Friday, January 29, 2010

A Confession

Thoughts from reformed Target shopper and regular guest poster, Jess Nichols of Sweet Eventide.

Forgive me Earth, for I have sinned.

Last week, on the first big rainy day of the year (and a national holiday), I started out my day with my son with great intentions. We went to a park near a local lagoon because we like rain and we like nature. I video-taped him running and splashing in ginormous puddles barefoot with big smiles. Yay for Mama! Then the splashing came to an abrupt halt. Certain little boys had to go to the bathroom...and fast. Quick, what to do? Where to go? Ah, my memory told me good old Target was only a few blocks away.

You know how the two roads diverged in the woods? Well this time I took the path heavily traveled -- by the masses, by the products, by my bank account. It seems my panic over where to find a bathroom quickly expanded once inside the dry, brightly lit shopping mecca to panic over "What else are we going to do on this rainy day off from school?"

I know! We're going to buy lots of things! We're going to buy red tea lights made with petroleum and fake coloring and the itty bit flame will warm my heart and cheer my spirits. We're going to buy Twister Hopscotch, made in China, because at least it's not battery powered or violent! We're going to buy Nerf Basketball at the low, low price of $6 and get some of that little boy energy out.

I honestly already forget what else I threw in my cart because once those items went in, I had a little free-for-all in there. $60 later and yes! Give me as many plastic bags as you want today because I am too cold, tired and frenzied by panic to carry all this in my arms (which is my usual punishment when I forget my reusable bags in my car).

Sadly, the Nerf Basketball did work like a charm. It's been the best/worst $6 I've spent lately. I also see that I'm not the only person who is wondering lately how to maintain their sustainable lifestyle changes. Oh yes, the guilt aspect is huge when you are on a path to live a more sustainable life and then you mess up in some way. Why else would I have immediately photographed the evidence of my eco sins after I got home from Target? I wanted to punish myself with that photo.

Reading that post that I linked to above was very helpful in forgiving myself. We are human, and sometimes we make mistakes or bad decisions. Target is not my lifestyle anymore. I am a reformed Target shopper like many other people. Some people still shop there with glee. So as usual, I am doing better than some folks, and worse than others. This is true of each aspect of my life that I have tried to make more sustainable. I think the point is to not let the relapse become the way of life again. And I know, for me, it won't.

Maybe next time, I'll let my kid find a tree and go au naturel, and save myself all of this heartache/earthache.


Penny Basket said...

it happens. just do better next time! i'm cutting back a lot on plastic bags after watching 'addicted to plastics'

The Raven said...

What a lovely post, Jess! Who hasn't been overcome by it all, only to realize just a few minutes too late? I think you're really on to something by confessing. Confessing is a way to remind us to do better in the future, and a way to let go of the guilt. Excellent.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I have a post just like this somewhere... :) We've all been there!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like living green is becoming a religion.

Green Bean said...

Boy oh boy, do I relate! Thank you, Jess, for confessing what happens to most of us from time to time.

Kathryn Grace said...

We all do it, one way and another. We must forgive ourselves. One of the good things that comes out of a feeling of failure is creativity. When we feel that bad, often we come up with a solution and a plan for next time. Celebrate failure!

As for this particular issue, my folks always carried a coffee can in the trunk of the car for those little emergencies. Two doors opened on one side of the car, with Mom holding a blanket in front of the child, and privacy was no problem. In foul weather, we little ones managed the can pretty well hunkered down in the space between the front and back car seats.

When my kids were little, we carried their potty in the back of the van. If you have the space, and can get an extra through or a yard sale, keep it permanently in the car.

Daisy said...

Hugs to you. Following through on living green really is harder than it looks. You are so much more aware than most; many people wouldn't have even thought twice about buying a nerf basketball.


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