Self Directed

#29 Sarah Beale | Unschooling and the Pursuit of The Good Life

August 17, 2023 Sarah Beale Season 1 Episode 29
Self Directed
#29 Sarah Beale | Unschooling and the Pursuit of The Good Life
Self Directed
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Together with our dear friend Sarah Beale, we delve deep into the pursuit of a 'good life.' 

Sarah shares her incredible journey of transitioning from the traditional Australian school system to an unstructured, unschooling approach. Dive into an enriching exploration of the power of choice, and the significance of maintaining a fluid, flexible approach to life.

Sarah's idea of a 'good life' is deeply intertwined with her family's shift to unschooling. We discuss this intricate relationship, pondering how selling their possessions and leaving their home country has molded their perception of a fulfilling life. Sarah doesn't hold back from questioning the traditional school system's inclination to persuade parents to surrender responsibility to the state. Instead, she celebrates the role of a supportive community in embracing the freedom unschooling provides.

As we unpack Sarah's metaphorical 'backpack of life,' the conversation takes an intriguing turn to encompass emotional baggage, triggers, and the strength of having a supportive community. We converse about creating a vibrant, judgement-free space for our children to express themselves and the inherent value of conversations that might not seem productive but deeply enrich our lives. 

The episode concludes with a potent dialogue about balancing life's projects with finding joy in the moment, asserting that happiness is a journey, not a destination. 

Join us, be inspired, and reconsider your definitions of a 'good life.

🗓️ Recorded August 4th, 2023. 📍Laythams Holiday Lets Retreat, Forest of Bowland, UK

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Jesper Conrad:

.so today we are together with Sarah Beale, who we know from, we know back from 2019 when we met in Granada in Spain at a world school summit. And since then we have, loved and enjoyed each other's company online, you can say. And then we finally met up after the whole COVID and non traveling and met again at the castle in Normandy. And then we have hunted you down, after that and, have lived together with you for a week here in UK. And it's going to spend even more time together this summer. It's wonderful having you here. Thank you.

Sarah Beale:

Hi, thank you so much. What a life, eh? Yeah. These stories. And that's a nice lead in anyway, but like the stories of how everybody meets and it sounds unreal, doesn't it? Maybe to people who haven't moved around the world in that way. It sounds like bonkers.

Cecilie Conrad:

Yeah, I spoke to a teenage girl who's nomadic and she said, actually, when you're nomadic and your friends are nomadic, it's easier to see people again that you meet because everybody are moving. So you can coordinate your movements and see each other. Whereas if you live in one place, you have whoever lives nearby that place and whoever passes through, and that's it. So if you meet someone from, let's say, Australia, you can be pretty sure you never see them again. But when you're nomadic, it seems we bump into each other in many ways. And now it's like really funny. We lived together last week. We're coming back on Tuesday and we're doing the recording today.

Sarah Beale:

It's just like, um, I think it just opens your mind. And so when you're in one spot, I don't actually have any strong feelings about whether it's Right to be in one spot or Right. You know, some people have got strong feelings about, oh, we're supposed to be nomadic, we're not supposed to be nomadic, whatever. I don't have strong feelings either way, but certainly what we found is that by leaving our home initially, uh, it has opened up our mind to possibility, which I think, is this the teenager that you are reflecting on? Like that's what they know. It is like anything's possible. Um, and so whether we, you know, we're talking about going back to Australia where we'll probably be located semi permanently for a bit. Um, but still this openness to possibilities and we can do whatever we want will remain because when you kind of remove those geographic borders and limitations, something else happens in your, in your brain as well. Yeah. Yeah.

Cecilie Conrad:

And, and this idea that. Oh, that's impossible. That can't be done. That idea is very much up for questioning, which is very nice.

Jesper Conrad:

And I will make a little detail that it's just so far for some of the people listening, you will say to yourself, I've heard that voice before. And that is because Cecilia and Sarah, together with two under wonderful ladies, have another podcast called the ladies fixing the world. So if you haven't heard it, you should tune into that. But I am curious, and I have actually never really asked you about your story. How did you end up leaving Australia and how did you start with the whole unschooling journey?

Sarah Beale:

Yeah. so I'm sure you've met other people like this too. I always had what I call a homeschoolers heart. Like I always knew that something, was not for us. about school, but I did fight that instinct for quite some time. So our unschooling journey and our traveling journey, they didn't start at the same time, but they certainly are part of this same story, around just knowing that we don't have to do what we've been told we have to do. And that was the, the first little niggle was around the school system. and what I can see it was doing to kids before we were even in it, reinforced by what it was like when we were in it. Um, and so we decided to ditch school. We, we, we never really had like a soft start. Like we never really, uh, you know, there's a lot of families that transition from like a curriculum based. model of homeschooling and then they kind of move into unschooling because their kids start resisting it. We never did that. Our kids, we were just like unschoolers. We were already unschoolers at school, which is very inconvenient for everybody. Um, so there wasn't really like a period of adjustment because we'd actually already, we we'd really been living that way. Um, since the kids were born, except school was kind of this real inconvenient bit that we had to keep stopping our life to go do. Um, so your topic, you know, I don't know if you introduced this when you did the introduction, but you wanted to talk about the good life and school is not compatible with the good life. It's just not like I, I know we don't care about offending people because probably we all talk to a lot of people who go, Oh, I could never do that. Or my kids really love school, whatever. Bullshit. No one loves school. Some people you can, you know, I can say what I want, right, uh,

Cecilie Conrad:

and I can

Sarah Beale:

edit it out. But yeah, but when you don't know there's choice, there's no choice. And so you, you can trick yourself into thinking all sorts of things are okay when you don't know there's another. Another option. Uh, and so I guess my heart was always looking for the other option. I, even when my kids were in school, I was always like, Oh, I'm not really okay with this. Always seeking out the other option. And eventually I started meeting people who already knew what was out there. Um, thank goodness, you know, and stories like this, like knowing guys like you, podcasts, blogs, et cetera, all the people that are out there saying something else, you know, I was searching. seeking that stuff out. Uh, and I'm very, very thankful for like a really established worldwide homeschooling movement, because there's so many people already that knew about this good life. Um, and I was, I just had my like radar up for it and then started meeting people who pretty much said, yeah, you can do it. Like cheered, cheered us on like. I literally had friends who would be like, why are you still putting your kids in school? Are you crazy? Come and join us so we can just hang out all the time and not just weekends. Um, and eventually we, we got the guts. We got over our, our fears that we were, um, we weren't worried about messing up our kids. Nothing like that. It was actually just, we couldn't quite see what life. Would look like without this, um, scaffolding of school, which is pretty preset for us. Right. So it's very easy whether you like it or not. It's very easy to just kind of get on the scaffold. Right. It protects you. It looks after you. You can hand over your parental responsibility and it's all very comfortable. Pardon.

Cecilie Conrad:

It's so relieving. Yeah, it is. You

Sarah Beale:

can drop the kids off, tick, move on. I mean, it doesn't matter if they don't learn how to do stuff because it's actually not my fault because it's the school's fault. And that is very, very comforting. Even if there's struggles, you can still go someone else's problem because that is what the school system really encourages parents to do. Just like hand over responsibility to. The state. So that was not for us. And that did not feel like a good life because what our hearts were telling us as parents was that to live a good life with our family, we actually needed to be in charge of that as a family. Um, and, and not involve an outside, we involve a lot of outside people, right? Our communities, but not, um, not officialdom. That was not the path to a good life. Um, and traveling sort of seemed like a natural. exploration further outside of our door than what we had done before. And we'd done lots of traveling in Australia, uh, lots of community stuff in Australia. We had beautiful connections in our local community and we could, you know, you can spend years traveling around Australia. It's vast, right. And it's very easy to do that, but something else was calling us, you know, um, We can get philosophical and spiritual about what that was. We don't know exactly, but something was just calling us to do something more. And we decided to sell all our stuff and. Leave the country for we, we didn't really know what at the time.

Jesper Conrad:

Um, I know and love your husband, uh, and I have had many good laughs together with him, uh, about life and just being stupid together. But for example, in Cecilia and my life, she was the driving force in the start. How was your partnership when you started? Was it also you who was running ahead and saying, Hey, we should do this? Or how was it? Well, has he always also been rebellious at heart?

Sarah Beale:

It was usually me that had the idea initially, like pretty much every hair brained idea we've had has been initially something I've suggested. And yeah, there's been some resistance sometime or just takes a bit longer to kind of go, Oh yeah, I'm okay with that. But the traveling thing. Dylan was like, we've got to go big. I actually wanted to travel in Australia. We already were doing that, but I was like, let's just pack up and just travel indefinitely around Australia. And he, he had this sense that we needed to go bigger. He was like, no, that's too small. Australia is too small. Um, we need to go bigger. That was him. Um, yeah, and there was no, actually, once we settled on or once we had that idea, there wasn't really any doubt. There was no going back. It was like, right, that's what we're doing. And I mean, I won't say everybody in our family was super enthusiastic about that. That's probably a whole other episode, right, of a podcast, how you navigate this stuff with kids who might not be very excited. Um, but everything just opened up for us to make it very easy. So, We sold our house so easily to people that we knew. We sold our cars so easily. We had people like lining up for us to give our stuff to. We had people offering to keep store stuff for us. It was just like, everything was just parted. And we're like, oh yeah, this is the right, you know, just an affirmation that this was the right thing to do. Whatever that means. I mean, there's always 4, 000 different paths you can take. Right. But this one opened up beautifully and it felt like, yep, this is, this is the right thing to do right now. Well, if we

Cecilie Conrad:

can be a little philosophical about it, then we have this strategy. It's not like we give up when there is trouble, but we do notice if things go very easily, it seems. Maybe we're on track and if the key, you know, if you're trying to go in one direction in your life and it just ends up with this and then there's that and now this and come on man, then maybe, maybe that's not the way to go. I think it's a fine line between quitting when things get complicated and just noticing when, when universe talks. And, and all kinds of problems pile up and maybe you should just stop and change direction. So I, I can just relate to this feeling I'm going this way and everything works out so smoothly. So maybe I'm on track.

Sarah Beale:

Yeah. Yeah. That's actually really good. Yeah. That's a really good point because actually, um, I know you don't want to talk about unschooling yes, but, but that, that is one of the things that parents really worry about. Only ever do the things that are easy. Um, because living without school and living a good life for us is very much about. Sometimes, yeah. Taking the path of least resistance, just like flowing over the rocks with no effort. Uh, so then how do our kids learn how to do hard things? You know, that's a question that comes up all the time. So that dance between, uh, doing things that come naturally, doing things in flow, doing things where the energy is good and pure and it feels right. Doesn't always mean there's not hard things that come up as well. Um, things that are hard that you have to persevere at, but where it's a thing that's hard and you choose to persevere and stick with it. Even when there's maybe some maneuverings, the energy of that is so different to like pushing through and grinding rock. And like, that's, that's different. Right. And just being that stubborn,

Cecilie Conrad:

like I'm going this way. Nope. Nope. Right. That's just not the vibe you wanted. So, let's just be clear, we said we don't want to talk about unschooling. We do want to talk about unschooling. Of course. We just said to each other before we started recording that it would be nice to have some sort of a different angle to talk about. And, and it, because it is about the good life. All these crazy things that we're, you're doing and we're doing. We're doing them because we want a life that we consider a good life. And obviously unschooling is very, very big part of that for your family and for mine. So, the headline we just wanted to try to make with the conversation with you today was, what is the good life? How do we, how do we get that? How do we arrive there? And I think we already have several good points. One was, uh, open up options. The idea of options, having this feeling that you have options. To me, that's a very big part of a good life, to know that I could choose. I can create whatever life I want. So not grinding with stubbornness towards the goal when life shows you. Maybe you shouldn't. That's two. We already have two tick boxes in my idea of what's the good life? The good life. Good life is a life with options where I can choose what, what do I feel like, what do I need, and a life where I feel okay. If I give up in my world, it wouldn't be give up, it would be change the plan again, which is something we do all the

Sarah Beale:

time. Yeah. meeting resistance with. just shifting rather than like forcing, forcing through. Um, and related to that, I guess, is how our modern world really, the modern Western world in particular, where we're quite removed from our traditional cultural practices, is having very strong, fixed ideas and expectations. And to me, the good life is very much about, uh, gratitude. But not like constant. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Oh, I'm so grateful. But just this knowing that like everything is going to be okay and a real acknowledgement of how wonderful life is even when something happens that you weren't expecting, especially then. Uh, and sometimes I guess that can look like fluidity and flexibility. And so it also feels very much to me like the universe or whatever your lens through which you see some kind of power that seems to hold us nicely, like everything's going to be okay. And rather than the only thing that can be okay is this very fixed idea. So it's almost how I guess we would see living the opposite of how we're being pulled in our modern Western world to live, where there is a very firm attachment to a goal and you need to choose what you want to do when you grow up and you must work towards that regardless. And then regardless of whether it's really what makes you happy and, and very, very strong attachment to this. expectation, which to me feels like the opposite of being super grateful for the life that we've got. Albeit we've chosen these things, but so many things happen that aren't what we think we've chosen, of course. And then how we navigate those and how we can still continue to be really grateful even when those things happen that aren't quite what we expected. Which is also kind of the essence of unschooling, living without school, because We don't have any like set or curriculum based expectations like for our children. There's nothing specific that must be learned. There's no particular time frame. But I still notice that sometimes we want to attach some benchmark, some measure, uh, some way of knowing that we're on the right track. And then if that doesn't happen, it can be, we can suffer a lot. But don't you think

Cecilie Conrad:

that in your personal life, which is probably like mine, 85% being a mother, but still in your life and the element of unschooling, both, you still do have ideas about what the good life is. A lot of unschooling talk is about letting go and you not having any specific goals, not having any, you know, demands, any curriculum like kind of thing. But then on the other hand, We do have an idea about what the good life is and and also in respect for their different personalities. You have four. I have four. It's a lot of people to hold. Um, we still have an idea about what the good life is. And I don't know if you feel that, but I feel that I know my kids very well. And I sometimes see clearly that Maybe one element of their life needs a little boost or something to be held, not stop to just, you know, the balance is off and maybe we should. So, so yes, this good life is having a goal

