What do you do when the people closest to you don’t believe in sustainability?
Jesse (the boyfriend) and I had a fight. I cried (why must girls cry whenever they get angry? It’s like an involuntary reflex, which makes you more pissed, which makes you cry MORE….) and he fumed. No one cheated on anyone. No one said anything accusatory towards the other. We fought because he wanted to go grocery shopping at sprouts to get non organic non local peppers, and I didn’t want him to buy peppers if they were not organic and local.
Yeah. We’re just SO HIGH DRAMA.
It seems funny, but if sustainability really is that important to one end of a relationship/friendship, different views can strain the ties that bind. On my end, why doesn’t Jesse care about the world? About the world we will leave to our children? Even if he doesn’t, does he not care about me? Wouldn’t he try for me? On Jesse’s end, why am I making him feel guilty? He’s been buying this way all his life, and there is still air to breath and trees to look at. He likes peppers. A LOT. Why do I insist on being so difficult?
The interesting thing is that this reminds me of another fight Jesse and I had about a year ago. I was in Coast Guard Training School at the time, and we had just disclosed numerous crazy things about each other, one of them being finances. Frightened I would take offense, Jesse still felt it was important enough to challenge me about my debt and spending habits. Financial stability and preparedness is sacred to him, and he didn’t want to raise a family together with my current load of debt. On Jesse’s end, why don’t I care about security? Or being able to provide for our children? Why can’t I try to do this for him? On my end, why is he making me feel guilty about a perfectly normal thing? I feel secure enough thank you! Why is he being so difficult?
See a pattern?
Once future planning gets involved, and the thoughts of children, emotions start to run high. What is acceptable in a significant other suddenly becomes unacceptable in a prospective spouse, because how you raise your family is the pinnacle of expressing your views on life and the world. This can be true for long standing friendships as well, as you begin to see how the choices each of you make are changing your environments.
So how do you cope with these differences? How do you explain, learn, compromise, love and yet live in a way that is true to you?
I was very impressed with an article in the Denver Post about food eating differences, which I thought was very relevant to this discussion. I have included their points, and have elaborated on them in order to apply more directly to the sustainability side of things.
- Speak their language
Communication is vital with both yourself and the other person. Jesse speaks in the language of finance and investment, so I can use those terms to describe a sustainable lifestyle. That was part of my motivation to start this blog, so I could show that while investing in the world, being conscious of what you do and what you eat can actually fit a budget. When he said he couldn’t afford organic food, I said what is your budget? Show me. He confessed that he couldn’t, and was startled. He agreed to start monitoring his spending and purchases and now has a whole spreadsheet and strategy for purchasing what local foods he can (and reasons behind his exceptions). I started budgeting because Jesse was able to illustrate how having more financial security would allow me to better support organizations and programs dedicated to making the world a better place.
- Just say sustainability is important to you
Being vulnerable sucks. It really does. But if something is important to you, and it is like a physical hurt whenever your partner buys an inorganic pepper, or ignores their student debt, say that. Say I care about this, and I care about it deeply. It hurts and I don’t know what we can do about it. Often times, this can lead the way to a solution.
- Confront issues before they fester
In order to do both 1 and 2, it is easier to talk about them before anger and pride are involved. It is hard to be vulnerable when you are angry. It is hard to find the words to express your ideas in the dialogue of your friend or partner is your emotions are running hot. When you start to get upset, think about it, and talk about it before it is too late.
- Compromise some things
Just like the eggs I buy are local, free range, antibiotic free, but NOT certified organic, sometimes things have to be compromised in order to be viable. This doesn’t mean they will always be this way, or you can’t work towards them, but people are different. I will always be a vegetarian as long as my health continues to allow me to do so. Jesse’s health requires him to eat meat. This means that I will learn to cook meat, and Jesse will buy meat that was well raised and happy. Compromise is one of the beautiful things about relationships. Partnerships are called that for a reason. By knowing what is important to each of you, you can find ways to meld your values together, so that they end up reinforcing each other. That’s what good couples and good friends do for each other. Discover ways so that both parties can be a more true expression of their innermost values.
This Week in Updates: College Class Cram and Happy Birthday
So hi everyone. It is my birthday. I am 27. I am at work, waiting for a plane to get back and then I will be in the fuel tank I think fixing something. I have tons of homework to do for my new college class, which I am very much struggling to pay for, and I am trying to study for this radio qualification so that work doesn’t ride up my butt to get it done. I have so much stuff to do on my TODO list, that it isn’t much of a birthday, especially being at work all day and actually having work to do on weekend duty. Who would have thought? But I did very well on my grocery shopping this week, because I had to to pay for my bike repairs. This week, I will be making Squash Soup!
I also got shown up this week. I did a bake sale with fellow Coastie Shannon. I just did the finances and advertising and she decided to do the baking. Can I say WOW? No wonder we made over $100!
And thank you everyone for your calls and well wishes!
The Recipe: Mock Fried Eggplant with Creamy Oregano Sauce
So I love eggplant. However, whenever I cook it, even in the oven, it becomes a sponge. Eggplant soaks up tons of olive oil or fat no matter how you cook it… or does it? With a little creativity, I came up with this mock fried eggplant recipe. Delicious, nutritious, and excellent with an easy creamy oregano sauce.
1 medium eggplant
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1-2 tablespoons milk
If you have ever made french toast, this is a very similar process. Beat the eggs and cut the eggplant up into slices. Soak the eggplant in the eggs, dip in flour, and cook on a very good nonstick pan or griddle. Carefully, as to not to burn your fingers, re-dip the eggplant in the eggs and flour 3-4 times until you use up most of the eggs and flour.
While this is going on, put the cream cheese, milk, and oregano in a blender. Blend. If you want the sauce thicker, add more cream cheese. If you want it thinner, add more milk.
Stack the eggplant and put the sauce over it. Enjoy!