Happy Earth Day!! It’s hard sharing the biggest environmental holiday of the year with Easter and I regret to inform you that there are no eggs to be found here. The NEAT staff is taking a well deserved break today but I thought I would leave you with my Earth Day prescription to make the next year better:
Take a walk outside. It doesn’t need to be a big walk, it doesn’t need to be in a forest or a provincial park. Just take a moment to be outside. Grab your keys and go get the mail. Breathe deeply. Look around. Notice the plants starting to peek up from the sidewalk cracks and the audacity of the first dandelion a meter from the last snow bank. Appreciate the sun warming your face after this winter. Appreciate the wind, even if it’s cold. Bundle against the chill and respect the power and wonder of nature, because this is what it’s all about. Power and poetry, the endless inspiration and agony of the world around us. And yet, it’s a part of us, and we are a part of it. Our unique position within the evolutionary hierarchy means we have the ability to protect or destroy on behalf of everything and we are surprisingly good at destruction. So take a walk outside. Breathe deeply, remind yourself that this is what it’s all about, and that protect is a verb. Repeat daily or as needed.
(Re)Think. I know thinking requires an incredibly surprising amount of energy, but stuff worth doing doesn’t happen by accident. So take a week, channel your inner toddler, and ask some serious questions. Why do I need to drive here? Why do I buy this every week? Does this actually make my life easier? Do I already have this? Can I borrow it or buy this used? Set the bar high. Read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and see if the things you surround yourself with bring you joy (yes JOY. Because we deserve it!). IF the answer to any of these questions is, I don’t know or because we’ve always done it this way, keep digging. Make changes because the impacts of our decisions are real and lasting (see #1).
Write your obituary. Write our what do you want to accomplish in your life and how you want people to remember you. What would you carve on your grave stone? I am willing to bet that none of the things you write will involve stuff. I want to be remembered for the impact I have on my community and for making a difference. For being a good parent and a decent human being. I don’t want to be remembered for marble countertops or an impressive collection of shoes, although my hair may be part of my legacy whether I want it to or not. So I’ve stopped seeking happiness in things and realized it never existed there anyway. Remember, a simple life may be the best one lived and if you’re looking for a place to start read this. Now get cracking! Make two goals for this year and plan your change.
Know better, do better. I honestly don’t understand our expectation of perfection. It makes no sense at all to me. We cannot possibly know everything. So give yourself and others a little grace to live and learn. Ask questions, share knowledge and your experiences AND seek the same from others. And for crying out loud take your judgement panties off. There’s no shame in trying and failing. Just do better once you know how to.