Guilt-Free Green

I recently posted an update on the green goings-on in our cozy little abode. From that reflection, in addition to checking out a kazillion blogs (be they decor/DIY, personal, food or environmental), I’ve realized that a new year seems to be the time to kinda bum out on oneself.

With my self esteem, it’s easy to fall into the “man, I suck” slump. I guess it’s that whole quote from “Little Women” (the 1996 movie, not the book) referring to Transcendentalism: “With all this transcendence comes much emphasis on perfecting oneself.” Life is about transcendence from one moment to the next, but it’s sometimes difficult to just live without trying to make the next moment as good as you can, even though it’s kinda how I was raised. Grandma had a wall plaque in her kitchen that said “Good, better, best, never let it rest ’til your good is better and your better is best.” (I’ve seen the quote in other variations, but this is the one I remember.)

But, y’know what? Life, she ain’t perfect. And those of us livin’ it, we ain’t either. And all we can do is our best, even if it’s not perfection.

So, while I’m not making any resolutions for 2013, I’m trying to focus on the things I’d like to attempt…but not feel like crap if I a) don’t do ’em right, b) don’t have the time to continue or c) simply fail. After all, failure isn’t the end of the world; it’s just a chance to find something new to try.

Most of my goals involve greenin’ up our lives. The reason for this is, well, it aligns with what our beliefs are, in general. While we’ve always cared about the environment and human and animal rights causes (heck, I wish I could find a picture of me in high school; I was quite the non-drug-doin’ hippie, love beads and all), the availability of such wonderful resources for making our lives more eco-friendly just makes it a tad easier these days.

However, I’ve noticed that while there’s an overabundance of “green” blogs around this cyberplace we’ve created, I hope to add a touch of positive reinforcement and a guilt-free environment in my tiny slice of the pie. Most blogs that I prefer to read, be they green or otherwise, show that the writer is human. Duh, of course. I have yet to find a monkey-written blog. What I mean is that my favorites show that, while they sometimes paint some awfully gorgeous pictures of life, it simply is not always so. So, let’s all just let go of the idea that we’re perfect.

Soapbox moment: It breaks my heart when I see a favorite blogger post, for example, her daughters’ lunches on Facebook. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It takes a steel-hearted and -minded woman to do this. The criticism and rude questions astound me (reminds me of some my husband gets by faceless, nameless viewers that call into the newsroom). She’s doing what’s best for her family, making awesome choices AND giving the girls what they WANT to eat (not always an easy task) and it never fails — “Is that enough food?” or “Where’s the protein?” or “Why do you eat dairy? Ugh!” And those are a separate pet peeve from the folks asking questions that are easily found in the links she posts along with the lunch ingredients, but that’s irrelevant. It’s enough to make me think, “How long will she even share these wonderful tips and ideas with us with how much criticism she faces daily?”

Makes me nervous to think what the “greener than thou” folks would make of me. Hell, I don’t eat 100% organic. I don’t compost everything I should. I don’t find all my clothes pre-used. I don’t have solar panels. I say “hell.” No perfection here…but I’m learning how to be proud of that fact.

So, with a bit of feistiness and a healthy dose of cautious positivity in tow, I give you my list of “I’d like to”s:

– We’re always striving to simplify our lives more. We’ve cut out lots of TV-watching. We’re continually going through our clothes to donate what we don’t use. (That’s been a daunting task lately, since I’ve worn three sizes since the baby was born; some still fit, some don’t. Plus the maternity stuff, which we pass between family.) Dave and I like to look to the past for inspiration of living, but in a modern way, and knowing what little people lived on – happily! – helps us get our heads in the right place. So, this is a continual simplification journey.

– In the “old living in new times” realm, the idea that’s all over the web which apparently can’t be referred to in the old terminology (trademarks…sticky wickets) starts with an “h” and ends in a “steading.” It’s weird that a couple can take a term that’s been used in a historical context for decades and demand that others not use it. Oh, well. Be that as it may, folks are baking their own bread, knitting/sewing, growing tons (literally) of food, and generally getting in touch with the lifestyles of 100+ years ago. While no one’s goin’ Amish (so far as I know! And I doubt they’d be blogging about it…right?), it’s an admirable trend.

My wish, or hope? I hope to get a house with enough land to take our minimal gardening to the “small-time farming” step — to sustain our family and not rely on imported fruits ‘n veggies. With that land would hopefully come the ability to get some egg-layin’ hens (y’know…enough land for them to roam and for neighbors to not think we’re cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs). Oh, and with enough land for the kiddy to roam, when the time comes, too.

Self-sustainability would rock.

If I had the time to bake our bread (and sundry other meal ideas), knit scarves, and write books (what, people didn’t do that 100 years ago? I’m in Louisa May Alcott mindset, whoops), I’d wish for those things, too. But I work a full-time job, so that all needs to stay in the recesses of my brain…er, blog.

Given the odds that we probably won’t find our dream home with its dream plot of land, I’d be happy with doing an intentional garden this summer and making a bigger go at preserving what we get out of it. How’s that?

Streamline the ol’ blog. While this isn’t necessarily an eco-friendly endeavor, I’m hoping to make this place a clearer idea of who I am. Ha! Do I even know?! I guess that’s half the battle. Regardless, I’m wondering if “Meg, Acting Out” (or “MegActsOut”) is an appropriate label for this endeavor. I’m wondering if I need a new “look.” I’m wondering if I need to better organize projects – decor stuff, cooking stuff, green stuff, and the like. It’s tough when a lot of that overlaps. So, without guilt, I admit publicly that I’d like to work on the blog’s look and organization (even coming up with regular post ideas…anyone for “Wacky Wednesday”?! Yeah, me neither). The feel, I hope, will remain the same. And, of course, any suggestions (especially from other bloggers) are greatly appreciated!

– I live relatively close to what I feel is one of nature’s greatest gems: the Adirondack Mountains. I can count on half a hand how many times I’ve hiked one of those mountains. One of my favorite things EVER was the time we spent camping (not in a tent, but still) on Raquette Lake when I was a teen. Any and all visits to the Adirondack area, be they Old Forge or more rustic outings, have rocked my socks off.

I would love to be able to go camping with the hubby and little one (and even more family), if possible. I’d like to learn about the easier trails that I may be able to shlep Hadley on, and get the hubby into a fun hike to see if it could become a regular activity, too. If nothing else, I’ve GOTTA get Dave to the Adirondack Museum; one of my favorite places as a kid (and, admittedly, as an adult). I want to take advantage of the place we live. Why else pay so much attention to saving our environment and surroundings if we don’t enjoy them?

– Go out on a limb; challenge myself. I’m already on the path to trying new things, so be it blog and writing opportunities or maybe even trying a different yoga class (or DVD if it fits into my schedule better), I hope to keep an open mind.

Organize!!! I guess a lot of these overlap, eh? Simplification…streamlining…well, there ya go. I’ve got a desk in my office that I NEVER use. Dude, I MADE the thing. There has to be a reason (maybe comfort/ease of use?) that I choose my ratty old armchair to our office. Regardless, I’d like it to be less of a free-for-all dump space and at least more of a landing spot of handsomeness. So, even if I don’t use my laptop in the office, I hope to organize the space into a more useable place of positivity that I’ll actually WANT to use. That means throwing you out, 3-year-old catalog of Sam French plays!

Oh, and although I wish I could be zero-waste, I need paper. When the tough really get goin’, they make LISTS. So, between lists and a new binder full of women organized thoughts/projects, I think some more office organization may help me with my quest to streamline and focus the ol’ blog. One can dream, right?

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