As usual, 3+ months between blog posts seems like a long time. I’ve actually been trying to “unplug” a lot the past few months, so many apologies for not replying to comments on both this blog, Facebook and Instagram. It warms the cockles of my heart that more and more people are choosing a zero waste lifestyle, and are seeking out others on the same journey. Makes me smile every time.
This year I have tried to live more intentionally (as fruity as it may sound), be more sustainable in my choices, and have tried to slow my life down as much as possible (which- if you knew what I get up to on a daily basis and the hours I keep, you’d be laughing right now). For a type- A personality, surrounded by type-A +++ personalities- it is no easy feat.
Things I have done (or tried to do) this year:
- Made taking care of myself a priority– I realised that in order to sustain the lifestyle I want to lead, I need to be as healthy as possible- this means that I exercise most days, I eat a plant based diet at home, I factor in lots of protein, I pack my lunch and bring my own snacks to work, and I anticipate my rostered on-calls so that I prep something delicious, “creamy”, comforting and Carby that can be heated in the microwave (hello, vegan mushroom stews)
- Shopped secondhand first– when looking back at my “new” clothing and shoe purchases this year, I’ve realised that the vast majority has consisted of stuff I’ve thrifted at an op shop or stalked on eBay. I’ve become more and more mindful of where our clothing comes from this year, and have parted ways with fast fashion forever. And the truth- is that if the purchase price of a new fast-fashion blazer is equal to the price of a second hand linen Chanel blazer- there really is no contest for me! I’ve even thrifted my active wear this year (excluding sneakers-well fitting sneakers is a must)
- Ate a lot less meat– I’m plantbased and gluten free at home with a handful of eggs- which I guess is the way that I can best describe my “diet”. When I eat out I don’t push my dietary preferences on anyone and will eat anything (almost- maybe except offal?!) you put in front of me or wish to share. Diets are quite personal choices, and I haven’t arrived at my own conclusions without doing a lot of detective work- almost 2 years’ worth of working out what food best fuels me for my current level of activity. Unfortunately many people are quick to judge that you’re just following what’s trendy, but many don’t spare the extra seconds to find out that dairy makes you a little bit sick, gluten makes you very sick, and that too much meat makes you really sluggish and saps your energy. Eating less meat has simplified things immensely (no need to go to the butcher with your containers, no need to go through the process of composting bones in your tiny apartment), and of course- the collective environmental impact of everyone eating a little less meat is not insignificant. But I’m not one of those vegan preachers, your diet is 100% your choice and you can make your own conclusions
- Watched a lot less television– to clarify- the last time I watched commercial television was probably… April (When Game of Thrones was on!). The TV (which isn’t mine) sits silent and black in my apartment most of the time. It gets switched on occasionally to stream presidential debates or to watch a short film starring an old friend, and I watched Breakfast at Tiffanys on DVD the other day. It was an awkward moment the other day when I found out there was a documentary on TV that I really wanted to watch, but missed about half of it because I couldn’t remember how to turn on the tv!! (I’m not entirely boring- I listen to a lot of music at home, and listen to a lot of podcasts- so I’m basically an old lady who likes to listen to the “wireless”)
- Tried to meditate– this was pretty unsuccessful. I have a small monkey who lives inside my brain and he likes to play the xylophone whilst singing loudly. I lasted about 7 days of cultivating a daily meditation practice and it actually did help a lot with dealing with every day anxieties etc., and I noticed the difference when I had skipped a day. But I couldn’t keep it up, even though it was just 10 minutes out of my day
- Practice ahimsa– this traces back to my Buddhist roots and my own upbringing, and is probably one of the more difficult things to do. I feel this is a lifelong process. There are easy aspects like going vegan etc, but there are harder things like dealing with uncharitable thoughts when they crop up or even learning to forgive myself when I fall short of my own expectations. Learning to slow down and practice some kindness, and find joy in others’ joy has been a huge shift, and I hope to keep growing in this direction
- Stopped preaching zero waste– this is an interesting one. At the moment I quietly go about my days, go to the bulk stores with my own containers, bring my own coffee cup, bring scraps home to compost etc- but I no longer judge others for their plastic use (even internally). This probably is a side effect of practicing ahimsa, but I find no value in actively shaming or pushing my lifestyle in other people’s faces. I have found that in setting an example by your own actions, people who are genuinely interested will ask questions and be inspired to make some small changes in their own lives. And certainly it makes me happy when people I know contact me to tell me they’ve bought some beeswax wraps, used cloth produce bags or are growing vegetables from scraps for the first time- because they’ve been inspired by me to do the same. I don’t talk about zero waste in person much, people mostly find out via proxy on Instagram and it goes from there 🙂
- Give more— I’d been raised to be generous in both my time and with whatever money or resources I have. I have had a regular scheduled charity withdrawal for many years, but it’s almost a mindless giving activity now. A new Christmas tradition now that we’re married that I look forward to implementing is choosing a different charity or organisation that means something to us to make a donation to, or perhaps surprising each other with a Christmas donation to a charity that means something to the other person. I’m also so time poor at the moment but on my to-do list over the last 6 months is to get back into volunteering in some shape or form
- Buy less and own less– I’ve been decluttering a lot lately and have finally started to make some headway. I’m so envious of the people who start off with nothing, and can slowly and purposefully fill their homes with objects they truly need and treasure. A work in progress, obviously.
- Be kinder- because there’s no such thing as too much kindness in the world
- Try meditation… again! 😉
- Practice every day feminism– not the shouty capitals man-hating brand of feminism that I too find annoying. But after the year we’ve had I find it’s more important now than ever to fill the world with female role models who can show little girls that they can grow up to be smart, strong and independent and go about their daily lives with a bit of grace, and not be defined only by their looks (or the colour of their pantsuit). I was speaking with a good friend recently who has two little girls, and one of his biggest worries as a father is finding good female role models for his little girls to follow. It’s our collective responsibility to make the world a better place for our children, and it starts with our own actions and words.
What are your dreams for 2017?
Still trying to meditate,