2017 is nearly upon us and I’ve been thinking a lot about goals, things I want to accomplish, things I want to do better in the coming year, where I’d like to focus my time and energy. What I’m finding, however, is that there are too many things to care about and too many things to do. For some reason, I thought that being retired would mean unlimited hours to do whatever I wanted to do. Sure, there is a lot more time to do things than there was when I was working fifty or sixty hours a week, but I’m finding it difficult to know where to start. And then there’s the hypocrisy.
The list of things I care about is long – my family and friends and Hannah and my church and the church and keeping the Sabbath and the hungry and the homeless and the farm and the environment and humane treatment of animals and zero waste and non-GMO food and caring for the elderly and supporting local businesses and being a conscious consumer and conserving energy and gardening and sharing and fair trade and other things that I should add but you get the general idea.
There are things that I do, however, that aren’t in alignment with the things I care about. If I’m truly committed to being a conscious consumer, zero waster, and caring about the environment, how do I reconcile my choice to eat Lay’s Brand Low Salt Potato Chips, which quite possibly contain GMO something, are not organic or healthy, and are packaged in plastic? How do I balance wanting to spend time with my kids who live on opposite sides of the state with reducing the amount of gas I consume and the resulting emissions from my car? When I’m on a tight budget, how do I balance wanting to support local businesses with wanting to pay the better price at the discount superstore? Conserving energy is fine with me when it comes to not having air conditioning in the summer, but it’s much more difficult when it’s 8 degrees outside and I hate being cold.
People are clearly the most important thing, yet it doesn’t seem possible to carve out enough time to spend an adequate amount with everyone I care about and also spend time on the non-human stuff. Too much of what I know about friends and extended family comes from social media, which is a poor and unsatisfying alternative to talking face to face.
Clearly I haven’t got this figured out yet but fortunately, there’s still a couple more days to get those goals written! Or maybe the solution isn’t in writing more goals or caring about more stuff or feeling guilty about all the ways I fail to live up to my own standards. Maybe the solution is in radical change where life feels scary and uncomfortable and unpredictable and unsafe. Maybe the solution is more Naked On The Tundra moments and less pie in the sky idealism. Let’s hope someone talks me out of that before things get crazy.