As I mentioned this post was never intended to cause further guilt. I am no saint and some days I trip up. I don’t always have a coffee cup when I need it. I don’t carry paper straws around with me and sometimes I have to just dive into the supermarket to buy chicken because I spontaneously invited the girls around for fajitas. Just remember none of us are perfect and just making small changes to your lifestyle will show you what a difference you can make to the world. If you want to, of course!
Have you noticed the amount of ‘millennial’ guilt instilled into us on a daily basis? If our need to be a perfect individual is not already enough there are now daily vlogs and blogs on ‘how to be a perfect human being’. From content covering what to eat, new exercise routines, the must-have fashion trends. To beauty products, vegan recipes or London’s local trendy ethical hotspots, drinking everything out of a reusable glass jar, using reusable menstruation cups to be more environmentally friendly, apps telling you to not use contraception and the guilt of what you are doing to your chemical riddled body. Along with how to dress your perfect home and why you should be earning a six-figure salary doing something that not only are you hugely passionate about but directly saves children and puppies.
Personally, I find it exhausting and unachievable most days when I think of the person the media wants me to be. I find I cram information into my average size brain so if a topic arises I know exactly what to say. I have daily guilt about not being the perfect 20 something female in a world of seemingly perfect 20 something females. No longer wanting to burden myself with this pressure, I decided I would write a little list of the things I have changed over the last 2 years. Changes to make me deal with the guilt of not being perfect every day.
I have become really good at recycling
Embarrassingly this only started this year.
I walk wherever I can
It saves on petrol, keeps me fit and gives me a chance to listen to a podcast. (Podcasts I have to listen to because Jesus how much media are millennials expected to cram throughout a day?)
I try to buy local
I buy my books from local shops and charity shops when I can. I also try to utilise local shops for various items and small independent retailers online. As a small business owner myself, I know what it means when someone chooses your product over a well-known brand. This isn’t always easy. Amazon will always have the book I want, at the most affordable price with the fastest delivery option. It is just being mindful of how fast I need the product, and do I really want to have to sort all the packaging it comes in?
I give what I can to charity shops
One Man’s rubbish is another Man’s treasure. I am aware that not everyone can keep up with the disposable fashion generation we live in. I know I can’t and I sit in a comfortable position. Giving to charity I know my clothes won’t end up in a landfill. Our local charity shop will even take odd socks to give to the ‘rag man’ which is all recycled. When I give my clothes to charity that item gains a new ‘life’ and someone else gets joy out of something you once loved. Donating to charity goes without saying raises money for a good cause. Good deed around.
Ebaying old clothes
Because I am not a saint every day of the week, I do eBay some of my old unwanted items for more pocket money. Whilst this doesn’t feel as good as giving to charity, the extra money helps. I also know the item of clothing isn’t going to sit in my wardrobe getting no use.
No face wipes only cotton pads
The bigger the cotton pad the better as it means I use less. I have also considered those washable breast pads. I then realised I was a step closer to taking things a bit too far. I wash my makeup off in the shower with Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanse which always works a treat but triggers the ‘I’ve not double cleansed’ guilt.
I drink my lattes in Costa or use a reusable cup
I don’t use straws If I can help it
This is the one I find the hardest.
Never negatively judging other women
I will never let my friends say negative things about other Women. If they do I try to reply with a minimum response without making my friends feel bad. There is nothing I hate more than women letting each other down. I hate the ‘you’re definitely prettier, nicer, richer, more intelligent, more successful, funnier’ comments I hear every day. I wholeheartedly hold my hands up and know I have said these phrases before. Christ, I have probably said them to myself back in my early twenties. I hate it, I hate how the ‘other women’ is the ‘homewrecker’ not the partner who cheated. I hate that someone’s character can amount to nothing from just a few things we see on Instagram. I know how I would feel if I heard a group of women talking about me in such a way. I know this because it has happened to me before (never have I split a relationship up though just to clarify, I couldn’t) and it ebbs away at your self-worth and confidence. I find a lot of millennial guilt sits around being kind to the environment and animals, yet the largest contributors to my feelings of guilt are how other women are spoken about around me.