Sarah Beale:

somehow. Yeah. Yes. And it's, it's, I find that really hard to articulate because yes, there could be, and I think there is this misinterpretation sometimes in the unschooling community, particularly for people who are just finding their feet and they have much younger children. That it's so laissez faire that everyone's just kind of floating around painting the walls. And it's not that, but it's also not holding on very firmly to a fixed idea. So I guess there's this like nimbleness that's required. in our minds and in our hearts to be able to adjust, make adjustments, but have these very firm foundations as a parent. And that's where our leadership as a parent or as a, as a parent unit is really crucial. Like those, um, I guess instead of maybe having a, Curriculum to guide you or a worksheet or a test or whatever people do in school to measure success. It might be more like the parents as the foundation are the scaffolding that holds the family unit. And that is, I find that really hard to explain and articulate because It can sometimes look externally like we're all just fluffing around, going for walks, going to the playground, not really doing much. Cooking something again. Cooking more food, going to the supermarket. For the third time

Cecilie Conrad:

this morning.

Sarah Beale:

What do you guys do all day? Oh, we go to the supermarket, ride some bikes. Someone watches the movie. Uh. So how, how, but, but it is like, it's not just fluffing around. There is a great deal of intention, but like myself, me, I don't have a definite idea of where I'm going. I don't have a definite end point. I don't think there's any point where I'll say, Oh yeah, I've got there now. So all these steps along the way, they've got me to this point and now I'm here. That is uncomfortable, I think, because if you were, again, comparing our life to a more conventional life where there's school, um, there is always an end point. And then, of course, the next year there's another end point, and then the next year there's another end point. But there's always a very specific place to get to. You know, in whatever the year level is, there's certain things that must be achieved. Then you get to the end of the year and then you get a tick and then you move on to the next thing. So there are these incremental measures and then there's the big thing at the end. And eventually when you're 17 or whatever, you're like, yay, we finished school. And then you move on to the next thing. It's just a series of goalposts. And our life is not like that, except there is still intention and we are still moving purposefully, but not towards a fixed goal. And that is, I find that really hard to explain because we're not just fluffing

Cecilie Conrad:

around. It becomes very fluffy actually, when you try to explain it, it sounds like, I don't know, hot air. And in, in our life, it's. What is the backbone? It's not hot air. Can I, I know you want, but can I, so to me, it's more about, it's not so much about where we're going, but the quality with which we're moving, like the way we go there. And I would say values, but I would rather say right now I think more about something like experiences. We just, a good example is the good long walks we do in our family where we walk like really far and not really very much like 15 kilometers. Something like that takes forever and you get really tired and you, you know, you run out of water and there are no more snack bars and there's no toilet on the way and it's might be really warm. The sun is shining or the opposite. Yesterday we did it in mud and it was very muddy and, uh, There was some element of poo involved from, from kettle and bare feet and it was not exactly sexy, I wouldn't say, but the thing is, when, when we do this thing we get this stamina we, we get this experience that we could, we can do this. And even the smaller ones, after two and a half kilometers, they feel they can't walk any further and this is the worst thing ever. They sort of, kind of bounce back and become powerful and realize that they're stronger than they thought they were. And they can overcome things and they can actually look at the beauty even though they're thirsty. There's, I might be too detailed, but it's not about the walk when we walk as such. It's about having this experience that we're stronger than we think we are and and that we can accomplish things and we can so so the idea of the wall. Yeah, because it's beautiful out there. Obviously, it's not just that, but there is this and this is the same thing with the unschooling the And the traveling, the way that we, we learn that you can create a good day, a good life, a good week, a good month, wherever you go, whatever premise, whatever resources you have. And that's more about the quality than about the end goal. There's no, there are no boxes to tick.

Sarah Beale:

Yeah. And so you find yourself, I think this is the appreciation element. I think you find yourself really appreciate because no one's telling you which bits to appreciate. There is no box. As you say, there's no box that says, Oh, we walked this many kilometers tick. Someone stepped in, poo tick. Someone needed a poo behind a bush tick, whatever the things that might be hard. Uh, no one's telling you that they're the bits to look out for. And yet they often are the bits that you notice in a real appreciation. And it's a genuine appreciation because they're not predestined and no one's fed them to you. So to me that that stuff feels more important and they're going to be different for every family. Right. So, and that, again, that's a distinct difference too. A system where everyone is told that they must meet the same benchmarks. It's very homogenized and where we might get to the end of the day, even where it's been hard and notice all these little bits of magic that might not have happened if it hadn't been hard in that way, or something different might've happened. And that feels very satisfying to us. And because they're not curated by anybody else. for us.

Cecilie Conrad:

You have a different question. No, no, it's

Jesper Conrad:

not a question. It's a line of thinking, but first to the people listening, if there's any background noise while Cecilia and I are traveling, then it's because we are in an Airbnb in a really, really wonderful place. And there's a unannounced for us and repair going on, on the roof, right above our heads. So there's, there's some background noise. Um, and I can see a ladder through the window, but, but that being said, When I'm, I'm, both the talk about the walk and all these things made me think about what is it I consider a good life and it's in many ways very simple. It is either the connections, which is why I agreed to go on the walks. I love the beauty of them. But for me, it's also the way a conversation flows while you walk 13 kilometers. Because you drop in and out of stuff and you, you just end up in a nice way of talking. I really, I really love a lot because sometimes you're tired, sometimes you're not. And then you switch in between person. And it's a very, very wonderful way of having a conversation, I think. So for me, the good life is part the conversations. And the other part is more egoistically. It's, uh, for me, it's when I am, uh, totally focused on something or being in flow or whatever people would call it. And I just love that. I love being in a zone of, of using my mind and having fun and, and doing the stuff I like the most. I thought he was saying. No. No. And, and, and when I look at life overall as. parents, then I actually, I hope, but I know for me when I was going to work as in my career to an office, I actually, for a lot of the times, for a lot of the years, I were, uh, doing stuff that was super fun, and I loved the work I did, and, and I came home enriched, sometimes annoyed with some colleagues and stuff, but overall, a lot of the work I've done in my career have been stuff I wanted to do, and, and Thank you. That is, uh, a thing, I think, that is worth to acknowledge that a lot of parents actually do stuff they find really, really fun. And the only problem with that, I see, is that we don't give the same freedom to the children. That they need to be a place while mom and dad is living out their dreams. And that is one of the things I really like about the homeschooling and unschooling and traveling life is Now my kids are free as well to do whatever makes their boxes tick, make them happy. I like that combination of it. Um, And I like to be able to hang more out with my kids. That's again the connection. But I think those two parts, the connection and the, the option or possibility to dive deep into whatever you find funny is, is the good life. For me, it is. Yeah.

