Happy New Year!

We’ve had a lovely festive period here at Thornhill House, some lovely food, fantastic company, long walks, lots of laughs and some thoughtful gifts.

As usual at this time of year, it’s the 27th and I’m already twitching to cleanse the house, take down the decorations and move on with my fresh new year. I don’t know why I’m like this. I love the build up, but once it’s over, I need to just move on.

We have a birthday in the house early in December, so we’re not allowed to put the tree up before this date and then everyone shouts me down with regards to leaving stuff up until at least Jan 2nd, so I am keeping myself amused with my own planning for 2019.

I am SUCH a humbug because I also ‘hate’ New year resolutions. I cannot see the point for setting oneself up to fail by the end of January, however, I do like to plan and make lists, so my New Year aims are to buy less, reuse and recycle more.

I made a really concerted effort this year to give experiences and some handmade gifts wrapped in reusable material gift wrap, I am intending to reuse our Christmas card for our tags next year, but these are the simple bits. I am going to try extra hard this year to get things that break, fixed, to really think hard before I buy a new item of clothing or something that I ‘want’ rather than really ‘need’.

I had a huge clothing clear out before Christmas and was embarrassed by the number of sweaters I was able to send to the second hand store! I am not exactly life’s most adventurous with my wardrobe, I have my favourites that I wear forever (to highlight, my mother came last year and did some of my ironing, and commented on something she’d ironed for the last 15 years!) and yet I see things in stores, on models, and my immediate reaction doesn’t always speak to my ‘long-term-boring’ self (or understand I will NOT look the same as the model!) thus I find myself with too many impulse purchases (often of poor quality too) and this is the first of my aims, to cut this.

The scary thing is, that I then see this behaviour reflected in my daughter. I never saw it in my sons, as they never bothered particularly about their clothing over a pair of decent jeans, some sweatpants and some t-shirts, therefore I think I was blindsided. I need to be wary that she is now doing similar, only on her limited funds, the clothing holds up to nothing and frankly, it’s manufacture is frightening.

So, I think THIS is probably my New Year Aim this year, to model and behave the way I would like my daughter (in particular as she’s still at home) to behave. I’m not talking about attitude to others, but attitude to the world she lives in. She is becoming more conscious of plastic use and was quite excited about the reusable make up pads and exfoliating loofah I bought her for Christmas and the little bag for her reusable straw and cutlery she can leave in the bottom of her bag so she always has it when she’s out.

If we don’t act the way we want others to act, we will NEVER manage to change any of this. It is easy to preach, it is easy to judge, but do we always demonstrate. My son said the other day that companies still make stuff that breaks down too soon so we have to buy new, but if we don’t buy this new stuff and we perhaps seek to find ways to repair: (a new battery in the phone that is actually perfectly good otherwise, a darn in that pair of favourite jeans that creates an even more loved pair, a new handle for the broken saucepan). It might feel like we’re fighting a losing battle, perhaps, but nothing ever changed in the world because it was easy for it to do so, people have always had to fight for change. We may feel sometimes like we’re constantly swimming against the tide, families that don’t ‘get it’ or just think we’re being weird, friends that laugh at the things we do and call us tree huggers, larger corporations that continue to just keep churning out new stuff and those same things breaking within a couple of years of us owning them, adverts that remind us of the latest, best and most updated version of x that we simply cannot live without. It’s often easy to live the quiet life, just as it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with it all and therefore stick to what we know rather than with baby steps. It’s also easy to forget that we’re human and will make mistakes and need to take the easy road on occasions without judgement, and that’s okay too.

The issue is, this world we live on belongs to us all, we all have to do something, however small before it’s too late.

So my aim this year is to ‘do’ and ‘demonstrate’, to not cave in to impulse purchases or the pressure of others; and to take the time and perhaps a little more effort to repair, reuse and repurpose things that have grown old or broken. Perhaps through these efforts, we can change the future of this planet.

“Conserve Ecology, or Perish”.

Bhagavad Gita

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