I’m not much for new years, or resolutions. I find the whole concept of celebrating the passing of a calendar year a little pointless since no one pays attention to calendars except us humans. But I have always appreciated the chance to focus on quiet reflection and to think about what I want to improve in my life. The best way to become the person you want to be is to identify the things in your life that you are not happy with and then focus on what you can do to change those things for the better. So My list of things I’d like to change for my life.
1. Stop Using Plastic - One of the goals that I started last year and want to continue even more this year and beyond is to stop using plastic as much as possible. Now there are some things that I can’t eliminate completely, like the plastic parts in my phone or my laptop. There is plastic in a lot of things people use and while I am a big advocate of eliminating as much plastic as I can or at very least finding a way to make a substance similar to plastic that is bio degradable, until they can find a way to make the micro chip or my debit card with something other than plastic, there is only so much I can do. But my goal is to get rid of as much of it as possible.
2. Eliminate Chemicals - Things like shampoo, dish detergent, even potato chips have chemicals in them that seep into our systems and can cause disease and worse. It’s things like this that I’m trying to rid my and my families lives of. And it is a bit two fold since many of these products come in plastic containers, eliminating them also helps me stop using plastic too.
3. Start Eating Healthier - I have never been absurdly overweight or unhealthy but I’m terrible about drinking enough water and I have a hard time giving up chips and soda. So something I’d like to work on is eating better. It’s also a part of my #2 as well since there are so many unnatural chemicals in processed foods. I currently don’t get much of a chance to choose the quality of what I eat since my job provides housing and meals but I can still choose to eat as healthy as I can. I hope to be able to change a lot of things once I start buying and cooking my own food again, like growing my own veggies and baking my own bread.
4. Spend Less Time With Electronics - It is really easy to let things like movies, television, and video games take over more of your time than you intend. It’s something I’d like to get more control of and exchange the time I have spent previously on electronic entertainment and spend it on family, friends and the Great Outdoors! It’s not too hard to convince me to want to go outside since I love hiking and backpacking, but somehow I seem to never spend as much time doing it as I want. So it is time to start making a concise effort and it helps me spend time with family too since my husband enjoys hikes as well.
5. Minimize My Stuff - I started minimizing my stuff last fall and it is an ongoing process. Last year, I accomplished reducing the number of clothing I owned significantly, giving away the rest to a clothing charity. As this year goes on I would like to slash my belongings at least in half. The reason for this goal is because my husband and I are planning to live as Missionaries in Europe for a majority of our lives and may never even be in a position to buy a home. The desire for simplicity is as much out of need as it is want.
These things are a huge part of what our version of “The American Dream” looks like and each step, I hope, will bring us closer to our goals. Now I know what you are probably thinking, “How can your American Dream include not living in the US at all?” The way I see it, The concept of the American Dream was the chance to live in whatever way you wanted. The concept is what matters whether you live in the US or outer Mongolia and that is the whole point. That is what this Brand New American Dream is all about, not specific goals but an idea that means something different for each individual person. So the real question to ask yourself as we dawn upon a new year is, what is your American Dream?