Warning: This might be strange but it’s not nasty. I am trying to be more conscious on every part of my life – even the toilet issues.

Last week it happened that we ran out of toilet paper in the office. Actually, it was me who finished the last bit and since I haven’t been  here for so long I don’t know who is responsible to get new roles. Yesterday I bought a pack of ten roles for at home and I somehow knew that they won’t last long. Therefore, in the course of me simplifying my life – and since internet in the office is free – I did a little research. Internet just knows everything! Even about how to reduce the use of toilet paper.

The reasons for reducing even toilet paper are many: It will make me spend less, first of all. It is more environmentally friendly, of course. Imagine the whole world wiping their butts with forests. To be honest, that’s such a weird idea, and we do that every day, several times! Thinking of it now makes me aware of my patterns of consumption – another reason to take action, because I like to live an alert life. These being reasons enough for the moment, here are possible ways of reducing the use of toilet paper:

1. Analyse your toilet paper usage

Talking about awareness: Whether you count the sheets used every time or the roles per week, depends on you, but it will definitely be a big eye-opener.

2. Buy a different kind of toilet paper

Use recycled toilet paper that is produced from waste paper and not from growing trees. Avoid paper with a lot of extras like scent, prints or chemicals to soften it. Balance your choice: You can buy a cheap one but you might end up using more of it if it only has few layers. Buy the expensive, thick one but use less. There is even tube-free toilet paper in the US – the nightmare for craftspeople who need the tube for all kinds of creative art stuff. (Where I am currently staying, I don’t really have that choice. The origin of the paper material is not indicated.)

3. Control your roll

4. Use cloth for all other purposes

I started using a cloth to blow my nose long time ago. If I spill food or liquid things, I use an old rag. That way I save paper.

5. Use cloth wipes

There are families who do it and swear they will never go back to paper again. I just wonder about the extra water that is used for washing the wipes.

5. Use poems in public toilets

Oh how I would love to understand what these mean:

(I especially love that cartoon Mr. Shit!)

My strategies:

1. Folding instead of crumpling provides more surface.

2. Simply consciously using less sheets.

3. Keeping you updated, because public sacrifices usually put more pressure on me.

I would be interested in how conscious you are about your rolls!!

The 20 things you REALLY need to accomplish in your 20s

Lists are great. Had I mentioned that I am a list addict? I list everything. Lists can have a certain aesthetic. Listography embraces this beauty of lists to the fullest. Today my Soprano Friend posted a link on facebook on The 20 things you need to accomplish in your 20s. A list? Of course I clicked. And I have to critique:

1. Support yourself.

That is a good idea but many friends around here don’t have that possibility and depend on their parents. Recently someone told me that in my country the state takes care of the children, whereas here the state doesn’t care about your children, they will always depend on their parents. That might be true partly, but as usual you can’t generalize. But it is a good goal to work towards independence from the parents until 30 – not only financially. I had to go far from home to study. Not because it was so bad at home, but because it was so good there. It was far away where I learned how to cook and to use a washing machine. So my suggestion is more general:

-> 1. Get wings.

2. Get your own place.

Move out from your parent’s place, definitely! But living with flat mates taught me great lessons and gave me amazing times. It also made me appreciate that house in the last uni town where I lived alone first and which I shared later. And it makes me appreciate the current state of living together with the favourite human on nine square meters, too. However, I realized for myself that I like to have people close around me, even in the same apartment, as long as I can create my own place to withdraw. Therefore:

-> 2. Find your place to withdraw. (And then it doesn’t matter with or without whom you live.)

3. Date the wrong person(s).

I strongly disagree. I never went on what people call a date and what I imagine to be a very fictional situation. The invitation is a text message that you spend hours to interpret to find out whether it’s really a date or not. Then you spend more hours preparing for the occasion, producing a lot of adrenalin in your body and creating a person out of yourself that isn’t actually you anymore. Then you finally meet and try to make the other one like you and pretend to be someone else. Then you part and start to interpret every second of that occasion in various directions. That is what we are taught by boring, all-the-same romantic comedies from Hollywood. That’s what I did:

-> 3. Do things you like with people you find interesting and never pretend!

4. Begin to put money in the bank and learn to leave it there.

That was my aim for this year and I keep on failing. Someone told me that you should actually always get rid of your money as soon as possible. You see, money only works when it flows. You can’t eat it! But I started to keep a budget, in a way that I write down all my expenses. I am getting an overview on what I spend and that’s already very eye-opening. So maybe it sounds better like this:

-> 4. Monitor your expenses.

5. Get out of debt.

And then never get back into debt again. Only spend what you have. (That means I totally agree.)

6. Clearly outline your life goals.

To be honest, I have a goal: I know where I want to end up one day and what I want to be doing there. But that somehow outlined itself. It came to me. I outlined maybe fifty percent of it and I don’t know clearly yet how exactly to get there. I trust that it will come to light step by step. Opportunities pop up and I am ready to grab them because I know what I want. But now, that does not work for everyone. The 20s are a good period to try different things and at least:

-> 6. Choose a direction. (Even if it leads to an ever changing life.)

7. Learn to read regularly.

Yes, yes and yes! Hardly any more inspiration and knowledge than through the beautiful process of reading. Agreed completely!

8. Learn to keep up with current events.

In my opinion, that doesn’t mean to read, watch or listen to the news daily because that can bring you very much down. But you can follow some things that are of special interest to you. That’s what I use facebook for, and some blogs. I would say it more generally:

-> 8. Be aware.

