Recently I've been getting a lot of "...huh....", "why?", and "where will that get you?" I generally spew the same rehearsed answer for these questions, something along the line of my career goals but in all reality, I don't know. Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes you just have to go with your gut, do something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Not having a set in stone plan is part of the journey. I am flexible to whatever opportunities come my way.
I am nowhere near perfect. I do not live a 100% eco-friendly lifestyle; I love my horses, I drive a car, and I like going to the gym. Those are some of the things that make me happy, that add value to my life. But what I do try to do is live a conscious lifestyle, making better decisions and trade-offs where I can. My goal is to leave the planet in a condition where others can still enjoy it, love it, and appreciate it like I do. Whether that means buying less, using less, recycling, or just picking up the garbage I see on the side of the trail, I want to make a change.
Society seems so focused on the consumer lifestyle, the idealism that bigger is better and your belongings define who you are. Thoughts like "I need that to be happy" or "oh look at the new..." go through our heads every day, they are programmed into us as North Americans.
Growing up I was just as guilty as the next. Although I loved nature, our family outings consisted of trips to the mall and the newest computer game was a priority. I soon realized home much time I have lost worrying about what pair of shoes looks best or which game I should spend my money on. Everything is disposable, if we don't want it anymore then there is no consequence to us getting rid of it, on the contrary, there is often a reward. Unfortunately, this consumer-driven and disposable lifestyle we live can often make us forget what's important, the people and planet that matter most.
I honestly believe in sustainability as more than just a buzz word, where social, economic, and environmental components of life can coexist. There are many ways we can change our lifestyle. Taking time out of your day to do something for someone else, or to live for more than a Black Friday sale would be a shift for many people.
I care because this is the place that makes me happy; the mountain views and rolling prairies are more than just a place I live, they are my home. I respect nature for the services it provides and everything it has to offer. I don't want my lifestyle to dictate future generations ability to enjoy this land but to ensure this is possible society needs to change.
The past few years I have committed to one "New Years Resolution". Sometimes they are goals which are difficult to measure, three years ago I was set on "being happier". Other times these resolutions are more set in stone such as last year when I intended to summit my first mountain. I think it is safe to say that I have been successful in achieving these goals. Keeping with the trend for 2018 I have set 4 goals for myself, one of which is a big change for me, attempting to live a more sustainable life; My resolution is to go a whole year without buying any "stuff" for myself.
Recently, I watched the documentary Minimalism and it got me thinking, do these things really add value to my life? The answer is often no. Although, some of my possessions add considerable value to my life many of them do not. Removing the purchase of unnecessary "stuff" from my life doesn't include food but I hope to eliminate the purchase of new consumer goods such as clothing or household items. If there is something I consider necessary I will try to purchase it second hand and any items I do purchase I will document.
This is a social experiment to see what I really need and what I am capable of. I am not changing my lifestyle, attending university, or reinventing myself for anyone else. Instead, I want to spend 2018 focusing on experiences rather than things. Not only do I hope to save money but I hope to create habits I can bring forward with me, helping me set priorities and achieve my goals.