Friday, 18 January 2013

Waste not, want not

As the New Year gets underway I'm thinking about the things I plan to do in 2013. I don't make resolutions; they are usually enthusiastic but unrealistic. Invariably I fail which causes me to be hard on myself. The danger is then that I stop trying because, well…what’s the point? Not a great question to ruminate upon if you want to stay motivated. So, this year as well as making my annual Treasure Map (visual goal setting map), I've been focusing on the idiom waste not, want not which came to mind after spending a few weeks with my visiting aunt who had traveled from Italy to spend Christmas with the family. One of the things I observed in our time together was how frugal she was. Not in a miserly way but she is from the generation that recycled, made or made-do and lived by wasting not, primarily out of necessity. They didn’t call it ‘recycling’ or ‘artisan crafted’, they simply did what was economically and ecologically sound.She did it in small ways but she was consisted and committed to not wasting anything.

It occurred to me that the idea of wasting not could apply to other things as well as general recycling, leftover food, managing money or those items of no longer required clothing. It could also apply to concepts. So this year I'm planning to waste not, want not on key areas: energy, time, creativity and peace.

Energy: personal drama hits us all from time-to-time. I'm will aim to keep it contained, do what I can about the elements over which I have control and not get involved if it’s not my business. If I don’t waste energy it will be available to for the things that are important such as my writing, my family and  friends.

Time: do I really need to watch this TV show? That might be an extra half hour of time I can spend in ways that fit with my waste not, want not approach. I will allocate my time in manageable chunks for my writing; a word, a sentence, a paragraph and a page at a time.  

Creativity: while I primarily create through words, I will also employ my other creative skills, such as drawing and painting, which help me to think differently and feed my word output. I will try to harness those elements.

Peace: it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of the everyday and start to worry about every little thing that is going on in my life and in that of others around me. Again I will focus on what I can act on and let go of what I can’t.  

I'm aware that the above will mean myriad decisions made in the face of every event. But that’s okay. One decision at a time, one day at a time, I can conserve the things I value most and have them available for what is fundamental to my life. I've come to realise that it’s the small things we waste that accumulate into the biggest wanting.

That’s sure to get my wise aunt’s approval.