Pandemic Realizations

This isn’t a “Use all this time pandemic has got you to get productive and become a better version of yourself” kind of blog. More of a “I’ve spent way too much time with myself” sorta thing.

credit @shato_illust

It’s been quite a challenge to ensure that I set out of my spirals in these times. Considering how this particular day has been nice to me, I’ve decided to note down some of the smaller details that I’ve noticed.

I’m sure all of us are in different surroundings during this pandemic. However, one thing we all share could be the extra time we’ve got in hand to deal with ourselves. Being someone who prefers being left alone, this wasn’t a drastic change for me. In fact, I realised that even when my entire family is simply near my line of vision, I need to step out. So my first, very basic realisation – I like my own company.

I’ve been noticing my purchasing habits as well. When you’re stuck in a rural setting with urban needs, cranky becomes a personality and not a mood. The initial months, I must agree, I’ve been super cranky when denied the right to step out (with a mask and sanitiser of course). With time I’ve understood what my primary needs are – Good quality coffee, bananas, rice, a healthy change of vegetables and the ultimate -the pears soap. While that sounds basic, it’s difficult to get given the situation.

Moving on to personal image, or the image of self. I’ve come to terms with the reality that I’m way too harsh on myself. Every time I look into the mirror, something just always disappoints me. However, unlike my teenage self, I’m completely okay with it (except when I’m on my period). I’ve realised that my skincare range includes – innisfree face masks and red wine. I’ve successfully deviated my body dysmorphia with extreme stress around my hair, would it be a stretch to say its working? Here’s something that has helped – working out and eating well. I’ve realised that most things feel sane and okay to me when I know I’m in control.

Trees – a no brainer I know but seriously underrated. If you’re surrounded by plants that maybe have flowers, its easy to realise that they uplift your mood. Trees though, its taken me a while to appreciate each and every one of them. There are plenty surrounding my house and everything about them, be it the change of colour when the light hits them or the random seeds falling on my dog and I, I dig them.

Being a clean freak, its natural that I feel elite during these times. Suddenly people understand why shaking hands with random people is stupid. While I wouldn’t vouch for sanitisers, I sure am glad that it helps me clean things around the house. I’ve had the time to arrange my space and its been left untouched by people, I cannot begin to explain how much I appreciate it.

credit @shato_illust

A very important observation – I do not associate with people who are incapable of controlling their tone of voice. This isn’t massive but I’ve come to terms with just how much it can piss me off to be around people who do no have a control over their actions of something as basic as their tone of voice. Its the biggest red flag in my kingdom.

Much to my annoyance, I’ve realised I miss human interaction. Allow me to rephrase, I miss quality human interaction. I miss the times when I had to order a coffee, I miss the time when I had to listen to peculiarly soothing voices of people who were important to me. Most importantly, I miss hugs.

Having a dog is a rather awkward essential on this list. I’ve had “dog” on my life plan for two years now. However I’ve never been this sure of it until now. The things keeping me from making this choice include the fact that I can’t afford it at the moment and I can’t give it the quality of life I have planned out for it.

With isolation, things have gotten overwhelmingly absurd but the memory of who you are sure is helpful. Knowing that I mattered in my space before some bat eating moron decided to screw that up for me (no hate), helps me stay sane in a space where I don’t.

Nobody has to be supremely productive during a pandemic, these are the chapters in history where we talk about how bread came into being, really, it isn’t a big deal. I only hope we find the strength to accept our own personalities and grow in ways that are possible.

Accidentally Eco-friendly

It’s lovely to know that some habits, that come naturally to us are a step in the right way. The problem however is that the majority of our habits aren’t “Ideal.”

Here are some of the observations I made this month.

CCD seems to be doing it right! Greener options at your counter!
Met this vendor names Aruna, told me ” Everybody needs a matka during summer, so I made it more High Tech”
A friend recently yelled out ” ‘Eco part of ecofriendly’ but all freaking plastic bottles”, do you read out descriptions too? These folks

Some of the things we do right involve :

