Intentional living · Low Impact · Personal growth · Self discovery · Wellness

What I have learned in 2018

Hi friends! I hope you have had a wonderful New Year’s Day celebration. It can be as huge as attending a big scale countdown event, or as simple as watching a movie at home. Because hey, you do you.

So I spent some time reflecting on the past year and what I have learned. It was a bittersweet year. I had some of the best experiences and some pretty bleak moments. But what is more important is, I learned quite a bit on subjects that I never would have thought would interest me.

Mother Nature is in dire need for help

It is scary to learn about how us humans are destroying Mother Nature. How, with the flimsy excuse of convenience, we have caused so much damage to Earth and her ecosystem. The biggest culprit: the rampant use of disposable plastic even when there is absolutely no need for such items. Some examples are plastic straws, plastic cups for dine-in customers, and plastic dipping sauce plates.

The truth behind animal agriculture

It is saddening how so many of us are oblivious to the truth behind the animal products we consume every day. We are brought up to believe that it is culturally appropriate for us to consume so much animal products. That there is absolutely nothing wrong with killing another being for the pleasure of our tastebuds. We do not make any connection between watching a video of a cute piglet whilst eating our pork chop. We complain about “those barbarians” who eat dog meat whilst we chew up our piece of steak.

This is why, despite my realisation of how these poor animals have to suffer and die for my pleasure, I am still not vegan. Despite the knowledge, horror and disgust, years and years of indoctrination that it is normal to consume animal products still make me feel that it is not that bad to eat that sausage. I do feel guilty whenever I consume them, but it is not enough to eradicate those years of indoctrination.

It is also extremely difficult when the people closest to you believe that no meal is complete without meat. As much as I know I should, I am unable to prioritise the rights of the animals over the feelings of the people around me. And I sometimes hate myself for it. I make it a point to eat as “vegan-ly” as possible when I am dining on my own, but when I am dining with people, I really do not want to make them feel like I am being difficult, or worse, that I am judging their choice to consume animal products.

Which leads me to the next point.

People who lack awareness are not necessarily bad people

It is extremely frustrating to try to explain to people why I need to be so uptight about saying “no straw please” every time I dine out (and beating myself up when I forget to), or to be picky about where we dine (I try to get people to dine at places with options so that I can order something with the least amount of animal product). It is annoying when people try to explain or defend themselves for not doing the same. I mean, why?! You choose to do whatever you please, and consume whatever you want, so why can’t you just let it go and let me make my own choices? Do you honestly think I am being ridiculous and petty, or is it because deep down inside, you feel guilty or judged?

However, I have realised that many people simply lack education and awareness. When I get so upset with people serving my dine-in iced coffee in a disposable plastic cup, I forget that it could be because they do not know the damage plastic is causing our planet. When the lady at the bakery packs my purchase in layers and layers of plastic bags, she did it out of goodwill because she thinks that it will keep my pastries fresh.

And so, instead of being annoyed at them (this can show on our faces, no matter how hard we try to conceal it), I have learned to say no to them politely, and to thank them for their troubles for obliging my request.

I cannot make everyone like me

On that note, I have also learned that as much as I can try to make everyone at least not be upset with me, I cannot guarantee it. This is especially difficult when my values are so different from most people I know.

I can try to be kind and accommodating, but I should not be required to bend backward just so that I am the likeable one. What is the point of being someone whom I am not just so that people will like “me”? How is that liking me when it is not even me?

In short…

I have learned so much about who I am and what my values are, and I have been made aware of the truth behind the things that we consume blindly on a daily basis, and how our every decision leaves an impact.

I would love to hear from you on what you have learned from 2018. Was it good? Not so good? Well hey, you survived, so that’s good news!

Until next post!

Love, Jess xoxo

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