Gratitude Sustainability

I have enough: Soap

If you’d like to know what these posts are about overall, please head to the first one in the series.

Some of these things will inevitably be silly. Or little and seemingly inconsequential. Pens, soap, notebooks – who cares? But if I truly end up being steadfast in my decision of not getting any more soap until I use up the soaps I have, I might end up not buying soap for years. I haven’t counted the bars when I took out the box to pick out a new bar for the bathroom sink, but there’s easily at least fifty. And bar soap is much more economical than liquid hand soap or shower gel – and I have those too. So 50 something bars of soap and all the shower gels and liquid soap will easily last me 5 years.

I think it’s a good backwards exercise is sustainability and finances. Having these hoards of things that would last ages shows me how much money we tend to spend in excess on small inconsequential stuff – that would have enjoyed the effects of compound interest otherwise, were I not mad or stupid or both.

I used to collect soap, and up to this day I really enjoy receiving it as a souvenir. It was surprising to me that not everyone shares this sentiment, and view soap as cheap or useless. Not everyone likes bar soap. Some people are averse to the idea of sharing a bar of soap with another person. It’s not the case for me, especially when it comes to hand soap. I also like making frankensoaps. It’s when you melt the last bits and pieces of several bar soaps into a new one.

My collection used to be much bigger, too. Apart from using it up myself, I also gifted it occasionally. Some I even sold. Plus back when my brother could visit me, he’d raid the box and pick a couple bars to last him until his next stay. I think he also took some to give as small souvenirs to his lady colleagues.

Anyway, yeah. Soap. It doesn’t go bad as much as it dries out. I have several novelty-shaped ones that are around 12 years old that began drying out a little. They are difficult to use as they’re in the shape of fruits and cartoonish bugs, and I had thought about just keeping them as figurines, but as they dry out, they begin to crumble. So I will either melt them into square shapes and use as hand soap, or maybe I will grind them and add a spoon or two to my laundry together with soda bicarbonate or washing soda. A teaspoon would do no damage as it wouldn’t be sudsy enough.

Gratitude Reading

I have enough: Books

One part of me realises the futility of this exercise, but we’re going to try. Maybe it’s the part that tends to lie to me.

As mentioned in my last post, I lost my job. I also have a lot of debt. And a thing for spending money. Now that I’m on mood stabilisers, I am doing much better, but I’d wager it will always be a problem. A while ago I read a quote in Your Money or Your Life (a book that everyone should get and reread like gospel at least once a year):

Indeed, some people would say that once we’re above the survival level, the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude.

While I can understand how that might not always work that way (enter survival mode for example, which is not always connected or even intertwined with financial matters – you can be sprouting dolla dolla bills from your arse and still feel like you’re hanging by a thread), it is a statement with a substantial amount of truth to it. And gratitude, especially for small seemingly nonconsequential things, will make one a better person and will improve one’s day, even if slightly.

So here we are. Treat these as extended gratitude lists about one thing in particular. In no way am I bragging. For some people the amount of certain things I own will be overwhelming. For others dumb, for somebody else interesting, enviable, or confusing. I’m not a fan of “it is what it is” – but it is what it is. I’m not a minimalist. And whilst at this point in time I can imagine myself having only two mugs (more on them later), I can’t imagine having two books. Let’s talk about them.

I have a lot of books. Most of my library is inherited from parents, grandparents, and their parents, but I bought quite a few myself. I remember having a weird dream (as in wish) of finishing all of the books in my home library, but that is simply not possible. Well. It is. But it is not probable. Highly unlikely. Because at least in this moment in time I have little desire to read up on *zooms in* the history of soviet civic aviation. I also wouldn’t touch that particular philosophy textbook with a six foot pole. Never again. *shudder*

Plus my library is not finite. I may have titled this post ‘i have enough’, but I know that at one point in time I will go out and buy more. I feel calm right now, and also oddly satisfied with the selection available to me at the moment (big thanks to z library for that, I might add), but it does not mean that I don’t want to own all the six volumes of Heaven’s Official Blessing, or the next Rowling book, or a bunch of manhwa, or the next Hunger Games, or yet another dystopia, or a cookbook, or a spellbook, etc., etc. E-books are a big part of my reading habit, largely because shipping endless amounts of overtly commercial fiction printed in the English language to the lands I inhabit will never be financially sustainable, but I will always and forever prefer paper. I’m very tactile, I’ve come to realise. I like tangible things. A big part of the charm of listening to music for me, for example, is CDs, records, and even tapes. I like the sounds the record player makes. I like pressing buttons. I like the whirring sound of the CD or the tape.

But back to books.

My lifelong affinity to all things paper tells me that I will never not want to buy paper books. Few things compare to the satisfaction of turning the last page on a paperback, and then just sitting with it for a while, flicking pages, recalling some paragraphs. Touch screens and swipes just aren’t the same. Tucking in receipts, pieces of paper with notes, an occasional real bookmark, maybe a postcard, a bus ticket, or a photograph, then finding all of this years later. What am I supposed to do with a Kindle that feels the same way? Glue stickers in layers and then peel them off?

But at this point in life, for my purposes, and for my current goals, I have enough. I have enough classics to occupy me for years. I have enough modern literature and non-fiction, bought, downloaded, and bought and downloaded to keep me entertained and out of a bookshop. One day I will be back, and fingers crossed this day will come soon, but for now I’ll stick to my shelves, pretending that I’m browsing a store or a library. Certainly my delusions are powerful enough to handle this assignment.


Basic B*tch Delights – hello

I’d like to have some sort of a column where I would list all the small and basic things that bring me joy in the every day life. I notice them as it is, but I figure sharing would be akin to writing a gratitude list. So here is volume one. My goal is to write these at least twice a month. I’d wager there will also be repeats, as some of the things that bring me joy are systematic. Like, for example…

Nail polish

Mine is a very bright blue this week. I haven’t painted my nails in a long while, so this was a welcome change.

That first sip

Just like the cups say. First sip of a coffee you love is the best. Ah, glamourised addiction.

Potted flowers

I’ve been adding some plant friends to my sills and shelves, and this last one has been keeping me especially cheerful. It’s a begonia, and it looks wonderful. I have to keep it out of the reach of cats, as begonias are poisonous, but thankfully this particular plant enjoys indirect bright light, so I can just keep it on the shelf above my desk where my cats don’t go.

My pink sunglasses

Pink is by far not my favourite colour, but I love these sunglasses. Perhaps because the frame is the most subtle thing about them, and the reflective lenses are more green and yellow than anything else.

A good book

This year has been a decent reading year in terms of volume so far, but not so much in content. My current read is My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman. This book and I had a rocky start, but it gets much better after about 5-6 chapters. I’m really glad I didn’t drop it. You can find this book by Fredrik Backman here on Amazon/ Google Books.

(Yes, I’m wearing HP pyjamas in this photo.) If you’re unfamiliar with the plot of My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry – it’s a story of a young girl Elsa whose grandmother dies, and leaves behind a sort of a quest for her granddaughter. It’s a journey of self-discovery and growth for the child, as well as the people around her. The telling is intertwined with a lot of allegory and metaphor from Elsa’s and her grandmother’s personal mythology. As the “quest” progresses, Elsa discovers that a lot of this ‘myth’ is based in reality.

As mentioned, the first couple of chapters didn’t do it for me, but after I moved to chapter 8 or so, this book became the only thing I think about. I hope to finish it this weekend.