Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Reviewing 2006

As I opened the mailbox yesterday I noticed the heft of the envelopes. These were the first of what I assume will be many holiday cards. Each one contained a holiday letter. I read through the letters and was saddened by the fact that I had so many friends and relatives with whom there was little or no communication. I read the letters and felt like a virtual stranger. When did we stop sharing things with one another? It seems as if we are so busy that we have stopped communicating with loved ones. We have summarized an entire year of events into a 1 page letter which we exchange for news from loved ones. Wow.

Well, in spite of what I just wrote about. I am going to give a year in review. This has been the most significant year of my life - in terms of personal growth. Yes, I have had events in the past which had an affect on my life, however, this year has been much more personal and yet much larger than any other year.

Early 2006 had a few family changes. Our 2006 started with excellent news from Duluth. We learned of my pregnancy in February. I was offered a term position for the University (I had been adjunct prior to this). Mid-march brought my birthday and early April was J's.

April brought the most significant changes. It was this month that introduced me to the compact. I took a vow not to buy new for a year. I learned about my personal impact on the environment and the importance to choose not to make purchases.

The rest of the year was a period of growth. I learned about eating locally, choosing to use less -- less electricity, less consumer goods, less gas.... I learned to preserve the bounty of the seasons and to eat what was in season. I learned to enjoy walking to the store. It gave me time to have an inner dialog and think about my life's impacts and what I wanted to do next. I learned to slow down. I learned that life is more than image. I learned to live life.

In October we were blessed with our youngest and final baby. The finality of my reproductive years saddened me, but I knew that it was the wisest choice for our family and the environment. I gave away all of my maternity clothing and am sending on Sam's newborn clothes. I hope to open our home and adopt or foster a child in the future.

Where do I want to go next? I want to continue to grow and reduce my impact. I want to reduce the items in my house. I want to live much more simply. I will continue the compact - and not buy new. I want to live and teach by example. I do not want to return to my previous consumer lifestyle.

I have found a few others in my community who have similar goals and have joined with them. One group is a local energy group. Another is a group that is trying to make our city more walkable - "livable. " As important as my personal changes have been, I realize that we cannot do this alone.

10 comments:

Bellen said...

Emme - Since I've only been reading your blog for a couple of months I've been puzzled by your seemingly, to me, over analyzing some decisions, such as your food for lawns project. However, now that I've read your year in review everything has come into focus. I'm 60, was raised in a family of recylers, reusers, etc. My college major of General Home Economics was based on Pres. Johnson's war on poverty. My husband and I, and so our 3 sons, have lived frugally forever. It is second nature to us to buy used, reuse, recycle, rethink, resell, etc. Once these principles become second nature for you, you will not really think about it, you will just do it. Congratulations for your progress. The best to you and yours in your journey.

Emme said...

Bellen - some of my postings are an exploration of what is happening in my brain. Other postings are an effort to justify some of my decisions. I remember how I was a year ago and realize that there are so many people who are still where I was. I want others to realize how possible it is to change from consumer to reuser. Some of this may mean breaking things down step by step or over analyzing, but if it makes a difference to people, then I will keep doing it.

I am glad to know that it will be second nature and that others are already where I want to be. Thanks for showing me that it is possible!

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