Updated: Sep 24, 2021
Dear, You Guys,
Baby steps are the only way to take on a change as significant as we have this year. In fact, any lasting change I've ever made in my life has been through the tiny steps. The days where I've woken up and tried to fuel losing 20 lbs, establishing a brand new budget, or healthier eating on nothing but an emotional high have never led to any success.
In fact, if you haven't had the chance to listen yet, please do! We have enjoyed a lot of new traffic to the blog and have been highly encouraged by the support and exposure the opportunity has brought us. Listening back to the interview allowed Christina and me to revisit a conversation and made us both proud of how we built off of one another's thoughts. (I had never thought of it, but it's rare to have the chance to listen back to an hour and a half of conversation together!)
One of the main comments from people who tuned in is that they felt the interview was inspiring. (THANK YOU!) For us, that's just super cool, and I want to run with that for a bit.
The reason it's so cool is that we were in that same spot less than one year ago. A place where we needed inspiration, we needed change, and a new structure in our life.
Most that have been able to take the time to read through the blog know, our catalyst for change came through a fundraiser we did for Charity Water. If you haven't, read about that here. We had been treading our own water for so long. Random strangers on the street would feel the need to stop and say stuff like, "4 kids! Wow! And you're pregnant! You do know what causes that don't you? har har." Or, straight up, "5 kids?! Are you guys crazy??"
It was those comments... those comments tipped us over the edge, and yes, we felt crazy.
We felt crazy, overwhelmed, and actually pretty empty for sure. Large families with small kids, you can relate to this. Christina and I decided early on that we would try to remain a family that didn't send their kids to daycare. One of us would stay home.
Admirable right? We would put all our effort into making sure that we were the ones to be there for our kids. Wrong. Batteries don't last forever. It was too late by the time we started to figure out that we needed someone to give us time to recharge. We were drained.
I would come home from work, and Christina, bless her heart, would also be exhausted and ready for a break. Usually spending most of the day cleaning up after the kids, the house would still be... a disaster. This was not due to any lack of effort or trying. But it caused stress for sure. I would also be tired, and although I wanted to wrestle and roll around and be full of energy for my kids, I just wasn't. Saying no to playing and wrestling with my kids on the ground all the time was lame and I knew it. It was downright depressing. Misguided, I was using all my energy on people far less important than my heirs.
If I wanted to have the life I always dreamt of having, being the adult, husband, and dad that as a child I had envisioned one-day being, I would have to start putting some serious work into becoming that.
So yes, after the catalyst came the work. We worked on a one-half-of-a-percent-change-a-day plan, and it seemed like forever.
We were on a plane 200 days later. Btw.. Check out that post, such a sweet story!
Jobs done, a website built, writing a blog started, house packed, stuff gone. Now we are here, in Guata-wata-melon. Sweet right? 200 days might seem like a lot when you are just starting. Here's the thing, if you don't start, the 200 days are going to go by anyways.
Now, it's time to jump into how it's going here. "How is it actually going, Owen?"
If I was only allowed a one-sentence answer, it would be: There is still a lot of personal work to be done. Fortunately, I can write as many sentences as I want to my own self-imposed blog questions for those interested.
Look, the significant change for us is symbolized by the move over the continent but is not why we are doing and feeling a lot better as a family. We feel better because of the intentional daily work of moving away from what we were becoming, and endless steps remain in that journey. If it's unclear to you what I mean by "what we were becoming", we were becoming empty vessels with little to offer the world. Just as we are not ok with words from our children that do not enhance silence, we were not ok with simply taking up space and breathing everybody else's air. And yes. That is what we were becoming, a family working hard to be able to keep consuming.
On the projects side of things, we are feeling motivated to keep pushing forward and see this through. Initially, we had talked about only staying here for 12 months; we are 1/3 into that now and have decided to stay as long as needed to see this recycling facility built and running self-sustainably. That will take a while, but we will continue to focus on the baby steps of picking up garbage one group at a time and fundraising. And so the 200 baby step, or half-a-percent-a-day challenge begins again. We made it here and now we are on a mission to change something else!
We have recently set up a go-fund-me for the recycling facility. Please consider being one of the first 10 to donate. <--YES! CLICK THERE! We need 35 thousand dollars to build a facility, build the machinery needed and start processing and stocking raw material for a few months before stage 2, production of goods.
Want to get involved in the fundraising and help us grow our reach? Please share this post!
Check out our project page for more info.
Much, much, much love,
Owen Dargatz from Guatemala.
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PSS: We are on Instagram at the.giving.experiment, follow for daily visual updates of the familwhammily.