5 benefits of buying second hand

This year I made a promise to myself that I will buy 90% of my clothes in second-hand stores. I don’t shop much – I literally shop twice a year – but I have decided to upgrade my shopping routine and be more ethical to humans as well.

Today I want to share with you 5 benefits of buying second hand in hopes of pursuing you into buying more ethically and consciously. As a vegan, I try to be as conscious as I can about where my food comes from and what the products that I bought were made from (and how they were made), but I haven’t made the connection between my clothes and sweatshops yet. Not fully at least.

Every piece of clothing that we own has a story behind. There are hundreds of hands that have touched the material and there are hundreds of stories that run through them. If you know anything about sweatshops, you know that people are usually underpaid and work in horrible conditions – many even commit suicide from the exhaustion. I don’t want to pay for that.

The first time I went to a second-hand shop, I felt like I was settling for less, that I was somehow showing people how broke I was or that I was poor. But then I found really affordable sweaters and they looked cute and comfy, and I felt good knowing that I voted for a good thing with my money.

Let me tell you a story about my friend. My friend – who knows me since I was born and could probably tell you a hundred embarrassing stories about me that only she knows and that I can only tell her – loves to shop. She loves fashion and she loves to spend money on new things. She denies that she is a materialist, but she is far from being a minimalist or a conscious shopper.

When we hang out, we usually go to the mall and look at pretty clothes. We talk about how one day we will be rich, married to someone who looks like a mix between Ryan Gosling and Chris Hemsworth, and how we will walk around in dresses that would put Blair Waldorf to shame. Its fun, not an actual goal of mine, and it’s also exhausting.

I love her and I know that she does care about people and animals, but she is not conscious of what she pays for when she buys things.

What I am trying to say, is that I have a front seat at observing how people consume things that are not good for them and buy things that they don’t need, simply because they are pretty, cute, and would make someone else jealous because they have it. It gives me the opportunity to re-affirm my values every time I step my foot in a store and see things that I could buy for myself.

I constantly ask myself: how can I harm the least amount of beings with my next purchase? How can I vote for a good cause? How can I invest my money in this and in the people who created this product or thing that I want to buy?

I am learning every day to meet people where they are. I am learning every day to look at people who are not trying to be conscious of how they buy and what they buy, as the sleepy ones. Just because they are not vegan and they do not buy second hand, doesn’t mean that they are bad people, it just means that they haven’t woken up yet.

I am still asleep when it comes to many other things, but instead of watching them come up with new excuses as to why they could not possibly be vegan or try to lessen the amount of money they invest in unethical brands, I want to show them that I have heard it all and they don’t need to feel obliged to give me an excuse.

I want to be that person who says: It’s okay, I get it, and you will get there. It took me a while to wake up, too.

Now that I’ve explained a bit of why I love second-hand shopping and how I try to do that more and more, I want to present 5 benefits of buying second hand.

  1. You are not supporting fast fashion. You are not supporting cheap clothes that were made for little money but with a lot of hard work. You actually get all the clothes that are cute, nice, and fashionable, they just happen to have a previous owner. But you are not directly paying for those clothes to be produced.
  2. You are bound to make more conscious choices. Although second-hand items are more affordable, they are also unique and one of a kind. You don’t have piles and piles of the same pink shirt that everyone else has, but you have unique pieces of clothes that you can choose from. It makes you pick what you really want and it helps you create a more beautiful wardrobe. You are not buying because it looks pretty and it’s on sale, you are buying because you found something that really compliments your wardrobe and because you made an effort to find it. It’s less shiny and new because it’s unique and personalized. Do you get what I’m saying?
  3. It’s affordable. Not only are the clothes unique and versatile, they are also affordable for your budget. If you love fashion and love to experiment, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on clothes. You can actually get more clothes for less money.
  4. You are being eco-friendly. Manufacturing clothes takes a lot of energy and puts dangerous chemicals in the environment, so by not paying for H&M and Zara to produce even more dangerous clothing, you are investing in greener businesses.
  5. It’s all just a big exchange of clothes. It’s all about building a community of people who get clothes that they like from someone who doesn’t want them anymore, and they can also give their clothes away. It’s not about consuming and consuming and consuming and then throwing it all in the trash, but about taking what someone else doesn’t want anymore.

