The Myth of The Perfect Homestead

 I’ve read many books and article about finding “the perfect homestead”.  In fact some of my favorite books, authors and websites which have influenced me through the years have talked about this mythical “perfect homestead”.  I’m a sucker for the 30,000 ft. view that shows the layout of land, where the water is, what the wind direction and flow, the angle of the sun, where the gardens will go, where the pasture will be, how much of it is wooded, how sustainable will you be able to be. Those just please me. In general, I’m an organizer. I like things at those levels. I like planning and executing to see it done.  I’ve been poisoned conditioned (yes you read that right) to believe you need all of these things and that when you are looking for the perfect homestead that I had to check off all these boxes.  Don’t get me wrong, everyone has things they can live with our they can’t live with, so check boxes aren’t necessarily bad, but I think that a great disservice has been done by some of those writers.   Let me explain that a bit.

I’ve always wanted the “perfect homestead” but that has not been my calling in life.  As much as my natural person would love to be sequestered off in some far-off-grid mountainside that was a perfectly self-sufficient and sustainable fortress of solitude, that’s not who I’m called to be. My highest purpose isn’t to live a life of low-stress, out-of-the-way-self sustainability.  Trust me, I dream (like you might), in my most self-centered dream of just chucking it all and going to live that hidden life, but I know it’s not what I’m called to.  Usually when I feel that dream beckoning it’s right after I’m reminded of how alone you can feel when you are trying to be obedient and faithful, when you are surrounded by people. What’s my point? My highest purpose is to live a life of obedience and faithfulness to God and my family, so because of that struggle (and yes it’s a struggle) there has been no such thing as “the perfect homestead” in my life. You may have similar constraints too. Maybe it’s family, maybe it’s your obligations to a sick relative, maybe you’re constrained by finances, jobs, or skills… maybe you have dreams of “the perfect homestead” and can’t seem to ever make headway toward it. I’ve never found “the perfect homestead” because there isn’t a “perfect homestead” for me.

In fact, I’m going to go one step further and say this… there is no such thing as “the perfect homestead” for you either.  I’ve seen people waste a good portion of their life planning for “the perfect homestead” because they’ve bought into the idea that they have to check off those boxes.   Then they work their life away, getting through every day, just with this dream. When they finally are able to retire from work and afford their “perfect homestead” they find out that fruit trees take 4-6 years to produce and every year the garden has some sort of challenge, and that beautiful 2 story house has steps that are very tough on their old joints and the bathroom on the second floor is a lot of effort to get to.   They’ve chased after “the perfect homestead” for so long that when they find a spot to finally mark off those check boxes, they discover that there are a lot of other issues that they didn’t know about.

In my life, my wife and I have bought precisely 4 houses, 1 church, 1 youth center (former Post Office) and a couple of pieces of land. I’ve bought them 3 different ways. I’ve bought them through warranty deed (sometimes mistakenly called Land Contract), I’ve bought them with cash and I’ve bought them through traditional financing with the bank. Honestly, if I can avoid the banks… I normally do, but I’ve never bought the perfect homestead. Now let’s be clear, you can perfectly adapt to the homestead you are blessed with. I fully believe that. Not only do I believe that, I live that. But if you wait your whole life to find “the perfect homestead” you’re going to miss out on a lot of life and homesteading opportunities. As I’ve progressed (perhaps even gotten wiser), I’ve determined what things were important for what I could afford to buy or what locale God had placed me in. The most important thing I learned is that you can homestead where ever you are. In fact, you can do so much with that imperfect homestead and learn so many lessons that once you do upgrade (not to perfection, but to something that checks off those major boxes for YOU) that you’ll know what you like and what you don’t like and what works for you and what doesn’t work.

You’ll find perfection in imperfection.  You’re homesteading reality begins now, right where you are. I’ve heard it stated this way… “Strive for progress, not perfection.”  Grow Where You Are!

 

 

 

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