These are questions typically reserved for high school juniors or seniors, but they don't have to be. It's a question I routinely ask myself, and with time, the answer continuously evolves. But at the core, the basis of who I want to be, what matters, and what I want to accomplish is very concrete, but broad, and has no end date. I want to be a good steward of this awe inspiring Earth. I want to embody a kind heart that loves deeply. I want to learn about native plants mostly edible, but also non-edible. I want to learn about true nutrition from wild plants, how to help sustain Dan and I through gardening. How to harness local resources like grey water systems, or rain barrel water retention systems. To work toward independence. I dabble in making things from scratch, down to grinding the nuts into flour for baking. I recently made kefir from raw goat milk. I want to see how things work. I want to recognize that all foods are not created equal. That animals, especially the ones who feed us, are living creatures that deserve kind lives, not to be jailed in tight quarters with broken bones, an entire lifetime of misery. You can't nourish your body, and soul with another living creature's sorrow. You recognize what your body feels like when you're stressed, with all that cortisol surging through your body. Imagine an animal stressed, and depressed for its entire life, then you eat it. The product of the meat is inferior, it's only logical (not to mention the poor animal). There's science to back it up. We're making decisions, and there are consequences. That extra money spent on groceries is the best investment in your health, and your soul.
This is part of who I am, and what I believe. I believe we're all connected, that the spinach in your smoothie when cut fresh has exponentially more antioxidants than the old stuff in the cooler section at Costco, that's wilted and already rotting. That we're being fleeced into thinking that cheaper products are equal in value. But what is the value of your health?
You don't have to think like me, or agree with what I am saying, but this is what I am recognizing as I evolve. That toxins sprayed on crops ARE a big deal. That we are damaging our water sources, and polluting our bodies, and it's such a shame. We are sold into this belief that we should work hard, climb the corporate ladder, cut costs and find the cheapest products, never miss work, go go go, and we're missing the bigger picture. That life is short. Our Earth is not impervious, or infinite. The toxins we spray on our soil lasts for eons. This is no small problem. In 1970 1 in 30 would be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Now it's 1 in 3. We are allowing big corporations to conduct science experiments, and we're the rats. And the government is not protecting us.
If you die tomorrow will you have been the person you wanted to be? Did you accomplish what really mattered? Do you have children? If the above statistics scare you, consider what it will be in 40 years. Will it be a situation where your children will not only be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, but even worse battle three different types? It's a real concern. And it should terrify you. Our culture, and our values are askew, and if we don't stop and assess the true crisis, and make adjustments, the issues will just continue to accelerate.
What can you do? Take a moment and listen to your soul, your inner voice, about what you value, and what you want to accomplish. Then remember that you don't have to take these issues on as life missions, or spend a lot of time trying to move mountains. You can simply speak with your pocketbook. Support causes you believe in. Pay the extra couple of bucks for better food. If that means you don't get the next pair of jeans, who cares. Pick you. Pick your family. As you walk to the register, or to the sweet woman at the farmer's market, with your organic produce, and grassfed chicken breast, you can smile and know that you're protecting yourself the best way you can.
Maybe I'm lofty, and perhaps even annoying about this, but life is so beautiful, and what you put in, and what you value, gives back tenfold, be it negative or positive.
A brilliant book to get your wheels turning...