Why doing our best for the world is all we can do
It's not always possible to give all your time and energy to different causes, and that's ok
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I often feel that I'm constantly being bombarded with new issues in the world and causes that I should care about. We are continuously being told what we should do to change our lives so to our reduce our negative impact on other people and the world at large, as well as what we should do to help. But it can be quite overwhelming.
I would consider myself to be a good person who cares about others and would really like to help make the world a better place. But on the other hand I am often so busy that I don't have time to (or simply forget to) implement these changes in my life. Climate change for example is a subject I feel very strongly about. I do my best to shop sustainably, eat sustainably and reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible. However I know there is a lot more I could be doing.
Changing what I eat
For nearly a year I have been trying to reduce the amount of animal products in my diet. During the college week I buy and cook mainly plant-based foods. At home on the weekend I eat whatever my wonderful parents cook for me although I have swayed the amount of meat eaten in the house, and my parents do cook the odd vegetarian meal too. For the past few weeks I have found myself wanting to just take the dive and commit myself to a fully plant based diet.
It's what I feel I should do, but here's my dilemma. There is so much information out there on the best way to eat for the planet and before I fully commit to one way or another I want to do some research and make a fully informed decision. For example, in a country like Ireland many would claim eating locally sourced foods is just as important as cutting meat and dairy. The problem is that I am a busy woman. I've got a lot on my hands and although this is important, I will be honest and say that there are other things that are more immediately important in my life.
Setting your priorities
So that makes me question, is it ok to agree with a cause even if it is not your number one priority? In my opinion, yes! There are so many good causes out there and I'm sure we'd all like to support them all. However it's clear that it would take a mind-boggling amount of time, effort and money to do so. It's ok to have your favourites, the ones that mean the most to you. It's hard to constantly listen to people on the telly or social media say 'if you care about it why don't you do something about it?' but at the end of the day we all have to priorities.
We are all on our own journeys in life. We all have our own goals and dreams. We each have the right to live our lives in a way that will make us happiest. In the end I think it all comes down to guilt. We feel guilty that we are not passionate enough about a cause in order to make a bunch of changes. But this does not make you a bad person!
You're doing the best you can
I'd like to make it 100% clear that I'm not trying to diminish the importance of giving back and of stewardship in the world. I'm just saying that I think the world will always be a mess, and unfortunately there will always be terrible problems that need fixing, so we should stop feeling guilty about not putting every last bit of our energy into them. As long as we do our best within the parameters of our own lives, and in keeping with our own priorities and values, then I think we're doing pretty great.