The easiest way to live “longer” is to shatter your routine every once in a while, it certainly makes time pass more slowly. I picked up Zero Waste Life last week. It’s one of those trendy Target books that advertise ideal lifestyles every good Christian white woman wants to live. I’m all about it right now, though. I dive in to new waters so fast my head hits the bottom of the pool and I black out, but I still manage to take one or two new habits away from each one.
I’ve tried cutting back on waste in the past but like anyone who has “tried” anything, I wasn’t fully committed. I’m taking a more measured approach this time, preparing what I need to do, and tracking my progress. In my experience, those are the things I have to do to make something stick around a while longer.
It’s Depressing Though…
My circumstances curb stomp most inspirational ideas I get, unfortunately. I live with two of the worst human beings I’ve ever known (whom I also happen to be related to) so my motivation gets sapped quickly. At 39, I’ve more or less learned to ignore the constant negative feedback of “you’re just going to quit anyway, why bother”, “that’s stupid, you’re not going to change anything” and s on. But living in a home that is in constant disarray and an inch of filth doesn’t make me want to live more minimally or cleanly. For example, when I got out of rehab (almost four years ago!) I was on a lengthy kick where I wanted to “give back” to my family who had to put up with me for so long, so I cleaned the house regularly, took up a lot of maintenance projects, bought gifts, and so on. But they wore me down over about a year. There are only so many times a man can do the dishes only to have his projectile-vomiting alcoholic brother dump the 30 plates he’s had stored under his bed (no joke, I wish I could describe what his room smells like on the rare occasions he opens the door) into the sink right afterward. Added to that was the increasing realization that my family was a big part of the reason I grew up to be the drunk, antisocial, angry loser I was… so fuck those people. 😂
Food waste is the biggest category we’re guilty of. I know we all like to believe we’re not as bad as “most people” but I can say with certainty that I don’t waste much food. My family, on the other hand… My mother cooks huge meals as if she’s still feeding a husband and 3 children, but then she doesn’t eat leftovers and cooks a huge meal again the next day. After only a couple days she complains that nobody is eating the leftovers (which is an interesting pattern to keep up for 40 years) and throws it all away. Shit like this is what is really going to get me down this time, I know that already, so I’ve been doing my best to eat only what’s in the fridge. After only a couple days of doing this I’ve saved quite a bit of money, actually, because everything I’ve eaten has been free.
How to Shop?
Shopping will be difficult in some areas. Meat is often wrapped in plastic and then butcher paper. I’m sure if I asked them to they’d forego the plastic, but I’m not the best at speaking up on the fly. Another challenge for myself, perhaps! Even then, you can’t recycle butcher paper because it’s had food on it as far as I know. That’s one of the items that makes “Zero Waste” more of an ideal to reach toward than something we ever achieve. There’s always going to be some trash in your life, the goal is to make it as little as possible.
I’ve already had a few positives come from this. I haven’t had soda or junk food in a few days because, of course, it all comes in plastic. I’ve been taking a Rubbermaid container of trail mix and sliced apples to work every day for my morning snack (like a preschooler, lol) and I switched back to coffee from my daily Heart-Attack-Size(TM) Monster. I’ve been feeling pretty gross lately from a breakfast of caffeinated poison and candy bars so if this is the only thing that sticks long term, it’ll be worth it.