Following on from the last few blog entries, I’ve been thinking about resolutions for 2011. A wee tangent here; I never consider New Year’s Day as the start of a new year, for me it’s always been the end of August beginning of September. Don’t know if it has something to do with start of academic years or the signaling of the end of summer, but to me August 31st always seems like a more appropriate time to look back, reassess and plunge forward! But for the purposes of the Gregorian calendar let’s continue at present…
There is much debate about resolutions and whether they motivate or demoralize. I think there is a big difference between ‘wanting’ and ‘should-ing’, i.e. “I want to do more exercise” and “I really should do more exercise”…guess what? You’re more likely to do the things you want rather than should. Therefore resolutions should (there’s that word again!) be things you want to do rather than things you think you should be doing. As Mahatma Gandhi said: "Be the change you want to see in the world".
So cards out on the table! Here are my resolutions for 2011, both personal and ‘green’ orientated. Some are my own, some are borrowed from other blogger’s not necessarily because I couldn’t think of any, but because they mentioned similar resolutions and say it so much more eloquently than me. First is from an old favorite of mine Colin Beavan a.k.a No Impact Man, whose blog is dedicated to researching, developing and adopting a way of life that causes no net environmental impact (and he lives in New York City!) To read the specific blog please: CLICK HERE Next is a new mention, Grace Bonney, creator and editor of Design Sponge a daily blog/website dedicated to home and product design. The unique aspect about Design Sponge is that as well as featuring some pretty cool and fabulous products, Grace and the team are also dedicated to DIY projects, re-using and recycling items and furniture and advocating the handmade and customized. To read her complete resolutions please: CLICK HERE
1) Work less, live more: This is one that features on many people’s list. There are numerous statistics that will tell you that you spend more time with your work colleagues than your family or friends (f&f) – ergo you spend most of your life at work. I’d imagine this wouldn’t be too depressing a thought if you really loved your work, but my job unfortunately only serves the purpose of paying the bills. I’ve recently awakened to the fact that the two most precious things I posses are my health and my time and guess what? I want my time back! I want the luxury to spend days only reading without feeling that niggly guilty feeling at the back of my head telling me there is washing to be done or errands to be run before Monday!
2) KISS: As my dad always says: Keep It Simple Stupid. Simplify your life and enjoy the simple things in life and you’ll be happier. The simple things in life I enjoy? Growing my own fruit and veg (and then having a big dinner party for f&fs), reading, day dreaming, star-gazing, making snowmen, sitting in the park on a sunny day, volunteering, laughing ,tai chi, making bread and jam, cooking a new recipe (with varying success), riding my bike to no particular destination, napping in the sun like a cat, hugging…shall I continue?
3) Buy less crap! This is a biggy for me – not because I’m a consumerist materialist person per say, but perhaps because I’m not so happy with my job or life I substitute the happiness with material goods, which in the end is short lived and usually makes me feel worst because of the guilt in spending the money and clogging up my flat and life with junk. Also from an environmental point of view we often forget the impact that things we buy have on our environment – the resources used to make it, the energy used to build it, the transport used to ship it. Less is more – remember KISS!
4. Observe an Eco-Sabbath: Here’s one direct from No Impact Man: Environmentalism is like my religion so only seems naturally to take it up a notch, which I’ll do it happily.
For one day or afternoon or even hour a week, don't buy anything, don't use any machines, don't switch anything on, in general, don't use any resources. In other words, give yourself and the planet a break. You'll find that the enforced downtime represents an improvement to your life.5) Smile at strangers: This isn’t meant to sound creepy but more about being kinder to each other as humans. In urban settings, especially, we seem to be very suspicious of each other when we’re all the same (we laugh, we worry, we get hurt). Smiling at someone can change their day completely even if you don’t realize it. In small villages people greet each other in the streets, but in cities this seems to be abnormal behavior. It doesn’t have to be. Therefore I’ve decided that instead of looking away or down, I’ll smile or greet people I pass on the streets (let you know what happens!).
6. Make time for special gifts: Here’s one from Grace which struck a chord with me, especially since coincidentally this holiday, my mom and I were looking through all the cards I’d sent her in the past, which I would elaborately decorate inside with colorful messages. I realized I hadn’t done this for a long time but want to again as I really enjoyed it and of course, so did my mom.
Little “just because” gifts have always sort of been my thing. I loved coming up with little things to make for AC when we were first dating and I miss having time to come up with things like that for him and everyone else who is special in my life. So this year I want to devote more of my time to reminding the people in my life how much they mean to me, whether it’s through a hand-written letter, lunch date, little gift or just a big hug.
7. Believe with all your heart that how you live your life makes a difference to all of us: Last one is from No Impact Man again; he says it so well and I completely agree.
We are all interconnected. We make a difference to each other on many different levels. Every step towards living a conscious life where we consider the consequences of our actions provides support to everyone else--whether you know it or not--who is trying to do the same thing. We are the masters of our destinies. Let's act as though it is so.
(Hmmm...only seven? Well seven is my favorite number and who said I should have 10!)