"Live wild and dangerously." We like to justify ourselves with this life motto whenever we have to choose between being sensible and doing just what we want. After all, living sensibly isn't so sexy.
Have you sometimes been in this situation?
On Monday, after a really sunny weekend, I went jogging past the picnic areas … and could only shake my head in despair at what I saw: It seemed as if people had suddenly lost the use of their limbs, so much so that they had to simply drop everything – barbecue cutlery, aluminium trays, plastic bottles, bags and paper handkerchiefs – on the ground next to them instead of putting them in the litter bin which had been provided just a few metres away. Why are people so unreasonable?
It really gets me going: Do people really have to do that?
But I’m no better, either: For example, I have stopped smoking. I really don’t need to smoke anymore, I thought. “Very sensible!”, my friends said. The only thing was: I was so frightened at the thought of the first five nicotine-free days that I booked a mini-cruise for “new non-smokers”: The concept was clear: no cigarette machine far and wide and the captain gives you a dirty look if you ask him for a cig. I thought the idea was good, the trip was cheap and so I chose to conveniently forget that a diesel-powered ship uses about 50 kWh of energy per person for every 100 km it travels and is therefore the most climate-damaging and energy-guzzling means of transport ever: All sense goes out of the window when addicts attempt their first steps towards a new life: So anchors aweigh!
Living sensibly all the time is not so sexy
It seems to me that animals are the only sensible ones. Like us, they fly south in the winter but they manage it without burning kerosene and they also don’t come back after 5 days with sunburn that they show to everybody in the office. Man, the “crown of creation”, also knows how to act sensibly but he switches that part of his brain off when he is stressed or so happy that he can’t think straight. And sometimes it’s enough to ease your guilty conscience by saying “I just need that now”.
Man wants to cross boundaries, have new experiences, fight for love and happiness and also often for riches. In such situations, a sensible life often gets left by the wayside – particularly when, to achieve a goal, man decides to take a little shortcut that unfortunately also involves … shall we say … just a little collateral damage: nothing as bad as death or injury, just an environmental sin here and a stupid impulsive action there. Anybody who wants to live “wild and dangerously” definitely has lifestyle coaches on his side anyway.
Guilty conscience? It all depends on your attitude.
All did not go smoothly with my quitting smoking, either: Even after weeks I still smoked just one cigarette sometimes. If you have already smoked a cigarette with your espresso ten thousand times, you have to slowly and painfully learn that you can live without that cigarette. It helps if you have a certain attitude: birds don’t smoke, children don’t smoke, and they all have fun despite that. So I’ll leave it be, too. End of story. That works almost always: you make yourself an image of the world and yourself in the middle of it. And then you make sure that the image doesn’t get worse just because you yourself appear in it. If you take a certain attitude towards nature, the environment and society that says: I want to be part of it and not have to feel ashamed of myself, the battle is virtually won.
And then it doesn’t hurt not to be so strict with yourself sometimes.