  1. Using stairs instead of elevators in our buildings – Not only is this a healthier option but it also ensures saving some amount electricity and let’s not forget all the infrastructural waste involved. Some of us don’t do this because of all the money involved and I believe it comes to mind only after making a building with more than 4 floors, traditionally speaking.
  2. Utensils – Steel/wooden/mud utensils are quite popular in some cultures, more so in Asian kitchens, these are great alternatives for plastic. The use of such utensils and other kitchen appliances ensures long term use and easy disposal.
  3. Our storage choices – One of the perks of not having great import material selection in my country is the absence of zip-lock bags. I know, super convenient. But here’s the thing, you get a 100 in a pack and suddenly you need a ziplock for everything. Not so ideal. In the absence of such luxuries, you store your fruits normally i.e, without a shield, which is quite appropriate if you ask me. Use your containers, or store them casually, all it takes is regular cleaning – which I support and encourage.
  4. Social Media Addiction – We keep scrolling, in the morning, while using the loo, at the bus stand, in bed, everywhere. The chances of us not knowing about environmental issues is extremely minimal. And every once in a while it affects a person or two, which is the intention of this blog as well. With the prominent discussions on the issue, even the smallest group of people who are affected is a good sign.

Things you need to stop buying right now.

So many of us fall into the trap of capitalists and drain our energy and income on buying everything available in the market. Everytime money flows into our hands we run to the nearest store and fill up our carts and expect happiness over the counter.

“If you’re someone who cares about environment, then being a minimalist is easier but people usually tend to find it very challenging when they’re not sure about their priorities. That is until they practice it and suddenly their bank account isn’t as sad as it used to be before,”

Ms. Justine Adams, an environmentalist.

One of the most compelling reasons to try out this lifestyle seems to be the better investment of money and few people are willing to try it out. If you’re someone who never feels good enough about the things you own and keep thinking “I need to go shopping,” here are some things you can stop buying.

  1. Bags – Think about it, how many bags do you need? Like really. How many of the 7-15 bags you own, do you use? Theres no need for a giant collection of bags because most of them serve the same purpose. Now if your argument is “But they don’t all go with every piece of clothing,” my response would be, life isn’t a runway in this particular sense. Do get or DIY cloth bags to avoid buying plastic bags but don’t get too much of any thing. Follow the golden rule – Get your basics
  2. Show pieces – You want to upscale your place? The first thing that comes to mind happens to be decor items. They serve no real purpose. Its as simple as that. Instead of getting an odd giant dog statue (Friends reference, I know) get a functional item. Invest in a plant, a real one, breath a little better. Put up photographs and no mini statues, your house doesn’t have to be museum.
  3. Furniture – So many of us have a dinning set thats just there, serving no or minimal function. Stop buying furniture in bulk, understand that for a house of four, four chairs is enough. Don’t rationalise it with “What if guests come?.” Thrift furniture, this helps you save money and ensure you don’t fall for the ‘wholesale’ idea.
  4. Grocery list – By the age of 20 or 25, I’m sure many of us develop a mental list of the things we eat as per the quantity. So while shopping for grocery, don’t pull in that chips packet (Struggling with it myself), buy items in bulk so you don’t keep running errands. Look for longevity of products rather than packaging appeals. Before going to the counter, go through the items and check if there is anything that’s avoidable.
  5. Water Bottles – An extremely small item but one that makes a huge impact. Take the effort of carrying a water bottle with you, do not try to be a camel. Carry water to avoid buying small water bottles that get dumped almost instantly. Same goes for other drinks, if you have the choice of getting the drinks in paper cups or glass bottles,prefer that over tetra-packs.
  6. Body wash and Lotion spray – Inexpensive and most importantly, doesn’t come in a plastic bottle. So many of us fall into the idea of “its easier with a shower gel” or , in the case of body lotion”why apply lotion when you can spray it?” Because, these aren’t tiresome tasks. Take a moment to understand that using soap, isn’t similar to moving a huge rock, it’s legit the size of your palm. Advertisers know their job and so now you think having a gel is going to make your bath-time easier.
  7. Shoes – “But there are so many options!!! I need one for each kind of outfit,” is something my sister told me a week ago. After being asked, “How many of them do you use regularly, we both came to the conclusion that she didn’t, infact need all those shoes. Again, the golden rule of basics can be applied here. Keep it simple and understand the role of a shoe.

These are small steps to ensure that your wallet doesn’t drain out. Buy things when you have to, don’t make purchases for the sake of it. If you restrain yourself from buying items that are unnecessary you will have the luxury of savings, most importantly a sense of security and if you’re doing it right, you might just find happiness and contentment.

Minimalist – What’s enough?

Quick update on my life, I’ve been trying to be mindful of my actions. The struggle is real when it comes to sorting out the media content I expose myself to but very recently I happen to choose a documentary instead of binge watching on anime, Titled “Minimalist.” (Directed by- Matt D’Avella, available on Netflix)

I have to admit that I made that choice because that’s one lifestyle I’ve been trying to adopt. But once I got around 10 minutes through, I realised I was in for a movie that was going to disturb me just enough to think about ‘What’s enough?’