Like I said, I am not an expert on this, I just started looking into the benefits of buying second hand a year or two ago, but this year I made my New Year’s resolution, to expand my compassion to human animals as well.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t buy anything from the usual suspects (New Yorker, H&M etc), because underwear and shoes are best new – and buying from 100% ethical and eco friendly stores is not really cheap -, but I vow to build a wardrobe that is 90% ethical and human friendly.

I would love to hear from you. Do you buy second hand? Do you have any tips for us newbies? Let me know in the comment and I will get back to you.

Also, take a second and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Tanja

p.s. – Are you super into being ethical towards animals as well? Then you might be interested in learning why ZOOs suck and are no bueno. Click here to learn more.

Figuring life out and choosing yourself.

How often are you told that you should know what you want from life and how you’re planning on getting there? How many people have asked you why you’re still single or why you still live with your parents?

Welcome to adulthood, guys.

I remember when I was about 13 years old and I was taking a test in school. A test that would determine my strengths and weaknesses, basically, a test that would tell me what I should do with my life.

The results came in and I got told that I should not work with people because I am not good with working in groups. A decade later, on my first meeting with my career counsellor, she pulled that test out and told me that I should absolutely not work with people.

I was astonished at the stupidity that she showed, although I quite liked her. I still do.

A test that I took when I was 13 was supposed to guide me throughout my twenties and help me establish a career that a 13-year-old me would be comfortable with.

If you are reading this and you happen to be 18 or younger, and you happen to feel like you are already behind this whole adult thing, let me tell you something:

  • There will be a million things that will happen to you that you won’t have any control over and will have to surrender to them. Your life with take you to places that you never thought existed and I am not talking about the good places. I never planned on getting depression or anxiety, but I had to change my life plans when I did.
  • You will always be behind. There will always be people in your age group that are smarter, better, prettier, more successful, sexier, more comfortable, and more confident and a whole bunch of other things. So instead of spending your Sunday eating chocolate ice-cream and feeling like a loser because your high-school bullies are doing better than you, sit down on your bed, close your eyes, meditate and then come back to you. Because the life that is real for you is yours.
  • You will have to choose you. No one else will give as much shit about you as you can. Sure there will be people, who will love you and want to help you, but they will never be with you 24/7 and that is what makes all the difference. No one will help you if you will not help yourself and no one will save you if you won’t save yourself.

I have read a great amount of self-help and business books in my life. I was eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I couldn’t get enough of them. They all pushed me in the corner and kept asking me: what do you want to do?!? I don’t know was the only answer I had.

I still don’t know.

At first, I thought I was the only person who had no idea what they wanted to do. I thought that no one else in the entire world ever questioned their choices and what they wanted to spend their life doing. I thought I was alone.

But we are never alone. There is always a bunch of other people who feel the same way as we do when it comes to everything.

I can’t even tell you how many times I tried to re-brand my website and write about something else. How many times I switched between writing about veganism to writing about mindfulness to writing about anxiety and then back to veganism. I just had no idea what I want to do.

I knew I wanted to write, but for nature’s sake, what on Earth do I want to write about?

So here I am again, for the millionth time I am doing something new. Writing about life in general and not pushing myself to be a vegan writer only. This time I will try to write about what I feel like. I will try to write about things that I remember when I sit behind the computer. If the topic will be veganism, fine, if not, fine as well.

One thing I know is that I will choose me. I always have and I always ended up switching it up after a while. I wanted to act so I signed up for acting classes. After two years, adios mis actores and I moved on. Before that, I was super into entrepreneurship so I attended all the start:up events I could. A few months later, I just wanted a simple life.

I have learned so much about myself in the past 5 years. I have learned that I really do enjoy performing and that I do have some acting talent. I have learned that I really love business and would love to at some point have a company. I have learned also that I like to stay free and do not like to commit to one thing. I’m sure this will be a problem when I meet someone but until then, I want to play!

So, how about you?

  • What do you want to try in the next 4 months? What do you want to do but are afraid that might not fit into your plan?
  • How can you choose yourself today? How can you choose yourself tomorrow?
  • Are you able to commit and stop figuring life out? Are you able to let life just be in you and live through you?

We are in this together. I am just as lost as you are and I am just as confused as you are. If I ever find a solution for our confusion, I will let you know, but until then, I invite you to let life express through you.

