Day three of my 7 in 7 blog posts and I’m still (just about) sticking to it. Today I want to share with you the first of three things that might seem small but added up to a big change in me in 2017.
The kind of person I am…
Late in 2015 I put my foot down. “I don’t want to be the kind of person who dies without ever having a dog,” I said to my non-dog loving husband. He got the message. Welcome, Mabel… and of course, he now loves her as much as I do.
And this got me thinking about how we can constructively contribute to be being the kind of person we want to be. Too often we let our childhood script, what we perceive to be our ‘natural’ talents, circumstances and the will of other, stronger minded, people determine how we live and therefore who we are.
Not accepting this and continuing to consciously work on becoming the kind of person we might secretly want to be, somehow seems indulgent and a bit precocious, like a self obsessed teenager. But it doesn’t always have to be dog demanding, foot stamping diva stuff. A little honesty and ingenuity can go a long way. And small steps make big differences. This is what worked for me in 2017.
Shopping at Lidls.
I have to admit that I’ve never consciously thought “I want to be the kind of person who shops at Lidls,” that budget continental supermarket which first appeared in our light industrial units about 20 years ago. But I have wanted to be the kind of person who has certain mundane jobs, such as the weekly shop, so well organised that it slips into the daily routine without impacting on the interesting and important things in my life. So when people ask me, as they have done over New Year “What was the best bit of 2017?” I can genuinely answer “Changing to shop at Lidls.”
My mother had been recommending it for years and I’d always just nodded and then gone back to shopping at the over crowded, annoying and increasingly expensive supermarket that I’d patronised since university. It’s a big name and back in the cash rich noughties, shopping there was a badge of honour. But those days have long gone and the misery of the badly designed car park, the aggressive middle aged men wielding their trollies like chariots going into battle and the wet fish faces of disgruntled staff certainly didn’t make me feel any better about the ever growing bill. Plus, their marketing of extras (clothes, household goods etc) meant I would always indulge myself buying something completely unnecessary to make up for the pain. I wore my despair like a badge of honour, as though making myself miserable somehow made me a better person.
Eventually I decided that Lidls couldn’t be any worse. I organised myself. I experimented with their different products. I found things that worked for us as a family. I rejoiced in the low bill and the easy to access car park. I discovered that going straight after the morning school run means it’s almost empty and even a big shop takes less than 20 minutes. I learned how to cope with the super fast checkouts (chuck it all back in the trolley then pack directly into the car). I definitely prefer their sweet chilli salmon fillets.
Obviously, this is just my local shop; yours may be very different and this isn’t actually an ad for Lidls (if only it were…). But I can genuinely tell you that this seemingly small change has made life so much more pleasant and literally richer.
So look for the small things, try to take time to shake things up, to do something differently. If you feel that you do something which doesn’t bring you joy because it’s what you’ve always done, or because it’s what’s expected of you by the mums at the school gate then break free from it. Experiment. Play with something new, if it doesn’t work, it’s no real disaster. Because you have no idea how much improvement that a tiny change could make and how much closer it could bring to to being that person you really are.
Tomorrow’s post is about why I’ve given up eating meat. It’s not preachy, I promise you. (Of course it is! Has there ever been a non-preachy non-meat eater…?). But read it anyway, it’s actually about sticking to your morals of your heart, whatever they might be.