What was I thinking? I got sidetracked!
That actually happens from time to time! I had a boss back in the day that used to say that one of my weaknesses (read challenges) was what he called ”fort och fel”, or fast and wrong in English, but it just doesn’t sound as good as it does in Swedish. Thanks Magnus! 😉 I still snicker to myself at this almost daily, when I do ”fort och fel”. And yes, almost daily.
Some of you, who have been reading this blog and followed Sustainable Living since the get go, almost ten years ago, might wonder why I am doing this in English now?
Well, I am going to try to live on this. We are going to try to live on this. So I have to reach out to a larger audience and since English is my second language, as well as my day to day work language, it is very natural to me.
So with that said – drumrolls and fanfares – welcome to Sustainable Living 2.0.
All pieces of my life puzzle are slowly falling, or furiously whirling, into their right spaces and places.
I got smacked on the head by universe, asking me, in not so gentle terms, what in the world was I thinking, and doing?
Sometimes I literally stumble across, or over, possibilities that I find impossible to resist.
I am diagnosed with adhd. Those of you who know me personally, know this, and see this, and those of you who have followed Sustainable Living also know this.
When my husband and I were investigating our son’s adhd – his team of doctors asked when I got my diagnosis. At that time I hadn’t, but it was just too obvious to them. Some ten years ago. We all probably knew from the beginning, I was just never investigated and diagnosed as a child.
All this time since I have continued to remind my son that his adhd is a super power. That with all that extra focus, energy, and his extraordinary intelligence he can do, and be, anyone and anything he dreams of.
Next year is the big 50 for me (but please read it five-o) so it’s only natural that I have some sort of life change. I wouldn’t call it crisis, I’ve never had an age related crisis. Many different crises but never one related to age.
When I was just a kid I wrote journals, thoughts, poems.
When I started out on this little adventure with the blog, Sustainable Living, nearly a decade ago, I wrote all the time, and everywhere. I wrote on the bus, I wrote in front of the TV, I wrote in bed, by the pool, at the table, always and everywhere.
Then I got side tracked.
We sold our apartment, bought a house, got another dog, I quit my job, opened up a company, travelled and thrived. For a few years this went on. I think I let the hubris hat control me. Remember the hats, I will get back to them.
Then shit happened.
Several people really close to us died, and got really, really hurt, two of our three dogs died, my husband got diagnosed with diabetes a month before corona hit, and we were isolated for almost two full years. Our son, with his adhd, and dyslexia, was home schooled (doctors’ orders) for over a full year of school. Oh, my heartfelt overwhelming thanks goes out to all you beautiful, clever, patient people working with our kids.
At one point during this period in time I had to call 112 (911 in Sweden). I thought I was having a heart attack so I spent the better part of a day hooked up to different beeping machines and was pretty much drained of blood for all the different tests. I was ok, it turned out, it was only anxiety.
We had pretty much already lost everything we had at that point. And we suffered so many losses of loved ones. My business was gasping for air and all we could think of was how to survive.
Once again we sold our home. Big house. Big dept. Little left, but we decided to move up north.
We found a little cottage by the water in a tiny village just outside of Östersund. We moved up in October 2020, and it turned out to be the best thing we’d done since producing our son. We will never again move voluntarily. They will have to carry us out, either on gurneys or pry our fingers from the door frames.
The first year of our new life up here was a year of continued struggle. With one foot in exhaustion and the other in desperation we did what we had to do, just to get by.
My husband, Daniel, started sharpening knives for our neighbors and the people in the village, and in return he got some fish, some meat, some bread, or some berries, or mushrooms, or whatever whomever had an abundance of. We had nothing so a piece of moose or reindeer meat, or a trout from the river outside, was more than welcome. Such a luxury.
Then came the big crash. I crashed and burned. Everything I had fought for was lost. So I allowed myself to crash, and I did.
But I had my family, our little cottage by the river, and the foods we got from Daniel’s knives, and whatever we could harvest, forage, or fish on our own. I still had most of my clients left, that stuck with me through all the hardships, and I started a new tiny little business.
I got myself a little Frenchie girl called Harley Quinn. She helped me smile and laugh when there was nothing to smile or laugh at. I sat, still like a rock, for hours, and hours, and hours, just quiet, listening to birds, the winds, the water, and Harley. We took long and short walks, up and down mountains, we kayaked upstream and downstream. We swam in the river and cooked outdoors.
We started little projects in the garden, we sat at the dock and watched the beaver as he swam past with logs for his big family house. There were five of them at one point but we haven’t seen them quite as regularly lately so they must have been driven to relocate upstream, but surely not by us. We love every sign we still see of them.
Anyway, by this point I had one foot in exhaustion and the other in depression, so I had no energy for struggle. I continued working with the few clients I still had in my tiny little business, and continued working in the garden, and taking long walks in the mountains, as well as long rides in the kayak. Always with Harley. We picked herbs, and mushrooms, and berries. We fished. I haven’t started hunting yet, but I want to. To get food, not for recreation.
Then our third dog died, Padrino. And not long after that Harley died too.
For the first time in over a decade our home was empty, without a dog.
The panic that I felt, not tripping over a dog in the kitchen, or stepping in pools of drool while cooking, or having company going to the bathroom, and not having a dog next to me in bed was the worst panic attack I have ever had.
