Sometimes people say to me, “You were born in the wrong time!“. Sometimes its put like this, “You should have been born 200 years ago!“. The truth is, I was born exactly when the Lord determined I would be born. I just have some kind of affinity for old things, old ways and the old paths.
I wasn’t born with the knowledge of old fashioned skills, I had to learn them like everyone else learns anything. But I do tend to gravitate towards old ways. They make me feel secure in some ways. They cause me to remember my youth and the days when I was so eager to get out into the world, away from old things and old ways and old people. But I was a captive audience and I was obedient and I learned.
Doing things the old fashioned way definitely slows life down and it slows it down quite a lot. And I have found that I enjoy the slowness of making bread and kneading it until the dough is just the right texture, cleaning ears of fat, ripe corn and then cutting the kernels off to freeze, can or cook and a hundred other slow, old fashioned things.
I do live in the 21st century in every way. I have electricity, though I try hard to conserve it, I have running water and I wash most of our clothing in an electric washing machine. I’d love to live the way Tasha Tudor did though. She seemed to cast away nearly every vestige of modern living and lived as though she were in the 1830′s. .. Between speaking events and book signings of course. She chose that simple life because it pleased her and I guess I may have that in common with dear Tasha; I choose to live simply using old fashioned skills mostly because it pleases me.
There are other reasons I use old fashioned skills of course. They are ultimately less expensive. They bring simplicity to life after you’ve gotten a handle on how exactly to accomplish them and they will keep you humble by keeping you always learning. They require me to get closer to the earth and closer to my ancestors’ way of life. Old fashioned skills require me to seek out ideas and information of those gone on before me.
And then… the thought occurs to me, maybe old fashioned ways are how we really are supposed to be living. Maybe being self-sufficient and God-reliant are the ways that will really bring us more satisfaction with our work and general peace in life. We all already know that our lives are too face paced and crowded with activity. What if we required ourselves to slow down? What if we only made bread from scratch and made the soap we use and all our meals using a recipe and raw ingredients? What if we grew even a small portion of what we consumed? We would have to stop doing other things and the first things to go would be those activities that are non-essential. It would be one of those win-win situations you hear about.
Living an old fashioned life slows down my days and in turn gives me more freedom to think and observe, to figure out problems and come up with innovations for living. It also allows me interact with people in a way that is sometimes impossible when I was running the rat race. I feel like I can stop and take time to talk, listen and interact instead of being in a hurry to go to the next thing. When the children were little, I had less time to do these things but believe me, once they got older, I have had time and opportunity. Living in a slower, more conscientious way also helps me keep my eyes on what is truly important in life; love, people, relationships.
My old fashioned life is full and rewarding. I have struggles and disappointments like everyone else. I have successes and I have failures. The biggest difference is that I have daily peace, not spiritual peace, I have that in Christ, but I am not burdened by a heavy load of things and activities and I take great satisfaction and joy in taking care of my family and home the old fashioned way.
So, no, I wasn’t born in the wrong time. I simply like to bring an older, slower, more peaceful time into my life and I feel blessed to be able to do so.