Monday, November 6, 2017

Fads -They Come and Go

"F" wrote to express his opinion that the back-to-basics movement is just a passing fad of interest to a very small micro segment of the population. Perhaps he is right. But homesteading is a lifestyle I've come to fully embrace and have no regrets. For me the benefits have moved beyond simply growing my own food. I built my own house, I utilize my local resources. I am now more connected to the earth and Mother Nature than I ever had been. I feel that I am truly a child of my environment and that I belong here. Gratefully, for me it hasn't been a passing fad.

Is back-to-basics a fad? For some folks, I'd venture to say that the answer us a strong "yes". There are a lot of fad activities out there which draw people for a few months before they lose interest. When I was younger, square dancing was a fad activity where I lived. Everybody who was anybody in the neighborhood took part in a square dancing group. Eventually the interest died. 

Exercise gyms were the in thing for awhile. Many of my friends and neighbors, plus all my employees, paid their year's gym membership, then lost interest after a month or two.

I'm plenty old enough to see dozens of food fads come and go. In fact, they've even more popular than gardening and homesteading.....if one uses a bookstore as the judge. Barnes & Noble actually devotes more wall space to fad diet books than to food growing books.....presently more than twice as much. 

Yes, fads come and go. But I find it a sad commentary to see the basics of living to be a passing fad. 


  1. I don't know if it's a fad, but I do know it's a lot of work, and that many folks don't understand that in setting out. Enthusiasm gets us started, but commitment is what keeps us going. That was very much true of the back-to-the-land movement. It's not so simple to just drop out of society, because, ironically, it takes a lot of money to become self-sufficient. So that means a job of some sort to support ourselves while we build the infrastructure for what most of the world then sees as a "hobby." And that means progress towards one's goals are slower. And that gets frustrating.

    The bookstore you mention in your last post certainly views it as a fad. But as a retailer, they will always be trying to be ride what they think is the latest fad, because that's what their world revolves around, making money.

    Dan and I have had many discussions in the past all trying to answer, "what are we doing here?" If one can't find a good answer to that question, the whole exercise seems pointless. Why work so hard at something that doesn't ultimately mean anything?

    I do think some people just want to jump on the bandwagon of a popular idea without thinking through what changes it will mean in their lives. I think many are motivated by the problems with our industrialized food system and others are tired of being simply a cog in a wheel making someone else rich. Some become tired of the fad-oriented consumer merry-go-round that is the basis of modern living. Some simply want to continue their modern lifestyle with nature as a backdrop. If we try to judge the success of homesteading by these, then yes, it certainly looks like a fad.

    Success in homesteading, however, isn't the same as the rest of the world views success. This is a huge pitfall for folks, although I don't think everyone understands what a pitfall it is. To stick it out we have to learn to think differently, to see differently. We have to learn to quiet the inner voice of discontent. We have to see ourselves as a part of our homestead ecosystem, indeed, as servants of it. It's a partnership with nature, and learning to respond to it on a natural plane requires a certain kind of faith. I think those who can figure that out find a sense of true purpose and freedom in the homesteading lifestyle.

  2. Leigh, well said. I especially like your last paragraph. Homesteading, for me, has become a way to mute my inner voice of discontent. And although homesteading is hard work and long hours, it ultimately is soothing. I grew up as a child of the rat race, so it has taken some time to still my inner spirit. I turn to working my homestead whenever my mind races too fast or attempts to return to the madness.

    For me, returning to the basics has not been a fad.....rather it is an enjoyable and healing passion.

    I enjoy your comments and will take time to mull them over.