I begin this experiment knowing I will fail

The original inspiration behind this blog was a sudden impulse to live for a year without buying anything new. I would buy second-hand. I would make things. Maybe even barter. But I would purchase nothing brand new.

I dwelt on the idea for a while, and it felt lovely. It felt real. It felt like me.

But then I thought of shampoo. Was I really going to make my own shampoo? What about milk? And garbage bags?  And what about the fact that I don’t know how to make anything? I have a sewing machine, but I can’t even thread the damn thing without my mother’s assistance. And what if, god forbid, I just really wanted some Skittles? I certainly couldn’t make those, and I didn’t even want to think about what buying them second-hand might mean.

The list of “can’t”s went on and on. Dwelling on the idea no longer felt lovely. It felt heavy, and lumpy, and hard. And then I said the same words that have derailed far too many a good idea: “This is impossible. I can’t do this. I don’t know what I’m doing.”

To be fair, I can’t do this. I don’t know what I’m doing. But it’s not impossible for me to learn. I am, in fact, an excellent learner. I still have the report cards to prove it. And it would be silly to wait to document and blog about this little experiment until I do know what I’m doing. Not when there are sure to be so many excellent missteps and opportunities for good-natured self-deprecation along the way.

And so here we are again. I’m not prepared to live for a year without buying anything new. I don’t know that I ever will be, or will ever actually want to attempt it. But the impulse behind the impulse is the same: creating less waste, leaving a smaller footprint, teaching my children to be mindful of the earth. I don’t have to know what I’m doing before I start.

I begin this experiment knowing I will fail, in one way or another. And I am okay with that.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “I begin this experiment knowing I will fail

  1. An admirable goal. And we’ll learn along with you.

  2. I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the things that we CAN’T do when it comes to living eco-friendly. I really find that the best approach is to focus on those things that we CAN do, and focus on doing them well. If we keep looking, we can always find more. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Book Report: Living the Good Life | Green Legume

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