Yesterday, I shared that I’ve chosen not to spend time line-drying my laundry because a) I hated it and b) it wasn’t saving me that much money.
Whenever I mention that I don’t line-dry my laundry, some people are invariably appalled. Either they can’t believe I would give up the monetary savings, or they are concerned that I’m not thinking about the ecological impact of the energy a dryer uses.
Here’s the small thought I have about that (which I touched on in the comments yesterday).
None of us (except for possibly the rare superwoman or superman) lives either a perfectly frugal life or a perfectly ecologically-friendly life.
That means that to a degree, we are all picking and choosing what frugal or earth-friendly activities we will do. And of course, the picking and choosing we each do will be different because we’ve all got varying amounts of time and varying priorities.
So, when we look at the activities other people have chosen, we need to do that with grace.
After all, we’d want someone to treat our choices graciously.
Maybe you are horrified that your neighbor pays someone to clean her house. But it’s quite possible that she saves money in ways you don’t so that she can afford the cleaner.
Perhaps your cousin’s habit of taking very long, very hot showers seems environmentally wasteful to you. But maybe that cousin doesn’t turn his heat up as high as you do, or maybe he drives less than you.
Ooh, and I may possibly think a cell phone bill is ridiculously high (ahem). But, I really ought to consider that other people may spend less on things like, um, cameras (says she who owns two SLRs).
I know from personal experience that it’s pathetically easy to fall into a frugaler-than-thou or greener-than-thou kind of mindset, but I also know that blessed little in the way of good stuff comes from that way of thinking.
So, when you’re tempted to look down on someone else because they’ve made a difference choice from you, try what helps me: reminding yourself that difference isn’t necessarily worse or wrong. It could just be…different.
P.S. Just to clarify, I’m not upset or hurt that people questioned my choice not to line-dry. Fortunately, my skin is a little thicker than that by now and I am very comfortable with my decision. 😉 I’m sharing this thought today not to defend myself, but to encourage us all to treat other people with understanding.
Friday 10th of March 2017
Your blog is inspirational to me at all times. You are always so kind and gracious , traits not always found in today's life . My income is severely limited due to extremely unexpected medical issues. For those that can afford it, you have more choices than I do. Knowing how to be frugal is my greatest asset. The savings on my electric bill is what allows me to have internet and a cellphone. Those are our luxuries in life. I coupon and feed my family with that internet. We all make choices in life and I have no regrets. I am not unhappy and we usually have everything we need and most of what we want. I loved the comment about the decisions we make. My father had some harsh comments about my son going to the prom this weekend. It will be a wonderful occasion for my son and the photos will make me smile for a lifetime. I had to remind him that unlike my younger brother, my home and new car are paid for. I am not in debt due to luxurious vacations,eating out or sports. I made my bed and I sleep in it. Life is what you make of it. I have gone from a million a year with a doctor for a partner to 12 thousand a year. That decision was the best I ever made. My grandmother always said to not throw rocks. Now I understand.
Thursday 1st of August 2013
Kristen, this just made my day. My problem is not judgement from others, it's judgement from myself! See, I've been pretty hard on myself for not line-drying. In my pursuit of a greener and more frugal life it feels wrong to still use my dryer. However, I was having a difficult time spending the money on a line-drying contraption because I had this nagging feeling I'd end up hating it. We live right by the interstate and I can't get over the feeling that my clothes will come off the line all smogged and pollened up - dirtier than when they when out! I also barely feel like I have enough time as it is, so making an everyday task take longer was another thing making line-drying seem so unappealing. What your post has done for me, is allow me to apply grace to myself. I can stop obsessing over how Ms. Soandso line dries and is more frugal and green than I am and how I should be trying harder. You're right, it's all about perspective. Ah, that feels like a burden has been lifted!
Saturday 23rd of March 2013
You said it well.
You are not here to be perfect or impress anyone or pretend to be something you are not.
Just continue to be who you are : happy, loving, patient, hardworking human being.
Wednesday 20th of March 2013
I love what someone below said about extending grace. Maybe the neighbor (in your example) has someone clean her house because she has cancer and treatments exhaust her, even if she hasn't shared that with the neighbors. Maybe the long-showering cousin needs the moist-warmth to loosen stiff joints and function. Maybe some of those folks who use the dryer don't line dry because it exponentially increases allergy problems in their home. There is just so little that we really know about other people and so little to be gained from judging or comparing. So much to be gained by focusing on doing the best we can with the life-package we have--and encouraging others as they do the same.
Monday 18th of March 2013
It's funny that someone who does so much to be frugal and "green" is still criticized for not making every single choice in the most green way. I think you're great. I love your blog! I envy your glass storage containers. I'm trying to slowly increase my supply but it's expensive going since I have a family of 4 packing lunches most days of the week. And I love your food waste encouragement. I think it's one of the bigger problems we're facing right now. Working hard to get better!