Successful strategies

It was about two weeks ago when my clothes dryer broke. It tumbled around my clean, wet clothes, but failed to heat up, making the entire process rather moot. I let out a big sigh. The dryer was at least 30 years old, if not 40; a hand-me-down from my landlord who threw it in when I rented my apartment.

So I took to hanging my clothes up to dry on a line in the basement while I pondered my next move. A new dryer would cost more than $400 and I really wasn’t interested in spending that kind of money. I could get a repairman to visit for about $50 to tell me if the appliance was fixable, but I waited on that for a bit as my schedule was hectic. Sometimes procrastination pays off. Turns out that Mark knew someone who refurbished dryers and for a mere $75 I was able to have a new-to-me working dryer. With a little elbow grease (mostly from Mark) we swapped out the dryers yesterday and I did my first two loads of modern laundry in a fortnight.

But those two weeks got me thinking. Hanging up my clothes to dry really wasn’t all that bad. Actually, it was pretty environmentally friendly. Al Gore would have been proud. And it made me act with a bit more purpose. Since I couldn’t do large amounts of laundry at one time, I had to make sure I did laundry in a timely manner. I thought twice about throwing something in the laundry basket. Was it really dirty? Could I wear it another time before washing it?

The entire episode reconnected me to one of my values — being environmentally conscious. And it reminded me of another lesson — to live with purpose and intention.

I started to think about how these worlds collide when it comes to eating and nutrition. There are advantages, for instance, of buying in bulk. It saves money and contains less packaging. Win-win, right? But often when I buy in bulk, I lose sense of portion control. Or sure I could measure out a proper serving. I could create my own individual snack bags. I could even make my own individual snack bags with reusable containers. In fact, I’ve tried. But I’ve failed. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t connect that action to my deepest held values about economy, environment and health. Perhaps it’s because it’s just a strategy that doesn’t work for me.

And so this week, I decided to let it go. Maybe I’ll try that strategy in the future. Maybe you’ll decide to try that strategy this week and find it works with great success. But the is not to get hung up on what doesn’t work for me, but to focus on things which do work for me. There are multiples paths to my destinations. There’s no need for me to get antsy about which way is best or to panic when a path leads me to a dead end. There is no failure, just a chance an opportunity to discover a different way.

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