Here's what happened: I've had a good idea.
Well. I have a lot of good ideas, it's just that I'm the only one who thinks so. This one, however, is stellar because it balances the seesaw we ride between the guilt of getting and the lack of giving, all in the name of good.
OK, that makes no sense. Let's take another run at it.
The way I see it, we humans weigh heavy in one of two ways: We're either great givers or we're sincere takers when, ideally, we should be equal parts both - for the sake of the seesaw that determines our sense of well-being.
Well-being on every level, from physical and mental health, to the stuff of our souls.
Admit you're thoroughly confused, but interested.
Try this on: Once a year, at the least (and every month would be even better, but more expensive and probably not in the cards for most of us), we get to add something significant to our lives for the absolute good of our own persons.
This can be as inexpensive as a commitment to buying the best toilet paper on the market, for instance, and what everyone deserves every day of their lives, if you want my opinion; or as pricey as wonderfully constructed shoes that make us feel like we're walking on air. Or a new down pillow made by tiny faeries from Scandinavian geese.
It can be as pampering as a pedicure or massage, on a regular basis, or as helpful as hiring someone to clean house once a week, or take care of the yard - whatever makes us feel good and adds to the quality of our lives.
To counter the guilt we are wont to take on when actually doing something nice for ourselves, we'll be required, according to my good idea, to give up something that's not weighing so well on the environment. It's a seesaw, like I said, and it mustn't weigh overly much on one end.
Let's say we swap out all the incandescent light bulbs in the house for those energizing bulbs (which we should have done by now, anyway), or put in an efficient filter so we can give up the habit of plastic water bottles - and probably get rid of that white stuff that builds up on the shower wall at the same time.
Or, maybe we put in a compost pile and a little organic garden, a two-fer because it's good for the ground and us, and of course we'll recycle everything we can.
To make the commitment official, I'm thinking every January, because we're in the mood for change at the start of a new year anyway, we plot on paper and plan for the good things we're going to take on as well as the poop we're going to get rid of.
The cost of this will vary according to incomes, certainly, but I for one can get very happy with a new bottle of red nail polish or a pair of striped socks, so it doesn't have to cost much, it just has to be something that's just for us.
I get this is not a very sexy plan, but I have the feeling that by doing for ourselves and the environment at the same time, we'll be bringing about a balance that's been missing, because we've been living too large on one end or the other; and, admit it, martyrdom is overrated.
And I would add to the giving end that we include others, because that's an integral part of any equation that has to do with living a better life.
Whatever, share your organic vegetables and flowers with your neighbors; donate the things that no longer fit to a thrift store; get involved with something like Heifer International and buy a goat or a clutch of chickens for a destitute family in another part of the world.
Just don't let anyone else use your new nail polish, or you'll muck up my theory.
* Lynne Horner is a former Maui News features editor and writer who now lives in Springfield, Ore. Her "Second Thoughts" column appears every Tuesday. Send e-mail to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.