Dana asked: "How do you figure out where you want to live? What do you think are the "building blocks" in your life that bring you contentment?"
As a child, growing up on the edge of the suburbs, I wanted to live in the country, preferably near a running creek, on small acres, with small animals. I think the goals and dreams we build in childhood, especially between 6 & 9 years of age say a lot about who we are as people.
Our first home was on half an acre with a winter creek. We discovered home education and permaculture and wanted more land, plus access to a more 'alternative' thinking crowd of people. We moved about 120km away, close to the beach, on four and a half acres. The area we used to live in became 'alternative', but we're glad we moved - being close to the beach is awesome.
While living on our half acre we'd go for drives and kept wistfully looking at property with distant views. Our house was in the bottom of a valley. Our new house has panoramic views with lots of windows - this says a lot about who we are as people!
So I guess, getting to know who you are as a person, what you love, what you need to feel okay and content, is a start. It's not about romantic ideals, just tuning into to what makes your heart sing in the little moments that pass each day. And noticing that...
We also moved because our seven year old daughter wanted greater access to children and I felt insecure as a home educating parent. I wanted to tap into things like dance and drama, sports and other group children's activities without driving half an hour or more to get to them. We were unhappy in our little conservative town for other reasons too (health, unfriendly council and church, family issues). Had we remained there we would have been debt free within three years, our garden would have reached a sustainable production level and I'm sure I would have grown up enough to have had the confidence to build a homeschool network around us. I'd already started the SA Home Based Learners Newsletter.
Life is a journey. I prefer not to have regrets. Trying to live the 'best' life possible leads me astray. I had both eyes on the future for too long, trying to second guess what was needed to fulfill potentials, be the best I could be, give the kids the best chance, etc. To do that I really needed to be more attentive in each moment, putting my all into those - that is all that is really needed, especially when it comes to the kids. After all, if we put everything we can into now, what is possibly left to make life better or best?
So I do my utmost to stop using comparative language like 'better' and 'best'. It's not easy but little by little I am finding my feet because I'm not looking over my shoulder to judge how I'm doing or wondering how I'm going compared to the 'norm' or standards I've adopted that might not be serving my immediate needs...
Every decision and every action and the consequences create my awesome reality. Some bits suck some days, but that's just me being moody. A little attitude adjustment and my positive optimism springs back into focus!
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