I was in a relationship and now I’ve wisely taken a step back. So I have learned what it was like to be zero waste with someone. When you are with someone who is on board with your lifestyle, it’s easier, but there are areas in which his life could never be zero waste and it is also about accepting that and keeping your waste separate. In other words, my jar was mine and his waste was his own.
I also thought I was moving, but because of my decision to take a step back I am no longer moving and am refocusing on my goals and my values, the same as I had before cupid stupidly shot me in the head. Having thought that I was moving made me go through all of my things even more and downsize. For the life of me I feel like no matter how much I have donated, I still have so much! And by so much – I mean I really don’t have “so much” by today’s standards, but having a small place can make it seem like you have so much. Also, when you travel you learn pretty quickly just what you actually need and what things are there because you think you need them. There are a lot of things I think I need but I don’t. And it may not be what other people think about – for example, I don’t need 7 pair of leggings. I realize when I look through my things, a lot of why I keep things is because of the “in case.” Like, I need 4 bags “in case” one gets ruined. No I really don’t. I may be morbid, but the thought that someone will have to go through all of my things when I die, motivates me more to just focus on keeping only just what I need. Why would I burden someone else’s life with having to go through all of my things, give them all away or just throw them away when I die? I am either very considerate of other people or I’m just a freaking weirdo.
The thing is what I have the most of is supplies for art. I needed art to survive for crying out loud. I just didn’t realize that I wasn’t aware that I would buy 6 of everything. I have the “in case I want to make something one day with this” syndrome which I need to shake. Because clearly after all these years the “one day” still hasn’t come. And as an artist I struggle with whether or not I need to produce because producing all of this art.. is kind of actually… waste. And this is coming from someone who either would have committed suicide if she wasn’t creating or would have been in an insane asylum.
But in all fairness, even though I don’t feel like I’m lessening my load, the more art workshops I give the less it becomes. The more I donate the less it becomes. The more I sit and rummage through everything over and over, the less my material possessions becomes. So it is working. It’s just a slow process. A slow process that I have to accept or I will suffer greatly.
And the bigger picture for all of this is to have more freedom. To be able to live lighter, build my tiny home, become unattached from my possessions so that I can enjoy more experiences and to live simply. When I watch videos on families (with kids!) that live in Tiny Homes, they don’t feel like they’ve sacrificed anything in terms of space and that they enjoy more freedom. I watched one about a couple who have film and photography equipment and built storage space in their tiny home for it. I thought if they could do it, so can I. And I have one reader who built her Tiny Home – and she inspires me too! Where you at girl? I have questions for you!
In this downsizing I have also accumulated a bag of garbage, which I have not thrown away yet. I am still going through everything so I refuse to throw it away until it is full. And by a bag of garbage it’s actually maybe a plastic shopping bag size full. It is separate from my jar of waste pictured above, because all of this garbage I have is from before zero waste life. The jar is what I have produced since going zero waste. I am also remembering to give myself credit, because it’s almost unbelievable to myself that even with a son (and a few months of relationship) I have still only managed to produce a jar of garbage.
I am not perfect by any means. I went thrift shopping for clothes that I actually haven’t worn yet. They were for working out! I haven’t worked out yet. I suppose I am still struggling to figure out who I am. Apparently working out is not high on my agenda. But I do skateboard, take walks and chase my 3 year old around… I also got really frustrated going grocery shopping. I want to support local businesses and they packaged carrots in plastic. So I ripped the plastic off and went to the cash and said I don’t need this plastic, it’s unnecessary but I would like these carrots. Am I still contributing to the waste even though I didn’t bring the plastic home to my own trash? I have no idea.
Whatever the case is, the process continues. The learning continues. I am growing a lot. I am figuring out what I need for myself in worldly possessions, in love and in terms of my work. Some days I wonder what it’s all for. Some days I second guess myself. Someone asked me, “Are you going to keep doing Zero Waste? Would you ever go back?”
No I would never go back to being wasteful. Because once you have your eyes open, you’ll never feel good about turning a blind eye again. When you are conscious, it is a practice to remain conscious. And when you catch yourself slipping you won’t feel good. So going back would mean I would be unhappy. And why in my short lifetime would I ever spend time doing something that makes me unhappy?
Besides, similar to the morbid thoughts I have talked about above, this Life really isn’t about me. What I do isn’t just for myself. It’s for my son. It’s for the great good of the world. It’s for you.