Tuesday, August 18, 2015
What's in a Word?
I'm glad I got yesterday out of my system. I appreciate the kind words more than I can properly express so thank you for the comments and the e-mails. To update, it truly was just one of those days where mild illness, sleep deprivation, and mind fatigue merged. I did the right thing by calling the day over at 8:45 p.m. and getting more than eight hours of sleep. I highly recommend that prescription. I even took my morning "think" time, and did some pondering about words and meaning and the relevance to me and my life.
Take for instance the word collection. Collection can be a group of things that have meaning to each other, like a tea cup collection. It can also be less passive as in, taking a collection of donations. Then there are collections that may have run amuck, and the word collection may no longer fit. When does a collection become a hoard? My collection of said mentioned tea cups is at six sets. Each one has meaning to me and each was a gift. I don't seek out tea ups and saucers to purchase on vacations, or in thrift stores to add to the collection, just to build mass. I was hunting for some to use as herb pots on my deck this summer for a whimsical take on my fondness for tea cups, but nothing suitable was found, so I let it go. Good thing as I killed all the herbs in my pots anyway. For others though, the fun of having a collection is the act of seeking out new members and adding to the group. I might think they're hoarding, and they might not consider my tea cups even worthy of being called a collection. Different words, or the same word for different things?
Green is another word that has a wide range of meaning. Of course green is a color, but I'm referring to green as the term for environmentally sound materials and practices. I can't think of an opposite to green as a lifestyle. Words that come to mind include wasteful and polluting, but these wouldn't be an antonym for saying, "I am building green," or "they are a green family, always composting their dinner scraps." To me green is a continuum and I slide forward and backward on the continuum. I'm now, effective next month, my division's representative on the Green Committee at work. We hold events and activities to support a cleaner work environment, promote reduce, reuse, and recycle, and explore and propose ways to promote a more energy efficient and environmentally conscious workplace. I understand we team up with the Wellness Committee on many activities.
My brain could get completely undone if I start thinking about words like frugal and spend thrift and minimalism and consumerism, and awareness and activism. I've been trying to figure out how to define my lifestyle, my values, my modus operandi. I spend way too much money on conveniences to truly say I am frugal, but I do try and not spend money on things that don't give me enjoyment. I detest using paper plates and cups, plastic utensils at home and work, but I'll grab the "to go cup of coffee without a second thought some days. I donate and volunteer for programs that help refugees, but can't see that I'll be opening my home anytime to house a new arrival as I heard on a news story that a young man in Germany is doing.
How do you describe your lifestyle? Are you a bohemian granola queen, never eating a food with an ingredient more than two syllables and wearing clothing only made with natural fabrics? Are you the Queen or King of Thrift, never walking past a dumpster without considering it a shopping mall, and stocking your pantry with yellow sticker smash and dents? Are you a social climbing butterfly fashionista, knowing and being at every hot spot grand opening, always in style, always coiffed and styled, even when you running Saturday morning errands? Are you so green that you manage to keep your garbage to half a bin a month, and even that is recyclables?
True, there may be a few people out there that fit so neatly in a mold, but I don't know them. Perhaps it is irrelevant what I would describe my lifestyle as. I hope I am a bit of all those, but in the end, do so with the intent that I leave more good behind than I take, that I give more than I receive, and that I leave a footprint not much bigger than I arrived with.