Just what is sustainability anyway?
As I’ve been setting up this blog, and figuring out what I’m going to write about, it occurred to me that I’d better know what I’m talking about. Not in the expert, I’ve worked for an NGO overseas and live in a yurt kind of way, but in a way that I can deal with directly in my own life. (I definitely don’t live in a yurt, and have no wish too - I like my creature comforts waaaay too much.) So that said, what does sustainability mean in my life?
I had an a-ha moment last night driving home from work, stuck in traffic - as usual. As I’m sitting in the most completely not-green, red smog alert environment you can find, it occurred to me that sustainability is about a lot more than recycling and buying organic food. It’s a complete world view, a way of looking at your life, each and every aspect, in a way that conserves resources and respects others. I realized it applies to my emotional life, my finances, my spiritual life - everything!
Not squandering resources: I’ve always understood the earth has a limited supply of resources for a growing population. I’ve grown up with oil and gas shortages since I was a kid in the 70’s. But it never occurred to me that I have a limited supply of resources - limited time, limited money (well, I understood that one), limited emotional resources. While love is theoretically endless, I’m not.
Wow - a whole new way of approaching my relationships with others, my relationship to money and work. I can see this quickly leading me to a much healthier way of approaching my life - it’s suddenly much easier to set limits for myself, no more feeling guilty because I’m missing yet another school function because of demanding work, or feeling guilty because I’m too exhausted to cook a proper dinner. I no longer have to be the SuperMom when I can clearly see it’s not sustainable.
I give myself permission to acknowledge my limits and care for myself the same way I care about the future of this planet. Wow - that’s a profound change in thinking for a driven, motivated mother.
I’m getting to like this sustainability thing more and more.