In my family, we spend New Year’s Day doing two things: brunching and hiking. My parents and my sister’s family drive up and we spend the morning eating all kinds of yummy things, and then we head to a nearby state park for the First Day Hike.
I don’t normally host a lot of get-togethers at my house, but when we do, it’s always been so easy to rely on disposables: plates, napkins, plastic silverware. I keep a pretty minimal kitchen, so my excuse has always been that I don’t have enough of any one thing; I only have 8 large plates, for example, so when all ten family members are here, what choice do I have?
I’ll tell you what choice I have: put out the 8 small plates I have, too. So someone has to eat on a small plate – they’ll survive! And the same thing goes for silverware: can’t some people use tiny forks and some people use normal forks? They all work the same.
So yesterday I challenged myself not to use anything throwaway. To make up for a shortage of bowls for fruit and yogurt, I set out a bunch of small jam jars. I washed up every cloth napkin we own, so we had plenty. Glassware was mismatched, but who really cares? And the three people who ate off small plates still got plenty of food. At the end of the meal, nothing was thrown away; we just washed everything up and put it back in the cabinet.
Even though this is such a small thing, I’d been letting my discomfort with things being a little hodge-podge and scruffy stand in my way. But if I say I value making sustainable choices, I am absolutely required to make myself uncomfortable in order to live in alignment with that value. Because if you draw the line at your own discomfort, then the truth becomes that you don’t really value that thing you say you care about. And I want to hold myself accountable.
I hope 2020 holds even more discomfort for me.
(photo source Pixabay)