The world changed for most of us, sooner or later. Some very much so, and others not so much. Lifestyles were forced to change, to adapt. Many of us started to work from home. We all had the same questions; “What if things stay this way?”, “How can I stay safe? How can I keep my family safe?”, “What if something happens for the worst? Maybe I shouldn’t be working so much.”
This was the start of the Great Resignation. Across the world, people were beginning to question their work to life balance. They started to notice the benefits of life. They took up lost hobbies and interests or discovered new ones. The importance of social interaction was realized. We started to have more empathy, to care more about each other.
Like many others this was around the time I re-discovered gardening, stemming from my childhood memories gardening with my parents. What better hobby to pass onto my own kids, and at the same time plant some edibles for us! I’ll be an organic hero! This is when I discovered Self Sufficient Me on YouTube. I became an instant fan, spending as many waking hours as I could watching Mark and his magnificent landscape. I started from the first videos and worked my way up to the most recent ones. I frequently checked back weekly to see if new videos had been posted. I was in awe. Look at all the wonderful things he can grow! Look at his passion, his dedication!
I was jealous, admittedly. I want what he has! So, let me try it! I’ve watched all his videos… surely I can grow my own food crops! Even more so, I happen to live in a subtropical climate just like him, but on the other side of the world, no biggie!
So, I began. With about 1/4 of an acre of my lot I learned how to build Hügelkultur garden beds. I couldn’t afford aluzinc beds, so instead I designed my own using pallet wood. I watched the sun patterns to see where peak sun exposure was located. I placed and filled my new beds. At the same time, my seeds started to germinate. I felt accomplished. This is it! I knew with some sweat and Self Sufficient Me I could do it.
But something was wrong. My plants aren’t surviving. Of the plants that survived, they were showing signs of various diseases or malnourishment. Pests were encroaching! What was wrong? What was I doing wrong?
I decided to take a step back. During my transition to working from home, I quit and changed jobs. I focused more on the health and well being of myself and family. In between my working hours, I would take small breaks and continue to watch Self Sufficient Me, wondering what is Mark doing differently than I?
It finally hit me one day. Mark isn’t really doing anything differently, but he is self-sufficient with what he is doing. He understands what self sufficiency is, and I don’t. I need to be Self Sufficient Me!
Didn’t being self sufficient mean having all these skills to do various things that required no other assistance? I could build garden beds! I could plant seeds and make them grow! Great, I’m a self sufficient gardener! This was far from the truth.
Self sufficiency does not require you to be a homesteader, and it doesn’t require you to be an expert with everything. Being self-sufficient is a lifestyle, a choice to understand yourself, your surroundings and the needs of both. This was my oversight. Mark is self-sufficient because he understands his requirements and needs. He understands the climate in which he and his gardens live. He knows the wildlife, the weather, and interacts with them daily. He knows which fruits and vegetables he and his family prefer, and understands how to grow them.
My failures started to make sense now. I needed to understand my requirements, my environment, my wildlife. Only then can I become sufficient in the things I need. You cannot be self sufficient without first becoming self aware. Self Sufficient Me is full of teachings that can be learned, however we need to understand the self sufficiency of others may not be the same as your own. Instead, start understanding your own habitat and apply them. The concepts are virtually the same but cannot be taken verbatim. No part of the world will have the same climate and environment as Northeast Australia nor where you currently reside, but there can be similarities. Understanding yourself means understanding where you are, and collaborating with the world around you to achieve your goals.
You need to become Self Sufficient YOU! Will you join us?