It was the winter of 2007 and a drive that neither of us would ever forget. On this drive, we solidified our relationship, we met the in-laws, we attended a funeral, and we connected. Our return home was uneventful, we stocked up on a few snacks, and made sure we had all of our belongings and set off towards Florida by way of Arkansas. It was late and we had a long drive ahead of us. After the funeral of my nephew, I was feeling a little reflective and Jeff accommodated me. Our relationship was young, an infant really, and out of the blue, at 9pm at night, I declared, “I don’t want to live a disposable life anymore”. And there it began … Disposable by definition is designed to be used once and then thrown away. It’s kind of a sad existence if you ask me. But these days, so much of what is ingrained in us is just that, designed to be used and thrown away. Tissues versus handkerchiefs, coffee filters versus a percolator, paper towels versus a hand-towel, designed for convenience and disposal. We no longer rely on a rooster to wake us up, we have an alarm clock, and if you are me, it’s your Smartphone. We stumble out of bed, make our way to the bathroom and several things happen. We can flush our toilets, we can turn a knob and we have hot water, I flick a switch and there is light. Convenience. We can’t/won’t live without them. Cotton swabs, tissues, etc., all a convenience and disposable. Flash forward four years and the “disposable” life is still a hot topic here in the Stryker house. In my opinion sometimes, in some things, we give in just a bit too fast. Take that pair of shoes that just doesn’t seem to fit quite right; where did all the cobblers go? Instead of finding out why the shoe doesn’t fit, we just go get a new pair. No worries, there are plenty to be had. And that pair of pants, who needs them? They might not fit quite right, but who needs to find a tailor? Let’s just head to the mall and get more. This was my mentality for years; it was the way I was raised. It was convenience, new technology, and new frames of reference. Just throw it in the trash, it will be picked up on Tuesday and taken away. I was at that point in my life, during this drive from Oklahoma to Florida, where I was sick of it. Throwing things away, that is. Where did the substance go? Where were the items we can’t live without? Jeff and I had a long talk on that drive home. Mostly the talk was subjective and we had a few good laughs at our memories of what was acceptable to “throw away”. But an unsaid commitment was made, that by choosing to join lives, we would try to have a life that wasn’t SO disposable. So, where did we start? Furniture – when did it become the norm to walk away from furniture? When it was sold at the 5 and Dime? We visited an estate sale not long after we returned to Florida. The sale was in Polk City, at a retirement trailer home that seemed to have 10 rooms from all the additions; we found a bed and a dresser and our legendary Trivial Pursuit game. It was a start and we have continued to add to it to this day. Plants – Jeff brought home several plants one day from work. A co-worker said they were outgrowing their pot and she didn’t want to do anything with them so she threw them in the garbage. Jeff brought them home and we replanted them. The ivy from the group is the most surprising. It not only survived but has found a foothold in the stucco and is growing up the wall, the rest are thriving on our lanai along with our third generation pineapple. In my case; socks. Of all things, socks. The seams hurt my feet, rub me the wrong way, or don’t fit my small feet correctly. I have been to enough antique shops to have bought a sock darner by now, but I haven’t. It’s easier to head to Wal-Mart or Target and get more socks. I’m working on this one. The one area Jeff and I can both say we have committed to no longer leading a “disposable” life is shaving. There is little waste and we are able to reuse items. Whether it is the razor, the blade, the brush, or the mug; they are all reusable. Of course, the blade will go by the wayside after a handful or two of uses, but that is not always the case. There are varieties of razor that have a perpetual self-stropping, self-sharpening blade such as a Rolls or a straight razor. I haven’t mastered either one of them, but there’s always my bucket list. I can’t say that we entered this lifestyle to save money, it was more of a philosophical discussion that struck a chord in each of us, but I do think we are both zeroing in on the items that we prefer, shave-wise anyway. I have lamented this of late, the Lord L6 is a razor I can see me using for many moons to come. I can't say that I wouldn't add to the brushes or creams/soaps that I have but for sure, there is only one mug I will ever use. Have I personally mastered the non-disposable life? Nope. Do I think I will ever have a completely non-disposable life? Nope. It is not reasonable in today's mainstream society to think that we will NEVER throw anything away. I can, however, take a stand in the Stryker Den and say, "no Disposable shall pass".