We just had left-overs for lunch today, as I am writing this. In a way, it was even left-overs from left-overs. The other day, I had tried a new recipe for a vegetable chili that asked for an eggplant in it. It was a good chili. But as we are only two people, an entire eggplant AND all the other veggies in the stew would have been way too much. We’d already have left-overs from that meal, I calculated. So, I used only half the eggplant and used the other half for a moussaka dish last night. And that’s what we had for lunch today. Delicious. Actually, we had been looking forward to it.
Of course, nothing of this was unforeseen or unplanned. Sunday nights, I sit down for half an hour and make a meal plan for the entire upcoming week on one list and write the groceries I will need on a shopping list. Of course, I check my pantry for what has to be used. So, in order to use up half a giant onion I have left from last night and some leek, I’ll make a Chinese-style stir-fry tonight. You get the picture: no waste, no want. Good planning helps to avoid waste. Of course, this is also a money-saver. And I am truly filled with joy when I see everything used up in a proper and tasty way.
What more do I enjoy these days? When I was young, fashion was simply something my mother didn’t care to afford. Of course, as a kid and teenager, I was not very happy with all these “timeless classics” with which she filled my wardrobe. Over time I appreciated and even made it a thing to have few items that combine well and accessories that make them look different all the time. Besides having developed a style of my own, quality over fashion is more sustainable, lasts longer, and is environmental-friendlier. When things are harder available, such as these days, and more expensive as well, this concept comes in handy all the more, don’t you think?
There are other things that my husband and I try to make the most of. And they are not connected to money but to our time. When we are going from A to B for the umptieth time and we have all the time in the world to do so, we mix up things. We look at a map – ah yes, you know how we prefer them over a GPS – and take a different route. We stop over in places by the roadside – a covered bridge, a museum, an interesting looking store, a park. The trip may take our time anyhow, so, we MAKE time for those seemingly little things. The journey becomes a destination in itself – and so many have become unique memories that we can dust off and mentally relive whenever we feel like it.
Sometimes, making the most of something can lie in working together on a project that needs to be done. To plant seeds and water the plants together. To harvest together. To repair something together. Or, if not together, how often have I enjoyed creating or crafting something for the household. The results become pieces of pride. And 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 still IS. We can window-shop it, so to say. When we can’t travel for one or the other reason, we can still mind-travel with movies, books, and music. Libraries are free … When we can’t visit, we can write and see each other on screen. Caviar and champagne are no guarantor for happiness. But our mindsets can be.
Let’s take the little things and appreciate them big time – the warmth that returns these days, the first bumblebees and the fragrance of freshly mowed lawns, the flowers and the birdsong, the laughter of little children and the intimacy of old couples still holding hands, the skills and knowledge we have gained and the opportunity to acquire even more. Eeking out doesn’t mean that one can’t do better. Sometimes, it’s the very best that we could wish for.