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!