Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Upside of Being the Greenes

Even in these days where Franklin's job security is questionable and my own income is non-existent, I take comfort in the little things.  

It's a gorgeous early fall day in DC, the kind of day where opening the windows is all the temperature control required.  Freddie was charmed by the many squirrels scampering for nuts on our walk to school this morning.  The Farmer's Market opens in 30 minutes, and I'm going to buy a dozen eggs so we can have omelets this weekend.

And the amazing thing?  It's enough.  

While Franklin and I walked to the Metro this morning, we reflected that neither of us has any desire for the Finer Things.  I don't want jewelry or sports cars or works of art.  Franklin agrees.  And while we've both turned it over in our heads, we truly don't want those things - they're not desires we're quashing.  They're simply longings that we don't have.

What's valuable in our lives right now is time with each other, time with our children and the fact that we live in a neighborhood where we can walk outside and find pretty much anything we need - a pinch-hitter of a babysitter, a playmate for Freddie, help hanging a mirror, a decent microbrew, a good book to read.

The bottom line?  Going green isn't about saving the world.  It's about saving ourselves.  We want less.  We need less.  And somehow, that has allowed us to make space for more.

I struggle with the price tag on Seventh Generation laundry detergent and Tom's of Maine toothpaste.  But I never doubt our desire to make our ten year old couch last another decade, or to remain a one-car family.  (In seven years together, we've never had two!)  And I don't long for this season's designer duds or fancier dishes.

And so while I'm still on edge - at nine months pregnant, I certainly can't find a full-time job right now, and Franklin getting the pink slip would jangle our nerves - it's nice to be the Greenes.  We like the simple stuff, and I wonder if that's really the linchpin of going green -  of wanting things in your life that aren't things and of valuing people over possessions.

We're not saints.  We're highly flawed.  But I feel like we're on the right path, and even in these turbulent times, there's a lot of security in knowing that a drop in purchasing power is not going to cost us our happiness.

No comments: