Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The American Dream - No Longer In Our Control

What ever happened to just setting down roots in a random plot of land, cutting down the trees from that land, building a house using those trees, and calling it yours. What about growing your own food and the food for your animals? And being able to make ends meet, maybe just barely. But you make it work. That is completely impossible today. WHY?!

I could go on about what has changed to make this all come about. But this actually isn't my center point. My point is actually that Leif and I have a serious case of "Schoolitis." We are ready to just set down some deep roots and make things work. Unfortunately, we have two different visions that contend with each other on a regular basis. One vision is continuing on through school until Leif has a Nurse Anesthetist degree so he can make A Lot of money and we can live well and travel the world. The other vision is of our little family living on a plot of nice land, building a cute cottage to live modestly in, setting up a little farm filled with miniature animals, and a cabin or two to rent out, and living off of the meager income that stems from that.

The Problem? Money! EVERYTHING takes money today. A LOT of money. You also have to "Qualify" for everything these days. The big guys (aka The Government) have to give you permission to accomplish your dreams and live on your own. Right now, they are content to let us live off of them. Though we appreciate their assistance at the moment. When we stop to take an overall look at what's happening, we actually feel like we've fallen into a spiders web that is slowly entangling us until we are wound up so tight in it's grasp our escape is hopeless. There's So Much Debt!

Is this how it's supposed to be? Why can't we just go out somewhere in the middle of nowhere and cut down a few trees? Oh yeah, someone already owns those trees and the dirt we want to build on... How did this happen?

And how do we get out? Continue on for a while longer I guess? Any other suggestions?

6 comments:

Janee said...

It happened because the U.S. industrialized and modernized. There are plenty of places in the world where you can do just that - build your own place and live off the land - just not really in the U.S. (maybe perhaps in PA Dutch Country?).

While I don't agree that the dream is no longer in our control, I understand your frustration. I have astronomical student loan debt from law school. I feel like I will be a slave to it the rest of my life.

And I also understand your ambition. I dream BIG so I'm frequently frustrated at the present state of things - even though we are SO blessed...(we just put an offer on our 2nd home yesterday)...but I'm always looking forward, never enjoying the present, always thinking of the next thing. It's exhausting.

Sorry, I'm horrible at giving advice but I sympathize with you. How to get out of it? I don't know for sure but I would say, pick the path you can do now and plan for the one you want later...

My kids are so young that I had to choose whether to work or stay home. I chose to stay home because I felt that being with my children at this point was more important. I can be the fierce attorney I've always pictured myself later. I made that choice and I'm content. Does that make sense? I'm rambling...

Anyway, (((hugs))) Lena girl...you guys will make it!

Sandra said...

No suggestions here just encouragement to just keep going. I'm sure you guys will do whats best for your family. As for the school vs no school stuff, if it were me I would take the school route. I remember Dan asking Kevin how he made it through school so fast. He told him to plow through it. Take all the classes you can and finish as fast as you can. Even if you have to quit a job and live off student loans for a year or so. Sure it's tough but dragging it out is tougher and you loose out on a job earlier which can pay off those loans. I feel like I'm rambling too, I'll quit.

ML said...

Unfortunatly, we totally understand the money issue. (And I'm just starting in school with three tough years ahead of me.)

I don't think there was a time in America when land was free. If land was free and open to anyone's taking, there would be total chaos. It was just bigger land and much cheaper in America's beginnings. Sigh.

Willow said...

Hi, Lena: I'm a friend of Janee & Dan from Michigan. 20+ years ago my hubby & I bought a house in the city with a very large lot -- 400 x 50' & river frontage. Lots of room for country/hobby farm ideas yet smack in the middle of the city; unfortunately, I work full time and have no energy after 8 hrs at a desk to plunge into land projects. But the land is there, and it's comforting to go outside and exhale and make plans for retirement someday.

I work for the Michigan Nurses Association, & I'd advise you to grit your teeth and hang in there for the schooling -- once it's over you'll be better able to afford the things you need for the lifestyle you envision -- and chickens and goats and little cabins all cost money. Nurse anesthetists are very employable and well paid. Just do it!

And while you're waiting for the schooling to be over, try to find a good-sized house on a large lot. You can do a lot of homesteading activities even in a small area such as raising chickens, gardening, soap-making, beekeeping, growing soft fruits, etc. that would be fun for the kids and also produce a little income and/or reduce your cost of living. And if you find a house that needs TLC and you can do the TLC, then the value of your house will increase during the schooling years and you could hopefully sell it for a profit later.

