As much as I want to move right now, obviously reality dictates that is not going to happen. I'm not sure it will happen any time in the next 5 years, simply because there is so much uncertainty in the world right now. The Middle East and north Africa is in major turmoil. Governments across Europe are implementing "austerity measures". And the United States has its head in the sand, with our leader telling us that we can save money in the future by increasing our defecit this year. Huh.
I really don't see things in this country improving much in the near future. I fully expect housing prices to decrease again (side note: housing prices from the 1890s through 1990s increased at an average of 3% per year. In order to get back onto that average trend, prices still need to contract another 20%. Ouch. Thankfully, that's a national average, not local. So we may only contract another 3-5%, since we were never all that inflated to begin with.). Loan rates are increasing. Food prices are rising. Gas prices are climbing. Unemployment is hovering around 10%. Remind me again why I should be optimistic?
I've said this before, and I'll say it again: It's so important to increase your family's self-sufficiency! So many skills from our grandparents and great-grandparents are on the verge of being lost. How many people know how to butcher their own meat? Render lard? Make soap from tallow? Use herbs medicinally? Grow and can their own produce? I can see that we're in the midst of a movement to regain these skills, but how many people out there are really doing it? By connecting with like-minded people on the internet, it sometimes feels like everyone is involved. And then I go to work and talk with people who don't even know how to cook something that isn't from a box. There are children who don't realize that food must be grown or raised and slaughtered before it appears in the store. We've surrendered our freedom in exchange for purchasing power; America has become a nation of consumers.
I'm not saying that there's anything inherently wrong with buying your soap from a store instead of making it yourself, or getting carrots from the market instead of from your garden. But when you buy something, at least do it mindfully: consider where it came from, how it was made or grown, the negative effects its production had on people and the earth, and whether it's something you're willing/able to learn how to do yourself. You'd be amazed at the satisfaction you can get looking at a few jars of freshly canned applesauce or a blooming garden. Seeing my chickens outside destroying my flowerbeds honestly gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. I raised them, they're mine, and they make food for me. All in exchange for my table scraps and a bag of chicken feed every few months. I'm grateful that we have started ourselves down the path to homesteading, especially with the state of affairs in the world.
I'm feeling very conflicted, though. All of the uncertainty is exactly why I want to leave the Prairie Box and buy a farm or some property on which to build our farm. Especially after talking with the realtors, I think about the improvements we planned on making to the house, and I just feel so discouraged. I was really expecting to make money on this house. Not a lot. We aren't house-flippers, and that was never the plan. But I was expecting that our sweat equity would translate into about $10K after closing. Looking at just breaking even after closing, even with 5+ years of payments behind us and paying extra on the principal... just makes me sad. I have a major "why bother?" complex.
I don't want to fix up the house for us, since we aren't planning on staying here. I don't want to fix it up for someone else, because it's not worth my time and money. I feel like I'm smacking up against a wall, and I'm not sure how to get motivated again. I suppose I just have to look at it as a necessary step on our way to moving. I just wish I could be excited about it. Maybe once we start making progress, I'll find some enjoyment in it. Hmmm.