Tuesday, May 17, 2016
I meant to play an Arashi CD so I could listen to some cheerful music while working in my kitchen this morning but accidentally turned on the radio instead. It was a call-in show on Mississippi Public Broadcasting--I dearly love listening to the soothing accents in the voices of my fellow Mississippians. They were discussing recycling and respect for the environment. I'm interested in that certainly. That's how I ended up sitting on my little red kitchen stool listening intently instead of peeling veggies.
The words of the callers were insightful and thought-provoking. They called for responsibility and awareness. And they were quite right.
Beyond those very important factors, there lies one other: making human connections. We need to realize that other people may need the very things that we simply want to dispose of, and we need to learn how to get those items to those folks. That's how Goodwill and the Salvation Army work. And making that connection is how I make my way in the world, too.
People give me items they don't want or don't know what to do with and that makes all the difference in my life. I never say no to anything that is offered to me unless it is (and this is very important) illegal, immoral, or dangerous. I show proper respect for what I am given and I show gratitude to those who give it. Then I use what I can, I share with others who also have a need, and I sell items the givers might have thought of as trash--that puts food on my table and it saves items from going unnecessarily to the landfill.
While I was recently helping my friend with her yard sale and with preparing for her move, she was surprised at some of the items that I was truly glad to receive: plastic containers, partially used rolls of kitchen wrap, plant pots, all sorts of bits and pieces. She said I was like Mikey--you remember the kid from the TV commercial? "Hey, give it to Mikey--he likes everything!" I'm an older lady and not a little boy but, yeah, it's true: I kinda like everything.
Other people save empty boxes and leftover packing materials for me. I especially love it when they have empty breakfast cereal boxes. You see, all of that stuff has a useful purpose in my world. I use the cardboard from the cereal boxes to keep ephemera safe in shipment. (What is ephemera? Old sheet music, old patterns, any old paper items. You'd be surprised what sells! And I love selling anything that can be mailed in a bubble-envelope--that's the cornerstone of my eBay sales.)
Last year, a group in town asked me if I wanted a couple of large bags of stuff they were throwing away. I said "of course!" Within a week, I had already earned $25 from their "trash" and indeed I am still earning $10 a month or more whenever I sell more of the items from those two black garbage bags. What was so valuable? Old sewing items and old magazines. I had to sort it and tidy it and value it. I took pictures and listed the stuff on eBay. It required a little effort on my part but it was worth it.
The group got rid of their junk.
I am earning money I need.
Someone online has gotten a bargain price for a good item.
There's more than one way to recycle. This individual way begins with awareness and with making human connections.
Make an effort to get to know the people around you: do they have everything they need? Maybe you know someone like me who genuinely wants to earn a living but cannot for some reason. Remember that the simplest things may have a value beyond what you see in them. Offer what you have. Accept what they offer you in return.
The world is full of good things and full of good people. Life is better when we share.
I am so grateful.