Trying to be as honest on social media and my blog as I can
This has been hugely important to me on my blog and Instagram for a few years now. Since writing my post of the things my Instagram doesn’t tell you. I know we all know now that Instagram is a showreel, a selection of all the best parts of the user’s life. Yet it doesn’t stop us feeling like shit. Trying to remember this when you see everyone having the time of their lives when you are feeling like the most average human to ever hit the planet, is so friggin hard. I try my hardest to make sure I don’t post about my good days alone. I won’t say yes I am great, I am happy all is good. If things are bad you will know. I don’t want to project negative feelings on to people but I will always feel it is important others know it is ok not to be ok. My life is bloody good but it is not perfect. Yes sometimes I spend a lot of money on things but then there are other months where I am watching every penny and eating toast three times a day for a balance.
Getting up and eating breakfast at home
Because I don’t think anything else has as much of a positive impact on my mind and body as eating breakfast does.
Making my own food and taking it to work with me
Not only is it not wasteful, but it also saves me money.
Not packaging fruit and vegetables when I buy them in the supermarket
I realised putting vegetables into a bag to go into another bag to only dispose of the bag as soon as I got home wasteful. I now chuck it in my bag for life and give it a wash when I get home (I will probably get some more guilt about using water here)
I don’t have meat in the house
If I am cooking for others and need meat in the meal then I buy it from the butchers. I don’t want to be a vegan, to be honest, I don’t even want to be a vegetarian. I like meat, I grew up on a farm. I will always eat eggs from the farm. We have no cockerels, the chickens lay their eggs and wander off to live their day wandering fields (they have a happier life than me most of the time). I will also drink milk because I have seen how happy the cows are around our farm. No calf is ripped away from them. It is not about ignoring the problem of fast consumerism and how animals are treated elsewhere but if you don’t want to give up meat and dairy for a plant-based diet that is FINE. Instead become more mindful of where it is from. I know I would rather pay more to know an animal is happy but it is ok if you can’t. The guilt for living within your means has become ridiculous.
I take bags for life whenever I go to the shops
Because those 10p – £1 bags all add up and it is a lot easier to throw all my food in an Ikea bag
I don’t eat fast food if I can avoid it
I would like to say because it tastes like shit or I am worried about the tiny chicks crushed to death like PETA
truthfully reported. It is not. I am just not a fan of the idea of such informal eating. If I am going out for food I want it to be a nice experience. Unless it is 4 am and then I am sorry I will be ordering chicken nuggets and banana milkshake and there will be no regret or guilt on my behalf.
I never litter
I will carry a wrapper until I am home before I leave it for others to pick up. I believed this went without saying but in some peoples cases, they are
thoughtless idiots the exception, not the rule.
I try to use vegan only beauty products
Whilst I am not vegan I don’t think any animal needs to suffer to try to make my face look better
Buying less ‘stuff’
This is on par with the straws. We live in a world where every form of media is designed to make us want to buy something. From the minute we wake up to the moment we go to sleep marketers are working their way into our day encouraging us to buy things. I know I struggle to go even a day without purchasing something I don’t need. I am trying to become more mindful of the impact buying something will make on my life. The lasting effects of that ‘happy buzz’ we get when we receive something new. Will that feeling last a while or will I forget about it after I return after lunch to work? I am trying to not buy any random new makeup fads, or any cosmetics until I have used every last drop of the products I have. I don’t need ten different types of pasta in the house, 4 different type of pesto or a new candle each month. I am now more conscious of how much I need everything I see on an influencers Instagram story.
No longer buying cling film
It is not easy but I can see how cling film isn’t needed in the house but god, it is so bloody handy.
Wrapping presents in brown paper
Because it is the only paper that is recyclable or burnable