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Finding focus during a Pandemic

This website is primarily a way for me to share my journey towards reducing my impact on the environment, reducing the amount of stuff in my life, etc. And so every post is either an idea I want to try, recounting of solutions I tried, or a recollection of personal experiences. In no shape or form do I try to be the ultimate authority on matters of sustainability, zero waste, and minimalism.

After all, I’m only human, and we make mistakes. It’s like a feature in the design.

I’m not going to lie, this past couple of weeks I’ve been struggling with what to share on the website, because in my wildest dreams (or rather nightmares) I’ve never imagined we would be living through a pandemic.

In the past two weeks, as I’ve done everything possible to socially distance myself from people and make sure my elderly mother doesn’t leave the house, I realized even more deeply than usual how privileged I am.

I can comfortably work from home and neither my corporate job nor my salary will suffer due to that change. The local grocery store isn’t suffering any shortages (beyond the initial toilet paper shortage, of course, but even that has been solved) and so when I go shopping once a week, I am able to replenish everything my household needs on a regular basis. Hell, my local veggie stand is still operational and I can get fresh produce whenever I want. 

As I read what people are sharing online, I came to realize those advantages should be considered a luxury.

My livelihood is not threatened, I don’t have to expose myself to the virus more than absolutely necessary and I can keep my diet as it was. In fact, my carbon footprint is rapidly going down because I walk to the store and back not using any kind of transportation. My NoSpend year is on a very good streak because not going out means not being tempted by stores I walk by and I don’t want to order things online so that I don’t add to the risks and burden the postal workers and couriers, leaving them able to focus on orders made by people not as fortunate as myself.

In a way, part of where I’m finding my comfort these days is the focus on people who are worse off than I am. If anything I do can lessen the burden they are experiencing, I try to do that.

  • I ran out of nail polish remover this week and my nails are a mess of chipped old polish. Normally I’d stop by a store to get more. But I’m not going to add another customer and expose the clerks to even more people. Nail polish remover is non-essential, it can wait
  • I can go shopping during the weekend to get all the groceries I need, so I don’t order groceries online, because the waiting periods for the delivery are over two weeks right now. No need for me to take away a delivery slot from someone who might need it more.
  • I try to be nice to the shopping clerks and delivery people. They get exposed to most people and are at risk more than me. The current restrictions are not their fault. They’re already scared, so if my patiently waiting in line and smiling can lessen some of that anxiety (since there’s not much else I can do), I’m gonna do that.

And if those practices honestly sound like something I should be doing regardless of the pandemic, well…

Sidenote: YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE NICE TO SERVICE PEOPLE.

There are moments of self-reflection when nothing I do means much because my contribution to try and fight this crisis surely amounts to very little. But as someone who comes from a sustainability and minimalist background, I know that every little bit helps.

Which is why everybody should say at home and do their part, if possible, to combat the spread of the virus. It’s okay if we’re uncomfortable, frustrated and anxious for a couple of months if that means those at risk can survive as well.

#StayHome

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