The movie speaks about so many things and I’d suggest it to everyone who has the time but here’s a list of focus points mentioned in it that I personally would like to bring to your attention.

“We have a lot of personal space now than we did in the 50s but people don’t use this space the way they should and now there’s a 2.2 billion square foot personal storage industry.”

“People use only about 40% of the space in their homes.”

My reaction? Disappointed but not surprised. Now clearly this is a study of the US but I’m sure the situation is all too relatable for most countries, we live in big houses but we always are in need of more space. From what I see around, the idea of improper use of space is all to common – which is something that can be dealt with on an individualistic level.

Nothing is more responsible than living in the smallest space you possibly can”

Talking about tiny houses, Jake Austin mentions how “There’s this element of affordability, simplicity and sustainability that just makes tiny houses seem like a perfect solution and one that makes sense environmentally”

If you haven’t already familiarised yourself with the concept of tiny houses, I shall be talking about it in the next blog, for now they are exactly what they sound like – small living spaces that are extremely functional. In a era where population seems to be ever growing, tiny houses not only act as a logical option but their minimal footprint also allows nature to get minimum recovery rate.

We’re confused about what makes us happy. Everytime money lands in our hands, we run to the nearest market and spend money on what we think we need. The urge is so real, you readily fight with your own self to buy it. This unthoughtful buying behaviour is what’s makes us think we have all we need to be happy over the counter. For us to be happy we need to balance what we need in fair amounts and not rip our pockets trying to live a life that has no direction whatsoever.

Our attachment spill from people to objects. We look at objects the same way we look at people”

Our constant need of attachment has tied us to the log of irrationality. If we can’t get over a piece of clothing from over ten years ago, how can we expect to get over toxic or unwanted attachments with people? It all starts on the ground level.

“You can never get enough of what you really don’t want”

Rick Hauson (PhD. Neuropsychology)

We need a new laptop, we need a new phone, we need that particular coat just because we saw it on one of the celebrities, we need that cute something that serves no real function, we need a car… What do we really want? And how long will we want it for? There’s always going to be something better, something you can’t achieve so whats the point of running like everybody else? It’s time you go back and read why the rabbit and tortoise ran in the first place, nobody remembers why but we all obsessed over the turtle winning. This race is created for you and if you start moving back or even just slow down, you might just see something that makes you smile a bit wider.

We’re never going to able to achieve the environmental gains that we’re seeking while still expecting our lives to be the same. We’re going to have to give up a lot. But a lot that, we’re not actually going to miss.

I’ll leave that quote for you, to understand and really ponder upon.

If you get the time and if you’re interested in finding the elixir, one that shows you that simplicity is the way to attaining satisfaction, I recommend you to watch the above mentioned movie.


The Minimalistic Lifestyle

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word ‘Minimalist’? Some popular ideas include – an empty house, the colors- black and white, fashion, slow and pale living and most importantly a hell of a commitment. The only one I’d partially agree to is the last. So to break it down to you, being a minimalist, simply means investing your money and time on the things that serve a functional purpose and nothing else.

While we run towards our dreams and aspirations trying miserably to keep it together and find happiness, perhaps we need to sit down with a cup of coffee and think if these dreams we keep running after, this idea of absolute satisfaction and joy is worth this whole struggle. Let’s look into why we are almost all the time in need or something or the other.

Given all that the current market has to offer, like cute Japanese stationery, millions of gadgets convincing you that you need help with just about everything, an option to choose from for every other item, a substitute for everything you probably already own and so on. Just when you decide to not go outside, you realize they’re all ready to deliver it to your doorstep. it may seem like a struggle but try to look at the bigger picture. Why are we constantly in search of something? Can we ever actually be content?

A popular blogger and minimalist, Leo Babauta wrote, ‘An ongoing quest for me, and one that I am renewing this year is to eliminate all that is unnecessary from my life.’ he continues by explaining what is truly necessary for life and that the rest can be avoided.

We are constantly engaged in making a list of things we believe we need. Seldom do we pause to question, ‘why’ and ‘Is it important?. ‘This isn’t limited to the market, even with relationships and any general investment of time or effort, we need to question if it’s truly worth it. Because if you do figure out the key to living a life that is simple and control this constant rush towards everything that your eyes fall on, that is when you’ll be a little more content and as far as happiness is concerned, well decluttering the unnecessary has never brought anybody sorrow. Unburdening yourself will ensure you control waste and save time.