In Discussions, Life

Trying to keep focus on what I am doing right instead of wrong

So. We all know that it is a critical period in humanity. It is now or never, that we change our habits before the Earth is well and truly spent.

We have a chance to stop climate change. We knew it at least 50 years ago and did jack squat, but we are reaching the point of no return.

We have had world leaders, and companies promise to “do better” but they haven’t met ANY of those goals, and in fact in Canada, they reversed the credit for electric cars which was meant to switch people off gasoline, and now there is no incentive for the common Jane or Joe to buy a hybrid or an electric car – to pay more for the vehicle, and yes they can save on gas itself, but … I’m just really sad.

So why am I going on a hippie rant about the earth? Because for the past few weeks, I have been truly beating myself up mentally over what I have done.

I have been criticizing myself to the point where I find it difficult to fall asleep.

I sleep nightly with the idea that I am ruining the Earth because of X, Y and Z habits, and it is exhausting me.

Not just environmental issues, either.

I realized just this morning, that I need to focus on what I am doing right, one small ant in a world of giants, and to try better and better.

I am committed to no more retail purchases, which will not only help my wallet, but I am also going to strive to limit what I actually do buy — this is very hard.

I want to do without it, or find it secondhand.

I also need to start evaluating how I buy food. I am going to bring containers to the grocery store, find places that sell in bulk, and eliminate plastic use.

My problem with this, is the origin of said products – a lot of countries have massive pollution that is in the food itself depending on where it is grown. Matcha tea for instance, comes from Japan, but it is relatively far enough away from the radiation spill that happened, that I feel safe enough to drink it from Japan.

Seaweed on the other hand, is harvested from the oceans, and will definitely have absorbed radiation from the massive nuclear spill. So, I am looking for seaweed not made in Japan, and thus far, have found that VitaminSea the company, harvests it from Maine.

I am going to have to make my own sushi now, and not buy it because it comes in plastic trays, with a fake piece of plastic grass (WHY)…

A lot of what I buy sometimes ONLY comes in plastic bags or boxes. I am unable to find spinach just hanging out by itself to buy in bulk (thus far), and I am visiting a farmer’s market today to see if it is any better.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, the stress I am now putting on myself to eliminate plastic. I want to also find vegetable bags, and use them to go shopping in a grocery store instead of the plastic ones they have.

..And my parenting

On top of all that, I am stressed because I am wondering if I am a good mother. I know I am, but sometimes, I just .. I just lose my patience and scream, and that’s not who I wanted to be, but kids really push you to the limit to the point where you can’t even remember what your name is.

I realized that I need to stop giving so much to Little Bun. So much of myself. During the day, at nights, any time I am at home, he is on me like cling wrap.

I need to start telling him more often – This is now Mommy’s time to read her book.

I find it hard to do that because I keep having this little voice in my head saying —

…but you’ll never get this time back. You will wish you spent MORE time with him.

And yes, that is true. I am already nostalgic for when he was 18 months old, running around in a diaper, giggling with socks as mittens….

But I think that is going to be like that no matter how much time I spend with him and how involved I am. It just is.

I am always going to be nostalgic and wistful about the time “lost” or that has passed. It is just that now I have to make the decision to tell myself that I can truly enjoy the time with him by ENJOYING the time with him and having mental sanity…

……or I can fake enjoy the time with him by forcing myself to unhappily spend ever moment with him to try and “cherish it all”, when in fact, I am quite resentful about not having space.

As a slight introvert (I am ambivert, which means I am both extroverted and introverted), I really do need quiet time to sit and recharge. So, that’s something I need to work on.

Then, we come to food.

Eating less meat, less dairy, eating more vegetables… this is all not that much of a change because I never really ate that much meat to begin with, but now when I do eat meat, I feel guilty.

Or with cashews – I finally found that soaking and blending cashews with water was PERFECT for smoothies, but then I find out how labour-intensive cashews are, and how toxic they are for the workers who have to shell them…by hand.

Christ.

It is like you take one step forward and two back.

Lastly, my parents..

They spend so much and waste so much on eating out which is terrible for them (they have health issues like diabetes), and they have been fighting much more in the past few years than ever before (but won’t divorce), and are WASTING, just BURNING money on lottery tickets hoping they will be the next ones who “deserve to win it all”.

Double Christ.

I … I am trying to step back and say — it is not my money, it is not my problem, let them live the way they want… but in a way it is. They’re my parents.

They have saved nothing in the years of working, and not from a lack of income, from a lack of my father basically not wanting to work (only worked part-time for most of his life, IF THAT), and my mother working but then just spending every damn penny in her bank account.

If something goes wrong, it’s on us to take care of them physically and financially, as they have nothing.

At the very least, we have all agreed that their home will be their nest egg. They will sell it, and we will split the parents if we have to, and use that money for their care.

I am really getting tired.

I am definitely overthinking all of this, but it is now becoming an issue as it is constantly on my mind, interfering with my enjoyment of life, all of this guilt I feel with EVERYTHING I am doing these days.

I even feel bad for having A/C on, for the havoc it wreaks on the environment as well.

I just need to work through this slowly, is my goal.

I need to take it one step at a time, find a good seaweed source, buy  from them consistently, and go from there, onto the next step, then the next.

And yet, I have nothing to really complain about.

I mean, all of this just sounds like f*cked up First World whining #%(# to me.

People are escaping countries, their children are dying at borders or separated from them, they don’t have food to eat, they’re in diseased countries where famine is rampant, and here I am, sitting in a safe, First World country, very VERY well off compared to peers of my age, taking it easy, having a f#%*ing GREAT LIFE.

How and why am I even complaining over the strain of buying cashews? Or eating less meat? People don’t even have money for FOOD.

