Do you ever feel like there’s a lot of waste in your life? Like you waste time or food or stuff? I do. Sometimes, after getting home from the store, I’m amazed by the paper and plastic waste that comes with the items I buy. At the end of the day, I sometimes wonder where all the hours went.
I’m not an advocate of minimalism, although I like to have less—rather than more—stuff around. I’m not a climate-change-will-kill-us-all-in-a-few-years type of person, although I think that we need to conserve this world to the best of our abilities. I’m definitely not the type of person who has to be active every second of the day. But I want to avoid waste of all kinds.
What Does Waste Have to Do with Happiness
I laugh as I write this because there’s no obvious connection. But look at it this way: waste is a negative thing, happiness is a positive thing. Is it possible to waste all of our resources and still be fundamentally happy? (Again, I feel that I need to mention that I’m not one of those liberal conservationists. There’s nothing wrong with them, but I believe in a more moderate road.)
When you’re wasteful, you don’t appreciate or respect things or people or time. If you respect nothing, how can you love? If you don’t love, then how can you possibly be happy. Waste is essentially selfish, and happiness is not selfish. If you’re looking for happiness, you don’t look for it within, you look for it without. You don’t look for it by buying things you don’t need or playing video games all day; you do it by serving others.
How Do I Avoid Waste?
Ugh, this is the hardest part because there are so many aspects of waste:
- Recycle when it comes to physical waste. Avoid plastic and paper when reasonably possible.
- Instead of throwing away stuff, see if Goodwill or other thrift stores can use it. This is another way of recycling.
- When it comes to wasting time, rethink your methods of relaxation. Maybe instead of playing video games, play family games, instead of watching tv, read a book. You can relax without wasting time. Sometimes you just need to switch activities, do something different.
- Be punctual, this shows a respect for other’s time and your own.
- Meditate. This can help you relax and get ready for what’s to come without sitting on the couch staring into the ether.
- Don’t waste relationships. Good relationships take time; don’t waste this time and effort by losing contact. Maintain those friendships.
There are reasonable ways to avoid waste without becoming militant and annoying and burning yourself out. Focus on those things that are important to you—truly important—and you’ll find yourself less likely to look for happiness in material things.