Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.
― Walt Whitman
Think before you speak. Read before you think.
― Fran Lebowitz
On the contrary, words are not to be taken lightly. Your words reflect the kind of person you are and the kind of person that you want to become.
We live in a world that places value on Yes. Yes to staying late at work, Yes to the third girls night out in a month, Yes to that upsize.
Yes means that you’re a team player, a go-getter, someone who’s seizing every opportunity that life throws your way. But do you also sometimes feel trapped by the big Y-E-S?
(Gratuitous Hiddles GIF because we’re getting deep)
As I’ve detailed before, when I’m not able to make ends meet with acting gigs, I cover my bills with a variety of casual jobs. These all dove-tail nicely and usually mean that I’m able to earn more than I need to to keep afloat. And I mean way more. It’s completely normal to get a ‘By the way, are you free on…’ every time I’m in an office. My knee-jerk reaction is always to say yes, because who’s going to turn down extra money? If I don’t practice my No muscle, there are times when I can look at my diary and realise that I’ve worked 50-60 hours in a week. My workplaces are probably grateful to have an extra set of hands available and I know that my bank account always sure appreciates the extra boost, but how is any of that helping me move towards what I actually want in life? Looked at objectively, my Yes is serving everyone but me.
The self-sacrificing Yes can disguise itself in a number of ways.
Online sales are my weaknesssss- I’m the person that will open a dozen tabs and add hundreds of dollars of items to my cart before coming to my senses and leaving everything behind. So where has my Yes to their emailed invitation gotten me? I’ve probably wasted a few hours of work time and decided that I need to completely overhaul my wardrobe, browsing the sale was really only the good little capitalist in me trying to burn my hard earned money on some low-cost, sweatshop clothing. Is that really what I’m working for?
The real irony is, the more I’ve been working in a day-job, the harder it is for me to resist the chance to throw my money away. I’ll find myself engaging in hard-core research for products I don’t even need, because deep down I’m trying to justify the overwork. I’m working so hard so I deserve to spend money on the things I want – or the things they tell me I want. And then what do I have to do to replace the money I spent?
Bingo. I say yes to overtime again.
Sometimes not using your Yes won’t make sense to the rest of the world.
This whole blog post started in my head last night when I went to grab a burger on the run for dinner. At the end of my order, I was offered sauce for an extra 50c and obviously said yes because aoli is life.
And then I got ‘and what drink would you like?’
The options on offer were canned soft drink (which I’m avoiding because I’m trying to deny that it’s time for a visit to the dentist) or bottled water (see here and here for the back story on that one).
‘None, thank you’.
‘Are you sure? It’s free with the sauce.’
‘I’m good, but thanks’
‘Not even a water?’
‘No thank you.’
I had to turn down a free drink four times before she would accept my answer.
Because who doesn’t say yes to free? Crazy people, that’s who!
Saying Yes would sure have ended the conversation sooner. But then where would I have been? Technically I would have been up the cost of a water, but why do I need it? I had a bottle in my bag, and if I had taken the plastic bottle it would have lurked on my conscience all night.
No matter how badly the lovely woman wanted me to follow the purchase path (probably making her till order easier) and take the ferdydurking free water, withholding my Yes was what was better for me. (Okay, technically it was more of a series of very polite No’s, but you get the point. I’ll write on the power of a good No another day.)
Treasure your Yes-es as if you had a finite amount to give- because you do! How many times can you say Yes to everyone before you suffer a complete breakdown?
Save them for the things that will bring you joy. Say Yes to that movie with friends, that extra-nice bottle of wine, or that short film that you really don’t have time to do but the script is just so.damned.good (guilty). Save your Yes-es for the things that will feed your soul, because at the end of the day, you’re the only one who has to live in the life you’re creating.
PSA: This post is written from the perspective of a compulsive Yes-er. If you think that mayyybe you’re a compulsive No-er, you go and sprinkle those Yes-es like stardust, you beautiful little nay-sayer!
One of my first ever ferdydurking posts (SO long ago), was on 5 Easy Switches to Change the World. For the past year or so I’ve been working towards living in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way. It’s a lifestyle that I had started to see around instagram (because minimalism is so photogenic guys) but it wasn’t something that really stuck with me until I scrolled past a comment that hit me like a stone- Every piece of plastic ever made still exists.
The headline may be sensationalist and there are definitely people who dispute the severity of the situation, but isn’t that still a terrifying thought? Every plastic cup, every lost comb, every ridiculous Happy Meal toy, just piling up in a corner somewhere like the opening scenes from Wall-E.
And that’s not even considering the amount of finite resources that are burned through to make all of that single-use junk.
Like a lot of the scary things in life, it wasn’t something that I had even stopped to consider consider before but it’s quickly become something that hangs out at the back of my mind, waiting to give me an annoying poke every time I reach for a bit of non-essential plastic (amazing slushy drinks with those jelly bits in it, I’m looking at you).
