Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections - New Years Eve 2008

It's December 31 and the new year is just around the corner. There will be time for resolutions, but today is a day for reflection; for remembering all the wonderful adventures of years past, of all we have achieved. 

For moments of reflection, as well as those times when I feel discouraged and need the reminder of how far along my journey I have come, I keep a running list. This "list" is nothing special, just some bullet points of the efforts I've made in my journey towards a simple-green-frugal life. 

As for 2008, I achieved things I never thought possible. As the year began, my local diet experiment was in it's infancy. Just this year, I learned to make soups and breads from scratch, can jams and soups, I was given my first water bath canner, and I bought my first pressure canner. I quit my job, I started my first veggie garden, and started this blog. I took steps to become more active in my community, did my first talk at the university on eating locally, and did my first radio interview. How amazing what one year can bring.

So how about that list? This is mine. For each of us, it will be as different as we are, but the goal is the same - mindful living.

Steps I've Made Toward a More Simple-Green-Frugal Life
  1. Reduce hours to part time/quit work
  2. Replace light bulbs with CFLs
  3. Bus/Walk/Bike everywhere (reduce car trips)
  4. Eat organic, all-nature, whole foods only (no processed foods)
  5. Don't turn on lights or use AC/heat when home alone
  6. Use electric blanket or heating pad at night instead of heating entire house in winter
  7. Recycle
  8. Buy items with less packaging/recyclable packaging only
  9. Buy/consume only what is NEEDED
  10. Shop in second hand stores
  11. Borrow books / rent movies instead of buying
  12. Buy only  local gifts or give baked goods, time, money, homemade gifts
  13. Use recycled toilet paper, organic or homemade cleansers
  14. Make used paper into pads of paper for grocery lists, etc
  15. NO PLASTIC BAGS - bring my own cloth bags to the store
  16. Take my own water bottle, napkin, and silverware to restaurants that use disposables
  17. Use cloth napkin instead of tissues or paper towels
  18. Take navy showers
  19. Meditation and yoga
  20. Go Flexitarian/Vegetarian/Vegan (I'm progressed through this over the years)
  21. Make my own yogurt, soups, pasta sauce from scratch
  22. Make my own baked bread, rolls, bagels
  23. Compost
  24. Reduce beauty products toward more natural products like witch hazel, baby oil, and baking soda for deodorant
  25. Make my own greeting cards with recycled magazines, calendars, paper, etc
  26. Switch big-box grocery store purchases to our small, local natural foods store
  27. Cancel cable
  28. Pack lunch instead of eating out (when I was working)
  29. Wash clothes on cold
  30. Buy local milk, cheese, meat
  31. Make my own local herbal tea
  32. Switch to local soaps
  33. Learn to can
  34. Make my own butter
  35. Grow my own herbs and veggies
Change doesn't happen all at once. It takes years of personal growth and evolution. Because of that, I think we easily forget how far we've come. Looking back on this list, I realize what a different person I am ten years after I started this journey. Not that the road has been easy. Those of you who regularly read this blog know that my illness has been an ongoing burden. But illness and all, I'm better person because of my journey. Now, as we make resolutions for the coming year, let us not forget the journey that has brought us so far; the joys and struggles on this path to a more mindful life. 

May the coming year bring more simple-green-frugal happiness to us all!


Beany said...

Heather, you've been an incredible inspiration to me - not only because of your journey to date, but also because of your dedication and incredibly positive attitude toward life. Being grumpy like me takes alot of energy and I hope to see the good in everything beginning with the new year.

Wishing you the best in a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Michelle said...

Wow, Heather - that is an impressive list. It is amazing how small steps add up to so much! Looking forward to all the ways you will inspire me in 2009. Happy New Year to you, Dave and the animals.

Abbie said...

Look at that amazing list! I'm thinking of you in CA on this blustery, snowy day!

sharli said...

What a difference a year makes! You have really inspired me to live greener. (I already had the simple and frugal part down!) Thank you for being there for me this year. I'm ready for another spring of canning!

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Glenda said...

I love your list =). As I read through it, I saw some things we've already done, as well as some things we'd like to do.

Heather @ SGF said...

Thanks, Everyone! I just got home from California and I'm ready to start adding to the list in 2009!

Happy New Year!

Danny said...

aah, reflecting back on 2008, how about Fair Trade coffee?

Heather @ SGF said...

Danny - not being a coffee drinking, I'm not up on fair trade coffee. What's the scoop?

Steph @ Greening Families said...

It looks like 2008 was a very productive year for you!

I agree that it is easy to lose track of accomplishments in the hurly burly of everyday life. We put together a similar list at Reflecting on 2008 and Looking Ahead to 2009, if you would like to take a peek.

We hadn't realized how many of our habits are so recent until we sat down to make the list as it feels like we have been living this way a long time. And have never been happier!

Here's to a fruitful 2009!

Heather @ SGF said...

Steph - I checked out your site. Awesome list for 2008 and you've got some great goals for 2009. I'll be looking into making my own cleaners too. We'll have to share notes :)