I feel like a privileged brat. I really do. And that hurts as well.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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14 Comments

  1. raluca

    I would encourage you to consider your time investment into saving the world the same you would consider any other investment.
    For example: looking all over the town for plastic-free groceries costs you x hours a year and has the impact of reducing 0.5 tones of plastic (example weight). If you were to invest the same x hours in creating an advocacy group for your town/country to reduce plastic for all groceries, then maybe that would save 0.5 tones for all families in your town/countries, which would do an enourmous amount of good.
    Doing your bit matters a lot. If everyone would do their bit we would have a huge impact overall. But it’s not the only way. I would argue that at some point, pressuring your government / grocery store / corporations is the best way to save the planet, because of their sheer scale.
    If Walmart would stop selling single-use plastic, I would argue that in 10 years we would halve our plastic polution. Because once a giant company goes plastic-free, everyone else will follow, they don’t want to risk a backlash.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      You’re right — if a big company gets pressured into getting rid of plastic, if you can’t buy it, you won’t use it.

      Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Susan Tan

    It is fine to give yourself a break sometimes. You don’t have to bring bags to the grocery store on each grocery run because you can re-use the plastic bags to store moisture-sensitive food in fridge. Or, you don’t have to make a decision to turn on the AC by removing the AC entirely.

    I would personally never cut out meat because I like to cook with meat products in curries, stews, and stir fry. That is a good point about finding a good seaweed source.

    Governments can do a lot more and have more massive impact than individual actions. But it is good that you do care about less waste!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I care a lot about it, maybe too much. It hurts now each time I have to struggle with my inner demons.

      Companies and governments need to make big changes, but at least I am trying..

      Reply
  3. Ben

    We can’t change the world, but we can change our little slice of it. I’ve been trying to work from home once a week (save gas), keep the thermostat a little higher in the summer (although with a newborn we try to keep it cool…but only to 73 degrees). I’ve also semi made a promise to myself that my next car again will be an electric car. I leased one for a while and loved it, but then turned it back in. However next time around I want to go back to electric and make a positive change!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That’s good to hear. What electric car are you looking at?

      Reply
  4. Mia

    Ohhh, I understand the feeling. I was taking out our trash to the curb yesterday and I just felt so guilty knowing how much trash we generated (and it was still less than most other households put out).

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Ditto. My plastic comes mostly from the berries these days. I did find a place selling local Quebec ones but then the handle was plastic. O_o.. Can’t win.

      Reply
  5. Sense

    Oh and the BEST part of you changing your habits wrt sustainability is that those actions and the ability to adapt will be built-in and totally normal to your son. People his age and younger will have to endure the biggest changes in lifestyle and potentially decreases in quality of life over their lifetimes, if we continue as we are. The world will be 1.5 C + hotter by the time he is 35, and just keep getting warmer and more deadly until we can reverse some of the damage somehow. The earlier he is exposed, educated, and knows about the impact of his actions/buying power, the better off he will be later!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That’s what I am working on now too. I tell him to turn off the tap because we are saving animals.

      Reply
  6. Sense

    Yep to all of this!

    Lately I’ve started thinking, ‘Who am *I* to buy X and leave a plastic bottle that won’t decompose for thousands of years behind?’ Multiply that times a lifetime, across shampoo, lotion, toothpaste tubes, plastic hairbrushes, and on and on and on. It is APPALLING. We’ve all been SO thoughtless. Even if you put them in recycling, it is still waste of so much energy and resources. For what? A few months of shampoo (or whatever) that could have come in a refillable, non-plastic bottle? Never mind the people that buy a new water bottle every time they are thirsty (my parents buy water in bottles in bulk because our well water isn’t fit to drink–and they don’t even have a recycling program where they are!!!!! It’s horrific.).

    If it helps with the guilt (warning, this doesn’t help with optimism), studies have shown that decisions and lifestyle changes on the individual, personal level will not produce enough change to help us with the climate emergency. Change has to come at an industrial/nation-wide/global level to make any sort of impact. Still, there are things you can do. One less plastic bottle is one less plastic bottle. It is measurable and tangible. And anyway, it isn’t a waste of time to do that. Because eventually, those actions will HAVE to become the norm, just because the world will not be able to keep going the way it is.

    There are some signs of change. In NZ, stores and takeaways are no longer allowed to provide one-time-use plastic bags. It has become normal for me to remember to bring my reusable bags. Prior to the legislation, I would forget (I would re-use all the bags for trash bags and to bring my leaky lunches into work, though). Taking away the option to be wasteful/use one time use plastic crystallizes change. Imagine if every country did that!

    Slow and steady. It cannot and will not happen overnight. Just being aware is the first step! Have you heard of the Zero Waste home? I just checked their book out from the library and can’t wait to get started 🙂 https://zerowastehome.com/

    Reply
    1. Alice

      Yes, it’s going to take a lot of legislation to make companies change their ways. But for that to even happen, the political climate has to favor environmental change. I think every individual effort counts- it’s action that matters. And I definitely see that people aren’t as lax about using plastic. There has been a lot of pushback against disposables. Right now our world is so geared toward plastic consumption that we’re going against status quo to avoid it. It’s good that we’re actually stopping to think about it.

      Reply
      1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

        It is good we are talking about it, stopping it, mentioning it… there is really no need for it, as they can even do plant plastic now.

        Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I have heard of zero waste home, but my issue with buying bulk items is I am concerned about pollution of foods in certain countries like India, China, Indonesia.. I don’t want to buy or try to avoid buying and eating foods from there due to the recent nuclear spill, the polluted lands and waters… I’m quite nervous about all of it.

      So unless I can be sure of the origin, I will not buy it, in bulk, I have never seen them post origin!!!

      Reply

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