Firstly, we don’t need to achieve everything immediately.
We just need to start! So keep in mind the 80/20% goal.
By the way, with this post I’m not saying that you should be vegetarian, vegan, minimalist, or a more conscious/mindful/better person.
I think I’ve learned a lot from all those tendencies, and I always see that It’s so easy to just identify with a label and to forget about the reason we started a new lifestyle.
For example, here’s my story:
I decrease dramatically the amount of meat that I was consuming when I was studying at University, and for 2 main reasons: I didn’t have a lot of money and time to buy and cook for myself, so I just had it when I visited my family. Also, as I reduced my consumption I noticed that my stomach and teeth didn’t feel that well when I had a delicious meal with meat (mainly cow and pork). So, It seemed like it was a lot of work for my body to process that meat, or at least, that was my thought.
Then around 2013, when I was employed, I felt very anxious and stressed trying to be someone, a perfect person… you know! So I found myself having a lot of processed food: cow milk, chicken, tuna in cans, frozen veggies like corn, “healthy” cookies and cereals, etc.
And believe me, I used to buy a lot of milk and those cereal boxes… because it was “good for me” … yeah and fucking sugary too.
But yeah, there was a moment when I said to myself “Do I really need to eat this amount of food?”, “What are all those weird ingredients that I can not even pronounce?”, “Which are the companies behind all these products?” “What about the expiration date?” My answer to those questions was: OMG! now I see the business and my opportunity of being more responsible about what I’m putting into my body #ahamoment
After that I started travel more often to NYC, Peruvian Amazon, San Francisco, Guatemala, Galápagos, Easter Island, South Africa, Patagonia in Chile, etc. I spent a lot of time with indigenous people in some of those places, and when I was in USA, I always used to “eat, drink and shop” (I was a business woman) and to observed my feelings before, during and after consumption.
What can I say?!
After 3 days walking in the jungle with a mayan guy in Guatemala, just camping, eating local and organic food, I said “OK, got it! I feel so good now” “such a relief to don’t need a lot of things that I thought I need them” “All the things/experiences I have now could be more consistent with myself, so unique”…etc.!
In Galápagos I remembered the last day after an entire week of snorkeling, we were sailing and going back to Santa Cruz island, when the tourist guide asked to all of us “Who wants to fish?!” and everybody in that boat said “yes! I do”. That moment for me was a show, where people tried to fish, sometimes it worked and sometimes not, so just for fun (because we didn’t need it) we did not care about those fishes we hurt and we couldn’t caught.
So please, remember that I’m just telling you my stories but I’m not saying that you should stop eating fish or buying fast fashion clothes, for example.
Please, but please… do whatever you want!
This had been my path from realization about some decisions that I made, how conscious I was about them, and how hard I was with myself and humanity…
Yeah I have to say it, at those days I felt so guilty and ashamed for being human.
And maybe, because of that shock of experiences and messages in my head,
I was so strict in 2017:
- I stopped having delivery food (even when I love sushi!), and I only had takeaway when I was carrying my own container.
- I also stopped buying from supermarkets and pharmacy, so herbs, farmers markets and local entrepreneurs were again my best friend! (like in the 80’s)
- I didn’t drink alcohol for a year, even when I went to Perú! (yep, I love pisco sour!)
- I never bought again a traditional deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo or soap. I’ve been learning since then how to make my own body care products.
- I also remember that I got angry with my family and friends when them brought plastic bags, processed food, etc. to my place. Yep! I’m not proud of it, I had to say how sorry I was with them and at the end after learning my lesson about love and respect, I had the hardest work… to forgive myself.
- Besides, I was more into plant based cooking, composting, minimalism, growing my own food (in the city), taking courses about permaculture, making eco-detergent, etc. I felt like a weird hippie in the city, running 3 companies.
- Since then my cost of life has dropped dramatically (at least 50%)! and It has been exactly the same with the amount of garbage that I produce.
Now with more than a year of living in Costa Rica; first in the jungle, then in the countryside (up in the mountains) being part of the Core Team in a Permaculture Farm, and for now being in the big city, I can say this:
I’ve been navigating life from a black or white mindset, from all the concepts and definitions that I’ve learnt in the past, and from the past setting the future.
Now I remembered that “dreams come true” and if you truly believe that there is a different way to do things, you can definitely do it… step by step, but at least starting!
And that’s when the 80/20% goal became a solution for me.
Because I can do my best, without literally hating myself.
So for example, just saying:
80% of my meals are organic/vegan/plant-based/farm-to-table/etc. and the 20% is processed food/fast food/dairy products/etc.
Or here another one:
80% of my budget goes to cover my basic needs like rent, food, internet, transport, etc.nAnd 20% of it goes to dining out, drinks, trips, etc.
80% of the time I’m going to talk honestly to myself about the reasons why I want to do shopping. And 20% of the time I let me be not that serious, more relax and even lazy!
Yep! from my perspective, you don’t need to do it to be a better person (unless you want or feel that it is the case)
For me is more about doing it, because I feel better… or it sparks joy! as Marie Kondo says 🙂
So, to be honest…
I do feel like I recovered my curiosity, my inner child.
My curiosity about everything that I’m experiencing now;
food ingredients of this meal, construction materials of the place where I am living now, where that garbage goes, from where comes my clothes (who made it?), what about the banking system, taxes, …ufff so interesting!
So well, the following tips are also helpful if you want to go deep in your own feelings, thoughts, behavior, values and fears.
It could sound scary but for me it has been absolutely worthy 🙂
BUY WHAT YOU really NEED. Before buying, ask yourself
Do I really need it? or could I live without it?
Can I make it at home? It could be an authentic, social/educational and even cheaper experience.
Is it a local and natural product?
Where is it from and where will it be going?
Do I want it or do I need it?
Do I really need it to live? or could I survive without it?
I want it, but will it generate waste in a few minutes?
I want it, but does it mean that in order to satisfy myself, someone else has/had/will have to suffer?
I want it, but is it really good for me?
Cannot produce it at home? then buy it locally!
To support and reinforce the local richness, economy, culture and what others do so well
Because every massive industrial production includes a high use of resources (energy, human beings, earth and water, combustible), as well as production of waste.
“The cost of the waste is on the producer, until we buy it”
Try that unique way of living,
where you feel better,
where you are honest with yourself,
where you follow your values and believes,
where you are taking care of yourself,
where you follow your own way to live.
January 16th of 2020. San José – Costa Rica