I've just finished a six month stint of working full-time.
Phew!!! That was hard.
Back in the beginning, I asked whether it is possible to live a simple and sustainable life while working full time?
Sustainable - yes.
Simple - BIG NO!
My 'working full-time' sustainable life was far from the home grown, home made, frugal, homemaking lifestyle typically envisaged along with the words 'sustainable living'.
I haven't been gardening, I've been spending little time in the kitchen, I've handmade little more than a few quick gifts, and I haven't even been cleaning my own home.
I don't feel guilty for any of it.
I truly believe that our lifestyle over the past six months hasn't been any less sustainable than if i'd been devoting hours and hours to growing our own food and homemaking.
We can't all follow the same path towards sustainability. I'm settling into MY sustainable sustainable life.
How did we continue our sustainable lifestyle in a household where both parents were working full-time?
Thanks to the retrofitting we've done to our home in the past, it's easy to be green in our home. Solar hot water, rainwater tanks, PV solar panels, passive design, and our light coloured roof all improve the energy efficiency of our home without requiring any extra time or energy from us.
While I haven't spent loads of time in the kitchen, we didn't resort to packaged and processed food either. Instead we embraced simple food. Favourite meals included poached eggs on steamed vegetables, quick vegetable stir-fry, and roo steak and veges. Regular snacks included a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, a boiled egg, popcorn, or homemade dip and crackers. Eating sustainably doesn't always have to involve more time.
While i've grown nothing more than a pot of rhubarb, mint, and sprouts on the kitchen bench, we've continued to eat local home grown organic vegetables. We're a member of a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, so we're effectively paying Kate and Mark to grow our vegetables for us. What they don't grow, we pick up from our local Farmers Market.
While i've handmade little more than a few quick gifts, I've continued to embrace handmade. Just not handmade by me. For example, I needed a new wallet. I'd contemplated making my own, but inspired by Marita, I went in search of one made from recycled materials. I picked up this gorgeous and super practical wallet handmade from recycled seat belts.
We have spent a whole lot more money over the past six months than we usually would. But we haven't been spending it on 'stuff'. Instead we've been spending it on time. A house cleaner. A lawn mower man. I even paid to have my car cleaned once. Buying time helped us find time for a little 'simple' in amongst all the chaos.
So yes, I believe it is possible to live a sustainable (but not simple) life while working full time.
I'm starting a new job this week, so the question is now 'Is it possible to live a sustainable AND SIMPLE life while working four days a week'? I hope so.
Are you living YOUR sustainable sustainable life, or are you trying to live some one elses?