Last December, my office was conducting a training workshop on global citizenry through education, and as part of the session I was invited to write ten pledges for 2018. It was a small exercise upon the culmination of Education for Sustainable Development sessions.
It was ad hoc and as I was handed a blank sheet of paper, a multitude of thoughts raced around my mind. What do I want to pledge? Will it just remain as a pledge? Would I be able to honour it? Will I be honest in my pledge? Won’t my friends laugh at my pledges? Will it look presentable?
I remember feeling apprehensive about putting my thoughts down on paper, but finally I did so.
The following is what I wrote.
I pledge to;
1. Volunteer more – of my free time for worthwhile activities
2. Read more – to increase my vocabulary, and do more literature research
3. Walk more – help in saving fuel and do more exercise
4. Do more advocacy – and participate in community development activitis
5. Drink less alcohol – and even be lesser than a social drinker
6. Spend more time with family – this is a definite YES
7. Hike often and spend more time outdoors – more opportunities for photography
8. Use less pen and type more – make best use of smartphone and laptops
9. Print less and use more softcopy – save trees
10. Go paperless – and encourage others to do so (looks similar to no.9?)
Now that six months have passed, I wanted to check whether my pledges have just remained on paper or is it being fulfilled.
I was a die-hard volunteer when I was in the school system, both as a Teacher and as a Vice Principal. I volunteered with Clean Bhutan, Scouts, Bhutan Toilet, Nature Club, Tarayana…you name it, I was there. I would primarily be with the students, leading by example. This year though, I could participate only once, that also with Desuup volunteers. And I have yet to participate in advocacy programmes for my community.
I used to read a lot, but now-a-days, my readings are mostly blogs and ebooks. My list of to-read ebooks on my smartphone hasn’t dwindled a bit. I have notebooks handy to scribble stuff as they materialize, but I use mostly Google Keep to keep notes on my smartphone. I do have to upscale my efforts in both reading and writing.
I am happy that I have reduced my alcohol consumption significantly, that I don’t even qualify as a social drinker anymore. This is indeed a BIG achievement for me. But in the process, I haven’t been able to give company to my friends, with the fear that I might roll back to my previous state. Talk about opportunity-costs.
I do have walked to office sometimes when the weather favors it, but I have yet to go on week-end hikes. But I do have spent more time with family especially on week-ends, going on drives and short visits. With two toddlers in tow, I dare not risk a nature excursion for now.
In my office I try go paperless as much as I can, and maintain more e-notes than hard copies. But in areas where it is impossible, I do have to compromise.
Another thing that I strongly support is saying NO to plastic bags from shops. Instead I carry my own shopping bags, or in its absence dump everything in my hemchu. I do wish more people would say NO to plastic bags.
SO reflecting back to my pledges, I seem to have progressed only in numbers 5 and 6, with need-improvement in numbers 1,2 4, and 7. So, the second part of my year will have focus on outdoors and volunteerism.