Have you ever found yourself in a really awful situation? The kind that stinks like a garbage heap and threatens to bury you alive? And then you have the worst of the worst moments… the moment that makes your stomach drop… the moment that threatens to break your spirit…. the moment when you realize that there is a very good chance you created this mess yourself. “Chance?” Who are we kidding? In the words of Jimmy Buffett, “It’s my own d*** fault.”
Please tell me that this has happened to you too. I can’t be the only one!
I’ve done this in my life, time and time and time again.
I have heard people say that bad things “just happen.”
“Life is hard.”
“Misery will always be with us.”
And maybe they’re right. I mean, a few years ago there was a story in the news about a lady on a fishing trip in the ocean. Miles from shore, on a calm, beautiful, sunny day a giant fish (stingray? I can’t remember.) jumped out of the water, smacked into her and killed her instantly. So… uhm…. yeah. I’m thinking that wasn’t her fault. I mean, she made the choice to be on a boat that day but who could have predicted that? So maybe some bad things happen at random. Or by the will of God or the Devil or the Alien Puppet Masters.
Just so you know, I don’t really believe in Alien Puppet Masters. But, hey… you never know!
For the most part, though, I think we bring misery on ourselves. I totally understand that the following are not always true, but they often are. And, as I write this, I’m primarily thinking about adults. When bad things happen to kids…. I’ve got nothin’ for that. It’s an issue I struggle with. But…
Disease is brought on by poor nutrition, environmental pollution, lack of exercise, substance abuse, etc.
Poverty is brought on (or made worse) by bad choices with money, misuse of credit, or a lack of ambition.
Abuse is brought on by poor choices in friends and lovers or allowed to continue out of fear of the unknown.
Loneliness is brought on by our choice not to seek out companionship or our choice to cling to someone who doesn’t reciprocate our feelings.
And so on.
Again: Not ALWAYS. But often.
And so we (because I just can’t accept that I’m the only one) find ourselves in the midst of the garbage heap and it feels as if we will never get out of it. And since we’re already here (overweight, sick, in debt, alone, etc) we may as well just wallow in it. Right? I mean if you’re $100k in the hole, what’s another $1,000 worth of debt? If you’re 100 lbs overweight, what difference is one dessert going to make?
And this whole scenario is applicable on a global level as well. If China’s coal mines create more pollution than all the cars in America then there’s no point in me driving one mile less today, right?
But maybe we just need to take a single small step to fix it. Whatever “it” may be.
We’ve all heard that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, right?
Just a few short months ago I read an article about gDiapers and decided to start using cloth diapers. It seemed to me that they would be better for the environment, my baby, and my pocketbook. It was an easy, natural choice for my family at that time. Maybe not the right choice for everyone. But for us it was a good change. Simple. Painless.
Upon researching the best way to care for my son’s diapers I learned about home-made laundry detergent, which is better for the environment, for my family, and my pocketbook.
So I bought the ingredients for home-made detergent and learned that it was good for other stuff too!
And in researching what those things may be I learned how to make my own deodorant. Which is better for the environment, for me, and for my pocketbook.
And the wheels keep turning…..
I’ve always had a bent toward a “crunchy” lifestyle. It’s just how I’m wired. But that single choice to change the kind of diapers I use has changed my family’s whole life in just a few months. When I started blogging about these changes, for all the world to see, it made me hyper-aware. So now I buy less and recycle more. I am more careful about turning off the light switch and water faucet. We are eating better, more nutritious, food. We have less toxic chemicals in our home. We’ve produced less garbage and are reducing our “footprint” a little more every day.
Our life isn’t perfect now. Being better recyclers didn’t magically give us a higher credit score or turn me into a great organizer. But we’ve made progress in one little corner. We are on a journey of a thousand miles. Improving every area of our lives where we see a need for growth would be impossible. But just one change…. that doesn’t seem like such a big deal. And neither will the next one. Or the next.
It makes me think, where else would I like to grow? What is one tiny, painless thing that I could change in that area? How far could the ripples of that tiny change extend?
Well… if a butterfly flaps its wings…..
The next step on my path? I’m not sure yet, but I’m open to suggestions. What tiny change have you been glad you made? Maybe you’ll inspire me.