Today is day 4 of my week off work – a week I’ve spent treating myself to things like spa, brunch and theatre tickets – and although a trip to the cinema and eating out is in my calendar, I don’t look forward to it at all.
It’s just been too much luxury for me already this week.
I feel uncomfortable. bad. consumptive. As someone who’s decided to go vegan, fly as little as possible, only shop second hand, and just leave as little a footprint on Earth as I can, it feels so so wrong to indulge in these kinds of things.
I’ve grown so used to always aiming for making the right choice for the climate that supporting a spa centre that’s by its nature is producing emissions for the sake of nothing necessary feels evil.
And even the vegan café that is doing what it can to emit as little as possible and only offers plant-based options feels bad to support. I think what’s tickling my consciousness is the fact that I’m sipping my smoothie and eating my hearty sandwich while 500 m from where I sit, homeless people sit hungry in the city’s shelter.
I donate money to the homeless, and I haven’t been for brunch in 6 months. But this feeling of unfairness is still enough that I can’t even enjoy my smoothie. It’s too ingrained in me.
Most of all, I just feel like giving up on it all. Say goodbye to spending money on things I want and treating myself once in a while, and instead live a minimalistic life.
But I also know that I’m not just feeling bad because of my own actions. I also feel bad because so many other people are doing the same, and doing more. I know Earth can’t support us all living luxuriously, so on behalf of those who can’t stop over-consuming, I feel responsible for under-consuming.
So I struggle with myself. It isn’t fair to under-consume just so others can over-consume. Ideally we all do our best to treat Earth respectfully, but just because we don’t live in this ideal world, do those of us who’re willing to sacrifice goods in their day to day also need to sacrifice all luxury forever?
That also doesn’t seem right, but it doesn’t sooth my bad conscious. I still feel like a piece of shit and so damn privileged.
I struggle because I know I didn’t work particularly hard to be able to afford this. I was just born in the right country, by the right parents. I was lucky. And so many weren’t. Indulging myself just because I’ve been lucky thus far is a terrible reason.
What to do? This world is unfair and I hate it.