(Are you ready for this? Because it's pretty mind-blowing. I considered patenting the idea before I wrote this post.)
I don't need to do it all! Wow. I'll give you a moment to digest that. I bet you didn't think you'd be in for such philosophizing today! Here's what I'm saying: if you're someone interested in green design and lifestyle, then you're probably someone that suffers from an unhealthy case of green guilt every once and awhile. I know I do. I spend my days reading and writing and researching about all aspects of a green home—products, furniture, design, consumption habits, urban homesteading, the handmade movement, locavores, zero-net energy, recycling and composting— and sometimes a vision emerges through all those things of the "ideal green home," or even more ominous, the "ideal green person." I'm sure you can imagine what I mean by that: in my mind, it's usually some combination of radical homemaker cum DIY maven cum interior design afficionado. First things first: If you are one of those people, then you deserve all the accolades I can possibly give you. And I would like to be your roommate. (Husband not included.) Secondly: If you're only part of the equation above, or maybe none of it at all, welcome to the party! Most of us are middling achievers, just trying to do the best we can. But there are good things to not being able to do it all yourself.
- If you can't do it, support someone who can. Not having the skills or time to do it yourself shouldn't be a cause for guilt; it can be an opportunity to support someone else. I'm not growing my own food right now (clearly), but that lets me be a member of my local CSA and shop at farmer's markets and support a whole group of people who make their living this way.
- If you don't know how to do it, find someone who does. This is one of my favorite things about Re-Nest and the whole Apartment Therapy community—writers and readers, many of whom are experts, offering helpful and constructive opinions on everything from how to install cork tile floors to recommended natural non-bleach whiteners to the best design tips and strategies for small spaces. (Granted, I know not all comments are constructive, but I think most people get what we're about.)
- If you don't do it all, don't feel bad. Sarah Rae knows her way around a craft project better than anyone I know; Amber is a homemaker's dream; Rachel knows a ton about green building materials and strategies; Liz is an amazing photographer. They're better at all these things than I am, and I'm grateful that I can learn from them and try to improve my own skills and habits as best as I can, gradually. Going green in your home and your life shouldn't be a competition.