Sarah Beale:

And I think there, there's a belief almost so sincerely at the beginning of the conversation you mentioned about, um, being able to choose to live a life where things are aligned and therefore come more easily, right? Feel more natural. But there's almost this belief in our society that the opposite must be true to be successful, that you have to be grinding, working, achieving, pushing. And that actually there's. Yeah, and, and that there's status attached to that and that is taught to children at a really young age, generally, that they also must be in the grind in order to achieve and then achieve status and What you're saying, Jesper, is actually like, why can't we all just be having fun? I've had a lot of

Jesper Conrad:

fun going to work. I've had, uh, in many ways, quite easy life, uh, work wise. Because I've done fun, a lot of stuff I found fun. And when it wasn't fun... Uh, it was because it was the wrong place, uh, doing stuff that wasn't, uh, giving for me.

Cecilie Conrad:

But what I find really interesting, I've, I've thought about this problem many times that, you know, you have to work for it has to be hard and you have to, you know, really push through and then, then you get the success. And yes, what I find really challenging in this is. And in the social field, kind of, you don't get any points if it was easy. I meet this very often. Oh, you can do that because it's easy for you. Yeah. You know, or, or, I don't know, it seems like there's only accomplishment if there was suffering. You, you're not, you're not getting any social status, not that I need social status really, but it's just funny that if something comes easy and was fun and it doesn't really

Sarah Beale:

count, does it? Yeah. Yeah. There was no graft involved. You didn't really earn it. This idea of having to earn, it's as if

Cecilie Conrad:

I have to say it was really hard to learn to speak Spanish. Then people get all impressed with me. But if I say, Oh yeah, but yeah, it was fun. Yeah. I lived in Spain for a while and then I learned to speak the language. Then it's like, yeah, okay, that was easy for you. And it can be almost tempting to share the stories as if it was hard. And, and of course there has been hard elements. But I don't want to talk about the hard parts. I don't want to talk about whenever there was grinding or whenever it was a little, I had to push myself or I said something really stupid at the mechanics in Spanish and everybody was laughing because I was just being an idiot. I don't want to, I want to focus on the good part. I want to be in the gratitude you talk to talk about and want to just lean into the flow of whenever things are easy. So, the hard part, I don't pay too much attention to them, but that puts me in an awkward place socially.

Sarah Beale:

Yeah, because you're one of those annoying people who finds everything easy. God, no one likes those people. There, there, there is this real, um, yeah, I know what you mean because first of all, I think we have to prove that we've earned it, that we're deserving. Um, and I have found myself to pretending that certain things have been harder than they have been. I noticed so where, where all of us are on social media, using social media as a tool as well as to stay in contact with people. And there's this like glorification of this, like rags to riches kind of story, this like, Oh, I came from this and now I'm that. So if actually you. Haven't had a super hard life or you haven't had a super hard time or you have actually access the things you need relatively easily. There's nothing so impressive about that. And so you can hear that like, Oh, it's okay for you. Oh, it's easy for you. Oh, I could never do that because Um, I don't know if it's a personality thing. Maybe. I, I do, um, I do think some people are just more naturally inclined towards optimism for sure. And so if you happen to be a person who is optimistic, you always will see the birds playing in the rain. Even though you can't go out in the rain, you're always going to go, Oh my God, look at all those birds playing out in the rain. They're loving it. Uh, and that's me. And that's probably you. And there'll be someone else who's like, bloody hell, I can't go outside because it's raining. And I haven't noticed the birds. Um, I don't know that that's wrong. It's just different. But I think in the world schooling, unschooling community, there's maybe an over representation of those who see the birds. As distinct from those who are complaining about the rain, because, because maybe if you are in a state where you're always complaining about the rain, you find it easier to actually have your life designed for you by someone else. If you're the kind of person who can see the opportunity and the possibility, you're probably not waiting for somebody else to choose their life for you. But

Cecilie Conrad:

I think it's, it's probably, you know, a little bit of both, a little bit of genes, a little bit of context, just like everything else. And I think people who, I don't like talking about people like that, but I think the journey, we don't talk about other people because then we don't like, no, what I'm, I'm trying to say is just, I don't think I'm a natural optimist. I think my husband is. I can't claim that, but I've noticed that when I'm optimistic, things get aligned and things start to work out, but I was brought up in a Danish culture of complaining, and I was brought up by some, I have four parents. And some of them were very much in the I worked hard for this mindset and everything is expensive and everything is complicated and everything takes time and, and it did for them, they didn't have easy lives and I do respect their point of view, but I grew up in this way of talking about life as if it's always a struggle and always have to hold back on the money and you always have to fight for things and you can never really get there, but you might get it. halfway and this whole idea and I just learned in my own personal journey that it's not how I see life works. I can get very negative especially if it's, if it's cold and rainy. I really enjoy good sunshine. I'm struggling here in Great Britain with the rain. Um, I can get, I can get very negative and then luckily I'm married to this guy who tells me, you know, shut up. Yeah. But if I'm positive. Things seems to work out and I think maybe living the life outside the box will teach you to be positive will teach you to look at the birds in the rain and maybe also appreciate you have a sofa to sit in or at least a roof over your head and, and this mindset maybe also evolves. Within the community of unschoolers. So we get, we become overrepresented by positive people. I

Jesper Conrad:

think we, I think that, um, it's easy for me to tell my life in two different stories. I can choose the life story I normally go by, which is a happy boy who have had a happy, easy life. And I have, but I can also, if I really want to, I can look back and peel off all the bad things that happened. But I'm like, why? Well, would it make me happy to look back at my life through a lens of where I have had pain in my life? I cannot see it makes me happy. Uh, and I cannot see it would, would give me any, any good experiences. And it's the same also with, with, uh, with the traveling. We have met so many obstacles, uh, with the choice we have taken. There has been days where we don't know where we should end up sleeping, where we are too tired and everything, uh, even to find a parking place. And then we are like, this is not a good place. And then half an hour later, we were like, it was, uh, but, but the reality is I have never solved anything by being angry. I mean, it has never worked for me being super angry and then things just magically solved itself. I have many times just said, okay, here is something ahead of us we need to solve. How can we solve it? But when the anger is there or the anxiety, we fail. All the times we have tried with anger or anxiety as a tool to solve stuff in our life, it doesn't work. It doesn't work. It really doesn't work to be afraid. Um,

Cecilie Conrad:

so what's your good life rule?

Jesper Conrad:

My good life rule is that, that it's just choose happiness. It's really simple and don't be afraid. You don't solve stuff by if you, if you had a hammer called fear, it

Cecilie Conrad:

wouldn't work. So my good life rule on what you just said is what you put your attention on will grow stronger. Absolutely. The happy life is in your mind. If you look at the birds playing in the rain, you're happy. If you look at the rain, you're sad. And so I could go on and on about the cancer and all the C sections and all the different failures, my dead parents, my sick family members, all of these things could be what I would talk about and what I would think about and what I would focus upon, but does it make any sense? Wouldn't make me happy. Wouldn't, maybe I would get people's attention.

Sarah Beale:

Well, everyone likes a good hard luck story.

Cecilie Conrad:

Get more likes on Facebook. If I

Sarah Beale:

talk about cancer,

Cecilie Conrad:

I would definitely pull the cancer cart.

