I know I said I probably wouldn’t see ya’ll again til we were Stateside. But today we have some downtime and rather than pack or clean (or even nap!), I’m letting my mind wander to the upcoming joys of the new home we will be building together.
Ever the planner, I’ve got checklists and spreadsheets and Pinterest boards chock-full of every possible paint color, rug, and piece of furniture. For outdoors, I’ve got lists and garden maps of perennial vegetables and bare root fruit trees, with sunlight requirements and spacing plans, each detail priced and linked to sources. You might say I’ve overdone it. But then again, the delight I experience in all the planning is as enjoyable as it is useful, since now we can truly plug-and-play upon our return. All we’ll need to do is press “order,” start digging, settle in. And the research has provided a good distraction for my mind and hands when the remaining days seem to drip by like slow molasses, an hourglass grain by grain.
In reflecting on these last slow days, one thing I’ve been mulling over is how our life will look different going back… not just in location or culture, but how I personally have changed and what that will mean for our future lifestyle as a family. Most notably, I am grateful for how this year overseas has birthed in me a deeper conviction to care for our great planet. To shop as responsibly as possible. To best benefit those that supply our life with goods, as well as our health as we use and consume. Through conversations like Slow Fashion October, the war against science (I shall refrain from speaking in depth about the Paris agreement lest I start crying and/or screaming), and –most importantly– by living in a place so horribly affected by pollution, I simply cannot go back to the way things were. You can’t live a year without clean tap water, without being able to take your babies outside for their own health, without seeing the stars or moon for literally months and months, and walk away the same. I am not, we are not, the same.
Before this year abroad, I would have described myself to you as pretty health- and environmentally- conscious. But as these things often do, my thinking along the lines of ethics and environment has dug a rabbit hole deeper and deeper down which to fall, and I now see lots of consumer habits I really wasn’t paying attention to (and therefore wasn’t acting responsibly). We’ve got plans for chickens (and maybe even goats some day!), a large scale garden, composting, and more. But the biggest change to come is our parameters for the things we weren’t paying much mind to before. Things like: who made our clothes? from what materials? and where was this sofa built? can it last us a lifetime? and what will this thing come packaged in? can it be recycled or composted, or does it add waste to landfills? could it be found secondhand? or maybe most of all, could we just do without it?
This conviction for intention has made finding things a bit trickier, but I also feel so free because I’m no longer pulled by those impulsive desires to “have that cute, cheap thing, and have it now.” Just yesterday, I stumbled across a link to a darling floral maxi dress for $35 at Target and after enjoying the pictures and tucking away the style inspiration, I wasn’t remotely tempted to grab it because I knew its sources wouldn’t be identifiable. You can’t just impulse-buy a $140 linen dress or a SEDEX certified living room rug (well, perhaps you can, but my budget sure can’t!), so my all-too-trigger-happy “add to cart” finger has been slowed and stopped in all the right ways. I’m so excited to take the slow road of curating a home full of beautiful, responsible pieces + products and to support the very real hands that make them. Hands that deserve to be treated fairly, to drink clean water, to breath clean air.
I look forward to sharing more about what these new parameters are that we’re setting for ourselves, but I would love to hear from you… how does a desire to consume responsibly inform your purchases beyond food and clothing? Are there certifications or materials or other buzzwords you use as filters for shopping for things like furniture and cookware? Any brands you’re especially drawn to, or on the flip side, any realizations you’ve made about sources you used to frequent but realize you cannot any longer? If you could start with an empty house tomorrow, how would you choose to fill it? Please share the wealth!