Be yourself

Be true to you...with a little help
make the connection
say what you feel
and smile, more

Word for 2011

My word of the year is TRY.
I give up too easily,
I don't start because I think I'll never finish,
This year if it looks interesting,
if it looks worthwhile,
if it's something I always wanted to do,
well, this year I'm going to TRY
and lets see how much more I can achieve

Monday, 10 January 2011

80/20 Rules, O.K?

Hello lovely folks and how is this new year treating you so far? 
Looking around blogland has been really delightful this week, with all the wonderful pictures and descriptions of peep's experiences and achievements for 2010.
Some of the Resolutions are great and I may well be copying:)  
But not just yet.
 I've long tended not to jump into resolution enactment mode until February the first.  Get the festive aftermath well cleared before starting afresh.  It works for me.
To be truthful, my best and most long-lasting Big Changes have taken place in August and September.  The reason is two-fold.  I have a late summer birthday.  Always a good point for reflection and renewal.  And in U.K. education circles 'the new term' begins after a six-week break, typically last two weeks in July 'til first week in September. 
 As a parent this is significant - the fresh uniforms and equipment, blank timetables eager to be filled, and the choices of after-school activities, sports, crafts, drama, music, vegging-out if front of the T.V., computer gaming skills.
So you get the picture.  And of course significant birthdays take on another level of intensity (unless you choose the Ostrich method hehe).  Got to do something meaningful.  Paraglide when you're eighty.  Bungee jump when you reach ninety!
Say a person is approaching their fiftieth birthday.  They have been through some dark and troublesome times.  The sense of a new start, rebirth, builds.  Imagine if you will that person has done, as many do, hankered after a different lifestyle, something major.  They have pushed this desire to one side repeatedly over the years, making 'too difficult' or 'no time' or 'not enough information' their reasoning.  
Then it happens.  The tipping point.  The time is now.  The change is made.  The announcement as well, possibly.
In 2005 aged fifty my decision was to be vegan.  For me that meant that no animals were used, exploited, killed.  So, what I ate,drank, wore, consumed, bathed in, dressed in, gifted, and created became cruelty-free.
That was my decision.  
Made by me, personal to me, and not through pressure, persuasion or politic.
The 80/20 rule you say, what about that?  Generally means we use/do/act/make ethical choices the majority of the time.  The remaining portion, is outside of our control, or rather, our available choices (an oftenmost example of the rule applied to the mundane is when describing us as only ever wearing twenty percent of our clothing - not all at the same time you understand - whilst the rest remains in the wardrobe, a wasted resource, and an expensive one at that!).
But here's the thing.....  
Because nothing is absolute.  And there are many shades of this thing called vegan.  Personally I respect them all.  We live in complex societies, consuming all manner of things, from all places on this earth.  
I added provisos and amendments as I learned what my change meant for me.
I included human exploitation as one of the important (for me) factors to be avoided in my consumption-choice-criteria.
I wanted earth-friendly not earth-abusive practices used in providing my food and consumables.  I didn't want wastefulness.  I wanted fair-trade and fair-wage.  
So for example I decided I would not buy cheap new clothing from high street stores with very low prices and high turnover.  You know the shops I mean.
I'm still reviewing my criteria.  New information emerges.  We learn about the impact on communities of the western world's high consumption of new and the disuse, recycling or otherwise, of old.  We learn that the growing of cotton forces millions into unhealthful lives living under the poverty level.  That cotton is the world's most polluting crop.  That huge areas of land given over to one cash crop that is highly managed with vast quantities of pesticides is not compatible with life for animals.  Cotton is a vegan issue.  That children and women spend their days picking through mountains of waste to find plastics to sell for recycling, and earn enough to eat.  Plastic is a vegan issue.  That boys and men on the west coast of Africa, and on the Indian sub-continent, risk life and limb to break-up and reuse machinery and electronics, an activity deemed too risky or not economically viable for western workers.  Consumption is a vegan issue.  
So here I sit, typing my blog on a computer wherein the precious metals used in the tiny chip linking me to the worldwide web are mined by children in horrific circumstances.  And the chip in my mobile phone is part of a chain linking families, using their bare hands to pick ore out of the ground, to the militia gangs of rapists, thugs and murderers terrorising communities in Congo.  I'm not being hypocritical.   I'm applying the 80/20 rule.  And I never forget that.
So when I say I'm vegan, and I live by ethical principles,  what I mean is, I'm doing my best.  But it's never going to be enough.
I'm still learning.
So, let's see.  
What are you, 80/20, or All-Or-Nothing?
Best Regards
Edited 11/01/2011 to include a link to the most amazingly informative and compassionate and lovely blogger on the planet (I am very fond, it's true) who will tell you HERE a little more about how children suffer


  1. Good post and very thought provoking.We can all only do our best to live up to the values we aspire to but at least we can be aware of the bigger picture and do whatever we can not to make bad choices.I find it really difficult trying to convince my OH in certain depts but I have to respect his views too, even when I go away for a week and come back to an air freshener aerosol in the bathroom when I haven't bought an aerosol for years and he knows this grrr. So 80/20 for me too but trying hard.

  2. Hello Dreamer, nice to see you:) It seems to be a familier situation, differing priorities and values within a relationship, and it can be a major heartache. I usually find that it's the male (sorry folks I'm using a hetero partnership i.e. mine as an example) who finds large car and flying as ABSOLUTE priorities, whilst the woman frets for twenty minutes over choosing between recycled loo rolls in plastic wrap compared with non-recycled loo roll in recycled paper wrap. You get the gist of that!
    Mutual respect/TRY/ and 80/20, for sure;)

  3. I haven't made the jump, but I am definitely learning, constantly. I'm not vegan let alone vegetarian, but my consumption of meat is practically nil. Now, when I pick up a package of meat in the grocery store, I wonder how this animal was raised and how it was killed so I could buy this plastic wrapped package of...something. I can't say that I've attained 80/20 in my life because I'm still too new in the learning process. I'm much better at resisting the convenience factor in consumption, but still, sometimes convenience wins. That said, I do try and my awareness governs so much of how I'm living my life lately. It's a process and I'm getting step at a time.

  4. Thanks for that Lily. Living mindfully is a life-enriching skill and one I'm still a novice at. And I'm not always happy with my choices, but then that's because they mean so much. Life is a journey. Keep on keeping on;)

  5. Lovely post; thanks for sharing and you share my sentiment too about being 80/20 I've tried to be all or nothing, but it only serves to increase stress and decrease tolerance and compassion. 80/20 is much more realistic and means everyone can 'do their bit' whilst maintaining life in the 'real world'

    Warm wishes
    Mrs Green

  6. Mrs Green hello! You're so right;)
    And so nice to see you over here, welcome!

  7. Great post and very though provoking. Thank you for that.


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