I believe in the old Reduce, Reuse and Recycle mantra–not only because I am a knee-jerk. bleeding-heart liberal but also because, given the shortage of raw materials on this earth, it makes sense to me. So I try not to use things that can’t be recycled and if I must use plastic bags or aluminum foil, I clean and reuse them. This takes a lot of time and I don’t think they’re very clean but I feel better about it.
My generous long-suffering husband has been the victim of my political shopping for quite a while now (45 years, give or take a year or two) and rarely squawks. In a rare moment of rebellion the other day, however, he absolutely refused to buy any more of the sandpaper-like 100% recycled tiny rolls of toilet paper I had condemned us to and demanded a softer larger roll that would not have to be changed every day. I agreed; I’m not doctrinaire, after all.
Our beef is grass fed (much healthier, less fatty and of course, less tasty) so as to provide the cattle with a better life experience and I don’t serve veal or pork as I don’t like the way they’re raised. Our chickens have freedom of the range and so do their eggs.
After a year of stomach problems I couldn’t transcend, I moved from unsuccessful vegetarian to advocate for humane farming. And after all, I have never gotten a good answer to my basic question–if we stop eating meat altogether, what will happen to all those animals? I am happy to say that the movement is on the rise and that Humanely Raised is now a label of pride. People don’t laugh at my ideas any more. Or at least, not so much.
But getting back to recycling, it seems to me that retirement is simply another way to recycle. We are using our brains in new ways, trying out new activities and reusing our unique abilities. What could be more ecological than recycling a brain? When we adopt a dog or cat, we are recycling them and reducing the number of unwanted animals. When we force our minds to canter along new neuronic pathways, we are really creating new materials out of old. This is, after all, the very basis of recycling. So when you wonder what you should be doing in retirement, just say to yourself, I am now recycling myself.