Every decision you make during the day reverberates. Not only through the rest of your day, but even your week, or your life. Not only for you but around you, your community and even the world you live in.
This isn’t always about habits or routine. Although those things are powerful too, it’s also about seeing that your choices, whether you decide to walk down this street instead of the next, or take this bus or drive instead, or to buy the can of soda or to choose this flavor of greek yogurt, or to make eye contact with a stranger or give a cold shoulder, or how you greet a friend to where you sit in the park…Any choice you make is reflecting the impact of your environment on you and your reaction towards it back onto the world.
This is about realizing that every decision you make has a social or broader political impact, that they are also consumer choices that reflect your preferences, both economic and political, about expressing your opinions in one way or another that has effects on society as a whole.
A lot of these things we do without thinking.
Maybe you picked this seat on the train because you were in a certain mood or you were too lazy to move to the end of the car. Maybe you forgot to greet the person at the front desk because you were busy thinking about something else. Maybe you’ve stopped buying avocados at the farmers market because you read an article about how much water it takes to grow one of them, or you still eat one avocado toast a day.
Some choices are more conscious than others but each one has an impact. Maybe you crossed the street at this block because you saw the walk sign flashing just as you got there, or maybe you crossed the street because there was some guy who kind of looked intimidating walking towards you. Maybe he was African American.
Maybe he was homeless, maybe he was a businessman, maybe he was a student. Like you. Maybe he was only sixteen, or maybe he was unemployed. Like your brother.
Maybe he was thinking about talking to you, maybe he was thinking about what to make for dinner, maybe he didn’t even see you. But you didn’t consciously think about it. You just crossed the street. Maybe this happens to him all the time and he’s starting to notice. Maybe it’s changing his perspective about people, and even himself. Maybe you just broke his heart. But you were just crossing the street. Maybe you were scared, or maybe your friend was on the other side.
There’s only a certain extent to which we can be held accountable to our decisions and actions. We’re not omniscient and can’t be expected to act like we are. But remember last night when your best friend posted a link to the outrageous Budlight tagline, “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night. #UpForWhatever,” because she’d found it so extremely problematic? Maybe some guy commented on how she shouldn’t accuse the company of endorsing rape culture because it was probably just a mistake by some young marketing staff and personally, and the connection wasn’t even that obvious. Maybe he was right and Budlight just had no clue what had happened, maybe it was a slip. Or maybe they just thought it was simply clever and only the right amount of provocative. Maybe some people, like this guy, would’ve bought the beer and thought nothing of it. Maybe enough people found it offensive and got roused up by it and Budlight redacted the tagline. Maybe that’s still not enough and we’re still mired in a society where prestigious campuses try to cover up sexual assault issues. Maybe your best friend was a victim when she was younger, or your classmate was. Maybe you were. But that guy didn’t know, he was just being honest.
Every word we speak, and every silence we keep…every hand we raise, every hand we hold, every person we acknowledge – every voice we ignore, every belief we stand by, every struggle we fight, every community we support, every issue we dodge, every conversation we allow ourselves to have…
Every single decision we make is a statement.
This is about realizing the power that you have in your own hands. Our responsibility is to do the right thing with it. We have the ability to weigh our actions carefully. Are they mindless or biased, or fully intentional and aware? Daily actions are the strongest way of consciously affirming and expressing ourselves. We have the power to shape our own future and shape the world around us. Let’s do it right.