New year, new commitments
The news of a friend's book deal was paired on a writers' site with an announcement of a book on "My year of living within my means." I had to laugh to keep from crying, because, seriously: isn't that what many of us have been doing forever? It's been several years since I used a credit card (and it's not just because I'm disciplined, but that's another story). Why not a life of living within your means?
All ranting aside, it made me think of all the other "year-of" books that I'd prefer to adopt, at least mostly, as a life and not just a year -- or not just a New Year's resolution. I think of the "resolution" concept as something that should be applied to the moment, not a turn of the page on a calender, a new digit. Every moment is worth starting anew (or else, perhaps I'm just habitually late and this is my mantra of excusal). I'd like to re-commit this year to:
- The year of eating local. I continue to strive for better pathways to eat local, sustainably-produced food, and part of that this year will be to figure out how to do it without paying a lot -- and how to spread local foods beyond their "elite" label. I love what the Portland Fruit Tree Project is doing; part of local eating could be gleaning figs from a neighbor's tree or helping me harvest my cherries!
- The year without a car. It's been two-and-a-half years since our car was last insured and this year I'm going to join the BTA instead of the Zoo (it's cheaper!) and finally sell the car. No, really. My mission is to convince as many families as possible that biking can work for them.
- The year of living within my means. Well, I had to say it. But with a freelance career, I'm hoping to spend a little more time budgeting appropriately (and spending my money more wisely at the farmer's market).
- The year without stuff. While I'm not committing to buying nothing new, I'm certainly limiting it to necessities (a new pair of shoes for Everett, the odd piece of photographic equipment, socks), and yarn. I can't do without new yarn.
- The year without trash. OK, this one is a stretch, I'm only reducing, not eliminating: I've been striving to refill containers instead of buying products with new ones, compost all my kitchen scraps and feed the chickens what won't go in the compost, and avoid buying products which have packaging I can't re-use, recycle, or compost. This means paying close attention when I'm leaving the house to pack reusable containers, plastic bags, etc; and going without certain products (paper towels, for instance). I still do disposable diapers (because I have inertia, ick) and plastic wrap, but I want to figure out a few ways to reduce my trash further.
What other 'the year of' books am I missing? What are your ongoing 'year of' efforts that have turned into 'life of' instead?