Sarah Beale:

Yeah. I'm just, I know we'll see, we actually, Dylan and I often sometimes forget about anything bad that's happened because we, um, Big things have happened that have been hard in our, in our life. Um, so now I'm thinking, can I find some really horrible things so I can make it sound like this is, this is where I want

Cecilie Conrad:

to. Of course, everyone has bumps on the road and some of these bumps

Sarah Beale:

are

Cecilie Conrad:

really big. I mean, that was not a small thing, but actually when I shared the story on our common podcast a month ago or whatever, I hadn't thought about it since forever. I almost forget. It's not a thing. My hair is back. It's in the past. So

Sarah Beale:

I guess it's still part of you. And I don't know if you remember yesterday, but we were having this conversation in my kitchen last week, I guess about how, um, there's a real, uh, there's this real, I don't know if it's a trend, maybe it's necessary. I don't know, like a real focus on past hurts and past traumas, particularly like childhood, wounding, et cetera, et cetera. And I'm not saying those things shouldn't have regard and that we shouldn't work through that stuff because actually that, that stuff comes up a lot in, in an unschooling life. When you're around your children all the time, there are endless opportunities to have, um, things that happened to you as a child, maybe the way your parents treated you or some habit in your family that actually was bothersome to you. There's a opportunity for that stuff to get brought up. By, by your children, thank you so much children, like constantly. Um, so that's a part of our life too, but there is definitely, uh, this, we're in this, this era maybe of like such an emphasis on. Healing those things, making them leave us so that they're no longer part of us. And actually what Jesper and I were talking about was we were just making a bit of a joke really about sometimes really enjoying just some, something that makes us angry, some annoyance that we're like, I'm going to choose to hold onto that. bit of annoyance. And it's just, it's part of me. I can laugh at it. Maybe one day I'll choose to let it go. Maybe I won't, maybe I'm going to hold onto it forever. Cause I quite like being grumpy every now and again. Um, and then you can kind of have a little bit of fun with some of those things and accept that they are still part of. These things that were hard that perhaps made us partly who we are and form our personality. Cause I guess we're all a combination of, you know, how we were born, how we were raised, the external stuff that we've dealt with in our lives. And. What if none of those things were actually wrong or bad? What if the fact that you had cancer wasn't bad? What if that was actually just your journey? I mean, I, I'm not saying it was or it wasn't, but like, It was, because it happened. It

Cecilie Conrad:

happened. It was part of my journey. How can I say it's not part, it was. It is. My point before was just, I actually forget about it. Just like you said, you have to scroll through in there for a while to find the bad pieces, because that's not the stories you keep sharing. And I will not forever remember, uh, the big cow shit piles from yesterday from that walk because I will remember the beauty and the eagles and the lake and the views and all of that. So it is a question of how you sift through all the things in your life in small scale and big scale. And what, what do you choose to talk about? What do you choose to think about? What do you choose to focus on? I think that's a very, very big part of the puzzle to find the good life is actually to find it. In here, in the, in the patterns of thoughts.

Sarah Beale:

In your third eye. In my third eye.

Jesper Conrad:

I, I, I think. I would just say brain. Yeah, yeah. No, no, go, going back to what we talked about in the kitchen there last week. It was really a funny, wonderful conversation. But the idea is kind of. If you start to work with yourself as a person, you look back into your life, uh, because you like to do a lot of naval research where you look at yourself and your own feelings. And I can understand the need to get an understanding for why am I like I am today? Why do I act like I am today? But at the same time, I'm like, if you are past 30, uh, then, then it's your life. Then, then how can you go back and, uh, talk shit to your parents about what happened 25 years ago. It's 25 years ago. They've probably been sad about how they have been parents for many, many years. I know I've made mistakes toward our youngest a lot of times and I cannot change whatever I did or said wrong or how I treated her. Our oldest, do you mean? Yeah, yeah, I think. Yeah, when, when, when, yeah, our oldest, sorry. But you did

Cecilie Conrad:

make a mistake with, with the youngest as well. Yeah, yeah,

Jesper Conrad:

just to be clear. I've made lots of mistakes as a

Cecilie Conrad:

parent. But

Jesper Conrad:

when you say she cannot be the youngest. No, no, and what I try to do is I go back and say, hey, I'm sorry, I wish I had known better and I could do better. But my parents, even though I can't be annoyed over how they were as parents, What will it solve that I go and tell them? Uh, it will not make my relationship with them a lot better. Uh, what I can do is just look at my life, say what do I like to do and how do I like to have my life together with my parents and then focus on that to make them pay for how shitty they were as a parent. They were not shitty. They were very cool, my parents, in many ways. But, but there are stuff you can always find something you were annoyed about. My brother got a cooler jacket than I did. Um,

Sarah Beale:

That must have been very hard.

Jesper Conrad:

It was very hard, you know. It was a very cool jacket. And I was annoyed and now I can look back at it with eyes saying, okay, he was, my brother sometimes got bullied and he didn't have the cool jacket. So they decided to give it to him. I didn't need it because I didn't. And I'm like, But back then I was really pissed and now I'm holding on to it. I'm not holding on to it. I'm using it as an example. It annoyed me for years until I'm like, okay, I understand. I would have done the same, you know, and, and, uh, can I say

Cecilie Conrad:

something? Yeah. Just because you are saying something very important. What you were saying is we all have a backpack. I call it laia because I learned about this way of describing it in Spanish. We all have a backpack. We all have a story. There's something in there, and. When you pass your 30th birthday, it's your backpack and trying to send off the responsibility for that backpack back to your parents, grandparents, whatever. If you sit down with your legs crossed to think about it and understand where it all comes from in your past and your parents past and maybe grandparents, maybe culture, maybe whatever, you will become smart and that's a good thing. But if you blame and shame other people and, and. Throw away the responsibility for your own happiness and, and, and put that in other places, then I just think you're missing out on life. I think when you're grown up and let's say you're grown up when you're 30, then it's your backpack and you have to appreciate having it. It's your past. And maybe just carry it with you if it's too heavy. I'm a trained psychologist. I mean, I should believe in going back to all these childhood things and, and working through them and letting them go. But I don't. I actually think for as long as you can carry your backpack and it's not getting in the way of flow and love and happiness and ordinary life, then just carry it. It's your backpack and the good stuff in there. There is. And I think that's what you were saying. And that's the short version.

