When I was in school, there was this hype of “You can be anything you want to be”. I had thoughts of being President of the United States. Or maybe an astronaut. But I never really figured out what I wanted to do. Even now, in my 30’s with a great career, I just want to retire. I want to leave the rat race and homestead full time. Over the last handful of years though, the thought has shifted from what do I want to be when I grow up to asking myself: How are you building your legacy?
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Building Your Legacy
I think the first step in building your legacy, is to look at the definition of legacy. I pulled this definition from the Oxford dictionary.
- an amount of money or property left to someone in a will. “my grandmother died and unexpectedly left me a small legacy.”
- the long-lasting impact of particular events, actions, etc. that took place in the past, or of a person’s life. “he left us a rich legacy of buildings that are both innovative architectural creations and genuine works of art”
For some families, the legacy is being in law enforcement or military. For other families, it’s cycling addiction and abuse. And for me, it’s the dreaded 9-5 and grocery stores.
What Was Passed To Me?
The legacy that was passed to me is the typical American legacy. It was working 40 hours a week in a job that you like just enough to keep going to. Or the feeling of being stuck in a job because you don’t have the time, money or education for something different. It was going grocery shopping at a big box store with labels, directions for cooking, and packaging galore. It was sending your kids to school to get an education that they could take to their 40 hour a week job. It was expected that I get a job at 13 and work as much as possible, or as much as my family could get me to that job.
Beyond the typical legacy, my love of creating came from the women in my life. I learned how to sew from my mom. I learned how to crochet and knit from my grandmother. My love of photography came from my aunt.
But I’ve never been one to do what I’m told. I’ve been accused of not listening or following direction on MANY occasions. And most of the time, it wasn’t in a good way. I am pure frustration for anyone “in charge” of me or any rule follower teaching me how to do something. Being a rebel has a lot of up and downsides. So those skills I picked up from my mother, grandmother and aunt were expanded upon by going further down the rabbit hole on my own.
Wanting Something Different
I’m an observer. I see what other people do, how they do it, and most importantly, how they LIKE it. Then I take that observation and pull it into whatever I’m doing. I saw what the 40 hour work week was like and knew I didn’t want to work 40 hours a week and only see my kids and husband a few hours at night. Being stuck inside 4 walls, without the ability to escape when I need it, causes HUGE amounts of anxiety. There HAD to be something better than packaged food from the grocery store. I wanted something different.
I am a VERY independent 4 year old trapped in a 34 year old body…. with access to the bank cards.
The legacy I want is handed down recipes. I want second and third generation cast iron. I want generational knowledge of gardening, canning, animal husbandry, and working WITH nature. And I KNOW it sounds spoiled but I desperately want to learn these things at my family’s knee instead of the internet.
So we started building our legacy
Building your legacy doesn’t always start with a radical shift. Sometimes, it’s just one thing. It’s prioritizing family over work. Or making family meals every Friday night. Sometimes something small is enough to get you moving in the “right” direction for you to build the legacy you want.
Your Legacy Is In Your Hands
We definitely broke the mold over the years.
Since we were a young family and Jared was in the Army, I stayed home with the kids. My cooking skills grew and I no longer had to buy Bisquik to make pancakes. I got a job where I could work two days a week and bring home a full time paycheck. A job allows me to homestead and homeschool while earning a paycheck.
Jared broke the cycles of addiction.
We are creating a legacy of skills, hard work, and independence that our boys can take to their own families.
Do I expect them to be paramedics? No. In fact, I don’t want them to be paramedics. This job is HARD. But I will support them no matter what they decide to do.
Do I expect them to go into the military? No. Again, I don’t want them to. But if that is what they decide, I will support them.
Do I want them to have a homestead? Yes. Because then I know they will be able to take care of themselves and their families. But if not? That’s okay too.
Do I want them to homeschool their kids? Meh. It’s what worked for us.
So What Is My Legacy?
I don’t know, yet. I know what I want my legacy to be. I want my legacy to be a person who is supportive of not only my family’s endeavors and decisions but my own. I want to raise boys who are good and capable men. I want my family to be able to grow their own food, raise and butcher their own animals, and be good stewards to the resources they have been entrusted with. Wither they do those things or not is irrelevant.
I want my children and grandchildren to know that I will pass down second or third generation cast iron. I will teach them how to cook from the heart and not a book. I will always be willing to teach them the skills that I have learned so they don’t have to learn them from the internet. They will learn how to raise and butcher animals. They will know how to put in a garden.
But most importantly, when I die, I know that I did everything I could do to raise a family that doesn’t roll over when things get hard. I know that I have taught the next generation skills that will help them thrive no matter where they find themselves.
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