Establishing a Homestead, Homesteading, Thoughts

Take a Deep Breath and Just Breathe, What I Did This Summer, and First Steps to Achieving My Dream of Establishing a Homestead

“Under the Grape Vine” 😉

“Take a deep breath and just breathe”. That pretty much sums up 2020 for me thus far. Trying to remain calm, stay focused and keep working towards my long term goals have been extremely challenging among all the chaos of 2020. I imagine that 2020 has been that way for many people. From the COVID-19 Pandemic, food shortages, civil unrest with violent protests, cities being burned, job layoffs, business closings, lockdowns, quarantine, social distancing, the politicization of masks, fake news in the mainstream media, lies, misinformation, conflicting information, election year politics, and to the ever widening political divide just to name a few… it seems the list of crazy just never ends for the year of 2020. And with over 3 months to go till the end of this year, it feels like we’re still in the eye of the storm. Chaos, mayhem, twilight zone; these are all words that could be used to describe our world in 2020. I think twilight zone sums it up nicely. At least that’s what this year feels like to me. Everything is upside down and inside out. Nothing is as it seems. It’s really not been all that fun. There’s been a lot of challenging things to get through in past years, but 2020 has been the year that has made me rearrange and change my entire life entirely.

There is a quote that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I remember first hearing this quote as a Senior in high school, being too young to understand the weight and concreteness of this quote, but for some reason it stuck with me. And in my 39 years, I must say I’ve found it to be true. There’s been a lot of things in my life that wasn’t in my original plan. The original plan being going to college and deciding what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. At that time, it was biology, nursing school, and music. Marriage was not in my plans until after I graduated college. I was so adamant about this fact that I had proudly vowed to all that I would never marry until after I had graduated. In my mind at the time this was the best path to “success”. That all quickly changed after my first date with Ricky. I knew from our very first date that he was the one, and very quickly all my other plans fell perfectly into allignment with this new change. At the age of 2 months shy of 22, I walked down the aisle and said, “I do” to the love of my life and became a wife while still attending school full time and creating a home. In 2005 I achieved my nursing degree, passed my boards and started working full-time as a Registered Nurse. Flashing forward to 2009, I was hurt at work. After over five months of physical therapy, two different attorneys just to get the bare minimum worker’s compensation benefits, tons of stress, a ridiculous amount of doctors for second and third opinions (some of which you could hear quacking as they came down the hall; Now maybe I shouldn’t put this whole quaking comment here because it implies the doctors didn’t know what they were doing, but that is exactly my point. They knew EXACTLY what they were doing working for the system.), anyways, it became clear that my injury was “permanent”. I could no longer work in a nursing position which involved lifting patients. Talk about limiting nursing job prospects. I fought for 2 years jumping through all the hoops in the worker’s compensation system playing by the rules only to find out that to the system my life being forever changed because of my injury didn’t matter. Ultimately, my injury was not considered catastrophic enough to warrant any real compensation other than the less than stellar medical care I received for my injury and weekly checks for a short period of time that were less than half my nursing income. I might as well have banged my head against a wall from the beginning. The end result would have been the same: pain, frustration, grief, and more injury. But that’s a story for another day. I will, however, add two side notes here: 1) if you ever get hurt at work and there is any possible way for you to avoid the worker’s compensation system, go that route. Do what you have to do to get good medical care. Some states are better than others and I can tell you from personal experience that Georgia’s worker’s compensation laws are not great compared to many other states. Unless you lose a limb or you are killed at work, you/or your family are most likely fighting a losing battle. Many injuries are time sensitive. I needed surgery to fix and repair the injury and I didn’t get it. 2) make sure you have short-term and long-term disability insurance even if you are young and in your twenties. Now back to what I was saying earlier about life happening and plans. This unforeseen career changing accident led me to seeking a different path to income while I tried to figure out how to get back into my nursing career. Owning a small business was something I had dreamed of doing later in life. Later, as in after my nursing career and/or as a side income or hobby. It happened somewhat out of necessity, but also because I had always been interested in owning a business at some point. In high school and my first two years of college i had worked part time during school vacations at my grandfather’s machine shop. It was there that I believe I was first bit by the entrepreneurial spirit. I grew up around small business, many of my family members working for my grandfather at one point or another. Growing up, business was a topic of conversation around the supper table and many occasions. It had a big influence on my life and I found it all to be interesting and exciting. Within those 7 years of working for my grandfather, I gained a lot of knowledge about business in general. Little did I now just how valuable that experience would be years down the road. Establishing a small full time business was not something I had necessarily planned when I opened my Etsy Shop, Annie Rose’s Sunshine in 2011. I had no real business plan other than making money doing something I loved doing. Looking back I see lots of evidence that I would find myself down the small business path. I’ve always came up with a multitude of odd jobs to do for extra income. Growing up I pulled weeds in garden beds, washed cars, baby sat, cleaned houses,etc. Then in college I got into party planning, decorating, and wedding planning for family and friends. I enjoy being creative and making people happy. While I was working at my first nursing position I sold Avon for a couple of years. Then I became an Independent Pampered Chef Consultant and I am still doing that simply because I love their products. I experimented as a Wellness Advocate for doTerra. There was some company I sold for as a kid, but I cannot recall the name. For every product I sold I made $2. So there’s the evidence. I’m creative and I love being challenged and learning new things. All qualities of an entrepreneur, so I can see how I landed on this path.

And then, 2020 happened. Yikes. What a wake up call to reality and what would happen if everything went haywire. This pandemic has provided a tiny pinhole of a glance of our vulnerabilities and how life as we know it could change forever bringing negative consequences for the unprepared. And just like that, my perspective changed. It is no longer a “what if in the future” scenario. We are living the what if right now. 2020 has lit a fire in me to get things done and let go of the obstacles that are in my way to get there. I am determined more than ever, to live the life I want and achieve my dreams of a homestead. It’s a dream that my husband and I have had since we started dating over 19 years ago. This summer we started focusing all of our energy on that ultimate goal. How?, you ask. That’s exactly what I am going to be blogging about. 😉

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