Sustainability, I’m sure for some people, sparks visions of persons who grow their own food on wide swaths of land, who make their clothing, who can and live by candlelight.
But sustainability is possible in an era of stuff, and it’s achieved one moment at a time.
The last several months, my family has refocused on what’s needed in our lives and what’s not
First came a new baby (and the resulting suck out of the wallet from medical bills, diapers, day care and new clothing seemingly every month.) Then came a personal challenge. Then came unemployment.
So my husband and I have, with growing importance, taken a look at what’s truly needed and what’s not.
We obviously don’t dash to my husband’s work to say hello after I get the kids from daycare anymore, and our kids are less cranky and overall happier than had we raced around in the early evening, squeezing a slice of parental time among meals and bedtime.
For all the times I’d receive a call of “What do you need me to pick up on the way home?” when I’d rattle something off, I can count one few fingers the times when the tables have been turned and I’ve received that call since. Less hassles, less purchases, less things we found we truly needed.
The dinners that we’d eat out? They’ve been substituted with quality time cooking meals and shopping at the farmers market, involving our oldest many times.
The hand-me-down boy clothes, always appreciated, have been washed and sorted by size. And I was surprised by the generosity I’d been the recipient of and of my stash. Who needs 20 onesies in size 2T? Those leftovers found a new home among a domestic violence recovery organization.
The pants I tried this morning with the unhinged hem? It’ll take a needle, thread and time and will be ready to wear. May not seem like “sustainable,” but you’d be surprised how few people these days can even manage to fix a hem or a fallen-out hem.
Yes, sometimes sustainable living takes time, and I'll be the first to admit I'd not truly there yet. In all honesty, many times it takes much less effort than the headaches of shopping for more. Life is a long series of small choices, and our footprint on this planet is marked by the individual prints we make each moment.