Many of you may be surprised to know...that I am not yet dead. I manage to survive (quite well, in fact) despite sharing my space with my waste AND greatly reducing (or forgoing entirely) my use of coffee lids, plastic bags, bottles, disposable feminine products, and so may other things I thought I might wither up and die without. Or, at the very least totally inconvenience my established lifestyle.
But Lo! I am still here...even healthy enough to run half naked through the streets of Boston in the annual Santa Speedo Run. Team Numbass ran in an 18 degree windchill, and you know something? None of us died. And Nope, I'm note the cute one. I'm the pensive-looking viking...
I even turned down the free plastic bag from Puma to hold my clothes, and I STILL didn't die. Incredible...might there be some things I can live, and dare I say, be HAPPY without? It got me thinking about the spectrum of inconvenience...running in the cold causes one to think about these things.
So, what do you consider an inconvenience?
- Is it the wind blowing hair in your face as you're crossing the street?
- Is it an out-of-order ATM?
- Is it losing power for a week after an ice storm or hurricane?
- Is it not having electricity at all?
- Is it having wet firewood?
- Is it having to fix dinner for yourself when you're tired?
- Is it not having quite enough food for to feed your family?
- Is it missing the bus?
- Is it losing your job (or needing one in the first place)?
- Is it losing your keys? Dropping your keys? Needing to lock things up in the first place?
- Is it your child waking up too early or going to sleep too late?
- Is it having to pee in the woods (or not being able to?)
- Is it having too much stuff (or not enough)?
- Is it debt?
- Is it family holidays (or lack thereof)?
- Is it people?
- Is it sharing the road with drivers? pedestrians? cyclists?
- Is it sharing the planet with other animals?
- Is it sleeping, walking, crying, or coughing?
- Is it the urge to change, but having no clue how to enact it?
- Is it TV, cell phone, computer, or lack thereof?
- Is it having to dodge someone throwing a shoe at your face? Is it having bad aim?
- Is it the language barrier? The cultural barrier?
- Is it sharing a seat with someone on the train?
- Is it a dull knife, a bad hair day, or having to share your bath with mosquito larvae?
- Is it elephants trampling through your garden?
- Is it stepping in poop or even having to smell it? Is it being around people who think that theirs doesn't stink?
- Is it a broken copy machine?
- Is it child support? Children in general?
- Is it dreams, ideas, or lack thereof?
- Is it development or red tape?
- Is it a flood, drought, heat wave, blizzard, or earthquake?
- Is it an endangered species?
- Is it chipping a nail or biting your tongue?
In my 15th week, I've just realized that my list of "inconveniences" is evolving:
- not being charged $5 for every plastic bag I receive with my purchase.
- not being able to bring in my empty shampoo bottle for a discounted refill at most supermarkets
- not receiving a "return-packaging-to-manufacturer" envelope with all the products I buy.
- being entirely reliant on e-mail, internet, and phone communication in order to do my job well
- having to reconfirm with employees at various stores that "no, thank you" I do not need a plastic bag...if I was able to carry everything to the register, I imagine that truth will hold as I walk out the door, right?
- being grouped in with the millions of other straw-abiding citizens
- having adapted to WAY too many conveniences via plastic
- the line of thinking that I need to fill my life with stuff rather than relationships and experiences and still believing that relationships and experiences need to have a lot of stuff in order to function properly
- having trash barrels everywhere
At my grandpa's funeral, I met a friend of my mom's for the first time...a wonderful woman who I felt like I'd known for years. She recalled a humorous story about ringing my grandparents doorbell (my mom was staying there) at 1:00 in the morning after a "libatious" high school reunion. The two friends who accompanied her whispered, "Are you sure we should be doing this? We're going to wake them up!" She pursed her lips and furrowed her brow and said exclaimed (in an animated & exasperated southern accent), "Nobody's gonna die!"
I have applied this wisdom many times since. So, next time you think about buying something (plastic or other)...ask yourself..."Am I gonna die if I don't buy this?" If that approach is too extreme for you, you can tone it down a notch by asking..."Is this going to bring me happiness?" or "How is this going to improve mine or my family's health or appreciation for life?"
Just try it...
Often, I just turn on my robot switch when I enter the grocery. Now I realize that I can't even mindlessly order a glass of water at a restaurant or I get a free straw for my new straw house that I am slowly building in my guest room.
Wake up & abre los ojos. If you are reading this, it probably means that you're not dead either.