My husband and I have been having conversations about ‘comfort zones’ for the past 8 years. The reason is because we’ve been building an off the grid house. Without getting too technical, an average house has a 200 amp service, our OTG house has 35 amps – all provided by 15 solar panels. So clearly, we can live off the grid in the same manner we live on the grid. We can’t power a microwave. (No love lost there – I don’t even use a microwave, but my hottie loves his food piping hot!) We can’t have air conditioning – a real challenge when it’s 95 degree with 95% humidity!! We have definitely had to EXPAND our Comfort Zone.
We’re doing a lot of the work ourselves (and paying for it as we go – so by next year we’ll completely own this awesome home!!) Here’s a photo of the outside, and of course – our POWER station!
It seems like in our culture, we want to be in a perfect 72 degrees all year round. We want to be able to eat cantaloupe in December and strawberries in February. We never imagine turning on the faucet and not having crystal clear drinking water pour from it’s spout – and if the water is shut off for an hour or two, we’re totally inconvenienced. In other words, we’ve got a pretty narrow comfort zone….
But I think this narrow physical comfort zone leads to a narrow emotional, spiritual, personal growth zone. And unfortunately – this is where the growth happens – outside your comfort zone.
Hottie hubby and I have learned so much about adapting in the construction of this house. We don’t have an air conditioner, but we got Big Ass Fans (that’s the name of the company) and we’ve learned to take delight in sitting directly under a breeze from the fan, rather than walking into a 72 degree house. We’ve learned if you get too hot, that a dip in the cold stream out front can provide immense relief. We’ve learned at night, when cooler temps are especially important, fans in the ceiling and fans on the ground can keep you relatively cool.
We’ve learned about LED lights and how LITTLE electricity lighting can now take, and how an hour of using a power tool can take your system down to one bar. (It’s kinda like your phone, the more bars, the more power – when you get down to 1 bar, you need to back off or those fans aren’t gonna work when the sun goes down!) We’ve learned that our family interacts a whole lot more when there’s no TV available and cell phone reception or wifi connections. We’ve learned that stone masons don’t get paid near enough for what they do and IKEA directions have NOT ONE WORD printed in them!
It has been an amazing, enlightening, frustrating, fun, scary and enjoyable project! I’ve met and put my trust in so many wonderful people who have helped us along the way. This project has really been life changing in so many ways – from the discipline it’s taken to save the money to build the house so we didn’t incur any more debt – to meeting with ‘subs’ and deciphering a language I’ve never spoken (plumbing, electrical, solar, framing, drywall, insulation, roofing – the list goes on!!) – to shifting expectations of what living off-the-grid looks like. Bottom line: my comfort zone has expanded. I have grown in so many ways, and I’m a better, bigger, fuller person for it. My life has expanded as my comfort zone has expanded.
I want you to think about your comfort zone. Where do you draw the line on what you’re willing to sacrifice to get to where you want to go? Where are you willing, or not willing, to step out of the box and push yourself? What are you willing to do differently so you can achieve a high goal you’ve set for yourself?
I want to encourage you for this next month, to be a little daring. Try something new. When something comes up you’d usually say no to, say yes! Take a little risk spiritually and emotionally too. Open yourself up to something that in the past you might have closed yourself off. Because with bigger risk comes bigger reward – and a FULL OUT LIFE that’s busting open at the seams is the biggest reward we can hope for!