Thoughts at the Dawn of the New Year

The year 2011 is coming to a close. I always find myself doing a lot more reflecting around this time of year than I usually do. I don’t always make specific resolutions–I have found that this is a recipe for my ending up feeling discouraged and like a failure right around around mid-February. For instance, if I resolve to eat more healthfully and read intellectually-stimulating material, I will find myself stress-eating chocolate and refusing to read anything but Goodnight Moon. Which is a great book. But…you know.

So, even if I don’t make any specific resolutions, my process involves taking stock in some way. Mostly, it’s about noting what distance I have travelled over the course of the past twelve months. Gradually, my attention turns toward the year to come, the fledgling annum preparing to emerge under the watchful gaze of the world. What will the new year bring, I wonder?

WIth regard to this project, my process mostly consists of trying to figure out how I am doing, and what else I can do to lessen my impact on the earth. The main discovery I have made is that I could easily shop less. There are some purchases that really do improve my quality of life. However, I feel that my life is cluttered with a great deal of unnecessary junk, both physical and emotional. The New Year is a great time to clean out, reduce, and simplify in all ways. I spent a satisfying hour or so cleaning out my childhood bedroom (I am home for the holidays) and I am planning on making a few trips to Goodwill. The next step, though, is not buying new stuff with which to fill up the space I’ve created. And this will reduce my plastic usage significantly, I think.

My final thought: even if you do want to go shopping–and believe me, I am not anti-shopping–you can still take reusable bags with you and save some plastic that way. The people at The Gap gave me sort of a funny look, but whatever. I can take it.

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