People ask me all the time about how I ended up a homesteader. Many remember me best from my first marriage where I lived and worked in the city, wore business suits, nylons and heels. I founded and ran a marketing and advertising business and was a card-carrying member of Rotary International and the Chamber of Commerce. Looking good was part of the deal. So was the dieting, extreme exercising and playing at the beauty and youth thing. Associates tend to remember the long frosted hair, polished nails and makeup too.
Age 23, as a young mother and in my first marriage at a wedding in Minnesota.
That marriage, and that life, was all about the business of building a career complete with travel, making money and creating a persona of wealth and accomplishment. It many ways it was a plum of a life; complete with Club Med vacations and a lakeshore cottage. But there was something else burning inside me demanding my fulltime attention. While my outer-world looked great, my inner-world, where I do most of my living, felt depressed and ill at ease.
That lifestyle is what my first husband wanted and I lived it for twenty-seven years but never truly felt comfortable in that role. I was instead content to be a mother and a homemaker, not a dealmaker. I was a like a tropical fish in a trout stream.
After my divorce at age forty-five with no financial support, I took room renters into my home and cleaned houses to pay my bills and allowed myself a year of introspection to figure out how I wanted to live in my new life. I realize now that I needed to go to the lowest point in my life in order to advance to the next stage spiritually.
Ultimately I chose living a slower-paced, a more authentic, self-realized out-of-doors life working with my hands. I realized I was willing to trade status for right-livelihood and ready money for inner happiness. I feel like I was given a second chance, a “do over,” and I can see clearly now that that first marriage and divorce, however hard, was a gift and a blessing in my book.
My family today; two brothers, two sister in laws and a grand daughter.
That was the first step to getting to where we are today and homesteading. I am the great-granddaughter and granddaughter of farmer and I now believe that this urge to grow is a gene that comes down the line of DNA.
A family portrait taken of my grandparents, Mildred and Donald Maile (center couple) the second generation of family farmers and their five children on their 50th wedding anniversary.
Isn’t it always that the most painful relationships become the best teachers?
Small House Homesteader, Donna