I think there are certain things that we do all the time that we never question, or never stop to wonder about. For me, I’m quite likely to question and wonder about these things eventually. It might take years and years, but one day, maybe in a half-awake daze, I’ll wonder, “why is it that I do this like this?”
One such habit that has come under scrutiny is the way I rinse my toothbrush after using it. (Can you tell this is going to be a riveting post?)
Firstly, a bit of background: I’m right-handed. When I was a kid, I tried to learn to be ambidextrous, but that proved too hard. I can write very slowly with my left hand, and also use chopsticks left-handed, so that’s something, but I generally leave everything up to the right hand.
That is, everything except rinsing my toothbrush.
When I was younger, my dad and his siblings ran a restaurant. It wasn’t anything fancy — a step above fast food but not fine dining. When it was busy on week-ends, my sister and I would help out with serving tables, packing delivery orders, and basic kitchen tasks.
The other day, while I was eating lunch at work, a random memory emerged for contemplation. It’s one of those things that seem insignificant, but has nonetheless been locked in my memory for some unknown reason.
This memory was just one particular moment — an instruction I had received. I think it was one of my uncles who said this, but it could have been my auntie. But the source of this wisdom is not exactly as important as the wisdom itself. (I’m sure they all shared the same wisdom anyway.)
We are often warned not to take social media too seriously. People often selectively share life events on the good to amazing scale, and leave out the mundane to disastrous. Looking at the social media of one’s friends might lead one to believe that everyone has the cutest, most well-behaved kids; or that they are always getting flowers and presents from people; or that they frequently go to the beach, where they enjoy picnics with elaborate charcuterie platters.
I’m sure this is all very obvious to my readership and to most of my friends, and there’s no need to warn any of you about this; but while I thought I was also above this petty social media envy, I realised the other day that I am, quite possibly, not totally immune.
There was a report on the news this morning about some study on climate change. A woman was saying that people probably think this last decade was exceptionally hot, but with climate change, the next decade will be much hotter such that our current temperatures will seem relatively mild.
When I heard this, my first thought was, “why is this still being reported like it’s some surprising news that no one considered before?” But I was in the middle of doing other things, so I continued on with my morning without thinking much more of it.
That is, until just a moment ago when I was reminiscing about how relatively carefree life used to be, and lamenting how troublesome life seems to be right now. Pandemic aside, I feel like this year has brought a lot more “responsible adult” tasks for me.
(Is there a point in adulthood when there is no more to learn about being an adult, and you can just get on with life i.e. relaxing, doing nothing, etc? Probably not?)
I have a friend who makes ceramics — mugs, vases, cups, bowls, sculptures, whatever she feels like. Last week-end, she sold some of her creations at a laneway market. She booked a stall, bought an Eftpos machine, and invited everyone to come along. Being very excited for her first market day, I went and bought one of her cute little hexagon mugs (and my partner bought a cube vase — a photo of these can be found on my Instagram (see side panel)).
I think she sold more than she expected, but numbers are just numbers, and I’m more inspired by her efforts and her courage than anything else. To create something with part of one’s heart and soul, and then show it to the world, is a tremendous thing.
A friend of mine shared an infographic on Instagram a while ago. It illustrated the difference between fixed and growth mindsets with regards to race issues. Instead of just thinking that you don’t know what to do, or that you won’t make a difference, or that you simply don’t have time to get involved (all fixed mindset thinking), it encourages people to seek new information, learn about how to help, and have the courage to take part in something that has far-reaching implications (growth mindset).
It’s easy to think that a singular person cannot have much impact on greater issues, but if every person thought that, nothing would happen, nothing would change, and nothing would improve.
As someone who attended their first protest last month — for Black Lives Matter — it really reinforced this notion of “yes, I’m just one person, but together we can be a force to be reckoned with”. It was incredible to stand amongst so many others, all assembled for the same reason.
And yet, the realist in me keeps wondering what will be the true outcome of this — will there be lasting change, or will people just settle back into “normal life”, and grumble about other things?
The same friend who posted the infographic has also been sharing resources for how to support the cause further, how to support indigenous Australians, and how to just be a better human. I’ll admit it’s a lot to keep up with, and I haven’t read everything she shared, but every step in the right direction — no matter how small — equates to progress, and it’s further than I’d gone before.