Life is easier when you tell yourself stories about who you are. You're an artist, a lover, a hard worker. Your family comes first or you never quit things you start. All of these things are our stories and we get to make and mold them however we like.
Michael Hyatt talks about rewriting your stories to become a morning person. I've heard many people say well, I'm not a morning person but what does that mean? You need to sleep 7 or 8 hours each night, does it matter when? Probably not, but that's the story we tell ourselves.
These stories can be empowering or destructive depending on how you craft them in your mind and express them in your actions. One story Epic people internalize is that we use things until they are no longer usable - like zip top bags.
I grew up in a very frugal household. I never had paper lunch bags because they were more expensive than buying one hard plastic one for the school year. I never had store bought cookies and our pantry ebbed and flowed based on whatever was on sale and matched with coupons. I never had to want for anything either, we were fortunate and we washed out our zip top bags.
One day at school I threw away the bags. When I returned home there ensued a firm reminder from my mother that the bags I threw out could be used for a week or more. But mom - a common phrase growing up - I said, they had peanut butter and apple juices in them. She replied that we would just wash them out and then use them again. To her it didn't make any sense to get rid of the bags while they were still useful. Our story as a family was to use things until they were no longer useful.
Do you replace your couch when it's still comfortable and usable? Do you get rid of your car when it becomes dirty? Your clothes? We never do these things but what about the zip top bags? Cell phones and electronic gadgets? When we go clothes shopping we are doing this in one sense because those new clothes will be worn more than the old ones and the old ones will probably be donated or shipped off before their time as clothes is done.
Part of being more Epic in life is challenging myself to grow and to think about what I use and how I use it. How long should something be useful to me and others? Zip top bags have a long life, I threw a bag away last night that I used to store frozen bananas for over a year, I may have some even longer than that. My guess is that when I start to think about how long I can use things I'll get some perspective on my own life, on my own usefulness in this world. Maybe I'll discover that I'm throwing away my own ideas instead of washing them and finding a new way to apply them. Maybe I'll uncover days that I threw away because of a bad attitude, a bad moment, a bad though. Maybe I'll discover nothing. If something profound does come to me, it will probably be while I'm washing out a zip top bag.