Every day is a new beginning. And aren’t we really very fortunate that the sun rises each day giving us new adventures never before imagined. I’ve thought a lot about how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go. It really does help to do personal assessments from time to time…
In my own life I’ve had the good fortune to have witness amazing change…from using Sears Roebuck catalogues to wipe our behinders in outhouses, to traveling exotic wonderous places around the world all in the comfort of our own living rooms.
From time to time I am overwhelmed by it all. The best thing about being “old” is that we can view life with new eyes…just like when we climb to the top of a mountain we can view new horizons not even imagined when we’re at the beginning of the climb. Oh, and what wonders we do see at the peak.
Most recently, I’ve had some interesting experiences that have given me pause. Some have dramatically influencd how I now approach life. Permit me to recall a few of my personal observations.
In the last 50 – 100 years, we went through interesting lifestyle changes. An example, I remember as a very young child living with my grandparents on a ranch in Colorado. I remember vividly an Easter when Grandma made an easter basket out of a sardine can. As I grew older far into adulthood, such frugality and creativity was set aside. We were enthralled by the vast array of new and wondrous things that were available on the market. Each and every day of each and every passing year, we threw out all kinds of things. If it was worn, soiled, or simply past its prime it landed in the landfill to make room for the latest and greatest verson that filled store shelves. Most recently, when I allow myself the luxury of shopping at Target, Walmart or any other store or flea market in the vicinity, I’ve seen – much to my wonder – the very same items that in past years we’d discarded as useless…things like storage jars and lamps and vintage clothes… being sold. I’ve seen glass jars that in the past held such items as pickles selling today at as much as $5 each — and that’s just the beginning!
Well, now. As an old lady, I think. What is this world coming to? My response might be extreme and may not fit your sensibilities, but I’ve become as much aware of the packaging of items I purchase as I am of the contents. I’m much more like to purchase an item that includes a perfectly serviceable jar that – with the label removed – will do very nicely for storing foods or safety pins or buttons. I have an entire set of spice jars for free that would have cost me upwards of $10 if bought new. Throw out a lovely wood rocking chair that is much the worse for wear and buy a new one? I much prefer to purchase new cushions that will extend the use of that same chair I enjoy another 10 years or so.
Oh, but that’s not all. I look to technology and I’m aghast at the waste. I recently had a printer that malfunctioned. I had moved and for some reason that printer absolutely could not be made to talk to my computer and new internet service provider. I called HP looking for solutions only to be told “Well that’s a very old machine. It’s not able to function Wifi. You’re going to have to buy a new one.” (It is approx 5 years old and had served on a wifi setup all that time very nicely). I was also told that the machine was out of warranty and the techs would not even discuss possible solutions. Well, it took me about a month and a half to find a solution – a perfectly wonderful solution that cost me nothing in the end. I found out how to change the ip address and today my printer works like new. One less piece of trash for the landfill! I wonder at all the computers, printers, vcr machines, record players and tape recorders that have been discarded these past 50-100 years that have been discarded simply because they were “old”.
But the best lesson of all….my printer and I may be “old” but we are perfectly capable of measuring up to challenges that come our way. I don’t need a degree in networking and wifi to do what “professional tech gurus” could not — would not — do.
Now that the economy and the job market are taking a massive hit and we’re heading for some belt tightening in the near future, it helps to be reminded that we really can do very nicely without buying into the disposable mentality that we have fallen prey to.
Life is good. We have way more than we need to be happy. We can — no, we must — now return to a life where we can once again enjoy the abundance that has been handed to us. Our economy, job market and ecology demand it! We are not growing old and decrepit we are again called to recognize that creativity and wisdom are ours.
Whether my examples ring true to you or not, I am so glad I’ve reached higher ground, a place where I can see how to recognize the obvious and make use of the years of experience that I’ve been given. Abundance is given us all with each passing year. It’s simply up to us to tap into it.