9. Get that body you always dreamed of.

I recently started running and never thought I would – and never thought I would even like it. “That body you always dreamed of” in this case might be influenced by commercials and weird ideals in the society. So instead of dieting:

-> 9. Start doing something for the health of your body, mind and soul.

10. Find work that you love doing.

Since I really agree, I can just quote: “The key is to do what you love and love what you do. If your work doesn’t give meaning to your life, which honor may very well be reserved for your friends and family, then it must at the very least not make your life more unpleasant.” Someone told me that: “It is important to start working towards something you feel for. Money will then come itself.” Sounds hard and idealistic, but worth trying.

11. Surround yourself with people that you would like to keep around.

But: Not out of fear to be alone later, but because you like these people! And they will only like you for long if you are always yourself. Otherwise I agree.

12. Reestablish your connection with your family.

I experienced how my great family became much more important to me when I moved out. Distance made things easier and makes me appreciate the shared moments even more.

13. Outline your perfect partner.

“Some believe that it’s best to leave love to chance or fate. I, on the other hand, believe that loving is a decision and not some completely random, unexplainable concept. You may not be able to find a woman that matches your dream woman 100%, but you should have a good idea of what you do want in a partner and what you don’t want — as well as how important each characteristic or lack of is to you.” Well, I met my favourite human when I had no expectations and was not searching for any fictional character. And I never pretended.

-> 13. Be yourself and be open.

14. Learn to adapt.

-> … but never deny yourself!

15. Start to accumulate a fortune.

“I don’t know about all of you, but I plan on being a billionaire. If you are to become a billionaire, you will have to become a millionaire first. Hit that first million by 30 and your first billion by 40.” Haha, great expectations ahead! I am planning to become a farmer. I might not really be able to accumulate billions by that, but I might have food later, which is also not bad.

-> 15. Start to accumulate experience instead!

16. Learn to dress well.

“Women need to learn how to wear dresses and walk in heels (walk, not waddle) and men should get comfortable in a suit.” (Thank you, I am skipping those lessons!!!) Rather:

-> 16. Find yourself and find your style.

17. Learn to maintain your body.

-> See point number 9.

18. Learn to maintain and keep your environment organized.

“Your personal home environment very much reflects who you are as a person, who you are inside. If your surroundings are hectic, you are likely to feel inner tension. If your surroundings are neat and peaceful, your mind most likely experiences the same peace. If you want to find and maintain peace, then you must manifest your inner peace in your outer surroundings.” I think, it works both ways round: If you are most productive in chaos, then why not find your own logic of organizing in creative chaos?

-> 18. Organize yourself in your personal way.

19. Accept that you are an adult.

-> 19. And then think like a child!

20. Let go of the past and look forward to the future.

“The 30s are the new 20s, so get your shit together and make something of the next decade!” Age is relative and usually doesn’t tell anything about you. But it’s generally a good advice, no matter which age you are.

The continuity of tasks and the pleasant discovery of the unusualness of my life

Last week, due to the situation of shifting the house, I lacked some things and found out that they were quite important to me. My running shoes and pullovers, for example. So I had to run in sandals and my raincoat. The most important thing about that was the fact that I WAS running and didn’t take the lack of shoes as an excuse.

It is funny, with how many plans and strategies and to-do-lists I can come up and never get tired of doing it. I just love organizing myself. (Don’t get me wrong, I am not rigid or boring. Even though I plan, doesn’t mean I am not spontaneous. The point is to balance between organization and spontaneous surprises.) And I am doing it over and over again: my work plan for the final paper changes regularly, travel plans are adjusted and my weekly to-do-sheet looks different every other time. That shows that my current life is not (yet?) all the same every day. I don’t have that same routine of going to work every morning at eight and coming back at five and having it that way ever after. But I realized that it is still important to keep up these weekly to-dos or tasks, like running, writing, learning vocabulary and so on. Because my vocabulary kit was already in the capital, I took it as an excuse to not study. I didn’t have my notebooks, either, so I couldn’t write as much. However, I just had to run. (Who would have thought four months ago that I could have an urge to run?!) And my missing running shoes were not an excuse strong enough.

Some days before, the favourite human had been around and that was such an unusual situation that I decided not to run as much as I wanted. The other week I had been upcountry, so no running. Soon, my family will visit me, but: I will try very hard and keep running and writing. Because all these “unusual situations” seem to be more than any “usual situation”, whatever that may be.

The (now former) uni town serves well as an example for the general unusualness of life. With the heavy rains some rivers appeared in areas that didn’t have rivers before. I had to balance on stones to avoid water in my shoes or sometimes adjust the route.

One day, I went with the Alto Friend for a walk and we found ourselves walking through rocks, wholes split open and piles of small stones. We were walking through a quarry, that had been steadily moving forward and eating holes in the hill, because the Alt Friend said when she had come to the uni town and started her studies four years ago, the quarry was way further down.

Next to where I lived was something like a collection of buildings where old influential men went for their evening beer, but which was also rented by students for bashes. My housemate used to use it as a shortcut, because the way through could save you a big corner. I never crossed that place when I was alone, though. Just two days before I left, there was something going on with the fences. In the morning, there was a hole in the bushes, in the afternoon it got neatly blocked with a stem and in the evening they had put an uncrossable fence or door that clearly indicated that trespassing was not tolerated anymore.

Things change, and they do that constantly. So my tasks should not be too fixed but flexible and adjustable. On the other hand, they still need to be done, even if the days are not always the same. Thank God they are not always the same! My life is a constant unusual situation – how lucky am I?!