Debbie and I are enjoying this start to 2009 in Okeechobee, FL. [You can see our location by clicking here] The outside temperature is 75F, lows have been around 60 degrees. Days are sunny and a little windy. Feels good after enjoying fall and 1/2 the winter in North Carolina. Will we do better, in 2009, chasing 75 degrees? This is a good start.
We found a little quiet time for reflecting on our resolutions for this year. These four resolutions are simple and straightforward, so easy for me to remember and honor:
Our New Year’s resolutions are shaded by experiences of the past year. Gas prices and the foundering economy affect our pocketbook greatly. We reviewed 2008 budget vs actual 2008 and, as expected, found gasoline was our major over-budget expense. This increase is due both to high prices and to more miles than budgeted. Although we were within our budget for the year, the review shows us where we can best try to economize.
More than two months on WBCCI caravans caused more frequent driving days than we would choose for ourselves. When on caravans, we joined our fellow travelers for dining out more than we would on our own. The gatherings are important to us and often, for us, represent fellowship more than fine dining. The least expensive menu choices are more expensive than if you fixed your meal at home. And we can eat healthier at home, in portion size, ingredients selection, and preparation.
We largely ignored physical fitness throughout much of 2008. We were frequently mobile, relocating a lot and often staying in places one to two weeks. Our home lacks a fitness room and we decided to not carry the 100 pounds of dumbbells we had at the house. A friend, Jerry Hall, showed me a really cool compact dumbbell by Bowflex. I don’t want to pay full-price and might not even need to buy any since I have things of lots of different weights in the truck or we can use fitness rooms in some rv parks. We must choose to take advantage of walking and swimming and resistance exercise opportunities.
Almost thirty-five years ago I concentrated my university studies in population politics, or how the burgeoning population changes, and is changed by, politics. I was acutely aware of the evils of population increases and the accompanying pressures on non-renewable resources. A few weeks ago I learned of a sort of doomsday book named The Long Emergency, by James Howard Kunstler.
Kunstler wrote, almost four years ago, of an impending financial crash centered upon the gross misuse of derivatives as investments. Okay, he’s one for one so far. And he writes of the very certain inavailability of petroleum in North America and many other parts of the world. He says petroleum won’t just be expensive but unobtainable. This will cause almost certainly irreversible changes in governments, economies, and quality of life.
I cannot change the world but I can reduce our impact upon it. We have a small home, few appliances, and are frugal users of things. Our rooftop solar panels seem to provide as much energy as we need during the day and most of what we can use overnight. Our propane-fired water heater runs about ten minutes daily, just enough to heat water for two showers and dishwashing. We think we can, for 2009, reduce our consumption of electricity and gas to less than any sticks and bricks house.
Our resolutions aren’t remarkable and may not be as definitive as some peoples’. But this is a start for us, as we begin our first full calendar year full-timing in our Airstream trailer. We hope you have a great year and are enjoying this new start.
Happy New Year!