I've been doing a lot of blog-surfing this past week - not just catching up on old favourites, but following links, googling odd thoughts, looking for more information on anything that looked interesting - and I'm amazed at how many bloggers there are who are thinking the same things I am, and doing the same things I am.
Am I redundant? Repetitive? Am I doing the blogger's version of carrying coal to Newcastle?
I don't believe so.
Everyone does things their own way. A hundred people may be heading for the same goal but getting there by a hundred different paths. Or as my grandmother used to say, "There are as many ways to make meatloaf as there are people who make meatloaf." And none of those ways are wrong.
I've learned a lot from other bloggers. Not just different methods, but different points of view; sometimes even different reasons for doing the same things. Some of us are just trying to save money. Some of us are just trying to save the environment. Some of us are trying to do both. Some are all-out do-everything-humanly-possible-and-then-do-more types, while some are chipping away at changing their lifestyles bit by bit. There are radical one-day total life makeovers, and there are one-thing-at-a-time ease-into-it gradual evolutions.
Now, I don't want to open that old can of worms about whether ends justify means. But it seems to me lately that I'm seeing a number of bloggers who are surprised that working toward one goal has had effects that spill over into other areas. And I guess what bothers me is: why didn't they foresee any of that spillover?
Decades ago, I set out to find ways to provide the best possible life for my small daughter that I could with a ridiculously tiny income ... we were so far below the poverty line we couldn't even see how far over our heads it was. But we managed. I managed. We ate healthy and stayed healthy, our home and our clothes were always clean and neat, and we had fun. To me, it was a serendipitous side benefit that we were living so "lightly on the earth", as the saying goes. We didn't just recycle - which was pretty much unheard-of as such back then - we re-re-recycled. We used and re-used everything until there was nothing left of it to use. We put out almost no garbage - because we couldn't buy anything that would produce garbage. We shopped at thrift stores (they were called second-hand stores then) and cheap produce markets. We walked almost everywhere, especially to the library every week.
And how could living like that not spill over into health and environmental areas?
No money = no junk food = eating fresh healthy food = minimal packaging = minimal trash.
No money = no unnecessary appliances = doing things by hand = less resources used.
No money = walking everywhere = healthy exercise and fresh air.
No money = minimal spending = re-using or buying used = more useable items kept from landfills.
Even so, I've learned a lot from other bloggers - about creative ways to save money, to use fewer resources, to make what we have go farther and do more - and I hope that maybe someday I'll hear that someone out there learned a little something from me. If karma works, maybe I'll give someone an "Aha!" moment like the ones I find in other blogs.
Redundant? Repetitive? I don't think so. I'm not just parroting the current "popular wisdom", or following someone else's practices to the letter. I'm doing what most of the other bloggers I read are doing - telling my own story, in my own words, and hoping that something resonates with someone else the way those other bloggers' words often do with me.