I am a dirty hippy. Specifically, I am a dirty tree hugging, dirt worshiping, wool sock wearing hippy. This is a title my son Christian bestowed upon me years ago. I take it with incredible love as even he recognized he’s just like me. While he’s not doing much dirty hippy stuff these days in the Navy, I know the dirty hippy still lives inside of him and it’s only a matter of time before it will find its way and means to the surface. You are who you are, after all.
One of the things I love to do every Spring, an endeavor my husband and I took on a few years ago, is making our own maple syrup. It’s time consuming, relatively expensive if you consider the tools and gas and fuel for the burner, etc. It takes an entire day or more to boil down 30 plus gallons or more which is our average week since we have a very small operation for us and if lucky, our kids. We have maple trees at Clarence’s home farm in Leader, so tapping trees means driving north, hopping on a 4-wheeler into the woods, risking getting stuck in the snow (it happened two weeks ago), driving around in the woods from tree to tree either tapping or collecting, back to the yard, into the back of the truck and over to the cabin or back home to boil it down. Yep, most people would find this to be an incredible hassle. Just this morning, Clarence headed to the garage around 7am to start the process so we can hopefully get through it all today without having to drag it home from the lake to finish.
What is interesting to me is the various reactions we get when we tell people we boil our own sap for syrup. “What a hassle, I’ve got way better things to do with my time!”, “Why go through the work? You know they sell that stuff in stores”, “With the amount of gas you burn up it isn’t worth the cost of what you’d pay if you just buy it”, it goes on and on. Folks, I get it. It would probably be cheaper and easier if we just bought maple syrup in the grocery store like normal people…except…it totally feeds my Soul. This one reason is the only one I need.
It’s amazing to me how often we deny ourselves the simple things that give us joy, because someone or even our own head convinces us it’s impractical. We miss out on what feeds our inner self because we can’t come up with enough good reasons to justify it. Why? Why, oh why, are we always thinking we need to justify what simply gives us joy? Who on earth (because I’ll tell you it was no one in heaven) told us every single thing we do that brings us joy, has to meet everyone else’s version of logic? Honestly, who decides what’s logical in the first place! Yet, we deny ourselves all the time. We have a million excuses as to why we can’t , “I don’t have time, I’m too busy”, “I should be doing other more important stuff”, “When I’m retired I’ll do the fun stuff, now I have to work”, and so on. It’s crazy!
I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but let’s look at some uncomfortable statistics. The average American lives to age 78, the average American also can afford to retire between 65-68. Do the math. So, if you save all the fun stuff that doesn’t make any sense but feeds your Soul until later, you may not have much later to do it. Additionally, happy, fulfilled people live longer and healthier lives! Personally, I’m less attached to the number at the end and way more attached to the fun and meaning I am experiencing in those numbers as I go.
Now! Do it NOW! I know we all have responsibilities, myself included. I run a full time practice, have a husband, three kids and a granddaughter between the two of us, aging parents, and volunteer in my community, all the things. Life is busy. This is why things that feed my Soul are so important.
There are lots of things I do that keep me sane that don’t make any sense to other people. It’s called self care and it’s worth it. Anything that feeds my Soul counts as self care, and it’s vital! I love the drive North, I love the 4 wheeler rides and trouncing through the woods, I love hugging the trees and thanking them for the sap, I love watching it boil and the steam and the smell in the garage, the focus of shutting it down at just the right time. And we love the flavor, along with the fact of knowing exactly what is in the stuff. It’s not what you get in the grocery store. It’s so worth every penny, and every minute we invest in it, simply because it makes us feel good. The ROI on this stuff is through the roof!
So, do the thing. You don’t have to be a dirty tree hugging, wool sock wearing hippy, just be you. Just do the things that make you happy and feed your Soul. Simple. Joyful. Soulful. Self care.
You only need one reason.
Forever the journey, Anne