Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Guilt List

Ever noticed you feel bad about something but keep doing it?  Maybe it’s an addiction to a substance like drugs or alcohol.  Maybe it’s to an activity or a person.  Maybe it’s buying products that support the mistreatment of animals or farmers or children.  Could be using too much unsustainable energy by turning on the heat or driving your car too much.  Sure, you might not stop doing it, but isn’t it important to be aware?  But why would anyone want to be aware, it it makes us feel so bad.

The guilt list is my project to list and be more aware of the things I do that I feel bad about.  My goal is not to stop doing all of these, or to make everyone else stop, but to simply own an accept my actions.  Maybe I’ll come to terms with things that unconsciously bother me, and I’ll feel better.  Maybe I’ll feel worse, but at least I’ll be looking in the mirror.  One thing I do hope to do, is to look at the things I judge other people for, and to find something I do that is almost the same, but I just didn’t realize it.

Here are some examples that I’ve been thinking about recently:

-       Using animal products when the animals are mostly likely mistreated.  Sure I’m usually vegetarian, but dairy leads to cows being impregnated by a machine, than separated from their calves immediately upon birth.  The calves are then slaughtered and another machine sucks the cows milk for a year or so, then the process repeats.  Am I cool with that?  I don’t know, but I’m super cool with laughing cow cheese and Trader Joe’s New Zealand cheddar. And cow shit makes more pollution than cars, so I should be staying away from anything related right?  It sure is hard to get sweet leather free shoes though.

-       Using too much unsustainable energy.  Do I really ever need to use the dryer? But damn do I hate having my clothes hanging up all over the house if it’s cold outside.  And what about all my driving?  It saves soooo much time, and I’m not gonna live forever.

-       Buying to many things with too much packaging.  Wasted energy.  More waste in general.  Where can it all go?  But the health food store, is sooooo expensive.  Do I have to foot the bill for future generations?  I’m broke.  Unless we’re talking relative to the world, than I’m filthy rich!

-       Buying cheap items most likely made with child slave labor.  See above, I’m broke.  I got rent and stuff I need and I will have student loans to pay.  Look at all the money I can save from buying stuff some kid across the world made!

-       All these examples make me sound pretty amazing, like I’m totally aware of my impact on the planet.  But what about when I joke too much or don’t proofread, or take people for granted in my life?

...what do you feel bad about but inexplicably continue to do?  Don’t waste time feeling guilty if it makes you turn away.  Just give it a little more attention.