We’re All Mad Here

Finally, the red velvet curtains of writer’s block have lifted and I’m ready to take center stage.

My Grandma, also known as The Idol, has been forever telling me to write. For the years I spent tottering about Europe in my 20s, she was my pen pal, eternally entertained by the stories of my mishaps and disasters. So at 96 years old, as she lies in a bed she will never leave, I’m about to keep my promise…

When I was little my Hero was Anita Roddick who founded The Body Shop in 1976. A woman in charge, a business mind, a passionate heart for all things living that took “a series of happy accidents” and turned them into a £652 million eco-empire. I was an avid fan of the products, but more so the ethos. My fascination with nature and animals and the environment continued and I wrote projects on her at school. When I grew up I wanted to be just like Anita…

But somewhere between the age of 13 and 33 I swapped my conscience for another C word – Consumerism. Things I like, Things I love, Things I don’t actually like that much, Things I don’t need, Things I leave the tags on, Things I can’t afford. Climbing the corporate ladder in the world of Fashion & Retail – one of the top three most polluting industries in the world – all to make more money to buy more Things.

And just the cusp of putting my foot on another rung, suddenly, my conscience comes into play.

After lathering myself in Ted Talks and Netflix documentaries, I decided to do a little mindfulness experiment. It was Friday, I had the day off work and I was about to have some quality ME time – cycling through the parks to my favourite Bagel brunchery. With childlike wonder, I scirbbled down some thoughts about every single move I made that day. From the chemicals I was using to brush my teeth, to wondering how many people had been involved in making my cappuccino, where and how my shoes were made and by who for how much, to the poor little factory chicken who laid the egg I was about to eat… and it really registered just how much we accept things to be just the way they are.

There’s a lot of stuff out there telling us what’s wrong with the world and if you gulp down too much of that it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. There’s also a lot of people preaching radical life reforms and if you drink from that cup you’ll soon realise it’s not only pretty sanctimonious but totally unendurable. So I’m not about to run off into the woods to build a self-sustaining hut and feed off wild foliage for the rest of my days, nor will I ostracise myself from society, starve myself of all my possessions or stop eating cheese (well, not just yet).

But I do want to do good things to be a better me.

So with a spoonful of mindfulness, a splash of realism and a sprinkling of hypocrisy, I’m about to embark on some sort of Squanderlust Rebellion. And write about it. Because even if the only person in the audience is my Grandma, I know I’ll get a standing ovation.