kestrel

kestrel
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2022-09-14 19:28:25 (UTC)

Why I Pulled-Up Stakes

Personal entry follows.
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A blog I read regularly just posted an entry regarding the motivations for work, and I felt compelled to comment on it. The writer described four general categories of how people regard making a living, the first being total gratification - "I'd do this even if I weren't paid to do it, it's so awesome." While category four is something to the tune of, "I wouldn't be doing this unless I was coerced, it sucks ass so completely."

Prior to leaving the city and my well-paid, well-regarded trainer's position behind, I acknowledged that it had dropped to category three: "Well, I don't really like doing this work, but at least I get something out of it." The money really wasn't the thing that kept me there, honestly (even as I doubt a request for higher pay or benefits would have been refused if it meant I would have stayed for another year).

Meanwhile, the work I'm doing at the eco-institute now seems to be in category two: "I like this work, but I'm doing because I'm getting something out of it." As an intern, I'm not paid anything to be here and am currently living off savings. I sleep in a tent and can take a bunk in a communal house should I need it (like, when the winter arrives and I'm having trouble keeping the snow out of my tent). However, I have free rent, free food, and will be granted stewardship of an acre after two years of service. It's like a safer, States-side version of the Peace Corps.

It's not easy to do farming and handiwork all day, as one might guess. Particularly at my age. And I maintain I am doing this kind of work, in this kind of place, because I see the United States - if not the entire world - falling apart in the near future and I want to both survive just a bit longer, and meet other people who have prepared for the same kind of scenario and believe in the same or similar ethical ideas I hold important.

Anyhow, here's what I wrote as my comment on the blog, where I discuss some of the motivations for leaving city life behind, and instead pursuing a homesteading lifestyle.

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TL; DR: I echo [another commenter's] sentiments about working in a field as long as you can because there’s meaning for you in it. They couldn’t pay me enough to keep doing the work I did before I became a statistic and started interning at a farm. USA society is becoming smothered in its own garbage and incompetence.

I recently dropped-out of contemporary society to become a farm intern. Prior to that, I had been doing 15 years of non-profit training (which fell into category #3, above). The main city where I did this was essentially falling apart at the seams thanks to city officials that really didn’t do anything other than raid the proverbial coffers and hire consultants to complete studies about all the problems facing the city. You know… all the stuff one can do except for make intelligent decisions and take action to solve things.

I threw a lot of love into that city and the work I did, but ultimately it wasn’t just the city that didn’t provide me with a reason to keep doing the work I did. It was the dominant culture of the US at large. It’s just terrible here, in my opinion. There seem to be no systems in place to provide recompense to those who attempt to raise the tide that lifts all boats.

Objectively speaking, the organization I worked for was one of the highest-functioning in the metro area. Regardless, continuing to do the same thing and expect conditions to improve was simply impossible in that circumstance.

So I shifted directions, and now my energies are invested in learning how to provide for myself and a small community when all the dereliction of duty catches up to society at large (well, in all the places it hasn’t already).

I wonder how many other forthright, able-bodied, legit hard-workers are floundering in a sea of banality and looting, wondering where they can find a society worth working for again. I feel like I made the right choice for myself, but I must admit it feels like a regression of civilization because there’s no working model to emulate. Seems like the only solution provided by those with the ways and means is to literally leave Earth behind and inhabit another planet.

Sorry if this is so long. I’ve had to think about this a great deal over the past several years.


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