During a rainy afternoon snuggled in with my smartphone reading articles about zero waste and minimalist ideas, I saw one titled Stop Doing These 8 Things for Your Teen This School Year. I read through it. I agreed with it. And found myself nodding along on most everything (minus the school paperwork, I would if it would be legible and not take forever). And I got up, and took my son’s swim cap over to him.
On the walk over to his dad’s, I was begrudging the fact that the school required we purchase one to begin with. It is this rubbery plastic material, it sticks to everything, will probably someday choke some poor unsuspecting sea turtle, and there is nothing I can do about it, because he has to get a passing grade in PE. And it should be noted that he and his sister both used the same one last year (they have PE different quarters) and it will probably be passed down to the younger 2 siblings as they need it in middle school (because apparently middle school teachers don’t want kids to have wet hair? No other school required them, yet they all swim in the same pool). So anyway, the dogs finally get secured enough I can hand his stepmom the blue rubber head condom looking thing, and we get the runaway far enough back in to shut the door, and I am walking back home. Luckily a short walk because otherwise I would have been stewing on this wayyyyy too much. But I digress.
You see, I had stewed all day yesterday when I was debating going out to the camper (in the rain and storms, I decided I was more useful here) about the recent board elections at camp. My neighbor won a spot, and he seems to want all of the campsites to be meticulously manicured, the gravel raked daily, no weeds, and general consensus during this rainy weather of most everyone has been, less mosquitoes. Now I don’t know for sure that he wants to spray, but I know I’ve had to tell him no to spraying chemicals on the weeds that I forage on my own lot more than once (which now makes me a bit hesitant to forage I might add). I put on bug repellent (a lemongrass kind from the local health food store there) and go about my day. I spray a little in my diffuser so they don’t come in and the cats can go out a little bit too. And as I walked past those mosquito havens on the way back from dropping off my son’s swim cap, I hear a friend telling me to just do me. It doesn’t matter that my breasts sag. My skin is too stretchy, but its okay. I don’t wear a bra on the weekends, that’s okay too. I can’t change people not liking mosquitoes, but I can do what I can to keep them off me (and answer the million questions as to how).
It doesn’t mean that I want them gone. They actually serve a purpose. If it wasn’t for the mosquitos (and other bugs of course) there would not be enough food for the birds. Or the bats. And I like listening to the birds chirp outside my window.
It doesn’t mean that I want to cut down trees that they find homes in. I like the trees too. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the environment. I want to enjoy my time in the woods. I apply a non-toxic spray that helps with that, does not effect a huge portion of any population, and effectively allows me to be happier in the woods.
It isn’t the woods’ responsibility to change for me. It isn’t my responsibility to change for the neighbors. Just as it really isn’t my responsibility to take my son his swim cap…. and sometimes we just do things that are nice for someone because we know they won’t be able to do something on their own (yes, he is perfectly capable of walking over here and getting it, unfortunately he wouldn’t be allowed). So, my takeaway on this slightly brighter than earlier evening, is that we are all welcome to do things our own way. Leading by example, responding to situations the way we would want them responded to if it were us, and knowing that it is okay to be yourself are probably the best ways to start.
So I leave you with a song. A song that my daughter came home singing one day, and is a perfect illustration of how you might get if you care too much about what other people think.
Just do you.