Change is the only constant in life. Though all of us know this, we passively think about it and move on. But there comes a time in everyone’s life when they act on it. Some changes are enjoyable and welcomed while the others forced on us. Change is inevitable.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world”. Today, I want to talk about some changes I have made in my life over the years. And why do I want to share this with you? I am hoping that this will encourage you to share with us, the changes you have made to your life. Talking about good changes and inspiring things can bring about a lot of positivity in life. Positivity and good deeds are as contagious as laughter.
Change is slow and only happens when you truly believe in it. How many times do we read Facebook posts, see advertisements, see documentaries, read signs and still do not decide to act on what we know we should change? I admit, I have thought about making some changes a lot of times and even had conversations about them, but never acted on them myself.
I have to give due credit to my husband for nagging and irritating me on some of these issues for me to think about them more deeply. My son also deserves a little credit, as it is he who I think about, every time I make a decision in my life since the day we were blessed with him. The rest of the credit goes to my will, which decided to bring my heart and my brain on the same page.
I started making small changes in my life since I was in college doing my MBA in 2009. As long as I remember, I have been skinny. One day in 2009, I was eating my favorite snacks in the college cafeteria while juggling between reading my textbook and answering a phone call from a friend. It was during a small break between classes, that made me realize, I was doing too much at a time and it was taking a toll on me. I decided in that moment, never to be on the phone or read when I eat. I was so surprised that I put on healthy weight in the months following that one small change. I follow that simple rule even today, to enjoy every meal I have in solace.
The next noteworthy change in my life came when I was watching a YouTube video about minimalism. I was so intrigued by this, that I fell in love with this idea. Minimalism means different things to different people. For some, it means living with just enough to fill a back-pack; for others, it means only having as much as you really need. You have to decide what it means for you. For me it meant having only as much as I can manage. What I mean by this is, if I am spending too much time organizing, re-organizing, cleaning and discarding, than using things I own, then I need to purge. I need to sell, donate or just gift things I don’t need. For me, like any other average girl, it meant cleaning out my closet. If you read about capsule wardrobes, you will learn that we use only 33% of things we own and the rest are just uncomfortable, or just not ‘us’ and we never go to them. So I downsized to 50% of what I had in clothes, bags, jewelry and shoes. And it feels so light, and so good! I used the app ‘Poshmark’ to creatively sell my wardrobe and create a new more comfortable one. Its a good place to buy used clothes. I love the idea of reusing clothes as they can be washed and sanitized. I used so many used clothes for my son since he was born which were great hand-me-downs from my sister-in-Law.
I love my husband for taking out the time and putting in the effort to go to Goodwill once in a while and donate all the things we don’t need. One important aspect of purging is also discarding waste like batteries or electronics responsibly.
Another big change I made recently was to stop using disposables and plastic daily. I have my own coffee mug, spoon, glass water bottle in office. I wash and reuse them as and when needed. I decided this a couple of months back and have never felt better. All those coffee mugs, plastic cutlery created so much waste daily. We as a family also try to use reusable grocery bags and limit our use of paper napkins. I even pick up the unused paper napkins from restaurants and use them at home or office. A TED talk on the right way to wash hands, strengthened my decision to use less paper towels in public restrooms. I am sure all of us have seen people take 1, 2, 3 or even more paper napkins for a single use, to dry their hands. I want to lead by example. May be next time someone sees me using one, they might pull just one for themselves.
There are still a lot of changes I want to achieve, especially when it comes to wastage of food, or donating food. This change came to me in a very emotional moment. I was cooking dinner after a hectic workday and my son was playing after coming home from daycare. I could hear the TV in the background playing my sons favorite rhyme; “I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas”. My son playfully called me to watch it. It was an advertisement by an organization ‘Feeding America’, which showed a boy as sweet and innocent as my baby searching for food in the refrigerator and cupboards after coming home from school and finding nothing. It broke my heart and I had tears in my eyes. My son is still very young and naïve and could enjoy the song innocently, unaware of the harsh truths and realities of this world. That was the moment, I knew I had to do something. I will donate today, not when I have more money, not when I have more food, but today. I will donate a part of what I have today, to someone who has nothing. We started with this bag that we filled with non-perishable healthy food and kept it at the mailbox for USPS to pick up.
Recently, I saw many posts on Facebook for movements like #MeToo or the Q-Movement in Mumbai, where people are forming queues to get into a local train. All these inspire me. Tell me what movements have inspired you lately? If you are yet to act on a change, tell me which will be the first change you embrace. I am not here to preach, I am here to stir up your beliefs and thoughts, so that you find your next change!