People like to indulge in a little introspection at this time of year. It’s the done thing… there’s nothing like pinning up a new calendar to incite a widespread reassessment of one’s life.
It’s a reaction against festive excess—we pop out the other side of Christmas after too much roasted poultry and mulled wine. The bank account is drained, our heads begin to sober up and we start to examine our pudding-bloated selves in the harsh light of a new year.
Resolutions are an insidious way to set oneself up for disappointment—especially as they seem to consist mainly of not doing things that we love (drinking, smoking, procrastinating) or doing more of the things we don’t (work, exercise).
Last year I jotted down a few things and promptly misplaced the list. Like a tree falling in the forest, is a resolution a resolution if you can’t remember it? I know “build a website” and “don’t drink Coke” (I had a horrible can-a-day habit in my last job) both featured. I’ve succeeded on both fronts and conveniently forgotten the rest.
Probably as a direct result of the first resolution—keeping an eye out for all things eco or ethical—I’ve become hyper aware of things that used to pass me by. Like how my yoga instructor would make tea after class in winter… and serve it up in styrofoam cups. I resolved to speak up—but then broke my toe and was out of action for a couple of months.
By the time I came back, it was spring and tea was replaced with bottled water. After meeting David de Rothschild this year, I think water bottles are the devil. I leave mine for the next person. But still, I say nothing.
Walking back from yoga, I’m struck that the café places my muffin in a paper bag in order to hand it to me so that I can immediately take it out and start munching on it on the way home… via the nearest recycling bin. So I request no bag.
I haven’t used my dryer since the start of 2010 when I discovered that most (about 60-80% if I recall) of a garment’s carbon footprint comes from how it’s cared for after it leaves the store. I don’t miss it. I do kind of miss the thrill of the spontaneous shop, though. Seeing something cool and just getting it—I check the labels, google the brand on my phone, realise there’s no redeeming eco factor and decide it’s a hypocritical purchase.
At Christmas, I noticed how cards are individually wrapped in little plastic pockets. Perhaps Christmas kept being ruined because forgetful people neglected to grab an envelope at the newsagents so it was decreed that they must be tethered together in a plastic prison. Or maybe envelope theft was rampantly spiraling out of control, now sealed for their own protection.
The resolution list is long gone, but I’m certain “stop using dryer”, “cut out water bottles” and “refuse muffin packaging” weren’t on there. Worthy enough achievements, so perhaps retrospectively I’ll say they were, give myself a pat on the back and resolve in 2011 to build on that—and try to have a word about those styrofoam cups. Without sounding like a self-righteous tool.
- Matt Muses…on fashion and ethics
- Matt muses… front row at RAFW
- Matt muses: the green runway
- Matt Muses: Retail madness
- Matt muses: Future fashion