I was having a moment today.
I caught myself moaning (in my head) over having to empty the compost bin… again, and how long it takes to prepare real food, and how much work I have to do in my gardens, and when will I find time before the rains come…
You get the idea.
Then I realized something
Composting, growing some of my food, managing my waste appropriately… this work is an exchange. A barter.
There is a cost to inhabiting planet earth. And I get to choose how I feel about paying it.
Then I thought about how much responsibility I abdicate in my life.
I expect (to the point of entitlement) electricity, water, roads, housing, food supply. In the part of the world I live in, I just assume I’ll have access-on-demand to these goods.
For this privilege I hand over responsibility for their generation and supply. Which also means I give up control of, not only their quality and availability, but also the impacts of sourcing them.
How convenient… or not.
Because there is always a cost. An exchange of some sort must be made.
- Give up responsibility and you give up control.
- Give up control and you pay the consequences.
Of course it would be silly for me to try to generate these goods for myself because it’s not just me who needs them. Makes perfect sense to create structures to scale the production and distribution required by communities of people.
But if I hand over all responsibility for the sourcing and supply of these common goods, and those ‘in charge’ don’t act in a manner that supports life over the long term, there will be a cost down the line. There has to be. And we’ll all be paying it.
Sooner or later the bill comes due and rent must be paid.
Responsibility is a means of exchange
What if we…
- turned part of our labour-intensive, expensive lawns into beautiful, bountiful gardens with veggies and flowers and herbs
- thought twice before buying that thing we don’t really need (and then didn’t
have to deal with all the packaging)
- got friendly with neighbours and shared things like lawn mowers and irons and sewing machines
- used our bikes instead of our cars when we weren’t transporting loads
- kept a compost bin and had contests (even w ourselves) to create the least amount of landfill waste
What if we embraced more responsibility as our way of paying the cost of living? And what if we did it with gratitude.? How much could we lessen the impacts of sourcing and supplying our privileged lifestyles?
Ultimately I know I have a choice about how I feel about paying the cost of living here.
I can bitch and moan about all the ‘work’ involved in low-impact living.
Or I can just get on with it. And be damn grateful I live in a place where I can grow food, and easily access just about anything I need, and someone else takes away the waste and recycling that doesn’t go back into my garden…
Truth is, I’m much happier when I’m grateful for both the work and its rewards.
Life seeks balance. Homeostasis. Tit for Tat.
Taking more responsibility for my life is a price I’m willing to pay.