You know those moments in life, when you can stop thinking, hearing, talking about a particular subject, and all of the thoughts, and conversations you have accumulated finally emerge as a lightbulb moment. A catalyst.
This past weekend was one of those moments for me. Of course, what I’m about to tell you has spent months brewing in my subconscious, and countless hours of discussion in person with my friendship group, but for now, I have decided to live without Instagram, Twitter, alcohol, animal products… and while we are at it, let’s also live without boys for a month.
Call it a belated lent, if you will. I’m challenging myself to live without these things as of today.
This blog post is not intended to be some ~ooh~ ahh Carolyn is such a martyr and pioneer kinda thing, because well, I’m not. But what I do hope this month will be is a dive into learning what it is I can and cannot live without. What is essential to providing my life with value, and what is ultimately just an unnecessary habit?
So let me take you through the final moments that made me want to take up this challenge.
First of all, I read this blog post from The Battered Suitcase where she gives up booze, boys and bread for a month. Amazing alliteration aside, I’m 100% crediting Brenna with the idea for me to do this month of staving me from any and all things good.
The second came to me last night in the bathtub. I was stuck in a dark hole on Instagram analysing a photographer’s portfolio. I felt myself comparing my work to hers, wondering why I haven’t yet been approached to work with clients she has, trying to understand how I can achieve the perfect balance of sharing my vulnerabilities through my work whilst also shrouding enough about my life in mystery to keep you all reasonably entertained.
But here’s the kicker: none of those things are me.
As I sat there, my thoughts were swirling in my head, about as fast as my bath bomb from Lush was bubbling and fizzing away in the lukewarm water. I felt sick.
Just earlier in the week I was advising university students about creativity, and how everything that we see impacts our work in one way or another. As creative people, we should be selective with what we consume, (Funnily enough I was trying to find a source to back this claim up and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for - so that’s a topic for a later post, but for now here’s a good article about selective exposure theory that is somewhat related) yet here I was being so incredibly lazy about what I was visually consuming, I felt like a hypocrite.
I turned to Twitter, hoping that #Auspol and current affairs interspersed in between photography puns and egocentrism was enough to make me feel better. But again, I felt the pressure, the pull of the current that would inevitably take me under again.
So I sent out some tweets, made a post on Instagram, and logged out of my accounts. I actually deleted Twitter, Snapchat, and Tinder off my phone. I had to keep Instagram and Facebook only because I manage approximately 43924 accounts for clients, but vowed to myself that I would only use the accounts when it was for work. In my book, that’s acceptable because I’m not spending 2 hours a day scrolling through my client’s timelines.
Yes. 2 hours a DAY on Instagram alone. Imagine all the cool shit I could have been doing instead of feeding the part of my brain that needs to constantly worry about what other people are doing and how I fit in with it. Well, now we’re going to find out!
The third pivotal moment happened to me yesterday. I returned home from work, slathered one of mum’s home made hot cross buns in a bit of butter and turned on Netflix to watch the next episode of Our Planet.
This episode was about the Earth’s polar regions and featured beautiful panning shots across black, rocky mountains, slow motion action of penguins in pursuit of dinner, and featured countless walrus tumbling from cliffs.
Yes, walrus. Climbing rocky cliffs on the eastern shores of Russia as they find refuge from the melting sea ice in the North Pole. Eventually, those who scale heights of almost 80 metres, must come down again in search of food, and when they do, they fall. More often than not to their deaths. Like something reminiscent of 9/11, these animals have no choice but to jump and it is heartbreaking.
Reading my lazy prose about this does not do the scene justice, but you can watch the behind the scenes of this horrifying sight below.
Netflix hits you with shot after shot after shot of crammed, blubbery bodies and tusks on tiny beaches. Over 100,000 walrus have now retreated to this part of the world, and most of them didn’t look alive, to be quite honest.
I couldn’t help but feel responsible. Tears were streaming down in face as I watched in horror and shock. In the spirit of good, unbiased journalism, there is much debate on the internet about the legitimacy of this scene, and whilst I feel that Netflix definitely played up the drama, there is a hurtful truth in these images.
One of the easiest things we can do to help the planet is change our diet. I’ve been floating in and out of vegetarianism and veganism for the last three years which has been challenged consistently by my love of food, constant travel, and at times, very limited budget in order to eat nutritiously and ethically.
But in all honesty, in the last six months I’ve become lazy and spoiled.
90% of the time, I am not experiencing Napoli pizza for the first time, or finding myself in places where people don’t understand me when I ask for vegetables only. Whilst I do enjoy and love all food, I care about our planet more, I care about my future, and the future of my newborn family members more, and most certainly I wholeheartedly disagree with the unsustainably of consuming animal products.
I’ve watched all the documentaries, and as uncomfortable as I am watching animals being slaughtered, it’s much easier to write off as a side affect of modern living, than watching animals try to fight for survival due to circumstances that we are able to prevent.
We are the first generation to be aware of the damage we are causing to the planet, and likely the last to do something about it.
So that’s been my weekend, and um, the next month is going to be very interesting without the majority of my vices. Let’s see how we go.
Oh, and the boys thing? I’m just kinda sick of all men right now, so I figured they can take a backseat for a month, you know?
If you also feel like taking up this challenge, or part of it, let me know in the comments below and we can create a little support group for each other.