Saturday, January 9, 2010

Nehi Teaches Me About Rebuild, Renew, Reuse

Nehi discovered this week that comforters are just like stuffed animals- full of stuffing to pull out. For some reason, the heat vents in my bedroom don't work (it apparently only gets heat from the rest of the house if I leave the bedroom door open and if I leave the bedroom door open, Nehi eats the comforter stuffing). I don't have the money to get someone to look at it so, I was less than pleased that Nehi was destroying my source of warmth at night (other than her, she has always slept on the bed with me, but now she snuggled right up to me).

The first time this week I heard complete silence from the bedroom (always a bad sign) and went to look for her, she was hiding under the comforter:

There was stuffing everywhere. I said no and went to go get the sewing basket. As I sewed up the comforter, I started to think about a couple of things. We used to live in a world where we repaired and patched clothing rather than buy new ones. Where we bought things that would last instead of junk that had a short shelf life. Old clothes and blankets got reused for scraps or fabric. It seemed that things got rebuilt and reused until there was nothing left of it. Things in general got used until there was nothing left to use.

I have a couple of acquaintances (I wish I was cool enough to call them friends, but alas) that appear to live simpler lives, closer to the land, rebuilding, reusing and otherwise living perfect carbon footprint lives. I'm not that cool, for many reasons. I marvel at the balance they've achieved between the simpler life and modern conveniences. While they would probably argue with me, I think they are wonderful examples of what a perfect modern world would look like- the modern accessories of computers and blogging balanced with organic living.

Nehi has taught me many things, and while I'm not as cool as the wonderful women I mentioned above, I think I've caught some glimmers with Nehi the past six months. As she ripped buttons off of sweaters and flannel shirts, I simply patched the holes and chose unmatched buttons to put on. As she ripped the pillows on the couch from chewing on the corners, I simply sewed them up. As she ripped the comforter for stuffing, I patched it. I learned that having her was worth more to my life than the plants she destroys in the yard. Now don't get me wrong, she gets disciplined, I don't let her run amok. I simply realized that it wasn't worth it to get angry. She didn't realize what she'd done ten minutes later, so getting angry about it didn't do any good. It was better to discipline her, clean it up and move on.

I've always preferred to have a couple of simple things rather than a lot of junk. I spend most of my money on books. While I love my computer, I spend most nights curled on the couch, with Nehi on the cushions above me reading a book. I love my cell phone, but spend weekends with it sitting in the charger, unanswered. I'm a firm believer that modern conveniences are for MY convenience, not that of others.

I think life would probably be better if people figured out what they loved, and then built their lives around that instead of the things they think they should have. I love my books, learning, teaching, gardening and my dog. So that's what I spend my time doing. It's reflected in my home. The seed catalogs and landscaping plans sit on my desk. Bookcases dominate the living room. There are Nehi toys all over the floor, her crate sits right behind my desk. To many people, it might not seem like a lot but I'm happy. So, while I've not achieved perfect balance yet, I'm pretty content with the path I'm on.

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