I’m not a religious coffee drinker but I am a sucker for a sweet, iced coffee from Starbucks. The pandemic took a lot of things away – but I’ve always had my drives and coffee trips as an escape. I always respected guidelines and stayed home when numbers were really, really bad. But – when I felt it was safe, a long drive with the windows down and the music up and a drive-thru coffee were and are one of my happiest of places. It’s kind of like an escape from this weird world we’ve been living in.
The question is though: am I allowed to post blogs about my involvement in the disability community and my commitment to making the world a better place and still sip on an overpriced coffee on the regular? Should I be buying a coffee for another person when I buy one for myself? Should I be cutting these coffee trips, saving all the money and then donating it? Should I be using the time I spend on these outings in more productive ways? I never forget my privilege that I have the funds and freedom to sip on these overpriced drinks, which is why these questions flood my mind.
I think about this a lot – am I allowed to be a ‘good person’ and still buy things I want or spend my money in more selfish ways? Or should I be only buying the necessities and using this money to make the world better? If you’re here reading this, I am automatically assuming you’re a good person (you’re welcome), so I’m also assuming that you’ve probably debated this very topic yourself.
Not that you’ve got to listen to me – but here’s my take.
I think it’s about balance. I don’t think we should feel guilty about doing things that make us happy. Yes, I want to make the world better – but I also want to enjoy the time it takes me to get there. I don’t think it takes away from my commitment to leaving the world better than I found it. I am giving myself permission to enjoy these moments in my car, with my coffee in hand, while my brain and mind resets and refreshes for the day to come.
In an effort to be completely authentic with you all – Shy Liza ain’t perfect. She spends too much money on clothes and coffee. She oftentimes naps instead of being productive. She can get frustrated and be real stubborn. She doesn’t spend all her time stewing on her next move. Her room is messy 98% of the time. She prefers trashy television over shows that actually teach her something. She refuses to eat salmon, even though it’s really good for her.
You just see the best of her on Willowjak. You often get to read my thoughtful and edited thoughts. But to be honest with you – I’m no saint – I’m just a young girl trying to balance doing good, having fun, being young, being prepared, saving money, spending money, being practical, being spontaneous, being productive, resting, being logical, being creative, etc, etc, etc.
I’m letting myself have balance, because I know I’ll never have all the answers. I’m just going to be a 21 year old girl, who likes Starbucks and naps, who is also not going to let herself forget that she has a bigger purpose in this world. I’m not going to let myself feel guilty about doing things I love. But I will let myself feel guilty about leaving this world the same way I found it.
I hope you don’t feel guilty about doing things you love. I also hope you’ll find a way to create balance. We can be ‘good’ and still buy unnecessary things. To be ‘good’ we don’t have to sell all our possessions, go on mission trips, organize protests, or manage huge fundraisers. We can all be ‘good’ people if we commit to honouring ourselves and our happiness while finding some balance on how we are going to share our privilege, and our passion, our happiness and our skills, with the world and people around us.
It’s balance y’all. It’s sometimes thoughtful and long blog posts about caregiving and disability, and sometimes it’s simply about what a cup of coffee makes Liza think about.
We’re all good people. I buy clothes and coffee. But I’m still a good person, and so are you.
Follow along to hear all about the ups and downs in direct support work, young adult life, and allyship – it sure has given me lots to write about! Enjoy some casual, light-hearted tales about all my adventures along the way.