patience, grasshopper

In my zombie apocalypse course, we use the fable of the ant and grasshopper to talk about preparation, and we also counter the hoarder instinct with the more carpe diem twist in Somerset Maugham’s version:

So I’m looking for balance, most of all. When it comes to going plastic-free, I’ve got all the grasshopper’s gusto, and gobs of the ant’s perseverance. But I need to work on developing the grasshopper’s appreciation for the present, and the ant’s trust in time; in other words, patience:

• Patience to accumulate supplies
• Patience to remove plastic from one area of life at a time
• Patience to eliminate paper waste, too

Part of patience is believing that what we’re doing is enough and knowing that big change happens in small steps and over time (consider reading Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect), because time is a precious commodity.

because time: temporary solutions

My intentions: bake homemade bread/muffins/waffles, start using a safety razor (and save up for laser hair removal), finally try the “no poo” method, use my friend Susan’s deep conditioner recipe, make my own
hummus (and ketchup and marshmallows and almond butter, etc.).

Reality check: I’m a full-time faculty member with a new puppy, a new and amazing hobby (aerials!), and something that almost resembles a social life (like, the occasional dinner party or book club plus never-enough
hours on date nights with the guy or the bestie).

So here’s my transition period, with all the consolation prizes. I’m proud of several of my efforts over these twenty-six days of my Plastic-Free August, so allow me to brag and share photographic evidence of a few of

Plastic-free grocery shopping trips

DIY conditioner in a re-purposed salsa jar (recipe from Free People)

Taking my mason jar everywhere

Keeping plastic-free snacks on hand

Choosing a company that makes yoga wear from recycled plastic bottles (Anjali)

Getting major use out of my stainless steel tiffin (Life without Plastic), “unpaper” cloths (Juniperseed Merc) and LunchBots

Documenting each compromise (refusing plastic straws, but using the restaurant ketchup)

These efforts are grasshopper moments, preserved as snapshots of triumph. My
messy “shame box” and my ugly self-loathing are staying in the
underground tunnels for now, in my ant farm under construction.