Pie Town Perspective

Pictured: People with Direction

Pictured: People with Direction

You don’t get very far without a direction; in fact, any vector requires it, so, technically, you don’t get anywhere without direction. So get it. As a skipper, you’ll find that choosing a mission for your family can help you as you  homestead, as you build your own little Pie Town. From that rugged bunch of New Mexicans, Skipping Bachelorhood offers five observations about the value of living with direction.

1. Keeping up with your mission negates keeping up with the Joneses.

If you’re going to build a house, you’re not going to add a change in design halfway through construction, even if your neighbor does have a layout that you’d love. It’d ruin all your work. The Pie Town homesteaders got this, and they had to, because most of them didn’t have much money to go chasing after stuff.

This sparse adobe living room was actually an upgrade for this couple, as they’d been staying in a dugout cabin for the previous two years.

By focusing on what they needed to do (that is, survive), the Pie Towners generally eschewed a life of worldly goods and all the problems that can come with them. Check out becomingminimalist.com for more thoughts on how less focus on possessions can improve your life.

2. Living in context of mission gives you perspective on your emotions.

Men are notoriously out of touch with their emotions, and skippers may be even more so, pushing on as we do without pausing much to introspect. But our wives aren’t, and this can cause a little tension at the casa. In Pie Town, as with many skipers, life was all about the mission, and if there was a problem–emotional, physical, whatever–chances were good that it centered on the mission.

This Pie Town gent grew pinto beans to keep his family afloat. When asked how he was feeling, it probably had to do with, yep, pinto beans and his family’s buoyancy level.

If something’s wrong, or something’s right, or you just feel…something, try looking to your mission for a glimpse of what might be causing those emotions. Your wife will appreciate it, and you’ll benefit, too.

3. The mission context allows a little humility when fighting.

Whatever your mission is, for nearly any skipper, petty fights with your wife don’t contribute to it. You don’t want to let her win? You’re sure you’re right? Too bad. Shut up and work on something useful, like, say, making your wife happy, rather than putting your dumb preferences on the top spot of your priority list.

These Pie Town kids walked 8 miles for music lessons. If these children can focus hard enough to make mothers happy (you know that’s why that kid’s playing the accordion), surely you can focus a little harder on what matters to be humble for a minute.

If you really want to take the Pie Town perspective, challenge your wife to take advantage of this thought. Tell her, “Hey, whenever we fight about something dumb, remind me what I’m living for and how this doesn’t make any difference in it.” She’ll probably do it. Can you take it?

4. Living with mission puts pleasures and vices in their proper categories.

What do you like? Beer? Working out? Camping? Fishing? Relaxing on the beach? Good for you! The people of Pie Town had some of life’s little pleasures, too.

Pie Town men indulging in some ice cream and hot fudge. One of life’s big pleasures.

These were guys who had little time or money. Think that ice cream meant a little more to them than it does to you? Pleasure, baby.

But what about too much? Most of them didn’t go for it. Sure, they had their problems, just like anybody else, but the constant awareness of their responsibilities put bold outlines on what was pleasure and what was vice. That’s going to make it a whole lot easier to say “is it really wrong to have an extra scoop?” than it is when you’ve got no direction. Whatever your vice, whatever your pleasure, see it through the lens of your mission.

5. Your mission should affirm your actions.

There’s a dull zone between pleasure and vice that most of us refer to as “work.” Work at your job, work on your house, work watching your kid, whatever–just work. It’s not usually pretty or problematic, it’s just what you have to do. If you’re not into it, reflect on your mission (remember Skipper Trick #4?).

Mr. Leatherman, here, of Pie Town lived in a dugout cabin because that was what he had to do. He probably wasn’t too excited building it, but his mission (survival) affirmed its value as he worked.

If your work  connects to your mission, you can see its value. If it doesn’t connect, you probably won’t. But you can use your mission to judge your actions, to weigh them and see if they have merit. That’s real affirmation, too; not just a kind word.

Here’s a toast for you:

May your mind be ever thoughtful,

Your thoughts be always nigh,

Your mission be your marker,

And your Town be ever Pie.