We just had leftovers for lunch today as I write this. In a way, it was even leftovers. The other day I had tried a new vegetable chili recipe that called for an eggplant in it. It was a good pepper. But since we are only two people, a whole eggplant AND all the other vegetables in the stew would have been way too much. We would already have leftovers from this meal, I calculated. So, I only used half the eggplant and used the other half for a moussaka dish last night. And that’s what we had for lunch today. Delicious. In fact, we were looking forward to it.
Of course, none of this was unexpected or unexpected. On Sunday evening I sit down for half an hour and make a meal plan for the whole coming week on a list and write the groceries I will need on a shopping list. Of course, I check in my pantry what needs to be used. So, to use up the giant half-onion I have left from last night and a little leek, I’m going to make a Chinese stir-fry tonight. You get the picture: no waste, no desire. Good planning helps to avoid waste. Of course, it is also a money saver. And I am truly filled with joy when I see everything consumed in a proper and tasty way.
What do I love more these days? When I was young, fashion was just something my mom wouldn’t afford. Of course, as a child and teenager, I wasn’t very happy with all those “timeless classics” she filled my wardrobe with. Over time I have enjoyed and even made it a thing to have few items that combine well and accessories that make them look different all the time. In addition to having developed my own style, quality rather than fashion is more durable, lasts longer and is more environmentally friendly. When things are harder to find, like these days, and more expensive too, this concept is all the more useful, don’t you think?
There are other things that my husband and I try to make the most of. And they are not related to money but to our time. When we go from A to B for the umpteenth time and we have all the time in the world to do it, we mix things up. We look at a map – oh yes, you know how we prefer them to a GPS – and take a different route. We stop at places along the road – a covered bridge, a museum, an interesting store, a park. Travel can take our time anyway, so we make time for these little things apparently. The journey becomes a destination unto itself – and many have become one-of-a-kind memories that we can dust off and mentally relive whenever we feel like it.
Sometimes getting the most out of something can be working together on a project that needs to be done. For planting seeds and watering plants together. To harvest together. Fix something together. Or, if not together, how many times have I enjoyed creating or making something for the home. The results become pieces of pride. And the time has been used in a wonderfully meditative way.
In times like these, making the most of things is even more important than ever. Because the beauty of the world around us always IS. We can go window shopping, so to speak. When we can’t travel for one reason or another, we can still travel in spirit with movies, books, and music. The libraries are free… When we can’t visit each other, we can write to each other and see each other on screen. Caviar and champagne do not guarantee happiness. But our mentalities can be.
Let’s take the little things and enjoy them to the fullest – the returning warmth these days, the first bumblebees and the scent of freshly mown lawns, the flowers and birdsong, the laughter of small children and the intimacy of old couples who are still holding hands, the skills and knowledge we have learned and the opportunity to learn even more. Going out doesn’t mean we can’t do better. Sometimes that’s the best we could wish for.