For several years now, James and I have made a really great effort to live less of a consumer lifestyle. We recycle, compost, feed left overs to doggies, use scraps for sewing projects, shop at thrift stores and discount grocery stores. We try to use the vehicles sparingly but I think we’ve still not reached a good goal on that. I hang clothes out to dry when the weather is good enough to dry them and NOT freeze my fingers as I hang them outside. We grow some of our own food and ALL of our kitchen herbs (not spices, just herbs). It would seem that we are doing lots of things right in trying not to consume. And yet, there is still a driving force within me to do more and more and more. It has gotten to the point of not recycling because perhaps we could make something of the empty boxes! I was really getting to be in bondage to the idea that I was a horrible person because I couldn’t find a use for every scrap of everything in my home.
Now, I know that some folks are at this level. Everything has a use and zero trash is created. New things are not bought. Consumption is a thing of the past. We’re not there. I bought a new (as in, in the box new) pair of shoes for our Christmas banquet. I had a revelation that they were the first absolutely new shoes I have bought for myself since I can’t remember when! And yesterday? Yesterday we went to the Publix near where our church has service. I was enthralled. So clean. Such friendly and knowledgeable employees, so many products from which to choose! Did you know that Publix now has a gourmet food bar? Meals are prepared fresh every day by a chef and you can purchase them by the entree. Simply beautiful presentation with all fresh ingredients!
So, I began to think about the possibility of buying things new again. Granted, I love a good deal better than the next girl–but what’s to keep me from using coupons to buy things new?
My whole point of this ramble is that I think the non-consumption movement needs to have a place in it of mercy. Our part of the deal is to do the best we can. The other part of the deal is to be gracious and realize that everyone is at a different level. Some folks in the country perhaps can grow all their own food but may need to use their vehicles more. While folks in town may be able to walk or bike to all of their destinations, they are unable to produce their own food! One group needn’t look down on the other group’s efforts.
My goal this year is to waste less–to consume less–not to be entirely free of waste or consumption. If I can take my efforts of last year and raise the bar a wee bit–without being a slave to non-consumer and wasteless legalism, then I will have reached this goal!
So, here’s to all of us who pledge to waste less in 2010!