center; ” mce_style=”text-align: center;”>
<em>A Watercolour of Sunflower Farm by local artist <a href=”” mce_href=”” target=”_blank”>Barry Lovegrove</a>
<p style=”text-align: center; ” mce_style=”text-align: center;”>For more information about Cam or his books please visit <a href=”” title=”” target=”_blank”></a> or</p>

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