2022-06-27 11:46:30 (UTC)

Goals Reflection: June 2022


[Names and locations have been obscured to preserve privacy.]

Living here has been a revelation. I have transitioned to sleeping in a tent this past month, and now events are in full swing. We just wrapped up an educational course, and while I still have my usual intern duties of gardening and handiwork, I also assist with tasks during mealtimes for the attendees.

It's been a lot of work, with long hours. However, a lot of the work I've done has been fulfilling and gratifying. For example, the first half of our day is gardening - the thing I came here to do - so it definitely scratches that itch. To see that my seeds have been sprouting and that I might actually have a yield of vegetables to show for my work is satisfying. I'd like to think that I'm not wasting the manager's time and resources while being out here.

The second half of the day, meanwhile, is primarily handiwork. I've been doing a lot of shoveling, hauling, driving, loading, unloading, and even basic roofing and plumbing. I'm building skills and creatively, critically thinking to solve problems and offer up solutions. I am totally digging this. My gardening skills, enthusiasm, and curiosity are paying off.

Finally: I'm understanding a bit more about the benefits of living here. Once I clock in two years of on-site labor, I'll be entitled to a plot of land of my own, rent free, for life. If I don't want to work that long, I will be able to rent an acre after four months and go from there. Will I go for the full two years? I think it's doable.

I'll keep in mind that - especially when the going gets tough - that there's a guaranteed plot of my own in the future, with which I can do nearly anything I want. Build a structure I want to live in. Grow the vegetables I want to eat. Live rent-free, and should I choose to join the rest of the world for a while, I will always have a place I can go back to where I can regroup... and it needn't be back to the basement couch with my relatives.

Additionally, I'll be a facilitator for a July event. More details about that are forthcoming. However, at least it's a sign that they want me to stay around, even if it's only as a warm body (though obviously I think I'm more useful to them than just that). It'll be an additional opportunity to build relationships and "community" contacts, personally speaking.

Still haven't recorded any thoughts on the journey out here. I'll need to do that before I completely forget the details.

There are some ways of reinforcing my income here, thankfully. For one thing, there are visitors who need a ride to the eco-institute from the nearby airport, and that money goes in my pocket almost immediately. So at least during "event season," I can pad the steady drain of my checking account.

Beyond that, I plan on mercilessly cutting-back on persistent expenses. When car insurance is due (and I do intend to keep my car for the long-term), I will cut down to the bare-minimum legal requirement for the state I live in, and then bump things up from there. In summary, there's a fund that is granted to someone who has car insurance, and then is hit by a car or is in some no-fault accident while riding a bicycle. Had I this additional insurance back when I was hit by a car, I would have been better off immediately. So I want that, but I doubt I'll have much else beyond that. This is due in September. Maybe I'll call them in July, just to start the ball rolling and/or have things set up prior to my next bill being paid.

I'll eventually need to pick up a vehicle registration in this state, as well as health insurance. Maybe this is a July thing, as well. Cooperating with those institutions has never been a strong point of mine, and I need to step up in that area and Do The Thing, Already.

It doesn't look like making bar soap with some sort of "local" angle is doable, based on the values espoused by this eco-institute. Maybe creating liquid soap is a possibility but I have the impression that not making hard soap sorta kinda takes the fun out of it. Maybe there are other venues I can follow-up with to become a consistent, local soap-maker.

My fellow staff here have taken me in as one of their own, to various degrees. I know I'm a useful part of the team, and in particular the crew lead and another intern - just a week into the job - have become good friends in a relatively short time. Working alongside these folks, solving problems on the fly by putting our heads together, and then reflecting on the experience of working at this institute and hosting events are all solid bonding opportunities that foster community and help me fit in better here.

Crossing paths with the guests and attendees has also been a special treat. The particular task I'm assigned to do for events - dishwashing or "KP" - is a unique one, where among the obvious tasks I'm able to meet and greet attendees and staff as nearly the first person they see in the morning.

I'm also contributing entries on the website for the eco-institute, which increases my exposure to the community beyond the physical location. Because I'm cobbling together brief videos and then posting them there, I'm brushing up on my latent vide-editing skills.

Am I meeting women? Of course I am. Some of them are pretty great. But a relationship isn't a priority right now. Regardless of how lovely the event chef has been (for example), becoming involved in a relationship isn't part of my goals right now and I'm convinced chasing tail would be just a waste of time. The dick has been "for pissing only" for over a month, I estimate that the last time I had sex with anyone else was close to two years ago, and there have been no Private Moments since I'd set foot on this property in early May. To put it plainly: were an attractive woman to so much as raise an eyebrow and maybe touch me on the elbow, I'd likely jizz in my pants.

It also helps, I suppose, that my ex and my artist friend haven't reached out to me for over a month. Regarding the former, she's likely dating others and that's none of my business. Regarding the latter, she is likely dealing with health issues of her own or caring for a chronically-ill relative, leaving her little time for a guy who told her "no" but who still wants to talk about sex from two time zones away.

Not so much thinking of it as "sexual frustration," but more along the lines of "sexual resignation." Romance and burning-hot passions seem like they're from a lifetime ago. When I visualize joining some intentional community for rural/homesteading life, I don't visualize a romantic or even intimate partner. Maybe this is just a side-effect of starting a completely new life in a completely different place.

Not actively-seeking, and I'm deliberately avoiding what I would see as too much closeness. I'm also sensitive to this because I don't want a woman to feel like she's being led-on by me when it's unlikely I have the chops to cultivate a deeper, exclusive, intimate relationship. This kind of thing happened with my ex, and although it's complex between she and I, I still have the feeling I did her wrong with how I'd approached things - especially in the early part of this year - leading up to my departure. Flirting with a woman is enjoyable, but seems useless.

Still struggling with respiratory clarity (?) in this arid climate. Nosebleeds happen rarely, but they happen inexplicably. I blow my nose close to first thing in the morning, and great gobs of boogers comes out. Now that the weather is (finally) turning hot, I need to make double-sure I drink enough water.

I am becoming physically stronger. My muscles are more powerful, and my endurance helps me last through the long days of mixed labor. The only bad thing about this is that I'm cutting weight (as in, it's been years since I've weighed as little as 184, and I do that now without trying) and I think I struggle to eat enough to sustain myself.

I make sure I still eat my multivitamin supplements, and boost my immune system with a zinc and elderberry supplement I bought late last year or earlier this year. Sleeping in the tent is easier than I thought possible. Likely the strangest thing I've done recently is showered without using soap.

So, showering happens seven days a week now (I no longer have to rely on my "wipe-downs" with a collection of handkerchiefs). However I use only really hot water, and after scrubbing myself thoroughly I am done and drying off after like three minutes. Sometimes I use soap on my "bits and pits," but beyond that it's a soapless, quick shower. I've been using deoderant afterward, just in case. No complaints - from myself or others - for this first week.

This is a new subject. In general I want to keep tabs on how I'm spending my extra time (the little of it I have), and whether it's consuming too much time and/or resources.

This will be summed-up quickly for the moment: I have spent time designing smaller, journaling-style games, as well as games that use a piecepack (the equivalent of a deck of classic playing cards, but for board games). I have gone out to eat a fair amount, in particular at both a vegan donut shop and a by-the-slice pizza joint in a nearby town.

Things are so, so different right now, and I'm adjusting. Routines are slowly coalescing into a new life: with different people, places, and things.