As I move closer to mid forties, my two most sought after feelings are a sense of security and a sense of self-worth. By this age, the reality is more acceptable and ambitions are grounded to those realities. I wouldn’t say retirement is visible or stamina wears down with age. There is surely a long way to go. But age alters what one seeks.
We, who’re around this age, grew up with a ‘truth’ that money is the common provider of all kinds of security – material, social, emotional, physical, physiological and psychological. Fortunately for many of us, the truth from this notion started fading very early into our ‘careers’. By now, and particularly after a pandemic, most of us are accepting of the ‘new truth’ that money, on its own, doesn’t provide this sense of security. The need for security has since become an urgent requirement. The silver lining is that there is still time and it is possible to use the money earned t create something, which can provide that sense of security.
The other sought after feeling is a sense of self-worth. Now, this is a crystal maze. It gets into the domain of spirituality – unique to each, yet the same for everyone. The issue gets complicated by the fact that we seek this sense of self-worth frequently and more desperately as age advances. Once again, the truths we grew up with have let us down. Awards, qualifications, designations, social standing and asset ownerships lose their sheen by this age. In fact, many of these, now cause suffocation and uneasiness.
For me, much of both these senses have to do with living on the farm.
Sense of Security and I
Objectively speaking, the base level security sought is with regard to good food, health and physical security for the entire family – today and in the future. As parents, we seek security with regard to the education of children – education meaning learning, not jobs/source of livelihood. There is a sense of security that belongingness and money also brings in.
Food is too important to leave entirely for someone else to provide. It was also a prime trigger that led us to farm living. Our priority for self-sufficiency is dairy, vegetables, fruits, oilseeds, pulses, spices and grains in that order. What remains will be purchased. So far, we have managed dairy and vegetables to a large extent. Pulses are easy to do, so we grow all except one or two. Fruits are happening at a slow pace. The rest are yet to begin. What this means for food security isn’t something that everyone will understand, but those who do will know that this has a huge impact health and the ripple effects on healthcare and dependence on money. Over the next 10 years, we would be fairly food-secured for ourselves and for those who live on this land later.
The price of good food has to increase substantially in times to come to keep up with its real value. To have access to self-grown good food cannot be underestimated.
The health benefits of living on the farm need not be enumerated. But I notice that most people don’t realise the magnitude of its impact – despite Covid. If your plan relies on pharmaceutical industry, all I can say is that it is a different route and I don’t understand it at all.
As far as we are concerned, good food ensures good health to a large extent. Cleaner water, unpolluted air, ample exposure to sunlight, significantly more physical activity as compared to a city ensure a healthier body. The impact of farm living on mental health is also phenomenal, though all the impact isn’t positive.
We’ve surpassed the stage of being anxious with regard to academic education of children. They’ve done exceedingly well in their academic pursuits. As parents we are quite certain that for both of them admissions to their choice of streams will not be hindered by their place of stay. Good education isn’t restricted to courses, which open up financially lucrative opportunities. Good education for the purpose of learning has many more options, which don’t have long queues and hefty fees.
We’ve never faced any physical security issue in our 8 years out of the city. The issue is largely irrelevant, but since this is a concern for people who haven’t lived on the farm, I’m including this in the list.
We rarely experience security that comes with belongingness. This is not because we don’t belong. Our circles are small, but they do exist. The reason we don’t feel secure is because belonging to a group of insecure people cannot offer security – in fact, it takes away from the existing security. Our social circles try and scare us with their fears, but we’re able to deal with them because all of them aren’t relevant to us. But it would be so much better to belong to a circle, which is…not so insecure!
The role and position of money in our lives is very different from that of most people reading this. It is indeed very difficult to impress upon people that money has a limited impact, beyond which it induces toxicity. Far from providing a sense of security, money can increase insecurity. For us, some money surely provides a sense of security, but there is a hunch that money isn’t worth worrying too much about.
I will touch upon the subject of sense of self-worth next time.