Be Brave – Take the 2020 Simple Life Challenge!

2021 is lurking around the corner, and we aren’t sure whether to breathe a sigh of relief or hide in a corner from fear of what might come next.  Taking that into consideration, I think it is time for a 2020 Simple Life Challenge!

(Note: This may have been written for the 2020/2021 season, but it is still just as applicable today!)

a small boy hiding behind his hands at the thought of taking the 2020 Challenge

Wait. What? A 2020 Simple Life CHALLENGE???

I know.  You are screaming at me right now.  And I hear you.  2020 wasn’t simple. Not at all! We are trying to get rid of 2020, not start all over.

But don’t fear.  I want it behind me as much as you do.  It has been one of the toughest years I can remember.  Which is why I think we need a 2020 Simple Life Challenge now, more than ever.

a young man looking back at a plane that is departing

Take the 2020 Simple Life Challenge

The 2020 Simple Life Challenge isn’t designed to make you walk the journey all over again.  It is designed to take a quick look back, see what you have learned, and where there is room to make improvements.

None of us want to go through this again.  But in life, if you don’t learn your lesson the first time, the odds are great that you will have to stay after class until you make a passing grade on the test. 

In every life there is room for improvement. 2020 offered us a ‘pop quiz’ on how prepared we are to handle a disaster. We learned that there may come a time when food is scarce, employment difficult to find and we have to learn to live by our skills and limitations.

None of us want to relive that experience. But just in case we do, there are things we need to learn. We need to be able to provide for our families physical and mental health. Our self-sufficiency skills need to be upgraded, and we need to at least know the basic crafting techniques.

So to prevent us from having to repeat the crash course 2020: 101, or worse yet, take a course in 2020: 201 or higher, let’s see just how much we have learned. Be Brave. Take the 2020 Simple Life Challenge. Not only will you know where you stand, but you will also have a good idea of the direction you need to go next.

a pencil and quiz paper for the 2020 Challenge

How to Take the 2020 Simple Life Challenge

The 2020 Simple Life Challenge is made up of several questions.  Some are multiple choice, but some require a longer answer and considerable thought – not just ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  Think of them more as a ‘short essay’ answer.  This way, you can get a full picture of what you have learned, and what you might want to study for a bit more in depth.

Be sure to be completely honest with your answers.  It will help you with the next test – the 2021 Simple Life Challenge that will be handed out at the first of the New Year.  (I am so sorry – this is a full semester-length course, and you have already paid your tuition – no dropping the class now!)

Are you ready?

a fake newspaper stating 'the sky is falling!'

Challenge Question #1

When the Pandemic first became prominent, what was your first reaction?

a)            Took a page out of Chicken Little’s Book – ‘The sky is falling!!!’

b)            Waged war with the dust bunnies for space under the bed

c)            Took a leave of absence from work and life and stayed home

d)            Pulled out the sewing machine, made masks and carried on

e)            Took inventory of supplies and skills, determined what was needed to survive, and become proactive

f)             Found alternatives for toilet paper

gardening tools and small plants

Challenge Question #2

If you have never gardened before, did you…

a)            Stock up on fresh and canned foods at the grocery store

b)            Shop at a local farmers market (or joined a CSA)

c)            Start small with a few pots, some dirt and a package or two of seeds

d)            Plow up your yard and half the neighborhood and called it a ‘Community’ Garden

a bowl of ramen noodles and chopsticks

Challenge Question #3

How well did you prepare for food?

a)            Bought what was available in bulk – and tried to figure out how to use it all

b)            Learned to Can

c)            Started dehydrating foods

d)            Found 1,001 Recipes for Ramen Noodles

e)            Had a Food Swap with friends and neighbors

f)             Stocked up on chips, M&M’s, sodas and maybe a bottle of water or two

a barn full of chickens for Question 4 in the 2020 Challenge

Challenge Question #4

Did you:

a)            Buy chickens (for eggs and meat) – even if you didn’t know how to raise them?

b)            Buy a cow or other meat animal – or at least a ‘share’ of one through a farmer?

c)            Learn to make your own cleaning products?

d)            Improve upon or learn a new craft?

e)            Find ways to entertain yourself and family at home, rather than go somewhere else?

f)             Research business ideas to work from home, rather than travel to an office?

g)            Pile up on the couch, ate Bonbons and watched Soap Operas

Skills building for 2020 Challenge

Challenge Question #5

Part of the 2020 Simple Life Challenge is assessing what skills served you well and helped you move forward. List as many skills you can think of that you currently have – especially those you learned during this past year. (Knowing the plots of 5 Soap Operas and the characters don’t count!)

a steep wooden stairway leading up a hill

Challenge Question #6

What skills did you find needed improvement? (Holding the world’s record for Ramen Noodle recipes does not apply!)

a rooster, baking supplies, seedling and a yellow rubber glove

Challenge Question #7

Take the 2020 Simple Life Challenge to the next level. What skills do you want to learn or improve upon so they may be incorporated into your lifestyle on a regular basis? (My son’s is to be able to lay on the couch and have money rain down on him. Um…let’s be a bit more realistic with your answers!)

put your pencils down - you have completed the 2020 Challenge

Put Your Pencils Down…

Now that you have completed the 2020 Simple Life Challenge, and have given each question careful thought, keep your answers handy – you are going to need them for the next test. 

The whole purpose of the 2020 Simple Life Challenge is to help you see that, once the panic and confusion settles, there really are ways to get through any crisis.  We are smart people with a skill set that can take us places we need to go to keep our family safe, fed and warm.

For the next week, take some time to really think about the questions.  Set aside some quiet time for you to work on your list of skills you want to learn, or directions you want to go.  If you have questions, or want more information on a certain skill, email me.  If I don’t have an answer, I know a lot of great bloggers out there who probably do. 

2020 has definitely been a challenge. We have no idea what 2021 will bring, but it is nice to know that we all can work together to overcome anything it can throw at us.  With a good plan, a strong work ethic, a little guidance and a goal in mind, we can do anything we set out to do.

Let me know if I can help, and in the meantime – get set up to take the next test – the 2021 Simple Life Challenge!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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