Goodbye, Suburbia

It's time for a big letting go. The rich nations have got to say
farewell to the strange notion which has gripped us for the last half
century and recognize that the suburban life style – with its 2 car
garage, its lawns in the desert, its strip malls – is completely
unsustainable. More than that though, it isn't even really "the good
life".

There's never going to be more oil readily available than there is
now. Nor more natural gas, either. Suburbia relies on these, not only
for its residents to be able to get to shops or work and to heat their
homes, but also to build the homes and the accoutrements associated
with this lifestyle.

And it isn't even that great a lifestyle. Do people really form
tighter bonds with their neighbors in a suburb than they do in a
mixed-use city block or the countryside? Do people in the suburbs feel
connected to the communities surrounding their neighborhood? If you
have to drive to get to anything, do you feel anything but distanced
from the places you move through?

Open That Bottle Night

Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher of the Wall Street Journal recommend you quit waiting for some occasion special enough for that most special bottle you've been holding onto for years.

We invented OTBN for a simple reason: All of us, no matter how big or
small our wine collections, have that single bottle of wine we simply
can never bear to open. Maybe it's from Grandpa's cellar or a trip to
Italy or a wedding. We're always going to open it on a special
occasion, but no occasion is ever special enough. So it sits. And sits.
Then, at some point, we decide we should have opened it years ago and
now it's bad anyway, so there's no reason to open it, which gives us an
excuse to hang onto it for a few more decades. So OTBN — which is now
always the last Saturday in February — offers a great opportunity to
prepare a special meal, open the bottle and savor the memories.

You can wait until February if you like, but wouldn't tonight be a good enough for a special meal with those closest to you and a farewell to the close of the year over a glass of something fine?

Let Your Fingers Do The Walking Right Out The Door

When was the last time you used a printed phone book? And the time before that?

Me, I can't even remember when it was. I look everything up online now. Even if you do use the printed books, though, you probably only need to keep the latest, and only one of it.

Go search around your house and purge all those old phone books to the recycling bin. They take up a bunch of space for very little value these days.

Carefully Selected Mess

I talk a lot about cleaning up clutter along the way of making my main point about freeing your life of stuff that you don't actually want in it. I find it relaxing now, after steadily whittling away at my Discardian efforts for a few years, to be able to have my house ready for company with less than an hour of tidying up.

It's important to note, though, that your comfort level may be more or less messy than mine. I'm more of a neatnik than the folks in Thursday's New York Times article "Saying Yes To Mess", but much less so than some folks I know with pristine homes and perfectly ordered closets.

What matters in all cases is that there aren't things you don't want, blocking your enjoyment of what you do.

Think of the cottage style garden with flowers spilling out in clumps; embrace your particular mess and ruthlessly prune away any junk that detracts from your happiness.