Top 3 Challenges

In teacher assessment language, we are able to specify what students are doing really well, and also outline “areas of improvement”, in which we state where they can improve and how they can do so.  In teacher practices, we also do a lot of “self-reflection”, in which we outline our personal successes, and areas of improvement.  That’s what I’m doing today, but focusing on my areas of improvement, because this is a perfect platform to receive help from the experts!

My three biggest challenges right now are…
1)  Road trips
2)  Feminine hygiene alternatives
3)  Fear and acceptance of judgement

1) In the initial planning phase for a road trip, I always assume I am going to be prepared.  In retrospect once back at home I think… wow… that totally sucked and I created a lot of unnecessary garbage simply because I was ill-prepared!  In the last three weeks I’ve gone on two rather lengthy road trips (lengthy in the term of traveling time, not actual spending time at your destination).  I should outline minor successes first, and I’ll do this in the style a la Kelly (almost) Green:

+ kept my handkerchief at the ready in my purse
+ kept my tiny Japanese hand towel in my purse
+ travel mugs and tin water bottles always accessible
+ cloth shopping bags for groceries and other possible purchases
+ cooler filled with food from home

However, “food out” was still purchased because we didn’t pre-plan sandwiches or any go-meals, resulting in wrappers, paper bags, napkins, and sauce containers.  Also, the friends we were visiting were not equipped with a compost, and I didn’t have a container big enough to take my food waste and return it to my home compost.  I also gave in to the temptation of purchasing items from local shops, such as cheese (plastic wrapped), candied salmon (paper wrapped), and chocolate bars.

2)  Yes, I’m going there.  I’ve heard of cloth alternatives, as well as the Diva cup, but have been reluctant to try either.  As you ladies will know, there is a lot of garbage involved in this, so I’d like to know if there are brands you can recommend, or if you can share your hate or love for these products.  I’ve read a few reviews about these products, and they can be hit or miss as encouraging or hopeless.  You’ll also notice I won’t be putting any minor successes here because I have failed in this category.

3)  That beautiful old judgement that follows you around; those discouraging looks, the rolling of eyes, the giggles….buuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh!  Most of this I have experienced from my sister, who does not understand this lifestyle change and dubs it as an “obsession”.  I have tried to explain to her why I do what I do and don’t do, but she manages to make me feel like an odd one, so when I’m around her, I sometimes push aside why I do what I do, and just do as she does to avoid her judgement and incessant criticism.

One of my friends also expresses embarrassment when she doesn’t recycle or compost something around me, which is something I do not want to cause anyone.  I’m not a preacher about this lifestyle, but I will share if people ask for advice or tips, and if it is welcomed, I will offer alternatives.  What I don’t do is say to friends or family, “You need to change this and this because of this and this.”  I made this choice simply for myself, and I’m happy if I naturally inspire someone else to change one habit or two, so it makes me feel bad when a friend of mine feels guilt when doing something “against” my lifestyle in my presence.

There are always ways to further improve, and I notice these every day.  My three challenges may be shared by others, so feel free to give me some advice.  After all, I think that’s what this networking thing is all about!

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20 thoughts on “Top 3 Challenges

    • I do have a picture of it, but is there a way to post it into this reply? Or elsewhere? It’s a very thin towel that can fit nicely into any purse (mine is pretty small). My friend who gave it to me went to Japan last year and said people are very waste-aware there, and public washrooms frequently have no paper towel or a hand dryer, which is why folks carry these around 🙂 It’s awesome!

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  1. I have been using washable feminine hygiene products ever since I had my son 8 years ago and used washable nappies for him – it was the next logical step. I have to say they are great – I only used disposables if I am away on holiday and find disposables quite horrible to use now, crinkly and uncomfortable – there are lots of patterns online to make your own if you are so inclined but I have bought ready made. My favourities were from Lollipop and and are made of microfibre – really soft and comfortable and quick to wash and dry ( and clean even at low temperatures) but sadly they have discontinued these particular ones. Cotton or bamboo is probably better for the environment anyway although some are a little stiffer / harder to clean.

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  2. My sister calls me “a dirty hippy” I think with humour… I am lucky that although my family don’t adopt any of my practices they are fairly indulgent when I buck the trend and ask for things to be put in my bags, use my cups etc. I don’t think they feel any pressure to attempt to generate less waste, but I still try to be discrete. Although I want everyone to be conscious of their waste I am not sure how to go about it without making them feel bad. I have spoken to most people around me about my efforts and reiterated that they are My efforts, I don’t mind the occasional eye roll but I do feel a squirm of discomfort at times. I have no solution to offer you except to know that you are doing the right thing and have faith in what you are doing. By the looks of things you are doing a great job! Good luck!

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    • Thanks for your kind words! I do have to remind myself that these are choices I am making and if others don’t necessarily “get it” then that’s okay. It’s hard sometimes, but I suppose we will always go through life being judged for this, that, and the other thing. I’ve had “hippy” and “granola” a lot too hahaha I suppose we should laugh it off 🙂 Thanks again!

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  3. I haven’t braved a menstrual cup yet but I did switch to cotton pads several years ago and have found them a great option (used alongside organic cotton tampons).

    And I agree that preparation is so important for travelling. I went away last weekend and was woefully under-prepared. I brought along my reusable drink bottle, coffee cup, tote bags and cutlery. That didn’t help me out when the breakfast options at our B&B were single-serve yoghurt pottles, single-serve cereal packets, and plastic-packed bread, butter and spreads. I’d forgotten that the rest of the world still considers highly-packaged food normal!

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      • I live in New Zealand and went with a local company – from memory I think they were called Poppy Pads – but I guess that’s not much help to you!

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  4. I know this is a little late, but I thought I’d chime in. I use a DivaCup with LunaPads (lunapads.com) for all but the heaviest days, and I’m pretty happy with them. Plus, both companies are Canadian!

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    • Funny you should mention this now, as last week I finished posting my “October Changes”, one of which was purchasing cloth pads and a Diva Cup from lunapads! I’m pretty happy with the purchase. Thanks for chiming in!

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