Recently I asked you all what was the most difficult part of your path toward sustainability (there were great responses on Facebook as well as on the blog). There were a surprising number of answers that focused around people giving us a hard time for living the lifestyles we live.
All right, y’all: I’m back online, here’s my rallying call!
Right here, right now, I want to encourage you all to turn the conversation around. Show everyone around you how normal your lifestyle is relative to theirs! You are the normal one. You are living more like humans have lived for thousands of years, and how most humans in the rest of the world still live. Most people don’t use the heap of beauty products and packaged goods that we Americans consume. We are abnormal as a society.
I mean really, is it normal to…
Be ok with who you are, put only a few pure ingredients in and on your body, nurture your health and strive for a gratifying life of longevity?
OR is it normal to…
Be embarrassed about who we are and cover it up with harsh chemicals and fragrances that we buy at a store for generally a lot of money, which are not good for us and often send us to the doctor for medical care (or force us to buy more products to cover up the issues the original products caused), both of which force us to work long hours and make lots of money to pay for it, which makes us not have time to focus on what we put in our bodies, which perpetuates a vicious unhealthy and unhappy cycle?
The other day a coworker told me she’d never thought she needed eye cream to stave off wrinkles, until she saw an ad in the store that convinced her.
There are lots of ads out there, convincing us that we need things:
We need to cover our wrinkles (which are often created by the makeup we use to cover them), we want that take-out hamburger because we’re hungry now and it’s convenient (but it was the sign on the side of the road that made us want the hamburger – what if you’d seen a sign that pictured a luscious homemade meal?), we need a big diamond ring to show others that we are in love (rather than the smile on my face and a little heirloom ring that show it so much more)…
Here’s another: is it normal to…
Drive to work, sit all day working hard (so you can pay for your car and other things to give you comfort after a stressful day at work), drive home, watch television, take your pills to treat coronary issues or diabetes, and sleep?
OR is it normal to….
Get enough exercise and be healthy and fit and live long because you walk and garden?
What should be normal here? Most people in the world don’t live the way we do in America.
So I encourage you all, the next time someone gives you crap, to very politely acknowledge to yourself that you are the normal one. You are the one who has not bought into the last 50 years of advertising in America, which tells us we need to buy things to make us happy. You are the one who is living more like most people in the world, and most people over many generations.
Whether or not you say this to your friends is your choice. Just as you don’t take kindly to being told you aren’t normal, your friends won’t either. But you know your friends best – try to open their eyes in a way that doesn’t push them away. It might be a very slow process. However, keep in mind during that whole process that you are the normal one.