A few months ago I turned 40. By all accounts I’m half way through life. That realization really made me stop and think about what I have been doing, how and if its working, and where I want to go from here. Clue in deeply soul stirring music and images of people staring off into the horizon. I wish I could say it was as simple as that, but it has and continues to be much more difficult and complicated.
So here I am almost 40 & 1/2 years old and in a full blown midlife crisis.
Now the decision is what to do about it. After many nights of insomnia, lots of tears, and days of evading life in general, I decided that what I really wanted was to make a difference. But where, how, when, and what? It is honestly overwhelming, but I am determined. I can make a difference.
I can make a difference with every decision I make.
Like most people in the United States and many developed countries, I was raised to be a consumer. Buy, buy, buy and then buy some more. After all, the more stuff you have, the more successful you are and obviously that means you will ultimately be extremely happy – right?
(Just look at some of the most wealthy people in the world to see just how big a lie the consumer ideology is. They do have it all, literally, and yet so many seek out happiness still through drug use and other ultimately destructive behaviors.)
Acquiring more things has certainly not made me happier. In fact the amount of time and energy my things consume FROM me is relentless. Dust this, wash that, clean those…it is never ending. And what is the end result? A tired, frustrated, unhappy woman. That is why I decided something had to change.
First I looked at my life and decided enough was enough. I had enough. I don’t need to buy more stuff (I do make exceptions for scrapbooking supplies :-). In fact I could do with a lot less. So the purge has begun. I am giving away or selling things I don’t need and hold no real value to me other than that at some point I thought they would make me happier if I bought them. There is value in a lesson learned. So far I have gone through clothing and decorative nick-nacs. The kitchen is next on my radar as well as what I think will be a fairly easy purge, the dreaded basement. After all isn’t that where we put stuff to forget about?
I am very excited about this as I have yet to regret anything I have removed from my life. In fact I would really like to go one step further and live more minimalistic in a much tinier space. Currently we live in an 1,100 sq ft home, but if I ever finally convince my husband to go tiny, I would like to have a place about half that size! But that is for another blog entry.
The second thing that came about naturally as a part of this downsizing was recycling and reducing waste. This kicked off a whole other push to go more green than I had ever dared before. (Toothpowder anyone?) I am devouring books on living a life that is not only less impactful on this planet, but [gasp] maybe even make it a better place because of my existence on it?!?!
This blog is my journey. I am very new to everything that has to do with sustainable living and some of the things I have read make me cringe with the thought of giving up luxuries like plastic anything, instant foods, and white toilet paper. But as all of the books I’ve read thus far have emphasized, you don’t have to make all of the changes all at once. Thus far I have become a vegetarian (a little over a year into that change and where I think the crisis of change truly began), I no longer use plastic straws and try to take my own cup with me wherever I go, set up a separate trashcan in our home for recyclables, and I take my own bags shopping.
For some hard core greenies, these changes may not seem like much, but I am proud of the steps I have taken so far and I look forward to implementing new things along the way. I hope you find some comradery, comedy, and maybe even some inspiration from this blog to also make changes that can have a positive impact on our world and the amazing people and animals that call it home!