Imagine that the population is healthier than at any other point in history. Imagine that people buy less, supplementing their diets, homes and wardrobes with what they grow, make and sew themselves. Imagine that we eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and eat less meat, fat and sugar. Imagine that we spend more time active, walking, working and gardening. Imagine stylish, innovative clothes that don’t go out of fashion every 6 months and furniture that lasts decades. Imagine a world in which everything could be something else.
Well the fact is that those who lived through the rationing of World War II in the UK don’t need to imagine it; they’ve already experienced it.
During WWII, the people of Britain had a very clear and definable enemy who posed a real threat to the safety and well-being of every citizen and their way of life. Today, our enemies are harder to define and see, but climate change, extreme weather, terrorism and a crippled economy combine to form a threat that, if the predictions of scientists and economists turn out to be true, will have as much of an affect on our way of life as that which we faced in the Second World War.
There’s something very fashionable about ‘vintage’ these days. Vintage ideas, vintage fashion, vintage slogans… so why not do it for real? Why not live in a ‘vintage’ way? Just because the government isn’t imposing rationing, doesn’t mean you can’t live as though commodities were precious. Why not use your car as though petrol was limited? Why not grow as much food as you can, just because it tastes better and lasts longer? Why not make use of what you’ve already got and think twice before buying something the-same-but-new?
These days, so many of us have work which we’d consider nebulous. Very few of us make anything tangible, so many of us have jobs where, no matter what we achieve, the work never actually seems to end, where we have nothing really to show for that achievement at the end of the day. So why not create your own achievements at home? You’d never grow bored of picking your own tomatoes, never tire of hearing compliments about your jam and never, EVER get sick of seeing your bank account in the black instead of the red.
So Victory Living is here to help. We’re not experts living self-sufficiently in five acres of countryside, we’re those people with the nebulous jobs who are learning how to live slightly more wholesomely, slightly less expensively and a lot more appreciatively.
We may have had to look up ‘pinching out’ in the gardening books, but we get a ridiculous amount of pleasure from picking our own strawberries. We may currently only know how to ‘knit one’ but we look forward to learning how to ‘perl one’ too and while we probably won’t be using mayonnaise as a moisturiser* anytime soon, we will be cleaning the bathroom with vinegar because it’s cheaper and works so much better on limescale.
We’re sharing everything we’re learning for three reasons: firstly, because other people might see how awesome it is and decide to give it a try, secondly so that other people might learn from our mistakes or possibly, if they follow us on Twitter, stop us from making them in the first place and thirdly, so that we can write down what we learn as we learn it and not forget it when we need to use it again. See? Information thriftiness.**
We’re not harking back to a simpler time or romanticising what people endured during the dark days of wartime but the fact is that necessity made us work together to be healthy, thrifty and wise. If they could do it under those difficult circumstances, we should be able to do it now.
* totally a real thing
** we just made this a real thing