Despite the numerous midnight pledges to be a better, happier person we’re almost a month into 2018 and it’s same-same, different date. With the whole ‘new year, new me’ stuff in mind, here’s some unhelpful, joy stealing, destructive crap we should really be leaving behind in the dregs of 2017 where they belong.
1. Procrastination. Nothing sucks the soul straight out of your body like a two-hour job taking two days because you can’t stop faffing around with other, minor projects and not dealing with the task at hand. I’m still working on this but I’ve found the best way to try and combat sitting on the couch like a spooked guinea pig feeling completely overwhelmed by the 8 bazillion things I need to do is to dust the notepad and pen off and make a list. Starting with the most urgent jobs. My list for today;
– Empty cat litter box
– Put another coat of paint on daughter’s room
– Rewrite and edit this article
Am I behind? Of course I am, but am I getting those 3 Items done without stressing about other stuff? Kinda, but I’m still learning.
2. Designer Pets. For the love of God, stop buying Pugs and other dogs that will not make it past 10 and have numerous medical conditions. There are a lot of animal rights issues surrounding us, however I have decided to focus on the recent sentiment of Trade Me to stop selling Pugs, French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs. You can read that statement here. Designer pets are bred because they are fashionable and can be sold for a high price. This leads to issues that prevent these animals from breathing properly, exercising, giving birth naturally, and generally having a happy life. There are very few laws in New Zealand around breeding so I commend Trade Me for stepping up to this. Perhaps if they wanted to go further they could also prevent the sale of too small cages for guinea pigs and rabbits, unhealthy pet food, dangerous toys ( such as hay balls small pets can get their heads stuck in) and keep an eye out of traders that uploads ads for baby animals frequently. At Sans Pareil we’re huge advocates of adopting rather than shopping.
3. Not knowing what consent means. Look, this a huge topic, and probably too big a topic to get into on this list, but it’s important to realise that if you want to engage in sexual activity of any kind, it’s important for that the other person is keen. Eager even. I mean it’s sex right? What’s good about being with someone who is simply ‘letting’ it happen? You want to make sure they want it to happen, before it happens.“Oh go on then” is a no, “If you must” is a no. Awkwardly laying there without engaging is a no. Being drunk is an automatic no. Being wet/hard is not a given yes. Enthusiastic participation is a yes. Pretty simple stuff really.
4. Aggressively hating gay marriage. I cannot believe it is even a thing still. This is something I will never understand, because it’s literally someone else’s life. If you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t do the gay marriage. I don’t like onions so I don’t eat them. I don’t stop other people eating them. It’s not my taste buds so I couldn’t care less. Not obsessing about stuff that has absolutely no effect on your life WHATSOEVER will make you a happier person. While we’re dipping into this pool, people’s preferred pronouns… Use ‘em. No one gives a fuck if you’re uncomfortable that someone you used to know as ‘she’ now wants to be ‘he’ or ‘they’ It’s none of your business, just use the damn pronoun they have requested and move on.
5. Vegan-bashing. I know so many vegans and have yet to have one explicitly tell me they are vegan over and over. But according to the internet, they do. Here is the thing: Being a vegan is a frikken hard lifestyle to maintain (I know I’ve tried) and it’s also a social justice movement. It’s pretty hard to not be vocal about something as horrific as torturing animals. Most people live unaware of how bad animals are treated by the meat and dairy industry and that’s their choice. But it happens, and you cannot blame others for wanting to make the world a better place. Going on about vegans simply makes you look like an uneducated fool, who cannot deal with the guilt of cruelty your Big Mac inflicted. However, this said, like anything, if you take your cause to the public and especially to the internet, it takes a lot of grit and patience to remain centered and explain things in a calm way without flipping your shit, being condescending or reducing to name calling. People will argue, people will troll, but whatever side of the cruelty-free fence you sit on – remember you catch more bees with honey than with vinegar not to mention your message is more important than ‘winning’ at the internet.
6. Harsh internet trolling. Everyone makes a ton of mistakes all the time. The worst (and sometimes best) part of the digital age is that these mistakes are often immortalised on the internet forever. So telling someone to go kill themselves is not ok. The issue lies with the internet feeling like it’s anonymous. But if the number of teens that have committed suicide over internet bullying – it’s that those comments hurt. So if you see someone you think looks gross in their Instagram selfie, keep that to yourself. Spread love not hate.
7. Hating on Millennials. Millennials get it tough. We can’t afford to even think about buying a house, so we comfort ourselves with a little, smashed avo and it becomes a joke meme. But seriously, being a millennial is difficult because most of your parents and grandparents are from a generation where getting a degree usually means getting a decent job. Now though, so many people have a degree that said degree is rendered meaningless. So you study more, or you do an unpaid internship and before you know it you’re 28 living in your parent’s basement. We’re not lazy dammit! We’re simply still trying to get out student debt and fight our way into a career. Imagine working free for a CEO who is easily on 200k + and they can’t even rotate a PDF. So if you see a poor millennial climbing out of their 1994 Mazda Astina in second-hand clothes, going for the 15th job interview that week – don’t scoff, buy them a coffee and give them a hug.
8. Unsolicited Dick-pics. This is another one that I can’t believe is not obvious. Look, we get that you’re feeling sexy, feeling like you’re looking pretty damn good but just don’t send that damn pic unless the receiver has encouraged it. No one wants to sit down to their morning coffee and open their inbox to an angry-looking trouser snake staring at them. It’s gross. I can promise within a half hour 10 of their friends have seen the picture as either evidence of how depressing dating is or as a means to a good laugh. On a serious note, it, more often than not, comes off as creepy and a turn-off. Close up images of genitals is not something that should EVER come as a surprise to the receiver. DO NOT DO IT.
9. Not understanding mental illness. “Can you leave your shoes by the door? I’m a bit OCD LOL!” “Karen says she has a headache again, OMG she is a such a hypochondriac” “ I’m feeling so bitchy today, lol bipolar amirite?”. One in six New Zealand adults are diagnosed with a mental illness such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. These are serious disorders that require professional help. They can also ruin the lives of those suffering from them. An anxiety attack is terrifying, it feels like you’re going to die. Depression can feel like you no longer have a grip on reality. Obsessive-compulsive disorder feels like being stuck in a cage where you no longer have control over your own self due to the power the compulsions have over you. Does that sound like simply preferring to be neat or disliking things that are uneven and make no sense? Not really. Please don’t diminish people’s very real, incredibly intense struggles by reducing their medical diagnosis to a cute personality quirk.
10. Being wasteful. Too many arguments about what shape Earth is and not enough doing things to actually reduce the harm we’re doing to it. We’re running out of room for all this garbage we’re producing, the air and waterways are becoming more and more polluted and our consumption of resources is reaching fever pitch. This is a massive conversation so start small. Take your soft plastics to the supermarket recycling bins, stop by the op shops before the malls, reduce your consumption in general. I’m fully aware that it’s the big corporations that contribute the most to these issues but they can’t sell as much if we ain’t buying as much. It starts with the individual.