What will your future self thank you for?

Its a quote from somewhere. Something I read or heard. It resonated with me and its given me plenty to think about.

What will you do today that your future self will thank you for?

I’ve had plenty of time to muse over things the last few months. I had a cancer diagnosis in February. I’m half way through the planned chemotherapy. Each treatment knocks me flat for a bit and then slowly I get up again and push on. In the flat periods I’ve slept (a lot), read, watched and listened to many different sources of info all around climate change. Thought provoking, interesting, critical, despairing, inspiring.

Might have been really easy, maybe even understandable, to slip into morbid despair at the state of things but perhaps strangely I haven’t. I kept coming back to that quote. What am I going to DO? Do……… is an action word and so as each cycle progresses and I, literally, get back on my feet I DO stuff.

The greenhouse has come to life with seedlings and tomato plants. My two boys have picked a new herb pot each time we’ve ventured to the garden centre. They chose basil last visit (to go with tomatoes) – Secretly, I think they have an idea of pizza!

Inside the house with my limited energy I have been starting to declutter – multiple trips to the charity shops with clothes, toys and random knick knacks! Things I am no longer using but that others could benefit from.

The highlight of my week was putting out the recycling on Tuesday night. I hate the job normally; not least because it is the obvious consequence of weekly purchase and consumption and waste. This week though, yielded about half the plastic trays compared to a ‘normal week’ and I didn’t put out the food waste bin because we haven’t filled it this week. Finally, a week of less shopping and batch cooking or slow cooking meals when I don’t have the energy in previous weeks resulted in a lot less waste. Another baby step. A new habit forming.

Today was the first day I have ventured out this treatment cycle and I ended up in the library, slightly exhausted, where the local climate action group has set up a small exhibition called ‘Climate Curious’. I feel recharged. Beautiful quilted art from textile artists capturing the fragility of melting at the poles and sea level rise, short video clips by local action groups looking after green spaces and rewilding areas locally. But the most thought provoking were the graphic designs by local college students showcasing their own concerns over climate change and the world that they will ‘inherit’. Extinction, continual pursuit of more coal, oil and gas, the growing of food and deforestation. All bringing into sharp focus how they feel we are treating the planet.

Inherit – what to do think of when you hear inherit? ‘The meek shall inherit the Earth’?

I think it is a very western view that success is measured by our ability to leave wealth to our children. Not yet are we properly hearing the voices of young people about what they know they are actually inheriting. They see the state of the planet and are questioning why we thought it was ok to turn it into a polluted, rubbish dump.

That is in real contrast to Indigenous communities across the world who see themselves as custodians of the land – they focus their efforts to protect and manage land such that it remains in a good, healthy condition to support the community. Their children take up custodianship of an environment that is looked after and valued so the community can continue to live and thrive.

So, what will you do today that your future self (or future generations) will thank you for?

2 comments

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis, Sarah, and hope the treatment goes well. Rest and self-compassion are most definitely the order of the day but I admire your ‘action’ attitude totally – what an inspiring role model you are! šŸ˜Š Even without serious illness, I find it all to easy to slip into the morbid despair you describe but it is always the thought of my children and grandchildren that keeps me fighting on because what we leave for them is crucial. Young people have an acute awareness of the state of the planet and what the future will look like if we don’t take action and I get very tired of them being dismissed as ‘snowflakes’ or ‘woke’ or whatever the latest derogatory term is. Your library exhibition sounds perfect, the sort of thing that everyone should see and reflect upon – so much more important than the latest shenanigans of a disgraceful government. I still believe that every individual gesture, however small, helps but more and more I am also lobbying the powers that be to stop greenwashing and get busy! If nothing else, I would like future generations to know that I genuinely tried and since I’m too old to be a snowflake, I really don’t care what people think or say about this battling eco-granny! Be kind to yourself, Sarah . . . and I think a pizza-making session with your boys sounds like something wonderful to be done! šŸ˜‰

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    • Thank you for your kind comment. Cancer is never a comfortable topic but it helps me to put it out there. Life is bumpy – this just adds to the bumps
      I think it has made me more determined to make changes to how we live to reduce our impact on the environment. It has also given me permission to not be perfect! Life is hard, lets just do the little things and not beat myself up of the big changes that are out of my reach just at the moment! I can eat less meat so lets do it, but I’m stuck with my little diesel car at the moment, by accepting I can’t afford to change it it frees me to look at how to reduce my mileage/ journeys where I can. Giving myself that grace is very powerful.
      When Global Footprint Network announced Earth Overshoot Day this year the language they use to explain why it matters is very much about the ecological debt we are running up by using more than the Earth can replenish. This debt will be paid by generations to come – either by default as our access to food, fresh water and safe places to live become reduced – or by design – because we have planned as a society and have reduced our consumption so there is enough for everyone. That is a debt I don’t want to leave for my children; as a society we have to change now and start repaying our debt. Maybe my diagnosis brings that to even closer focus.

      Liked by 1 person

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