My last post on the topic was the first five changes I made to try and reduce my impact- the lowest hanging fruit, if you will. Tiny swaps that I introduced one-by-one and don’t even think about anymore!
If you feel like you’ve already mastered all of those (and I would love to hear if anyone actually did try any of the swaps), here’s the next five things that I changed as I try to shrink my junk-pile for good!
- Disposable Razors
Straight in with the fun swaps. Lady razors are a pink, strawberry scented, plastic carnival of waste (is that too over the top?). No surprises if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, but I also regularly opted for the big multi-packs of single use razors, because this gal ain’t gonna drop $20 on a razor just for a couple of weeks of silky smooth legs. Think of all the coffee that could buy!
Swapping to a Safety Razor means that all I have to worry about now is changing out the blade itself, and those chunky plastic handles are a thing of the past. Other fun advantages include a better shave (this one took me by surprise- how can less blades = a better shave?) and feeling a little bit badass every time I pick it up.
It’s a safe bet that any time you pick up a bottle of beauty product, one of the first ingredients is going to be water (or acqua, if they’re trying to be fancy). So why should I pay for a plastic bottle of something that’s coming out of the tap anyway?
I had absolutely no faith in shampoo bars when the idea was introduced to me, but I chatted to a couple of friends who were already using them and decided throw caution to the wind and give them a try.
Lush’s Honey I Washed My Hair was the first bar I reached for (because honey, obviously). It took a couple of washes for me to get used to the idea of using a bar instead of liquid shampoo, but now I can’t see myself ever going back. Why would I? I’ve noticed literally no difference in the condition of my hair, the bar sits snugly in my soap rack next to the soap of my dreams so I don’t need extra bottle in the shower, AND I’m saving the world (or at least my tiny part of it).
3. Cotton Face Rounds
I’ve always had this weird thing about taking my makeup off with a flannel (Face cloth? Wash cloth? Mini towel?). I have no idea why, but I’ve never been able to get on board with it so cotton face rounds were a fixture in my bathroom. Once I started being more mindful of my waste, I couldn’t really ignore the growing binful of rounds & wrappers ever week.
But what to do? I still really didn’t want to switch to a flannel, but I had no idea what else I could use to take my makeup off- particularly heavy stage makeup! Luckily, google came to the rescue and I stumbled across the hidden world of these babies.
Reusable cotton rounds! Such a simple solution. I now have two spaces in my bathroom drawer- one for clean rounds and one for dirty. Once I’ve used a rounds to get rid of my face, it gets thrown in the dirty sections and come wash-day the whole lot of them get thrown in an Onya Bag with the rest of my washing and come out ready to go again! What a bunch of champions.
4. Single Use Cutlery
The western world loves to eat on the run.
That was one huge thing that I noticed during my time in Italy- food ‘on the go’ isn’t a thing. Even my coffee in a keepcup was the cause of much hilarity! Over here in Australia, food is always a rushed event. Grab a salad and a plastic fork, eat it on the tram. After a curry? Grab some takeaway with a cutlery pack and eat it at your desk. We’re always in a rush and those single-use plastics just keep piling up.
Now, I’ve always been a bit of a cutlery hoarder – I once went through airport security and had to hand over six metal forks that I had apparently been carrying around with me- but that’s not what you could call an ideal solution. Luckily, in an airport in Hong Kong, I found the perfect solution! I now have a little tube that pops open to reveal a half-sized fork, spoon, and collapsible set of chopsticks (because Hong Kong). It sits in my backpack and means that I never have to say yes to cutlery again. Finding a solution that works for you might take a bit of looking, but I believe in you.
5. A Rubbish Bin
Say what? Swap out your rubbish bin?? I know, this is a weird one.
To be honest, getting rid of my rubbish bin was more of an accidental swap – when I moved into my little house over a year ago, I always intended to get the perfect rubbish bin for tiny kitchen, but nothing ever seemed to be right. My rubbish solution always ended up being a bag slung over a cupboard handle- ugly and plastic.
As I converted more of my purchases to recyclable or reusable alternatives, I noticed that my bagful of rubbish was getting smaller and smaller and decided to make a concerted effort to cut it down even more. Now my waste system consists of a carton for my recycling and a bokashi compost system for all of my food scraps- everything else goes into this odd little bucket that I somehow acquired on an Ikea trip.
Is it the perfect rubbish bin? Not by a long shot. It’s small, annoying to try and stack rubbish in, and I can’t find anywhere to keep it that doesn’t drive me nuts. And THAT is what makes it perfect for me. Having rubbish in my kitchen is now a friction point- it annoys me to see it there and it’s a pain to take down to the bins. You had better bet that any time I’m weighing up a purchase I start thinking about that annoying little rubbish pile in the corner of my kitchen and look for an alternative that I can tuck away into my recycling instead. And any time I do succumb to the easier plastic alternative, that wrapping will sit there and judge me until I take it to the building’s bins, prodding me to seek out alternatives. It’s all about the baby steps!