Asking One’s Self The Hard Questions

A couple weeks ago we invited another couple over for dinner and games. I’ve been friends with the wife for sometime but we hadn’t yet gotten together as couples more than a few times — her husband didn’t know me as well as she did and had no idea what it is that I do for a living. In our neck of the woods freelance writers aren’t exactly plentiful so I’m accustomed to reactions of bewilderment when my livelihood comes up for discussion. What I’m not accustomed to is people questioning, even if in a friendly and truly curious manner, why I am fit to do what I do.

Earlier in the week I’d received a cool green gadget for reviewing on this site. My husband was, and still is, particularly enthralled with the product and grabbed it off the counter to show our friends. Of course the demonstration led to them asking where we got it and where we got it led to the husband being a bit confused. The question he asked following that exchange was short, but profound in that it made me realize that I have not asked it of myself in far too long.

“What’s green about here?”

My husband and I disagree slightly as to the context of his question, but since he was sitting in my dining room, I took it to mean my house, my home, my life. And it was a question I was not prepared to answer smoothly. I could — and did, to some extent — rattle off all the things we do to green our lives on a daily basis, but a list, I felt, was not what he was looking for and honestly, neither was I.

Since that night I have given a lot of thought to this question. I’ve run down what we’re doing right — the recycling, reusing, local eating, garden growing, composting, reusable bag carrying ways we are, so to speak — and I’ve run down what we’re doing wrong — the water using, light using, fossil fuel heating ways, if you will. There are, of course, many more items on each list than I could possibly even begin to include here. But more than that even there are many reasons why that back each of those things and that’s the root of the issue, if you ask me. Why we do what we do and how we can make that why work for us.

There are things we’re doing right that happen accidentally or as a byproduct of another fundamental of our lifestyle in general. The garden growing and poultry raising didn’t stem entirely from a desire to be green, for instance, but rather a desire for healthier food and more humanly raised meats. Likewise, there are things we’re doing wrong that are as they are not because we don’t want to be greener in those areas but because something is standing in our way — whether we should let it or not.

Over the course of the next few weeks I’m planning to let it all hang out; I’m going to share here, in a series of posts, what I’m doing wrong and why. Some of those whys are excuses I have no justifiable reason to be making and I can admit that. Others are legitimate hurdles in our quest to be green. No matter the classification of the why behind the failure I’ll be researching and sharing solutions to each and every problem presented — I challenge you to do the same.

This week ask yourself what is green in your life and perhaps more importantly, what is not. You may be surprised. And then, share that here or on your own blog. As a bonus if you write about your wrongs on your blog, leave me a link in the comments here or on any one of the weekly posts in the future and I’ll link to you in my next “What I’m Doing Wrong” installment.

:: :: ::

Diana Prichard is the Managing Editor of 5 Minutes for Going Green, a freelance writer, wanna-be homesteader and green junkie living in rural Michigan with her husband, two daughters and a menagerie of farm animals large and small. More of her life and work can be found at

2 Responses to Asking One’s Self The Hard Questions
  1. Amber
    March 1, 2010 | 6:34 pm

    This sounds like a great series, Diana! I’m looking forward to reading more of it.

  2. zee
    March 3, 2010 | 4:02 am

    Really interesting Diana..and that question got me thinking too! There’s so much information on the web about living green (we even came up with a 31 day series to help people live greener and healthier lives) but only a few about what we are doing wrong that prevent us from really living the green life. It is a struggle too, considering how much we all give importance to convenience. Anyway, I enjoyed reading your post and it really gave me something to think about. Looking forward to your posts!