Around Easter time, there’s a campaign that the House Rabbit Society and other animal welfare organizations send out, reminding people of how it’s not a good idea to get a child a pet bunny, chick, or duckling as a present for Easter. Nine times out of ten, the novelty and excitement of the cute fuzzy thing will wear off once Easter passes along, or the family will find that they’re ill-equipped, financially and time-wise, to deal with a pet, and the poor creature will end up neglected or languishing in an animal shelter, eventually being euthanized. The House Rabbit Society campaign and others like it, at their core, hope to encourage people to engage in long-term thinking for decisions, with the hope that maybe that will translate into behaviour which will be more beneficial all around. That is something I’ve struggled with as an activist, for a variety of reasons, and I’d like to change that, starting today.
It’s easy to get caught up in short term thinking in activist circles, unfortunately. A good portion of activism campaigns seem to operate on an almost cyclical structure. Halloween is Fair Trade Chocolate, Christmas is donating to toy drives, April is autism
awareness acceptance month, and, save for an occasional disruption in the schedule caused by a newsworthy event or a cleverly hatched awareness campaign, it goes on like this. This short-term thinking translates not only into how I do my activism, but how I manage my health, my schooling, and other aspects of my life. I’ll pledge to buy only at locally owned grocery stores, or to eat fair trade chocolate, or to go on morning walks, or to get more vitamin D in my diet, or to write 700 words of fiction every day, or to study for two hours each night, only to slip up or “cheat” one time, and then forget all about it in a month’s time.
It’s a counter-productive pattern which leads to a cycle of its own: concern, pride, then laziness, followed by guilt, ultimately concluded by apathy. It doesn’t change a thing about the way I live my life and conduct myself, let alone create positive change in the world.
I decided that enough was enough, and tried to think of what I could do to be different, what I could change in order to make sure that I struck to my goals and principles and could proudly say I completed or upheld them. I remembered how much blogging has changed my life; it’s significantly improved the way I write (I’m much more proud, empowered, and active in my writing compared to how I was when I first blogged) my social skills (believe it or not) and my outlook. I was introduced to new concepts, new people, and new ways of seeing that I never would have otherwise had access to through blogging.
To top it all off, participating in book memes has significantly improved my average “score” for reading on a monthly and yearly basis. Having an audience to pour out my opinions to, someone who could hold me accountable, encourage me, and interact with me, and having a permanent record of what I do is quite the effective means to achieve all of this, and I feel that it could truly make a difference in my long-term behaviour if I blogged in-depth about my goals in academics, health, activism, and happiness.
Let’s see if this works. I’m hoping my readers will be eager to participate in observing and encouraging me, as they have before. I will explain specific goals later tonight, in another post.