My life might be about embracing “nothing,” but my work at the newspaper doesn’t always reflect that.
You can’t sell zero waste or minimalism. I mean, you can, as corporations and advertisers have proven. But both of these movements really hinge on not consuming, or consuming less. There’s no money in that for businesses, including newspapers. We need advertisers to pay for the production of our paper and yes, that includes my salary. And you’re never going to see an advertisement that says, hey, you know what? Just make do with what you have. You’re fine.
That’s what we get for living in a consumer-driven economy, I suppose.
Anyway, all of that is just to say that I’ve been busy working on stories for the paper’s upcoming gift guide. It’s basically one big advertisement under the guise of “shopping locally.” I can’t say I really enjoy these assignments anyway — more work, no time, etc. — but this year it seems particularly ironic.
Because I’m working on a zero waste project. Because shopping isn’t very zero waste. Because I’m a minimalist. Because my own gift list is so tiny. Because I don’t even like to shop.
I mean, if I had a choice, I’d write about the gift ideas we’ve come up with here: DIY products, goodies, secondhand stuff. Things you can create at home and away from the crowds. Zero waste wrapping. Coffee! Actually, never mind, one of my stories really is about coffee. For some reason my editor thought that would be a good fit for me. Huh, I wonder why?
Instead, I’m writing about the exact opposite of that. More is more, here’s what’s hot right now, everyone needs one of these! Get one for your list and one for yourself! We’ve got stuff for every budget!
It makes me feel a bit smarmy.
It’s not all terrible, though. The writing style is more relaxed, so that’s fun. I found some hilarious socks by a company that donates a portion of its proceeds to Doctors Without Boarders — the girls are getting those in their stockings. And there are a surprising number of items that are both reusable and eco-friendly. I wasn’t expecting that.
It would be interesting to be a zero waster pursuing another profession — I wonder if that would make it easier or harder to accomplish a more unified work / life balance? — but the truth is that I really love what I do and don’t want to do anything else. I guess the good news is that my work and my life aren’t always this out of sync. Or maybe I just hope the blog makes up for it. 😉
Next up: Too much self-reflection! Friday’s post will be something fun. Um, fun-ish, let’s not oversell it.