Ok, before I even begin this article, I’d like to set the record straight. I do not claim to be the Queen of Green. I’ve used plenty of disposable products: paper plates, baby wipes, utensils, and more. I even have a box of plastic straws in my cupboard. In fact, the disposable napkins in this photo are mine. Actually I’ve had most of them at least 5 years, some of them maybe even 10 if I really thought about it. But I won’t, I’ve moved on. That’s why I still have them, because I’ve moved on to real cloth napkins, even when I pack a lunch to go. I suppose I’ll end up donating them sometime as part of my efforts to minimize the stuff I have in my home. Just like you, I’m navigating through this process and trying to consume and throw out less. I’ve had seasons in my life where I’ve relied on disposables more than others, now much less than I used to.
Our culture is a disposable one, it’s convenient, and we are busy. The other weekend I saw The Lorax with one of my kids. It was colorful and lively and I was inspired. One thing that struck me was the “plastic world”. There was no grass, the trees were plastic and had to be blown up, not unlike those holiday yard displays. As I watched, I thought that we are not far from that.
What is our world made of? Our society in general relies on a lot of man-made, synthetic, disposable, one-time use things: diapers, plates, wrapping paper, snack and food storage bags, water bottles, coffee machine singles, you name it, it’s probably been made into a single-use-plastic-synthetic-version.
We have too many choices When something breaks, we change our minds, or we just tire of it, it can be easy to find a replacement. I’m going to sound old by saying this, but things just aren’t made the way they used to be. I could spend hours telling you about plastic toys for the kids that didn’t even hold up for an hour after they’ve begun to play with them. Yet, I still have some silk scarves all the kids have played with for 15 years. They’ve been fashioned into skirts, ropes, gift wrappings, and most recently superhero capes. My point in all this is in our disposable world we do have many long lasting alternatives. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to find, but it’s worth the effort.
Have we become a disposable society in other regards? I realize there are always exceptions to this, but living a disposable life involves seeking a quick replacement, a quick fix when things get difficult, relying on convenience rather than doing without or making due with what you have – taking the easy way out. Relationships are no different. Divorce has become a normal part of our culture, more single women are choosing to have children on their own without the maintenance of a marriage relationship. Even friendships are susceptible – if things get difficult are we quick to drop a friend that we disagree with, feel competitive with or just don’t want to work on the relationship because we are “busy”? As a culture, do we view relationships as disposable, convenient? Not unlike one time use consumer goods, synthetic materials that are easy to replace?
Whether it’s relationships or stuff: glass, objets d’art, heirlooms, you name it, REAL things require care. They stand the test of time. If they get broken you look for the potential to repair it, recycle it or find other uses for it. The end result is something even more beautiful than what you began with, more than you could have imagined.
Recycled glass and papers take on a beautiful texture that the original could never have displayed. They have character. In the same way, relationships that have been healed and repaired take on a deeper understanding over time.
Living a REAL LIFE with REAL Relationshipstakes perseverance and care. Are you living a disposable life with stuff or even in your relationships? If you want to have a purer home and body, these are important questions to ask yourself. You can follow a recommendation of toxins to avoid and what to buy or not. But the heart of the matter is why are you purchasing what you are? Are you quick to toss out things or people? Are you looking for a quick fix in any circumstance? Recognize it for what it is, then you can make the best choices and work with what you’ve got. When you understand yourself better, the choices will come naturally.
If you want to dig deeper and really be healthy, pick up your free copy of my eBook the 7 Habits of Healthy People. It will challenge you to look at your whole self, physically and emotionally and make changes for life. It’ll be good for you, the planet and those you love. Watch for my next article on Creative ways to replace the disposables in your life.