We had just sat down to brunch at our long dining room table. Homemade bread with homemade peach jam. Omelets with locally-grown organic vegetables and local eggs. Locally roasted coffee in handmade mugs. Orange juice in mason jars. Perhaps lacking pinterest-worthy decor, but other than that, maybe my husband’s cousin and her fiancee were right.
At first glance, maybe we are hipsters. Or, as I jokingly said to my husband the other day, “what hipsters wish they could be as they cry into their sparsely-grown beards at night.”
But we’re not hipsters by choice. We eat local eggs and produce and drink local beer because my husband and I volunteer at a brewery and a farm in order to earn them. Our bread, our jam, our scarves and mittens are homemade because we don’t have the funds to buy them in high-quality. We heat with a woodstove because unseasoned wood is cheaper than electric heat. We know how to cook because vegetarian options in smalltown American tend to be pricey or lackluster. We wear thrifted clothes because the amount of money the same things would cost new astound me. I’m a crunchy stay-at-home mother to our son because daycare is a luxury we couldn’t afford with anything less than a fulltime+overtime job, and I can’t imagine being gone from my son that much more than I’m home. He is breastfed and cloth-diapered and his introduction to solids was “baby-led” because we couldn’t afford formula and disposables and mashed peas in jars.
We are not poor. We’re not on welfare or eating government cheese or deep in credit card debt. But we’re both from long lines of Yankees who believed in stubborn ingenuity. We pay extra on our mortgage and car payment. We pay off our credit cards each month and put away a few dollars each week for our son’s future. We make anything that would be too much more expensive to buy. We work with our hands and value our pennies. I do love cabbage and bananas and rice and beans and oats – but I love them because I find them delicious and nourishing, not because they’re all I can afford.
Sometimes I do feel silly for worrying about money when I count up all we have. But I also fiercely want to protect our safety. I don’t ever want to need to seriously worry. I want to pursue multiple options for income to ensure that at least one will come through in a given month. I want to feel a little pinch now so that the rest of my family never need feel it themselves.
So I don’t think we’re like hipsters at all. My husband has a scruffy beard and plays banjo, and I knit and bake. Maybe we’re what the hipsters think they want to be, the way that people want to be starving artists or movie stars without realizing that those people have it just as tough, if not tougher.
We are careful and hardworking.
We are blessed.