This healthy, minimalist lifestyle – it’s really, really hard, isn’t it? The world is so toxic and so cluttered, so cruel and so materialistic, that sometimes it seems just impossible to live any sort of counter-cultural life on a day to day basis. Sometimes, I just want to give up.
Last week, I had one of my “to hell with it” days. There was literally nothing (gluten free) I could eat in the house – I had had a busy week, and didn’t have time to get to the shops before my daughter’s extra-mural started. Even the fruit was finished. But I could feel myself starting to get irritable and shaky so I chose the lesser of two evils; the most divine peanut butter and jam sandwich I think I have ever had. It must be at least a year since I’ve had bread and it just tasted so good. As I bit into it, I knew it was activating my dodgy immune system, I could hear my doctor’s warnings in my ears; but just for a moment, I didn’t give a damn.
I have come to believe that there are no “perfect” choices in life; or at least very few. Those organic apples at R60 for 4? I could buy them – but they are so incredibly expensive for a family that eats at least eight apples a day that I would have to work double the hours I do just to pay for them. And that goes against one of those things I hold most dear: time with my children. And so I make the best choice I possibly can under the circumstances.
Looking back on the years since we started a family, and really started to move towards a healthier, simpler lifestyle, I also see how far we have come. There’s a long way to go but:
- Both of us work fewer hours so that we can enjoy our young family. We work hard when we’re at work but promotions and pay raises (with the longer hours and increased pressure that they bring) have become far less important than time with our babies.
- We (almost) never have any kinds of sweets, e-numbers or processed food in our house. Dark chocolate and home baked goods excepted of course!
- The only take-away meal we enjoy is sushi. Deep pan pizzas and KFC are a thing of the past.
- We have started an organic veggie garden. It’s small, and by no means meets all our fresh produce needs, but it’s a start.
- 90% of the household cleaners and personal care products we use are organic and non-toxic.
There’s more to do of course. I need to cut down on my social media use for sure; our kids could eat more vegetables; perhaps we could give more to charity – oh! I could write a long list.
The Instagram accounts and blogs make it all look so easy. Perhaps it is for some. But start small, start now. Just do one thing and see where it takes you.