Purpose: everyone’s got one. It’s like having a dog. You feed it, you tell it (and yourself) that it’s the best one that’s ever existed, you strut it out in public so everyone can see you and your purpose, and getting one is an obvious step in any serious American adult’s life. But what happens when you suddenly don’t know whether your dog … I mean, your purpose, is really what you want?
Most of my life has been spent trying things on for size. For a while I wanted to be a veterinarian. It was a great fit: I was smart, loved animals, and had butt loads of compassion. Perfect. Then it was a “rocket scientist”. I wanted to work for NASA, and to get offended when people said “it isn’t rocket science!” (do people still say that?). It was also a good fit: I was smart, fascinated with space and physics, and I had a tenacious creativity. Then it was architecture, engineering, doctor, biology, writer . . . then artist and instructor.
Mostly I believe my purpose was to seem intelligent. Something changed when I set my sights on art, though. All of the other things I wanted to be, I knew exactly what those people did: a vet saves animals, a NASA employee obviously made rockets, an architect designs structures, and so on. What does an artist do? The answer a younger me would have yelled out with confidence is “Makes art!! Duh.” Art about what? Using what materials? With. What. Purpose.
Ugh. The question of “What is your purpose?” has driven me nuts for years. To be an artist! Obviously. I’m fairly sure I disgusted my professors with my inability to answer this simple question. Everyone else had these clear, defined ideas of what they wanted to do in the world. Even through their extra-media explorations they were driven by reaching that goal still. I was all over the place. I wanted to learn everything and be everything and know everything I had missed out on previously. I have an obsession with differing perspectives that drove my instructors nuts. I remember specifically being asked one time what my intent was with a certain collage. I asked to hear what other people had to say first and the professor chuckled saying I was taking the easy way out.
I love hearing interpretations. I love analyzing other people. I think I am simply interested in how personality is formed, and how it becomes a lens for us to look through. A detached observer who interacts through their character, their role. Which is also, perhaps, why I was so intrigued by the idea of living a life outside of the normal parameters. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, so when I learned there was another way to evaluate the success of your life, to escape working for The Man, to be held accountable to only your own standards … I was intrigued to say the least.
I believe I have perhaps found a purpose, however, that can combine all of my skills, including the one that drives me to attain new skills: Homesteading. In the past year I have learned so much about become sustainable and relying less on authorities to tell me when my art / way of life is good or not. But this has landed me in a pickle. I do not own land and even though I am fairly close to living in the country, there are strict landlord-enforced limitations on what can be done on the property.
In hopes that I can still contribute to the Sustainability community, and that one day we can make the leap to our own land, I would like to use this blog to fuel my purpose and to document what it takes to build up a sustainable lifestyle completely from scratch. I was never even aware of how crucial a simple act of recycling was until my adult years, so, trust me … when I say “from scratch,” I mean it. So if you’re interested in getting started but don’t know how to, or can’t believe the wild claims that you can become more sustainable from right where you’re reading this, please, allow me to share my journey towards a purposeful, meaningful, sustainable lifestyle.