A lot of it comes from being faced with the feelings and pressures of using this or that modern convenience for cleaning/driving/computers/photography/whatever, and feeling a tinge of guilt every time I have to tell someone, "No, we don't have that because we can't afford it."
The truth is that even if we can afford it, often I would rather put our money where it makes the most difference for us, rather than on small conveniences. One example would be a garden. I tried to garden this year, but something happened and all my seedlings disappeared. I suspect some wild creatures had quite a feast on them. I'm going to try to replant, but it may be a bit late in the season. We will see.
A big change like what I envision would include having a store of food that I know would get us through any hard times. We would have alternative sources for things like heat (such as a fireplace), and light (candles, lanterns). We would work to find and make as much for our family as possible, and focus on quality instead of quantity. We could work with our hands to help bring in income instead of working at jobs that don't make sense to our personal lives and pay next to nothing. We would work on trade with others of like mind, in addition to making as much as we could with our own creations. Our focus would be on our connection to our own lives, and those around us, including the environment in which we lived.
When I think of making a big life change, like moving toward a more sustainable, simple lifestyle, I think not only of what life would be like, but what I would be so happy to be doing without. Debt is a big one, and while we haven't taken on any new debt in years, we are still struggling to pay off the stupid decisions of our youth. Granted, some of it was due to emergency, or what we felt was necessary at the time. Still, life makes it difficult to "catch up." Even though I'm still technically in my twenties, the road seems so long ahead of me that I often feel like the destination to be debt free is beyond our reach, especially when things like car repairs, unemployment, and the need to buy expensive medication come into play.
I don't think there's any real "ideal" way of living, but I think each person here on this earth has somewhere in life that they best "fit." For me, I think I fit into a much simpler lifestyle, filled with the satisfaction of hard work, nature, my family, and a job well done. It would be one that leaves me feeling fulfilled, and purposeful. I would feel like life was abundant instead of lacking, as I often feel trying to fit into "modern society." I do know that abundance comes from within, but the fact remains that everything around us these days says otherwise, and even the strongest among us can feel beaten down from time to time.
Anyhow, I dream of this "other life" and hope someday that we can attain it. I'm trying to make small changes every day that lead us in that direction. Today I'm just wishing I could flip the switch and be there.
Do you ever feel this way, too?