Lemme admit it shamelessly and unapologetically, I am still not financially sustainable and yes I depend on various other sources of income outside of my farm for my sustainance.
One of the most common questions of idealists is “Are you able to sustain yourself from farm ?” . There is a certain disappointment and looking down on us if the answer is “No”.
Then questions continue, is it not possible to make money from farming ? Does this sustainable farm living means living in poverty ? Is it fair to earn from cities while criticizing their lifestyle and boast simple living ? Is it okay to borrow money from friends and families ?
The paradigm of Multiple Currencies :
To understand how I look at things (which many would rightly see as a justification of my stand or laziness to not earn money), we need to look at the very existence of currencies.
What is a currency ? Currency is something that has value for you and for others.
For example money (printed notes) is a currency which you value and others value. Thus money has some power and influence. It enables exchange of energies for your whims, fancies and desires.
That way there is nothing wrong with money. What screws up the system is when one currency gains undeserved priority over the rest of currencies.
What are the other currencies ? What are other things that you value and others value ? Health is one. Relationships is another. Being useful to society is yet another. Healing and not destructing planet is yet another. So on, there can be multiple currencies based on different time, space, culture and circumstances.
Unfortunately today, we only value one currency of money. Both for ourselves and for others. Who would you consider rich ? One with a billion dollar bank balance or one with a half a dozen really amazing friends ? One with a mansion in Bollywood street or one who has saved or planted thousands of trees ? Is one with Merceded Benz richer than one who is helping society in various ways ?
At first, it may appear that we are comparing apples and oranges because we are so totally convinced and sold to the idea of money. If you hold on, you might appreciate the idea.
Lemme give you more personal example to make it more clear. I am constantly asked this question about money and how much I make from farming ? I do earn money from farm but it’s not enough for all my expenses. Immediately people discard my model or life as “failure” in many senses. This is the lens of money.
If one had the lens of multiple currencies, he would see how I am contributing to society by producing quitals of organic food, how I am working with nature to nourish the ecosystem, how I’ve helped in making my own parents, family healthier , how I am able to spend so much more quality time with my wife and children, how I am slowly posing a question to the society around me about what is good life, challenging the existing norms in numerous ways ?
I may be deprived of currencies as per standards set by society, but I am amongst the richest as far as life’s currencies are concerned.
Have we all not seen and known people with opulence but deprived of smiles ? Or people in poverty also living it so joyously ?
Ofcourse I am not saying money is totally useless or unimportant. All I am saying is that we need to expand our definition and understanding of what true currencies in life are !
There was a time when I’d get crazy amount of money just for warming up my seat in an AC chamber. However, my health, my happiness, my contribution to the society and nature – all stood in question.
Today, I am happier than ever, I am healthier than ever, I am contributing at least in some way to a better world (i hope so 😉 ) , I am able to give time, love and support to my parents, my children, my family. I travel across the nation and I’ve made such lovely friends and relationships that I don’t spend a penny and yet the travel, stay, food is taken much better than what if I’d booked an expensive holiday. To me, this makes me truly rich.