When You Realize You Haven't Changed Much in the Last 5+ Years
Lately as I was scrolling though Instagram I happened across a new-ish business in my hometown of San Luis Obispo, CA called Homegrown SLO. They do monthly classes with local artists. It sparked a memory. My very first blog that I ever started (and granted there are only a handful of posts there, or less) was called Homegrown SLO. So I went back and read it. The first post I wrote in it to introduce myself and my mission for the blog made me fill with pride at young, baby me. Well I was 26 but that was 6 years ago, it feels like forever. But I so eloquently described my amazing hometown that I love (and am moving back to next month) as well as my deep belief in the idea behind "Create More, Consume Less." It made me giggle to realize I have not changed even one small ioda. I am still that SLO obsessed girl who is driven to spread the word that creating our lives is healthier and more sustainable for ourselves and our world than consumerism ever could be. My values are exactly the same and that couldn't make me happier. I may have had a brief hiccup between then and now, seeing as I did have to move out of the area and I did stray a bit from my creativity due to life circumstances, but how comforting to know I have made my way back.
Me back in the Homegrown SLO Days
So I wanted to share it with you because it was just that good!
This blog is meant to be a place to document my journey of life. Although I am specifically using it as a place to root my pet project, my endeavor, my dream so that I can watch it grow, I know that it will include many personal anecdotes, learning processes, frustrations, bitching, and emotional blabbings as well. That is okay though, because you know what? That is all part of the process and even though it may not seem to be directly related to what I am trying to do with my idea of Homegrown SLO, it is all part of my journey, my story, and it all needs to come together to tell it.
So what is Homegrown SLO…this dream of mine? Well I may or may not answer that question in this specific blog because that is a story in and of itself. But I will tell you how my journey thus far has led me to the creation of Homegrown SLO.
SLO is my hometown. San Luis Obispo, CA. It is a small town that is so full of beauty in every corner that artists come here and dwell here because of the inspiration found in every quaint building, on each one of the hundreds of hiking trails that afford spectacular views, on each beach…from the very secluded of San Simeon, to the carnivalesque atmosphere of Pismo Beach…, in every row of vines in our wine country.
Believe me, growing up in such a sleepy little town was painful. At least I thought it was at the time. Oh, it was so boring riding bikes to the Elfin Forest and having picnics under the oaks, it was so boring kayaking through the back bay, so boring having off campus lunches watching the waves at Morro Rock. Poor, poor me! Luckily I had the opportunity to be brought to my senses by leaving and traveling the world. I always thought that I would live in another country in my adult life, that I would be the expatriate that my ideals lend me to be. And I definitely tried. I lived in Australia and Spain all before I was 23 and traveled extensively during and beyond that. The world is gorgeous but not as gorgeous as San Luis Obispo.
I realized that my senior year at San Diego State University. I realized the United States may not be conducive with my ideologies but I could at least find some comfort in San Luis Obispo being that it is a quaint little hippie town in some aspects. I knew Southern California was probably the last place on earth where I could get a sense of the people and atmosphere that could promote growth along my journey and could bring me happiness. The soil in Southern California is shallow. I needed a place where the soil was rich and deep…where my roots could spread. Ironic as it may seem, my hometown, the place I was born and raised, seemed the best place within the United States that would allow me to be the expatrate I always thought I would be without having to leave friends and family behind. And the lifestyle that one can have in San Luis is so ideal. It is the Europe of California, where you walk downtown to meet friends for coffee or beers, everything is walking or riding distance, where there is no commute so the majority of your life is spent living it, not driving to it. There is a sense of community. And I am not just talking metaphorically when I say that the soil is rich and deep, this place is an agricultural haven. It is the most expensive place to live in America with a population of under 300,000. That makes it so hard to live here but so worth while. It’s the simple things that give us pleasure. And you realize that those people who make the sacrifice to live here are a very special breed. Those who find beauty and worth in the rolling hills, the majestic oaks, the endless vineyards, and the rocky shoreline.
So I came back and began my life here. I, myself, was homegrown in SLO, I had roots here and through coming back as an adult these roots spread and took hold in the deep, rich soil. Ever since I have become a community member, working for non-profits, volunteering for non-profits, creating events, networking, making friends and connections and basically just building a life for myself. A very fulfilling life, actually. I would like to never have to leave this place if at all possible. Because it is a small community, opportunities can be scarce so that makes my goal of being a permanent resident of SLO not the easiest one to reach. Many actually don’t. It’s been even harder due to the fact that all this time I really have not had any direction. I got my Bachelor’s in Spanish, wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a teacher, like planning events, am passionate about animals, have a strong social conscious, would like further education but don’t want to leave to get it. There were so many and not enough possibilities all at the same time. One thing I did know, I loved doing crafts and creating beautiful items that people can wear and display in their homes and I felt very limited at my day job of not being able to use my creative efforts as much as I’d like.
The real journey began then, as I met with more people who enjoyed crafting, as I established my crafts as recycled and reused products, as I did workshops and learned more about the ideologies behind recycled crafts. More ideas flowed and goals creeped into my head. The roots were given direction, a purpose, and are sprouting just as my ideas are, and this is where I find myself now.
My old neighbor Sara, a kindred spirit, and I brainstormed and decided to begin a creative collective called Hecho en SLO (Spanish for “Made in SLO”). We have many ideas, many goals and are in the beginning stages. We had our first meeting today and we are getting ready for our first holiday trunk show next Saturday. All of which I will explain at another time. My friend Jenn and I who frequently do our crafts together went to an art fair at a local winery today and I was able to meet and network with some amazing artists who do recycled art as well. Jewelry and door hangers made from old silverwear, scarves made from old sweaters and candle holders made from old box springs. Other kindred spirits on the same mission.
There is still so much I have to learn about anti-consumerism concepts, of green consumerism, of why we are trying to live by a philosophy of “create more, consume less”. But there is a very basic idea of why we are compelled to do it. My credo is as follows:
“All of us who are part of a non-profit or who participate in activities with a social conscious are ultimately seeking one overall goal, world peace. Whether it’s trying to create peace by getting rid of disease, stopping domestic violence, creating an environment where all species can survive and thrive, the main point of it all is more peacefulness. It is a beautiful thing. Each one of us has a issue or goal that speaks to us very powerfully in this pursuit of peace, an issue that is very clear in our mind of how, if solved, peace would be more attainable. For me, that goal is creating more sustainable communities with more reliance on local resources and alongside that creating more consciousness of green consumer behaviors. It is very clear to me how peace is unattainable in our current greedy, consumerist society where over-abundance is the norm in part of the world while the rest of the world has little to nothing. Our over-abundant lifestyles come at the cost of these people, by exploiting their work and supporting the big brands that become rich off these destitute people. It is a long chain of exploitation…we exploit them by consuming, the big brands exploit them by making a profit and paying them very little, our government and their government exploit them by allowing this all to happen.
I also have to mention that although I say “bravo” to those people who promote and support “fair trade” this still is a far cry from creating peace. Because although we are no longer exploiting the people, we are exploiting our earth by using precious resources to transport these products to the point where we can buy them, by creating new products in a still over-abundant world, by consuming when we really don’t need to. It all leaves a very large footprint. Why not buy locally? It supports the local community and economy, it is green because the transport of the items is very short, and if the products are recycled you know you are not purchasing more product that already exists in a ridiculous quantity. Last but not least, consume consciously. Think about your purchases and only buy what you need.”
Homegrown SLO is this blog, it is me, and it is this journey and it is here so that you may share it with me and watch it grow into…who knows? A flower, a garden, or a tree!!!!
Peace to you all!