Jesper Conrad:

That's the short version. Plus, uh, I have never met anybody who has invented a time machine. So I cannot change what I have done. My parents can't change what they have done. What I can change is how I act towards life and what comes in my direction. But what

Cecilie Conrad:

you also can change, I will say as a professional, is how heavy it is in the backpack. What happened in your past that you can, you can change. You don't have to reverse time. You can take it out and you can work with it. And if it's heavy and if it's really getting in the way of your happiness in some way, I think totally you should do it. I'm just saying this whole, as you said, Sarah. Trying to take everything out and trying to get rid of having a past with bumps

Sarah Beale:

on the road. Yeah, because there's this, um, I don't know what else to say, trend. I don't know, because some of these things you see are very wrapped up in the commercial element of this stuff too. Like, Oh, I, I can help you. Um, clear all these like past hurts and I can help you heal and I can help you whatever. And here's my course that I've prepared to help you do that. Uh, and I'm not saying that's wrong, but like, I think if you believed that in order to live a good life, a purposeful life, a life where you're. Uh, thriving and contributing to community in an important way. If you believe that in order to do that, you have to be completely clear of all of the things that have happened to you in your past that were hard. That is a pretty impossible goal to be reaching for. Um, and certainly, yes, there's lots of things that you can do to kind of calm your nervous system so that when your backpack gets really heavy and one of these things comes to the fore and you feel like you're going to fall over. There's There's tools and there's things that you can do to, to lighten the load. I'm not sure. I mean, my, the most interesting people to me are the people that are like carrying quite a lot of this stuff and they're learning how to like coexist with it and find peace even while they're carrying the backpack. Um, because then there, there does become this like. competition, like, Oh, I've got a heavier backpack than you. So that's why I can't be happy. I used to

Cecilie Conrad:

have a very heavy backpack, but now I went through these 900 courses and all of this inner journey. And I took Ayahuasca and I, I lived in a cage or whatever. Uh, and now my backpack is, I don't have one. I'm a

Sarah Beale:

minimalist.

Cecilie Conrad:

It's almost the same as we've talked about before this. It has to be hard and you have to work for it and, and even reminds me a little bit of that school system thing like, so when you, when you enter in one end of the school system you're wrong, you're not good enough yet you have to have a lot filled in there and you have to be put into the mold so that you become right. And, and, and this idea emotionally that I'm not good enough, as I am, I have to. Learn all these things. I have to change all these things. I have to tick all these boxes so that I am what I am supposed to be. That's not a great position to live your life in. We were a miracle when we were born and I am 48 years old and I'm still a miracle. Not just me. We all are. You're not special.

Sarah Beale:

No, well, yes,

Cecilie Conrad:

everyone are. We don't have to live our life in this, you know, I could do the exam a little bit better, and I could do more in a work, and I could clear off this from the past, and I could, whatever, I mean.

Sarah Beale:

Yeah, because I've seen, um, I've seen people who, uh, they are, they're still in that energy of like striving, which is different subtly maybe to moving purposefully, striving, pushing, trying, beating yourself over the head in order to free themselves of the backpack. I love the backpack analogy. Um, and. I'm going to add something about the other end of the backpack analogy in a way I've heard it used differently, which is related in a minute. I'll circle back to it. But so if you're like in that energy of constantly like trying to deal with the stuff in the backpack, uh, it's, yeah, it's that same. It's the same as like. Striving to get excellent grades in school, striving to get a promotion at work, like that energy of like pushing. And I, I know so many people who just, who get frustrated because they're like, I've been working at getting rid of this weight in my backpack for so many years. And I've done so many courses and so much healing and I've invested so much money and it's still there. And then they go back to the loop of like suffering. I'm not good enough. I didn't try hard enough to heal. Maybe it wasn't the right course for me. Maybe I need to do some more plant medicine. Maybe I need to, and it's just like this looping and imagine if we didn't have to try, imagine if we could just find a different way of adjusting the backpack. And which doesn't, I don't think mean that we have to accept if we're just like leaking and bleeding all over people with our temper or triggers or, you know, like all the, all the things that these, all the ways that these things play out. I'm not saying like, we all just get to be assholes because our parents were mean to us and we have to accept that. I'm not saying that, but like. There's, there's, I just see so much pain in people trying to free themselves of this stuff because they think that's what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to, um, work through all of their childhood traumas and sometimes they think they have to involve their parents in that which can be really hard and hurtful as well. And I'm sure it's much easier for me to say that because nothing super bad has ever happened to me. So like, it's true. I had, I have had a very easy life in the scheme of things. So maybe it's easy for me to say that, I don't know, but I've still had hurts and things that have happened. And my parents used to smack me and send me to my room and make me clean my own bathroom. And, you know, I don't want to make light of it. Those are real things that, that hurt me as a child, but like, I. Still really love my parents. I still really like to hang out with them. Um, I'm not carrying any more, any great weight around that stuff. But when I believed I needed to, because someone else told me that I should, I certainly was. Cause that's a, that's a fashionable concept. Like, Oh, these things right now, my parents fault, not mine and my parents fault. And so I need to blame them for it. And then they need to do something to fix it. Yeah. And so that's not actually my responsibility.

Jesper Conrad:

I have, I have two points. The first is, uh, it's about taking responsibility instead of placing the responsibility of where you are today in your feeling lives 30 years ago or more. Uh, oh, we are older 40 years ago. Yeah. Almost 50 years ago, whatever. So instead of it, it's about taking responsibility and that circles back to, to taking responsibility of our children instead of outsourcing them to the school system. It's about taking responsibility of our feeling life. Janet Edward, who was on an episode a couple of times ago, I've worked together with her for many years. And one of the most profound things for me, she, she said is. It's actually very simple, but I like the depth of it. She's talking about something really bad that has happened for a person, and she talks with that person, and she said, But hey, it only happened to you once. But you let it happen to you every night, every day when you repeat it, you let it happen to you again. But that person who hurt you, he hurt you once. How can you allow to make it happen and hurt yourself all those times? And I like that. And it's about freeing, letting go, whatever happened. Often stuff only happened once or twice, but why hurt yourself day after day with the memory? It doesn't make sense to me.

Sarah Beale:

Yeah, like continually beating yourself. Over it.

Cecilie Conrad:

Yeah. And also if you have some kind, so if you have, I think it's very important to know your own triggers and not to not be, not be unfair to other people and not be, be selfish or. So if you have something in your backpack and. It sometimes gets in the way of, of just being simply kind and, and, and yeah, fair, then obviously we should look at it, but we don't have to go back and, and shame and blame. And, and so just look at the trigger, look at what gets in the way and stop it from getting in the way. And maybe I have something with chaos. If it's chaotic around me, I can't find my things, it's messy, it's dirty, and sometimes I'm totally happy with it. It can be total chaos in a big house or my small van, and I just... I'm happy. And sometimes I just cannot have it. And I know exactly why. It's something in my backpack. But we worked with it so many times that now within the family, we all know, okay, this is mom's trigger point. Today she has a day where chaos just cannot exist. We have to clean the things and put things back and everything has to be very neat and organized for maybe two days. So, I'm not saying we shouldn't look down in that backpack, I'm not saying that we shouldn't work with whatever we have, especially if it gets in the way of the good life, of everyday life. I'm just saying that there's... Shooting it off in 100 directions and not take responsibility, it's your backpack now and it's your trigger and you are the one getting in the way. It's not because of whatever reason, doesn't matter actually why I get so annoyed with the chaos sometimes. What matters is that I'm really annoying. I'm not nice to be around. Well, if I'm, if I'm triggered by chaos, I'm just not nice. I'm just so frustrated and negative and annoyed that I can't handle it. But now we've been living together for many years and the kids know me, they're not small anymore. We can all say, okay, today is a day where we have to organize and then we do it and that's it. So, and we don't have to discuss why and I don't have to call family members or think about, because I did have a not easy life. I have things in my backpack that you don't want to think about and, but they're there and and to be fair the backpack, the backpack. Metaphor. It's a great metaphor, but it's not really real because the real backpack you have in your personality doesn't weigh the same all the time. A real backpack that I will bring on my walk up the hill today will weigh the same all day except for the water I drink, but my emotional backpack changes

