I spend a lot of my time thinking and writing about intentionality, this idea of mindfully and choicefully directing one’s life. The thinking goes something like this: Our thoughts and our actions – and indeed our entire impact on the world – reflect our underlying beliefs and values, both conscious and unconscious. And yet, many people (myself included) do not always bring mindful awareness and conscious choice to these things.
While I celebrate the idea of intentionality, I (like everyone) can be completely caught off-guard by the ways I unconsciously act and the values they reflect. This week I surprised myself again. My realization?
I am way more frugal than I ever knew.
Case in point is the first twelve hours after returning home from this week’s work trip to London. I came home, caught up with Liz, spent time with the puppy, ate some Goat Hill pizza (our favorite local pizza joint), and then…started sorting through the refrigerator. It’s not that I was particularly hungry or even particularly bored and looking for something to do. Instead, I knew that there was a lot of food in the house when I left and I wanted to make sure we weren’t letting much of it go to waste.
To Liz’s credit, she is easily as frugal as me. Once, when in charge of organizing date night, Liz signed us up for a class on running a “zero-waste kitchen.” They taught pickling for extra vegetables, cheese-making to address your nearly-expired milk, and broth-making for everything else. Whereas others may have thought this would be a slightly strange romatnic interlude, I absolutely loved it. We even got to make our own sauerkraut.
This past week, she had focused on eating up leftovers from last week’s camping adventure and working through the freezer. So, to her credit, there wasn’t much to do. Nonetheless, I pulled out my favorite new fruaglity enabler: our new dehydrator.
Not yet twenty-four hours later, my dehydrating adventures have been prolific:
Leftover camping potatoes turned into crunchy parmesan potato bites:
Previously pickled okra, jalapenos, and leftover corn have become “Liz Mix”:And more on the way: peppers and garlic, mushrooms, jalapenos, carrots, and Brussels sprouts:
Despite all the time I spend thinking about how I want to consciously embody my chosen values, every so often something creeps up upon me. And this fit of kitchen management proves exactly that. Surveying my piles of dehydrated food, I thought: “Wow, this whole thing has made me really happy. I am way more frugal than I ever thought. And I embody that without really ever thinking about it.”
I’ll be reflecting about the values I live while munching on my potato bites.