Sharing our life journey can be very inspirational and positive. People are looking for answers, icons of happiness, and referential models of which way to go. Because there is so much information out there, as well as criticism and applause to ephemeral junk and triviality, in the end we are left with more doubts and disorientation on where to even start. This is intimidating and somehow paralyzing. Yet, it is the actual initial wall to break through to advance.
Shall we put on a superhero cape and drastically go down to a more sustainable living? Let’s say, from now on we stop buying food and beverages in plastic packaging. It sounds like a good initiative. However, suppose that you live on a 3rd-floor by stairs apartment and you need to carry extra weight from those glass bottles and jars. Would you still make a 100% switch? Imagine applying that same example to an unfit 50+ person who suffers from back pain. Where will it take him? Alternative paths come to surface when a shortcoming or inadequacy is presented. An imperfect, still more sustainable, version of ourselves is better than nothing. Withal, it needs to be genuine. It ought to come from within. When we have the inner conviction that that’s the way, any rock on the road is just a trifling little stone. It might be more reasonable to begin with 50% plastic reduction, whilst evaluating the collateral impact. Next, improve.
I will share a bit of my experience as a vegan. It took me probably more than a year to make the switch, not because of my food choices (I have been vegetarian for more than half of my life). That was the easy part, actually. Being vegan meant to me more than just a food choice. It related to compassion, to empathy for other living beings, recognizing we are just users of natural resources and not owners of the world. The hardest part for me was… cleaning my closet! Yes, it is true. I realized I had so much, many leather shoes, coats, bags, belts, gym clothes… so many things I had been keeping for years unwilling to give them away. Alongside, I was buying clothes with eyes closed, ignoring their origin, their true cost, just to feel pretty in a new sweater or dress. And then, that one day, I felt empty. Totally clueless. What I was projecting with my food choice was not aligned with my consumerist attitude in other areas. I could have been a reference to a healthier lifestyle to many, yet in parallel I had been behaving like a selfish fashion idiot. Any great change in our life deserves time and dedication, while loving the road to transformation, as a cliché phrase it may sound. Tolerate imperfections and if possible, improve them. Each step forward done with firmness, integrity, honesty, without comparing our actions to any imposed standard of the morally correct, leads us to a better version of ourselves. That is, ultimately, sustainable.
Kindness refers to taking care. Taking care of each other, of a plant, of a pet…, taking care of the world.
Evolve, live the transition, and leave behind your personal marketing. Make baby steps towards a more balanced way of living as well as more connected with nature, not for what others will think of you. That cult of fictitious acceptance could question your well-done moves when you misstep. However, that is part of being imperfect, of being human. Draw away the likes, the followers, the amazing picture throwing arms into a clear sky with a background mountain within a green scenery. Do it because it is the way to go, that you want to go. Alongside you will inspire and gain respect from those who want to make the switch likewise.
And this is how we evolve as society.