Category: Starting Points

During a rainy afternoon snuggled in with my smartphone reading articles about zero waste and minimalist ideas, I saw one titled Stop Doing These 8 Things for Your Teen This School Year.  I read through it.  I agreed with it.  And found myself nodding along on most everything (minus the school paperwork, I would if it would be legible and not take forever).  And I got up, and took my son’s swim cap over to him.

 

On the walk over to his dad’s, I was begrudging the fact that the school required we purchase one to begin with.  It is this rubbery plastic material, it sticks to everything, will probably someday choke some poor unsuspecting sea turtle, and there is nothing I can do about it, because he has to get a passing grade in PE.  And it should be noted that he and his sister both used the same one last year (they have PE different quarters) and it will probably be passed down to the younger 2 siblings as they need it in middle school (because apparently middle school teachers don’t want kids to have wet hair? No other school required them, yet they all swim in the same pool). So anyway,  the dogs finally get secured enough I can hand his stepmom the blue rubber head condom looking thing, and we get the runaway far enough back in to shut the door, and I am walking back home.  Luckily a short walk because otherwise I would have been stewing on this wayyyyy too much.  But I digress.

It has been raining for days. I had grabbed a sweatshirt in case it started again on the way over, and found myself pulling it tight as the door came open.  Hiding my bralessness apparently a priority all of a sudden.  Ladies, if you want to wear a bra, go for it.  I’m a nudist.  I wear a bra when it would be socially unacceptable not to (only because I’m really big, and it is noticeable if I don’t)…..  soooo, work.  I catch sight of an arborvitae and some other evergreen something bushes and remember how many mosquitoes had lived in the ones at the old place we had lived, and realized I was being crazy.

 

You see, I had stewed all day yesterday when I was debating going out to the camper (in the rain and storms, I decided I was more useful here) about the recent board elections at camp.  My neighbor won a spot, and he seems to want all of the campsites to be meticulously manicured, the gravel raked daily, no weeds, and general consensus during this rainy weather of most everyone has been, less mosquitoes.  Now I don’t know for sure that he wants to spray, but I know I’ve had to tell him no to spraying chemicals on the weeds that I forage on my own lot more than once (which now makes me a bit hesitant to forage I might add). I put on bug repellent (a lemongrass kind from the local health food store there) and go about my day.  I spray a little in my diffuser so they don’t come in and the cats can go out a little bit too.  And as I walked past those mosquito havens on the way back from dropping off my son’s swim cap, I hear a friend telling me to just do me.  It doesn’t matter that my breasts sag.  My skin is too stretchy, but its okay.  I don’t wear a bra on the weekends, that’s okay too.  I can’t change people not liking mosquitoes, but I can do what I can to keep them off me (and answer the million questions as to how).

 

It doesn’t mean that I want them gone. They actually serve a purpose.  If it wasn’t for the mosquitos (and other bugs of course) there would not be enough food for the birds.  Or the bats.  And I like listening to the birds chirp outside my window.

 

It doesn’t mean that I want to cut down trees that they find homes in. I like the trees too.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the environment.  I want to enjoy my time in the woods.  I apply a non-toxic spray that helps with that, does not effect a huge portion of any population, and effectively allows me to be happier in the woods.

 

It isn’t the woods’ responsibility to change for me.  It isn’t my responsibility to change for the neighbors.  Just as it really isn’t my responsibility to take my son his swim cap….  and sometimes we just do things that are nice for someone because we know they won’t be able to do something on their own (yes, he is perfectly capable of walking over here and getting it, unfortunately he wouldn’t be allowed).  So, my takeaway on this slightly brighter than earlier evening, is that we are all welcome to do things our own way.  Leading by example, responding to situations the way we would want them responded to if it were us, and knowing that it is okay to be yourself are probably the best ways to start.

 

So I leave you with a song.  A song that my daughter came home singing one day, and is a perfect illustration of how you might get if you care too much about what other people think.

Just do you.

 

spiral staircase from above

I attended a meeting one time at the last job I was at.  It was a finance meeting, one that was supposed to help employees understand and start using their benefits like the 401K.  And the guy got up in front of the group, or I guess I should say he was up in front of the group since I was a little late, and he asked if we knew where to go in case of an emergency.  Of course people immediately pointed to one of the two doors that would lead to stairs to go down and get out of the building.  Then he walked to one door, and as he started to turn the knob, he asked what we would say if there was a fire on the other side…  inevitably everyone said that they would go out the other door. But you are facing this one? And then he exaggerated having to face the other door to get there.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. -Laozi

He went on to explain finances are like the path to safety.  You will go in the direction that your feet are pointing.  If you don’t want to go to the place in front of your feet, you need to turn and start heading to the place you want.  If you are facing up that staircase, guess what?  You are going to go up that staircase when you take a step.  If you are facing down that staircase, again, that is where you will end up.  My journey is one of sustainability.  Of balance.  Of being all the things that I want to be, but not losing myself in any one thing that I am.  I want to find that sweet spot in the center.  Join me.  I don’t want to be lonely there, hopefully you don’t either.