I’ve spent a lot of time thinking over the last 6 weeks or so about what I want to do with this year. I can be a bit floaty, make plans and not follow through. This blog is about personal accountability and pulling it together.
Here’s the things I am working towards achieving
- It all started with a new years resolution: no buy new year. What does that mean? It mainly applies to clothing, but I am going to avoid buying new things except under specific circumstances. What are those circumstances?
a. underwear, tights, leggings. I wear many of these things and the reason why you never see second hand items is cause it’s a bit gross since it’s on your crotch.
b. Medicine. I take a few medicines and I’d prefer to keep buying those at a chemist, cheers.
c. If a specific item has attempted to be repaired and it can no longer be done. Electrical items are a good example of this one, but I can always buy those second hand. Shoes is probably a better option here as I have trouble finding shoes that fit me even when they’re new! These are just everyday shoes though as I have planned purchases for other shoes.
d. I plan on playing footy this year and need to buy footy boots. I also plan on hiking a lot more (I’ve done some hiking over the last year and have enjoyed it a lot, but my weak ankles don’t care for me doing it in runners). Both these things require specific well considered ethical purchases. With research I believe that I can get those things easily from good producers
e. Presents. I tend towards the ‘experiences as gifts’ items anyway, but a lot of my friends are having kids these days. If they’ve specifically requested something that their kid needs for the first birthday, I’m not going to push my personal choices onto them. Living consciously also means being conscious of others needs.
f. I’m also not going to stop shopping entirely from small ethical producers. Local artists at markets need support to stay in a difficult industry. The arts are difficult enough without your target audience deciding against buying your creations on a whim! But this doesn’t just mean I’m going to shop etsy and not change. I want to seriously consider everything I buy and analyse my shopping motivations.
- Cutting down on packaging until I remove it entirely. Over the next couple of years (I plan on doing this slowly!) I plan on removing single use plastic from my life. My first step towards that is no longer buying drinks out (unless they come in glass) and removing soft drink from my life entirely. I am a huge addict of coca cola and am currently on day 1 of no caffeine and sugar and the headaches are already intense. This is even more clarifying for me: I need to do this for my health along with for the planet. There’s a few other things that I can already see this being relevant towards and they are: make up, food, menstrual products, shaving products, other body care items (shampoo etc). In many ways, I figure this will be more difficult than not buying new: I can avoid not buying clothes, but this will involve changing bigger habits that I’ve had for my whole life. Things like making my own make up and other body care items are on the list here. The main way this will be reflected is by finding food producers that don’t use plastics and allow you to return containers or bring your own. In addition, finding food producers that are also ethical sources of their produce: I am a light meat eater after being vegetarian for 10 years and vegan for 5. These things matter deeply to me. At present I am using up items and then assessing on when/how to approach the issues when I run out of an item. My odds are on shampoo and conditioner probably going first.
- Removing my car reliance to the absolute minimum. I have bicycles. They are good bicycles. I have more than 1 bicycle (I actually have 4 because I’m a horrendous hoarder). How many times have I ridden in the last year? zero. That’s seriously fucked. I live riding distance to uni and my boyfriends house is both riding and walking distance to work and my volunteering work. However I regularly drive to both or catch ubers. This is categorically shithouse and needs changing. I am lazy. This is not self-flagellation it’s fact. I know it costs $6 for an uber from my boyfriends place to work and that’s super embarrassing. Cars are expensive to own, expensive to run and maintain and horrific for the environment. I am lucky to own one that gives me immense freedom, but I also need to keep perspective on the other options available to me: my legs, my feet, bikes and public transport increase usage. Plus I suck at parking and hate paying for it, so this is really straightforward to save some cash on. I also hope it’ll help me lose weight and get a bit fitter, eh?
- Drinking less alcohol. At the moment, one of the ways I am trying to be more conscious is to remove things that inhibit my consciousness. Alcohol is one of those things. I love my friends, but drinking both impedes my ability to function the day after an event and also to recall things that have happened. As I get older my friendships are deepening and I wish to have these memories, not just fuzzy vague recollections of some fun stuff we did, but maybe we didn’t, or was that the night that…? Instead my measurable goal is to have one beautiful drink when I go out with friends. I came to this decision after a trip to Bruny Island just off Tasmania this weekend. I stopped at a whisky place and drank a shot of $20 whisky aged in rum barrels that was out of production and cost over $500 to buy 1 of the last 2 bottles. I drank that looking out over the bay and it was absolutely perfect. Why not just buy 1 immensely beautiful item to savour and enjoy instead of 4 shite ones? One beautiful glass of wine out with dinner is better than a cask of goon and you don’t need to be an elitist wine wanker to believe that. Plus – I have fructose malabsorption and drinking basically anything but straight spirits makes me feel totally ill so this has extra health ramifications. It also ties into the removal of single use packaging. I’m not a monk (and don’t aspire to be one either), so having a clear boundary of what I’m about will make things easier in the long run.
- Finish my masters. I am completing my masters in International Community Development and working full time in the industry is something I am deeply passionate about. Working part time in a job I love is wonderful, but I’d really prefer to be doing that work full time so I can earn more money to achieve more things that I want to do. I am taking a full course load, along with working 3 days a week and volunteering at 3 other organisations. This will be a busy year!
- Join a board. I want to work on a board of an organisation to help set strategic plans and goals for things that I care about.
- Apply to intern at the UN. They have programs and with my masters course nearing completion I need to focus on my future career direction. I plan on applying to do their internship program in 2018 if I am unable to find full time work immediately after completing my masters.
- Consciously spend more time with my friends. It is easy to neglect relationships as you age and I wish to focus more on friendships and attempt to see at least 1 friend per week out of work (I am also lucky enough to work with many close friends).
- Work on my anger. I can have a quick temper and it is not a constructive way to communicate. I wish to be more mindful in how I communicate generally. I am working on this with therapy and also a daily mindfulness routine.
So this is a bloody long post, but it lays out my plans. I may add more to those things as the year progresses, but that’s the rough list.