Sarah Beale:

all the time. Yeah, absolutely. There's this stuff around, you know, what you can cope with on a, on a day, depending on what else is going on. And, and actually what, for me, that, that brings up another element of the good life, which is important. for me and in our family and in, you know, other people's families that we hang out with that actually we, we can all accept that too. Like if there is someone in our circle, who's like, do you know what, I'm actually having one of these days where I can't do chaos or I can't do this or I can't do that, that actually you can also say that and everybody else can help you with your backpack. Yeah. Because on the same day as you're not able to manage chaos or handle chaos, maybe my backpack happens to be lighter on that day. And I'm like, I got you. It's actually, it's cool. Like I've got space in my backpack. Um, this is why so important to have communities and because we actually can share. that load. And when there's no judgment or shame around someone, and we've, I mean, we've been living with another family this year and there's been a lot of learning around that stuff there. How like, Oh, I actually, I'm having a day, I'm having a day where like, this is giving me the shits and like, we can say it, we can be like, Oh my God, this is driving me insane. And, and there's no shame around like, What's in your backpack? Uh, and it's really beautiful. It's really beautiful to be around other families who have this same idea of like, Oh, we can spread the way like it's actually totally fine. Um, if you want to go have a grown up tantrum, um, someone folded your towels wrong. That's also fine. That's okay too. Um, yeah. Um, the backpack thing is interesting because in, uh, I've, I've got a small, um, mentorship group for unschooling families and another mom uses the backpack analogy. Um, Um, sort of at the other end of the spectrum, like when the kids are young, so we've been playing around with it a little when the kids are young and they need us to like help them with their backpack. Right. I mean, when they're little there, maybe they're a bit more of a clean slate, they don't have the weight of the world on their shoulders yet, but you know, they've got little small things that piss them off or they can't cope with, or something's not quite right on that day. Um, and how we help them with their backpack. I mean, and you're saying. It's when you're 30, you carry your own backpack when you're 30. Obviously that's just arbitrary and you've just made that up. But like there is this, what we get to do when we're living outside of the school system is we get to help our kids with their backpack for like however long it suits our family. Right. And then there's this gradual, I mean, some people call it co regulation. That's like a popular word nowadays, like helping your kids. with their stuff, and then gradually they can take on more and more of their stuff. Um, which I guess is another reason why we have to work out effective ways, whether alone or with other people, to carry our shit. Because often we've also got to help our kids carry theirs, until there is this like gradual transference of responsibility. Which to me is why those family foundations are so important and why we want to be part of that rather than the school system or anybody else. Like we want to be the ones that co regulate with our kids. We want to be the ones that help them with their backpack, um, for as long as they need us to.

Cecilie Conrad:

I think that in my experience, my kids sometimes carry my backpack. They're not small anymore. So it changes over the years, but they, one of the greatest for me to talk to when I'm off is my oldest son. He's just now I'm going to point at one of them and some people think you shouldn't, but they're all different. And the son, if I have an off day, he will see it before anyone else. Even before my husband, he will come to me and say, mom, you know, how are you? And then he'll sit down or we'll go for a little walk and we'll talk and he will really help me really. And that circles back to this Jesper talked about before, how. It's very much about relations. The good life is having good people around you. And that can be your kids and your spouse in an unschooling family. Everyone will talk about that. So important. But you said before, Sarah, how we can hold each other in the community, how you have friends and these friends can help hold your, hold a space for you and let you know that you're okay. Even when you feel you're not, I think these relations really are the stars. On the night sky of our life. It's, it's really, what is the light that comes through everything really is the good life.

Sarah Beale:

Yeah. Yeah. People. Yeah. And, and hours and hours of these conversations. Wasting time. Can you imagine how lucky?

Cecilie Conrad:

My favorite thing I had love to,

Sarah Beale:

how lucky we are that um, not only can we make space for these enriching conversations, but um, and I have not always been this way. I have to admit when my kids were younger and I'm like, I can't sit down and have a conversation'cause I'm so busy, busy, busy wrap wrapped up in that. Busyness addiction, but now sitting down, having a cup of tea, having a long conversation about nothing and everything. And our children, you know, I've got countless photos and I know you do too of kids talking, walking, talking, sitting, talking, talking on the, sitting on the track where we're with our friends at the moment, another unschooling family. And there's nine children here. Yep. Nine children. And quite often, uh, there's almost nine of them all sitting on the trampoline talking, just talking like how amazing that our children not only have got time, however much time they want to talk, they feel absolutely no shame about wasting their time talking. They feel absolute. Um, comfort and confidence in like, we're just going to go walk and talk like they literally will be like, Oh yeah, we're just going to hang out and talk. And like our children, the children I'm talking about mostly who do this, I like preteens teens and they are like shameless in their love of conversation. How cool is that, that they can just talk and not be worried about what else they should be doing. They're not worried about achieving anything with their conversation. No, they're not necessarily solving any big world problems. I mean, the things I talk about are hilarious, passionate conversations about ridiculous things that are important things. Oh, of course. I mean, it's all the same, but like, that's a rich life. That's a rich life. When kids can walk, talk, sit, talk, have conversations, hang out. Not be watching the clock to go. Oh, I need to rush off to something else. Oh, I shouldn't be doing this because it's not important. No one's going to give me a grade for this and they don't even always like sometimes they tell us what they're talking about, but they're not talking about things because they need it affirmed by an authority. They're not necessarily even coming back and saying, Oh, this is what we talked about. Aren't we fantastic? Cause they do talk about really high level stuff sometimes, but they're also not coming back because they need us to affirm how great it is. They're just doing it. It's like totally. taking for granted.

Jesper Conrad:

I, I find myself in a, in a fun state in my life. If I have scaled down on the, the career life, uh, luckily we are in a situation where that is possible. Uh, but at some part of me is looking at the, the way I live now and asking myself, am I productive enough? And, and, um, like I'm giving myself credit when I accomplish something. Right now, when we talk, when I listen to you, I was thinking about one of our daughters who loves to draw a drawing, and she also has satisfaction when the drawing is finished, and she also has it while she's making it. And, and maybe it's the same thing that is mixed up inside my mind about some of the projects I like to do that when I, when they're finished I can take them and look at them and see, see I accomplished something. Um, and I'm debating with myself if that is a problem.

Sarah Beale:

But, but don't see there's again, this, this like the idea that there has to be a pro like, why, why is that a problem? Why is wanting to achieve something a problem necessarily, if you're self driven and you're like, Oh, I really like to achieve things because I, I think we are humans are meant to be purposeful and. If we're not productive, well, we're not going to eat, are we? Like we need to take care of our space. We need to find food. Whatever form, however you're living, purpose is important. That's part of that. What I noticed about kids. Oh, and I've noticed it about the daughter that you're talking about. The joy is in, is in the journey. The joy is in the doing. And I've seen her working on a drawing for quite a while. Putting it away, coming back, putting it away, coming back. That doesn't seem to me. As an onlooker to be an energy of, Oh my God, I must finish this and I must get it right. And I must get it perfect. Like the joy is in the playing around with it. And I do think that's different to doing it for an external purpose, seeking affirmation from others. She's not, I don't think she's doing that. She's doing it for the pure love of it. Like her own heart.