Forget about PA Dutch country -- the Amish have those land blocs all scoped out. You could try here in Michigan -- they turned out the lights here a few years ago when the auto plants died, and land/house values plummeted. Housing is pretty cheap, and there are good nursing schools here.

I had a friend who moved here some years ago with literally nothing except her husband and their children. Because they were dirt poor, they qualified for a lot of different kinds of assistance -- so they got a HUGE old house for around $40K at a low rate of interest, then they got free packages for insulating, painting, and new windows & doors. VERY low electricity fees once the insulation was done.

So look around and keep thinking about options. They really are there -- just think out of the box a bit.

And good luck to you.

Willow said...

Hi, Lena: I'm a friend of Janee & Dan from Michigan. 20+ years ago my hubby & I bought a house in the city with a very large lot -- 400 x 50' & river frontage. Lots of room for country/hobby farm ideas yet smack in the middle of the city; unfortunately, I work full time and have no energy after 8 hrs at a desk to plunge into land projects. But the land is there, and it's comforting to go outside and exhale and make plans for retirement someday.

I work for the Michigan Nurses Association, & I'd advise you to grit your teeth and hang in there for the schooling -- once it's over you'll be better able to afford the things you need for the lifestyle you envision -- and chickens and goats and little cabins all cost money. Nurse anesthetists are very employable and well paid. Just do it!

And while you're waiting for the schooling to be over, try to find a good-sized house on a large lot. You can do a lot of homesteading activities even in a small area such as raising chickens, gardening, soap-making, beekeeping, growing soft fruits, etc. that would be fun for the kids and also produce a little income and/or reduce your cost of living. And if you find a house that needs TLC and you can do the TLC, then the value of your house will increase during the schooling years and you could hopefully sell it for a profit later.

Forget about PA Dutch country -- the Amish have those land blocs all scoped out. You could try here in Michigan -- they turned out the lights here a few years ago when the auto plants died, and land/house values plummeted. Housing is pretty cheap, and there are good nursing schools here.

I had a friend who moved here some years ago with literally nothing except her husband and their children. Because they were dirt poor, they qualified for a lot of different kinds of assistance -- so they got a HUGE old house for around $40K at a low rate of interest, then they got free packages for insulating, painting, and new windows & doors. VERY low electricity fees once the insulation was done.

So look around and keep thinking about options. They really are there -- just think out of the box a bit.

And good luck to you.

Willow said...

Hi, Lena: I'm a friend of Janee & Dan from Michigan. 20+ years ago my hubby & I bought a house in the city with a very large lot -- 400 x 50' & river frontage. Lots of room for country/hobby farm ideas yet smack in the middle of the city; unfortunately, I work full time and have no energy after 8 hrs at a desk to plunge into land projects. But the land is there, and it's comforting to go outside and exhale and make plans for retirement someday.

I work for the Michigan Nurses Association, & I'd advise you to grit your teeth and hang in there for the schooling -- once it's over you'll be better able to afford the things you need for the lifestyle you envision -- and chickens and goats and little cabins all cost money. Nurse anesthetists are very employable and well paid. Just do it!

And while you're waiting for the schooling to be over, try to find a good-sized house on a large lot. You can do a lot of homesteading activities even in a small area such as raising chickens, gardening, soap-making, beekeeping, growing soft fruits, etc. that would be fun for the kids and also produce a little income and/or reduce your cost of living. And if you find a house that needs TLC and you can do the TLC, then the value of your house will increase during the schooling years and you could hopefully sell it for a profit later.

Forget about PA Dutch country -- the Amish have those land blocs all scoped out. You could try here in Michigan -- they turned out the lights here a few years ago when the auto plants died, and land/house values plummeted. Housing is pretty cheap, and there are good nursing schools here.

I had a friend who moved here some years ago with literally nothing except her husband and their children. Because they were dirt poor, they qualified for a lot of different kinds of assistance -- so they got a HUGE old house for around $40K at a low rate of interest, then they got free packages for insulating, painting, and new windows & doors. VERY low electricity fees once the insulation was done.

So look around and keep thinking about options. They really are there -- just think out of the box a bit.

And good luck to you.

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