Every choice is a chance
It’s a wet, overcast Tuesday and I’m treating myself one of my favorite activities: Poking Around Antique Stores, Picking Things Up And Putting Them Down Again.
I page through the old Life magazines, fiddle with Fiestaware, imagine a life that necessitates a 12-piece set of Wedgwood china.
I turn a corner and see a sign that shoots an arrow through the dust-filled air of that overfilled antique store right into my heart (if I’m going to go ahead and be melodramatic about it.)
This is, of course, not the intention of said sign. This is a vintage flyer designed to help voters use ballots correctly.
But what I see is a reminder that everything matters. I see confirmation that the tiny choices I make every day add up to something. That might sound demoralizing or overwhelming but I’m choosing to see it as wildly empowering.
Most of us are tired and overworked. We don’t have as much time or energy or money as we’d like and when it comes to making the world a (slightly) better place we’re not sure where to start if we can’t donate $2,000 or 20 hours a week.
As cheesy as it sounds, our tiny, daily choices are a chance to make the world a better place.
I can buy my $4 latte at Nokomis Beach Coffee (independent, locally-owned) or I can buy my $4 latte at Starbucks.
I can use red solo cups for my party ($14 for 100) or I can use compostable cups ($13 for 50).
I can buy a Merino sweater at Gap for $40 or I can buy a gently-used Merino sweater at Goodwill for $7 and support a non-profit that does tons of good things … and save myself $33.
I can throw my potato peels in my garbage can or I can throw them in my compost can.
When I meet someone new and we’re talking about their love life, I can say “Have you met anyone awesome lately?” or “What are they like?” rather than assuming everyone ever is straight and uses him/her pronouns.
I can watch a sitcom filled with people who look exactly like me or I can watch a sitcom with characters who are different than me.
In a lot of cases, making the kinder choice requires almost zero extra effort from us.
It is literally the difference of pronouns or Amazon search terms. Or maybe $5.
These tiny, daily choices might not make a big difference to us, but they make a difference to someone.
Of course, I’m not a perfect human. My favorite jeans come from Old Navy and they’re probably made in a sweat shop somewhere. A lot of times I’d rather make one stop at a big box store than drive to 17 (very lovely!) local businesses. Sometimes I buy $5 raspberries in the dead of winter, carbon footprint be damned.
You don’t have to be a perfect human, either. As our boyfriend Walt Whitman reminds us: We are large. We contain multitudes.
But if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the problems in the world, unsure of where to start, or doubted the effects of your efforts, know that you can make a difference starting where you are, with what you have.