Cecilie Conrad:

Yeah, she is. But I must say that when you think about is this a problem with the projects, I think in your backpack, there might be something about achieving and you have quit a lot of paid work and, you know, nice hats, you could put on say I'm this and that, in order to, well, not wear the hats and not have the stress and have more personal freedom and do your own projects. But there is You know, the, the challenge is the balance and you tend to choose your projects over things that could be waste of time, such as, uh, playing ball with the kids or sit down and draw with Silke and feel inferior and get over that because it's nice to draw with someone. So if you have that little feeling inside your. Your project making an accomplishment then maybe yes, you should think about it. Are you also a miracle? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah projects or not And is it just like when I help the children and say, maybe there's a little too much of that and a little, maybe you should, you know, I don't think you'll be happy if you're not putting this element into your life. Then maybe it's the balance. It's not the product. They're not a problem in and of themselves, but maybe sometimes they get in the way of other things that you want to do, but you don't do them. Now you don't want to hear it anymore because you're married to a psychologist and it's really annoying. I'll shut

Jesper Conrad:

up. But it's very cheap somehow. No,

Cecilie Conrad:

no, no, no. but not,

Jesper Conrad:

not so fun. No, no, but I think that is the challenge and that's why I'm, I'm, I'm working with it and acknowledging it. Uh, but in some point of my journey, after scaling down the full time work. It was almost like, no, no, now I want to make a project, but that's wrong. That's just my old mentality driving it. And I actually really, really love the journey in working with the projects I work on. But I can also see that I, through my life of being in a career for 25 years, I am so good at what I do there. And there's so many of my old hobbies that I haven't practiced. for very well for 25 years. Uh, so, so it, it, it is a muscle that needs to be, um, worked with.

Cecilie Conrad:

I think we all have to now, it's not about you, Jesper, it, we all have to work with this. Is it a waste of time? The busy, the achievement, the accomplishment mindset. will stop us from looking at the birds in the rain. Maybe we know this because now we learn to be positive and we're working on our positive mind tick, but we're not actually spending half an hour looking out the window because that's a waste of time and those half. Those 30 minutes could have been spent folding towels right and cooking the dinner and, and, uh, whatever, something I could say I done today. And that mindset of doing things versus being in life is also the Western world mindset, where if we do things, we have value. But if we just hang out, what's that? Is that weekend? Is that waste of time? It's not the five o'clock clock. Is that we're not, you know, Um, and I, I think it's a very good idea to waste some time and do some, yeah,

Sarah Beale:

yeah. You could risk really overthinking this stuff and. I guess where I've probably naturally landed more recently is like, if I want to look out the window for half an hour, I'm going to just do that. I did do that today. I was looking for a woodpecker. My friend said there's been a woodpecker in her garden. So I'm like, I'm going to stand outside with my coffee. Of course I didn't see the woodpecker. Then it

Cecilie Conrad:

was a waste of time. But,

Sarah Beale:

but I, but I feel no, like I'm like, yeah, I stood outside for half an hour with my coffee and looked at. No woodpecker. Um, but I enjoyed looking at other things. And I also know that naturally when I get back home, there's going to be work to be done. You know, I'll have to unload the car and put things away and cook some food. And naturally the productivity will be there, right? Because we're humans. And. I can really enjoy having a bit of a tantrum about the fricking towels that I've realized now that the cupboard we have, uh, is actually too narrow to fold the towels in the way I like. I've accepted, I've accepted that other people can devise a way to hold the towels where they fit in the cupboard. And I'm all right with that. If something annoys me, I'm also okay to go, that really fricking annoys me. And I'm, I'm, maybe I'm going to be a bit of a baby about it. Maybe I'll have a bit of a total tantrum and I'll quite enjoy that. Um, and I'm fine with that too. And, uh, I'm fine with all of it. And I also like thinking about it, but I also don't feel like we always need to put pressure on ourselves to. Solve anything because, so we've got to be the best damn unschooled that we can, we can like, we can, um, you know, coming back to unschooling and de schooling, like we all went through the school system, probably some university, probably some jobs in the corporate world or whatever. Right. And years and years of programming. So I, for one, I remember thinking like, Oh yeah, I can understand how we're not in school. I can understand how to apply not being in school to my kids. I'm totally happy with them having no goals, specifically, like I don't care. It doesn't bother me when they learn to read. I don't need to measure that. I don't need to, I'm not worried about whether they can do maths, um, when they might learn to ride a bike. I'm actually very comfortable with that, but applied to myself. Like, am I actually genuinely okay with the level of freedom for myself, uh, where I don't need to measure anything, I don't need to be constantly delving inside, working out what's going on, psychoanalyzing myself, uh, that's taken longer.

Cecilie Conrad:

It's a book that my grandmother gave me, a trend, and she was studying psychology as well, my grandmother, and, and she had a book called I'm Okay, You're Okay. It's transactional analysis. It's 70s. Psychoanalysis trend thing, corner of it. Let's not go in there. But I like the title. Let's just stick with the title. I'm okay. And you're okay. And that's all we need to know. Basically, we don't have to do all these changes and we don't have to run for everything, anything. Because we are, we were a miracle when we came here and it's still a miracle that we're around and maybe we should just appreciate that. That would be my final

Sarah Beale:

words. Yeah, I like that. I don't think we can top that. I'm okay. You're okay.

Jesper Conrad:

And as you're okay, Sarah, you're also I'm okay and you're okay. And one of the things that is okay with you is that you also help unschooling parents out there. So if you can tell a little about, where people can find you online just go get help from you if they like to continue the dialogue with

Sarah Beale:

you. Yeah, well, I'm mostly on Facebook as my name is Sarah Beale, but I have a website, The Renegade Mum, where you can contact me as well. And really what I do is support families to just nut out, like all the stuff we've just talked about, how you actually navigate a life where no one's telling you what to do. How do you actually do that? You tell them what to do. No. Frustratingly for many people, I'm sure. But I did notice in a lot of the unschooling groups. There was a strange number of rules around what you're supposed to do or not supposed to do with kids. And I didn't always find that very helpful. because everybody's starting from a different place and some people don't yet have all of their foundations. And so. To tell a parent of a three year old that they should let their child stay up all night. I didn't find particularly helpful. so really I'm about, what things look like in your family, what works in your family and more and more because this is quite new for me, the way I'm approaching it, how we can build our foundations as a family. So that we actually can be free, but purposefully, and in a way that's meaningful and ultimately we do want to grow our children into people that can thrive and be part of the community and how we can do that with, you know, through an unschooling lens.

Jesper Conrad:

Fantastic.

Unschooling Journey and Nomadic Living
The Journey to a Good Life
Exploring the Good Life and Unschooling
The Power of Choosing Happiness
The Backpack of Life
Emotional Baggage and Supporting Each Other
The Value of Conversations and Purpose
Finding Joy, Balancing Projects