After a hectic personal 2023, I am ready to get roaring again in 2024 in my 2022 style! A few key things have happened personally, and a few key things have happened globally, that really made me inclined to sit and write a proper blog post about the new intentions behind All The Way Handmade and all of the lovely soaps, body butters, and other self care items. These ideas have been slowly brewing, bubbling, in the back of my head for years now, and time and time again I am convinced that this is the direction I need my life to follow. That sounds pretty dramatic and it is. What those bubbles boiled down to was that as a whole society, we are losing our ability and means to survive. I do not mean solely financially, but it is a huge cog in how modern society strangles us out of our own survival autonomy. My main focus now is retaining what is increasingly becoming a loss of knowledge at a societal level which literally keeps me up at night, terrified.
The things that we need to survive and the knowledge that we (as a societal whole) are very quickly losing grasp, losing sight, losing ability to be in control of are at the crux of our personal well-beings. And it is entirely on purpose from those who can sell the use of knowledge instead of owning and putting it into practice ourselves. We have become a society of rentable, disposable, planned obsolescence, instantaneous gratification, plagiarizing, insatiable garbage consuming culture with seemingly little way out. Whether the consumerist culture has impacted more people by necessity or by choice is irrelevant - it is pervasive and has become the norm. We have become accustomed to the idea that nothing is permanent anyway, so why try if it is so easy to replace or handle it. Precisely. Our lives have become hard and complicated enough in other ways that survival skills have become inconvenient to learn, or even worse, invisible. That is distinctly upside down in my point of view. So, I moved, away from the suburbs and into a rural property. What a whiplash of topics, but bear with me.
I had a cushy suburb home for the better part of a decade. It was easy in the sense that I consumed resources and autodrafts went out to pay for them, and for any service that I deemed necessary, I could vet a professional online, and write a check once they solved the problem. Meanwhile, my time and mental focus was on earning more digital dollars to go into my bank account by doing digital work to make more digital dollars for someone else. My job was to always get better at this one specific thing for ever and ever, always forward as new the industry space changed. That job devoured every part of my life that it could. Pushing me forward whilst simultaneously eating my life from behind. There was no "me" left - I was a conduit of the economy, a meaningless passthrough entity of making money just to spend it to survive. Thankfully I had a stable home. Thankfully I had food. Thankfully I could buy clothing. Thankfully I could find professionals to take care of problems I didn't have time or confidence to handle. Thankfully I had the money to survive, but not the knowledge. I had outsourced my own survival and was living in a state of disassociation. I was only making the money in order to survive... so why was I not learning how to survive so I didn't need as much money anymore? I didn't have the physical hours in the day (regular 90+ hrs/week for years) to do anything else but rely on the employer for my livelihood. That corporate job controlled too many aspects of my life in the form of golden handcuffs, and I was done. I wanted to take control back and have a life again. What did that mean? What do I need to truly survive? Shelter, food, heat, and health. All The Way Handmade started addressing "health" first.
Health is where I needed to start. I was exhausted and run ragged, desperate to feel better. I didn't particularly feel unhealthy or sickly, then again I was so disoriented that I didn't know much of much. As it turns out, I was simply ignoring symptoms of a condition I was unaware of - which is neither here nor there for the rest of this deep dive. I got very interested in grass roots knowledge of pretty much everything; a revival of my love for history and archaeology. This is where my mental grouping of "shelter, food, heat, and health" started solidifying. Eager to learn every bit of what it effectively meant to survive as a human, even one in the digital age, took hold and my ideologies clicked together. I became infuriated with the huge disconnect between survival needs and the needs "society"/"they" said I needed to fill and how I should fill them. What I needed was to be closer to land that could satisfy all four branches of my survival. I had shelter, heat, and water - health was iffy, but I still wanted closer. With rural land, a home would be required, and I was willing to learn and take on the responsibility of managing a non-centrally located home. With rural land, I could literally grow trees to use as my own heat source (which is a goal of the 2024-2025 winter) - currently our wood hearth is our exclusive source of heat. With rural land, I could be in charge of our water source and management (if the land parcel allowed). With rural land, I could grow some staple crops and herbs. With rural land, I could regain control of my own survival skills and those of family. With rural land, I could step off of the hamster wheel of 21st century "life" and actually start to live.
This new lifestyle extends into my business capabilities too. There are well established herbs here already, which now I do not have to outsource. They will be featured in all sorts of new ways in my specialty soaps - whether through oil infusions and/or eventually distillations for both essential oils and hydrosols. I even tried to harvest rosehips this year! Unsuccessfully so this time, but it may also be a less than ideal kind of rose that I would want to use anyway. Trying to grow wild roses over the notoriously invasive himalayan blackberry thicket is a project for a future year. There are people around me growing all sorts of things that I can use for future projects as well - beekeepers, orchards, and herb farms to name a few.
I am invigorated once again as my enthusiasm for the lifestyle I want to live is taking shape.