The Gabber’s semi-regular advice column, Dear Gabby, is here by reader demand. Have a question or a conundrum for Gabby? There’s no problem too small for our resident advisor. Send your questions – they can be anonymous – to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m addicted to plastic! OK, not really addicted, but I’ve been trying to be more sustainable, and make better choices for the environment, but I can’t seem to cut out plastic. It’s everywhere! Bottles, wrappers, containers. I don’t think it’s enough to just use cloth bags to shop. How can I cut out all this waste in my life?
Plastic is BIG business and the lobby to keep us plastic-dependent is powerful. In Florida, we have a front row seat to how climate change is affecting our home – increased number and power of storms, flooding, algae blooms and more! It can all feel overwhelming, particularly when we factor in climate change-related destruction in California, Texas, and other places. Dang. Now I’m freaking out, too. Okay. Let’s breathe. While it’s debatable how much a single individual impacts climate change, we can take some solace in sustainability, like all things, existing on a spectrum. Plastic ain’t going anywhere, but you can make choices that feel good to you and work for your life. Cloth bags are a great place to start, and you can slowly incorporate other choices into your quest for sustainability like buying fewer single-use products, choosing products that come in glass containers, exploring more reusable options for personal products, and trying out new products like laundry detergent sheets, shampoo and conditioner bars, and toothpaste tablets. Get those earth-loving fingers to your nearest search engine and start exploring!
I’ve recently made significant changes in my personal life, rejecting victimhood and working to manifest financial and professional success for my life. As a licensed social worker, certified life coach and trauma specialist, I’ve recently added Reiki to my services as well. I’ve met resistance from many family and friends – and even some members of the Black community for collaborating with white allies – as I pursue these avenues and make positive changes in my life. I want to keep moving forward, but feel frustrated and let down. How do I stay true to myself and maintain my personal and community relationships?
It sounds like you are really leaning into your life’s calling with your business and your personal life. This can be difficult to do when people, especially family and friends who knew you to be one way, are now faced with embracing the “new” you. Change is uncomfortable, always. It demands moving beyond our comfort zones and exploring new spaces within ourselves and our communities. That movement is always a choice, and some people just ain’t gonna go. When I was a kid, my pops used to say this thing whenever we were about to leave on a trip or outing: “Who shall and who shain’t, who goin’ and who ain’t?” I’ve taken this into my adult life. When I’m moving forward with something in my life, a new opportunity, a new journey, a new way of living my life more authentically, I have to take a look at my friends, my family, my community, and ask that same question my father used to ask. You have to do what’s right for you, make the choices that feel honest and encouraging for the life you want to live. The folks who aren’t supportive, who would rather you stayed the same, who don’t want to take this journey with you are going to get left behind. Keep moving toward the life you want and the life you want will move toward you – as will new friends, chosen family and a community who supports who you are and the work you do.