Love it. Live it. Leave it.

To stay in touch with me or just say Hi, find me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Tanja

p.s. – If you are interested in eating more healthy foods, check out my post on the topic of eating plant-based and all the science that proves why it’s the best diet for all.

Being a twenty something in today’s world.

Being a twenty something in today’s world is full of challenges and setbacks. We pretend we know what we are doing – or at least we try to pretend because honestly we all look pretty lost – but the truth is, none of us really knows where to go and what to do.

I am close to turning 25 and I have no idea where I want to be when I am 30. That’s 5 years away! It seems like such a long time until then, but I can remember being 20 like it was yesterday.

We stumble and fall and get up and fall again, without even taking the time to look at what made us fall in the first place.

No one offers a hand; everyone is running towards a finish line, not even giving a second thought to being of service to us. And if they do offer an advice, it’s always too old to count today.

But I came to the realization that no one is supposed to give us any advice. Or better said – there should be no advice that would help us or turn our lives around. The interesting part of our life is that it’s unique for each individual. My life is different from yours and yours is different from mine.

Where would the fun be if we would have a book of rules somewhere, ready to be read by every person the second they turn a certain age? Where would the adventure be? Who would see the beauty in the cracks without trying to fill them in? Because that’s what I am noticing in my peers, that we let ourselves be broken, not fixing ourselves. Improving but not fixing.

Being a twenty something in today’s world is meant to be challenging. It’s meant to drag us down and make us tougher. It’s supposed to play with us and make us run for the gold.

It’s called evolution. Only the fittest survive.

Think about all the human species who evolved to become us today. They all had to go through obstacles that toughened them up and helped them survive. It’s the reason we are here today.

The reason why being a twenty something in today’s world is the way it is is because we would not survive without it.

  • Migrations.
  • Climate change.
  • Technology.
  • Social media.
  • A.I.

We have to deal with people leaving their homeland due to wars and environmental changes, we are in the middle of a mass extinction, we are bombarded with new tech toys every week, social media is controlling us, and A.I. is about to become a part of our lives (matter of fact, it really has).

If we would be softer, we would have to die.

Our children are the future and will be living in a world that we create, so in order to make this planet as good as we can for future generations, we must be challenged and thrown on our backs.

We must learn how to survive in a group and how to survive alone. How to navigate through obstacles that are put in front of us by our parents, peers, people in power and the environment.

Let’s look at four things that are in my opinion crucial for navigating through our twenties successfully and with the least amount of stress.

  • Learning how to make money on your own. Instead of planning on being slaves to corporations, we must learn how to put our talents and abilities to work and earn basic income by doing what we know best. Stepping away from working for other people and learning how to work for ourselves. Now, that doesn’t mean that everyone will be able to do that or that everyone wants to, but everyone must be able to identify what are their strengths and how they can use them in the worst case scenario (being fired, incapable of leaving home for work).
  • Investing 5-10% of our monthly income for our future or emergency. We never know when the crisis will hit and we won’t be able to use our body or mind for work. We can get hit by a car and break our neck, lose the ability of speech, lose our arm, or become completely dependent on others. Having enough money for the first 6 months is crucial in today’s world, and since we are not thought about how to start saving or why that is important, we need to learn that for ourselves.
  • Being able to control our thoughts. With that, I mean that we must learn how to step back and let the nastiness in our minds run alone, without our help. That just might be the most important advice I have because I know very well how hard life becomes when the simplest things become the toughest. The ability to think for ourselves and distance ourselves from the thoughts that are in our head is the most powerful tool we can have in our possession when we are 20-something (and every other age).
  • Mastering a new language. Everything is global nowadays and even though we will soon be able to purchase headphones that will translate everything for us in a matter of seconds, having advanced knowledge of another language is crucial. If you live in The United States, speaking Spanish should be on your to-do list like yesterday, but if you are from Europe, I suggest picking up English – which I assume you speak since you are reading this – and an extra language while you’re at it. My father always repeated that knowing languages is one of the most important things one can have and that I should take the advantage of being good at learning them, so I did.

One thing that I want to point out as very important, is that no matter where you are, what your circumstances are and how privileged you might be (or not), there is one thing we can all do, and that is being in charge of how we feel and how we think.

Yes, there are strange forces that we cannot control, such as lack of free will, other people and natural disasters – but we do hold a certain amount of power in our hands. Let us not waste it.

