A few years ago,when Mike and I moved into my childhood home, we were putting things away in the kitchen. In a rarely used cupboard above the refrigerator were years of school papers that my mom had saved. As I went through them, seperating my work from my brother and sisters, I could picture my school, my teachers and classmates, my favorite books. I could even smell Elmer's paste. Among the pile of crumbling construction paper projects, was this self portrait and the statement was attached. It immediately brought a smile to my face. I don't remember being this self-assured and carefree. I can't believe that I drew myself with my glasses. I hated my glasses!
It made me think, "If I was this confident at age nine, what happened during the next 23 years?" How did I lose it? Here I was, in the fourth grade, announcing to the world, " This is me. Take it or leave it." By the time I was 33, I had no idea who I was. I had chosen a life that had placed my free-spirited, nine year old self in a cupboard above my mom's refrigerator. Why did I make those choices? I can only say that I let fear and worry hold me back. Those two things will paralyze you in an instant. I don't care how big or small your dreams are, they will never come true if you always take the safe roads and never take a chance. I can't think of a single person who had great personal success without taking a risk. I don't know of anyone who has achieved great personal success without failing somewhere along their journey. Risk and failure are two things that I really struggle with but the universe keeps sending me little messages to keep me on track. Today, I logged onto my blog and the "Thoreau Quote of the Day" reads as follows: " If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endevours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
By the time that I found the self portrait, I had already made some major life changes. Now, as I'm quickly approaching forty, I want to take it to the next level. I want to advance confidently in the direction of my dreams. I still worry too much about things that don't really matter, but I'm working on it. I'm still trying to find my life's purpose, but it will come. Someday (hopefully soon), I will look in the mirror and in my reflection, I'll be looking at my nine year old self complete with Dorothy Hamill haircut and glasses. I know she's there just waiting to be rediscovered like the drawing tucked away in a old musty cupboard.
Just a little while ago, I clicked on Goodbye Goods to find that the blog had been mentioned. How awesome is that??? Thanks Darcy.
Today, I want to talk about some things that we do here at our house and some goals for the new year. Crunchy Chicken recently confessed her Green Sins and truth be told, we all have them. The thing is... every little bit helps. If everyone did just a little, the world could be a better place for us and the generations to follow. I'm a big fan of Ed Begley Jr. and he often talks about picking the low hanging fruit first. So here's our list of low hanging fruit along with some things that we need to work on.
1. recycling - we recycle everything that we can but still need to work on purchasing things with less packaging.
2. composting - we compost everything that we possibly can to cut down on trash and to give our garden a boost
3. purchasing carbon offsets - we purchased a Terrapass for our car this year and plan to do so again.
4. organic gardening - There are no chemicals used in our garden even when I've been tempted because of pests. We need to work on expanding it a little more to become more self-sufficient but we've made a good start.
5. conserving energy - We keep the thermostat at 62 degrees and it's comfortable for us. Putting on a sweater or blanket is free. In the summer, we have only turned the A/C on a few times when I've been so miserable that I can't stand it anymore. It usually gets turned off within a day because I like fresh air. We air dry our clothes whenever possible. We also did an online home energy audit and found that we use 50% less energy than the average in our town. Pretty cool. We have been working on unplugging or using power strips to power down items with stand-by power. We could also stand to have a rain collection system to cut down on water in the garden but we'll get there.
6. driving one vehicle that is good on gas mileage and emissions - We are fortunate that we only need one car. Both of our jobs are close to home. Mike's is walking distance but I need the car since I work into the middle of the night and it wouldn't be safe to walk home. We purchased a carbon offset for the car and we combine trips to stores, etc so we don't have to use the car as much.
7. using eco-friendly cleaning and cosmetic products - we have been switching over as things run out. I didn't see the point in throwing away cleaning products that we already had. Same with cosmetics. We do use paper towels and toilet paper made from recycled paper. We use cloth napkins. The new sheets that I purchased our organic as well as the pillows.
8. Eating Local - this is not so hard to do in summer but challenging in winter. We have found a grocery called Buehler's that makes this a little easier. They have signs on all produce that is grown in Ohio. It's amazing though, we can get just about everything we need here including wonderful wines. Wow!
9. Buy clothes and household items at thrift stores - If we are patient, we usually find everything we need with only a few exceptions. We also like garage sales and auctions. I keep a running list of things that I'm looking for and sooner or later, we find them all.
10. Borrow/Share with friends or neighbors. - I recently was talking to a friend that said he would come and till my garden if I help him start one. He can borrow the tiller from his father in law. Perfect. We usually dig the garden by hand but we want to make a new bed this year and there's no need for all of us to own individual tillers.
I've been on Facebook for a couple of months. I think I'm addicted to it. I check it in the morning and at night before I go to bed. I love to hear what old classmates are doing and to look at their pictures. The problem is what to type in the little box that pops up at the top. It reads, "Jennifer is....." and I am supposed to type in what I'm doing. The truth is that most of the time, I'm doing nothing. I'm sitting at the computer reading what they are doing. Starting to feel like a total loser, I try to think up something clever to write but the words just won't come. There is no clever way of saying, "I'm having coffee and looking at a computer screen". There is no way to make it sound more exciting. But today... epiphany.. I wanted a simple life and I've got one.
Today, it's snowing here in Mid-Central Ohio and I am sitting here watching it. The only sound is of me, typing this post. I have a piping hot mug of coffee and I'm relaxing before going to work this afternoon. My life is simple by design and I don't have to make it sound more exciting then it is. In the spring..when they are all playing outside.. we will have a million things to do. For now, I'm just going to enjoy winter through the window by my desk.
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