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Sitting in my old ladder back chair, fingers on the keyboard, listening to talk radio before the sun comes up…listening to the discussion about “these jerks in Washington D.C.” and just wondering what the new year will bring.
Not being a particularly deep thinker, I tend to focus on my own checkbook, my own resources, my own expenses, and all of these things are becoming more and more important, becoming foremost in every single decision I make on a day to day basis. But I’m becoming resentful that our government officials have pushed their way into a predominant position in my life. Aren’t they elected to make things run smoothly and not create all this debt that you and I will have to repay? I’m sorry, but I have no room for Uncle Sam in my monthly budget more than what is required by law.
Well, it does no good to worry about things you can do nothing about. So I will hunker down and try to keep the feathers in my nest. The start of a new year is a good time to take stock of your life and your plans and resolutions, indeed a time to consider some changes to lifelong habits. There are lots of doomsayers out there these days, predicting that eventually our food and water sources will disappear, our business infrastructure will collapse, and we will finish destroying this planet on which we live. So, what do you do in your own kitchen, in your own garden, in your own little space in this universe? Look out for yourself, folks, that’s my mantra.
With that thought in mind though, remember that we shouldn’t give up on this world. I believe we should do every single thing we can to improve our environment, fight the good fight. Look for ways to conserve, attend to recycling practices, and in the process, change our habits. It will require a little effort, but the more you do something, the easier and more natural it becomes. Devote a little space on the back porch or by the back steps for additional recycling bins. Compost kitchen scraps and yard trimmings. Reuse what you’ve already used. Buy goods in bulk or limited packaging and complain to manufacturers that put a tiny bottle in a box five times its size. Drive less. We got used to that when gas prices skyrocketed, and found out that consolidating errands wasn’t really so hard. As with all things, a little planning ahead works out pretty well. Besides, I don’t think these low prices will last forever. Sooner or later, the powers that be will limit the supply and prices will go up again…greed rules.
I am fortunate to have a wonderful circle of friends who enjoy helping each other out. The term that has come from the business world, although on a less intimate level, is networking, and it can be applied to everyday life. If you develop relationships with a varied group of people, you’ll be pleased and surprised at how many things you can trade: you need help gathering firewood, somebody will volunteer. Next week, you can feed that person’s dog when they go out of town overnight. You make charming little pots of clay that the veterinarian admires, your dog needs treatment, so you trade. Nobody keeps score, for pete’s sake, you just do what you can to help each other out. Going to the grocery store? Check with friends to see if they want to go, or need anything. Betcha they’ll ask if you want to ride next time they go.
The point here is, while you’re looking out for Number One, don’t forget that we’re all in the same boat. We’re groups of five or ten or millions, all facing the same situations, standing against a bigger power, so to speak. I love my little community and I believe it will survive these hard times, times that will probably get harder. Along with the feathers for my nest, I will gather friends and family – and dog – close around for comfort.
Meanwhile, I see a vegetable garden and some canning jars in my future. That is, if I can call on that guy with the roto-tiller and then offer to clean up his garage for him.