If you find yourself wanting to connect, make sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Tanja

p.s. – If you happen to be interested in being more eco-friendly today, check out this post that I wrote.

Vegans still kill animals, didn’t you know that?

How often do you hear that just because you are vegan, you still support the death of animals just by buying food for your cats? Or how you could not possibly live a completely cruelty-free life because somewhere along the line, a couple of animals died?

Oh dear, I hear this quite often, and by people who are intelligent.

Let’s get three things out of our way:

  • Not one vegan claims that it is possible to live a completely cruelty-free lifestyle.
  • By being a parent to an obligatory carnivore, we must take care of them. Most of us had cats before we went vegan and are very conscious of the fact that we support slaughterhouses just by buying food for the animals that we share our home with.
  • There is a difference between doing something and doing nothing. Veganism means doing something, while not being vegan means doing absolutely nothing to lessen the cruelty to other animals.

I have three cats and a dog. Most of you are familiar with Chuck, and most of you know that I feed him a mostly plant-based diet. He is not fully plant-based yet, but we are slowly going there.

Our cats, on the other hand, are carnivores. Every cat is. I buy meat for them. I am aware of what I am paying for every time I give money for their damn food. But I do it.

Cats have been domesticated by humans. Cats have been made pets by humans. Letting them live outside is not only impossible in 2018, but also dangerous for other animals that live in nature. They are not wild animals anymore; they could not possibly survive outside of our home. So I rescued them and gave them home, which meant buying meat for them.

Does that make me a bad vegan? No, it just makes me human. I never claim that no one dies for me. Heck, when I buy at New Yorker there are probably a few people who died making the cheap shirt or committed suicide because sweatshops suck. When I buy rice and potatoes and apples, a few animals definitely died in the process.

But as a vegan, I have lessened the amount of human and non-human animals to be killed and exploited.

Non-vegans not only support the murder of animals they eat and wear but also support the exploitation of slaughterhouse workers who have PTSD and take drugs to diminish the effect taking lives away has on them.

Vegans choose not to pay for someone to kill animals. We choose not to have someone skin a chinchilla or a mink. We choose not to pay for gorillas and lions to be caged. We choose not to pay for elephants to be ridden and for whales to not be kept in pools.

We are not perfect, but we choose less suffering.

So when you tell me that I can’t possibly not be responsible for killing a few animals in the process and that why do I even try to do something when I will never live a cruelty-free life, I ask you:

  • If you could choose to save 10 people by killing one person, would you do it?

Because that’s what I’m doing. I’m responsible for that one person. I take the blame. But I am also saving 10 other people.

By sacrificing one cow every few weeks to feed my three cats and one dog, I am saving 4 lives instead of one.

By sacrificing a few hundred animals that die in the process of getting my potatoes on the table, I am saving the lives of a few thousand animals that would be brutally slaughtered.

You are not saving the lives of anyone by judging me. The world is not changed by those who don’t do anything but by those who do something. So while you are pretending that one person cannot possibly make a difference, I am being the difference. While you are proudly writing posts about vegans being hypocrites, I am making conscious decisions every minute, asking myself: how can I be better right now? How can I harm the least animals?

But it doesn’t matter how hard you try to convince yourself that you are above everyone else and that you don’t believe you are doing anything wrong by eating a steak, you cannot deny your humanity and your morals the second someone slaps your partner in the face. In that moment, everyone has morals and everyone knows right from wrong.

To quote my favourite animal rights advocate, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau:

Don’t do nothing because you can‘t do everythingDo something. Anything.

But I understand you. I really do, believe it or not. I have been there. I refused to do anything because I couldn’t do everything. I thought everything in balance was good, until, of course, I wanted to kill myself and realized that there is no balance when it comes to death and suffering.

So I acknowledge you. I see you. I was you.

And I know you can change if you want to. Because I know it’s not really that you don’t believe there is nothing wrong with killing animals, it’s just that you are afraid of change. You don’t want vegans to be right, or to be the ones who could change you. Let’s face it; no one wants to be told to change.

But the silly thing is that I don’t want to change you. I don’t.

I know you can change you. And when the time is right, you will.

Until then you can find me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Tanja

p.s. – If you are super interested in veganism suddenly, I have a full list of vegan resources right here.