I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of my pioneer project. When I dreamed up the idea, it was to develop self-sufficiency skills that are in short supply in my arsenal and to prove that, if need be, I could survive a prairie winter (or summer for that matter). I still refuse to ride a horse or shoot a gun, but I’m slowly working on the rest (except for crocheting. I’m done with that shit. I can get by with my sewing skills and the knitting loom and I have a date later this week) and I think that, at this point, I could survive a prairie winter. While my project is far from over, it’s nice to know that in just a few short months, I’ve come so far.
To the last point, I fully believe that everyone can pioneer their own life. You don’t have to do something groundbreaking that changes the world. You don’t have to be the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs or Amy Poehler or Sheryl Sandberg. Being a pioneer is about doing something new, adventurous, and groundbreaking in YOUR world. Whatever that entails. No matter how big or small it may seem to someone else.
To the point about working hard on the things that matter and the things that don’t, that, to me, is the crux of being pioneer. After you’ve decided what you’re pioneering, of course. Because once you’ve decided to focus on that, that’s where your time and energy needs to go. Goals you set should be tied directly to your pioneer efforts. Your free time? Same thing. And if you don’t think you have the time or you can’t make the time, then whatever you’re attempting to pioneer is really not that important to you.
For me, though, obtaining that romanticized simple life means not only developing those all important self-sufficiency skills. It involves putting myself outside of my comfort zone and connecting with people, friends and strangers. It that involves slowing down. It involves having one full day per week where no one in my house does any errands or chores and we just have family time. It involves letting go of the things that won’t get me closer to a goal and embracing more of the things that will. It involves digging deep and developing a work ethic and spirit that I’ve never possessed.
It involves taking the attitudes and core beliefs the pioneers had, internalizing them, and making that the focus of the project rather than just whether or not I can make something from scratch. Believing in my own efforts and realizing that just because 39480 people have done it before me doesn’t make what I’m trying to do any less awesome or special and it certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve the same success. The pioneers didn’t let other people’s raging successes (or perceived successes) deter them.
Because now, I’m pioneering my own life. And I don’t give a shit who does or doesn’t like it. In the words of the wise Billy Joel “I don’t care what you say any more, this is my life. Go ahead with your own life. Leave me alone”.
I used to believe that this experiment was about how anyone can be more self-sufficient. Now it’s about how anyone can be a pioneer.
They’re not the same thing.
They don’t need to be.
P.S. This is the unintended beginning of a three part series coming your way starting next week and lasting for 3 consecutive Mondays.