I can crash, and burn, and rise. But I need a dog doing it.
This is Peanut.We stumbled over Peanut. Went and got her almost immediately after we saw her, and she has not left my side ever since.
She is also a Frenchie, only ten months, so we are working on everything but our bond. I think she just walked into my heart, made her room there, kind of like how she makes the bed, and she claimed her place, and I hope she can stay for a long, long, long, long time. I don’t know how many more times my heart can be broken.
But this leads me to where I am now.
Physically in our little cottage by the river in Northern Sweden. Mentally exactly here too. In our little garden, only now covered in a thick layer of beautiful glistening snow.
So I think, the first week of 2023, I woke up and started feeling a little more energetic, but really, really creative so I started writing again. I have made a few futile attempts at writing on the blog but strongly felt something was missing, and I really didn’t want to dwell on the past. I have been writing again, daily, weekly, since that first week of last year. A book started to take form. Thousands and thousands of words, stories, tales of the past, ideas of children’s books, recipes, texts, thoughts.
Back when I was just a kid my best friend and I said we were going to write a book together. We would call it The Great Misconception of Life. That book has been at the back of my head my whole life. Until now, when it suddenly moved forward to the front. The front, in front of everything else. I’ll get back to that as well.
I want to live right here, and right now. With the energy I got at the moment, somedays manically (not maniac-ally but mani-cally) energetic, somedays tiredly low. What makes me happy is here.
Somedays I medicate, somedays I don’t. Somedays I meditate. Somedays I still sit for hours not being able to get myself to do anything, and I let myself do nothing. I let myself listen to the water, and the birds.
The life change I wrote about, the side tracking and the focus I have regained is all about making the choices, and changes, that will allow me to do what I love. To do what I started out with almost ten years ago.
I want to write, I want to learn, and I want to teach. And I want to do it together with the people, and the nature, that surround me, and support me.
With all the experience I have there is so much to share. And with the curiosity I still have there is so much to learn.
So, today, I have one working foot in finance, in the games and interactive media industries, and the other foot in writing. All the lectures, tutorials, presentations, webinars and teachings, in the business of games, I have created and started planning will continue this spring, all throughout our long country, and I will never give up my loyal clients, for anything in the world. But I will allow myself time to write. And try to, if not make living of it, at least earn a few bucks.
For all posts from this day forward I will use the following tools, my computer, my little camera, my little voice recorder, my little smart phone, and my tiny earbuds, as well as good old fashioned pen and paper.
Feel free to reach out if you want me to write something for you or your business.
This blog has been my sidekick for almost a decade and I have had another tiny little business for it, aside from the finance one, hardly making any money at all, but a few bucks here and there have rolled in.
All the ads on this site are ads I have chosen, that are in line with my beliefs and the way we live.
If you click on any of the ads on this page and happen to buy something I get affiliate cash. If you click on any of the links in any of my posts that takes you to an affiliate shop will also get me cash. All sponsored posts will have this clearly stated at the top of the post.
We also humbly and gratefully accept donations in order to finance the writing and our future projects. So if you like what you read – any amount to my GoFundMe, PayPal, or Swish goes a long way!
Our coming posts will be about how to make your own soap with what nature provides, how to cook with weeds, not weed-weed in Sweden, but weeds that grow abundantly around us (currently under a think layer of snow). I have dried and frozen plenty to cook with.
We will also share photographs of all things gorgeous in our day to day life as well as little tips and tricks on how to live with adhd after exhaustion and depression. Oh and let’s now forget about menopause! Ha, I am almost fifty!
It’s also time to spend a few minutes introducing my husband Daniel. We’re going on fifteen years together, and more than one lifetime of memories already. We met, we kissed, we got pregnant, got married, and got a dog, then three, and then.
He, too, knows all to well what it’s like to literally hit the floor. He crashed onto the stone floor and got picked up by an ambulance, spent a day at the hospital, and a year recovering from exhaustion. Changed careers, from having spent almost twenty years working with security to property management. He picked up a hobby making and sharpening knives. He makes and uses his own fishing lures, and he is a really handy man.
A few years back, when we moved up north he started growing a beard. He’s always had a beard, or a goatee, the whole time I have known him, but I mean he started growing a real beard. He joined the Swedish chapter of the brotherhood of Bearded Villains, (click on the link for more info) and from being a grumpy old fart, jaded by the violence of his former work, he’s like a natural born lumberjack, shuffling around in his flannel shirts and hiking boots, sharpening knives, flirting with the old ladies, smoking a cigar on the dock, downing a bourbon, and humming to the birdsongs. He also managed to win a huge giveaway and a feature on his cigar clubs front page Ash Hole Cigar Club, (click on the link for more info).
He went and got himself an instagram account and overnight became an influencer! He has over 16k followers and gets sponsored for beard stuff, tattoos, travels, cigars and such. He wins competitions and what not and he will be a very large part of this blog, finishing all the projects I start! 😉
You can check his instagram out here https://www.instagram.com/devilianos/.
In our endeavors to live sustainably we have committed to make and create everything we can from scratch, in a way that leaves almost to zero waste, and if possible we will always reduce, reuse, remake and recycle.
Respect and love,
El & Daniel