I Try, I Succeed, and I Fail

January 29, 2013

You can publish a blog about the environment – going on 7 years now – and still not get it right sometimes.

There are days when I feel like everything is going alright… like I am doing all the right things… like I am truly making a difference through my personal actions. I eat organic food. I recycle everything. I avoid using toxic skincare products. I sign up for yet another paperless bill. I unplug my chargers when not in use. Those are good days, when I feel as though all is right in my little bubble and it makes a difference somehow. I imagine millions of other people doing the same stuff and think that hey, we’re all gonna be alright somehow.

Then there are other days.

I take a road trip in the truck for no reason other than just to get out. That burns a lot of gasoline. I throw away an empty aluminum can because I am too lazy to carry it home with me from wherever I am. I take a hot shower for much longer than it takes me to actually get clean. I run a dishwasher that isn’t quite full yet. Those are the days that when I am lying in bed trying to fall asleep I think about all the things I could have done differently. How I could have done better. How I will try harder tomorrow.

It’s an endless cycle that hopefully teaches some lessons.

I find it very easy to find fault with how others are behaving when I feel as though I am doing everything “right.” But on those off days, well – I realize I too am fallible and not nearly as perfectly “green” as I want to be. It’s hard to be that way all the time, even if our very survival is dependent on us all doing so.

In the end, we’re all just human and we make mistakes. We learn lessons. We do our best.

That includes you, dear reader. The reason I was thinking about this was because I received an email from one of you detailing your “failures” in your perceived responsibilities as an environmentalist. The writer of this email wanted to do everything right but wasn’t able to find the time nor money to be as perfect as he wanted to be. He was down on himself for his imperfection, even though he – truth be told – was doing more to be environmentally conscious than 99% of the world’s population ever does.

We all have higher goals we may not ever reach, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying. And trying is way better than sitting around doing nothing. Once you start trying, you’re more than halfway there. But just because you are halfway there and not all the way there, it doesn’t mean you aren’t “doing it right.” You’re doing what you can – right now – and that’s great. You are allowed to make mistakes and have setbacks along the way. The key is to keep moving forward. If all of us were saints, who would be left to be the sinners?

And sometimes we need to be sinners in order to remember how to be saints.

Let yourself off the hook for the setbacks and be sure to pat yourself on the back for your successes. Your “failures” could very well be others’ successes. Do your best, play your part, and hopefully we’ll come out ahead. I’ll try to remember that for myself, too. Good luck and keep looking forward.

Filed in: Responsible
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Comments (3)

  1. Kathy says:

    Beautifully written. I’ve had those good and bad days too. Thankfully, more good days than bad and I don’t spend too much time reprimanding myself when I don’t live up to my own expectations. Don Miguel Ruiz’s 4th agreement is my mantra on both good and days – “Always do your best.”

  2. Lois says:

    Loved this, it’s nice to have someone sharing that they fall short some days, it helps the rest of us to know we can only do our best at the moment and not to beat ourselves up when we think we fall short.

  3. Sameer says:

    We all are sailing in the same boat. All we can do is reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we can.