Non-Negotiable

Is peer pressure still a thing?

It’s taken me a while to understand that having certain things be non-negotiables in my life isn’t something to feel bad about. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz. And by buzz, I really mean that it’s easy to get caught up in the same traditions your peers, colleagues, and friends are taking part in simply because you want to be known in that particular group. This is fancy adult speak for the fact that peer pressure, even in your twenties, is still a thing.

Non-negotiable #1: Slow mornings and hot coffee.

There is nothing more delicious in my mind than having one day of the weekend reserved as alarm clock-less. Following this luxurious lie in is a cup of hot coffee (microwaved a few times for absolute temperature perfection), probably a couple of rice cakes in anticipation for the morning run, and a book, newspaper or Instagram feed to welcome the day. 

While waking up early to chase the sunrise is a majesty I want so many to experience, it’s exhausting! Mid-morning runs, in my opinion, are just as grandiose in spectacle because I am certain to be 100% awake for the surroundings upon which I’m running through.

6 days out of the week the first thing I hear is the sound of my alarm, so having just one morning feel like it’s on my own time is really refreshing both mentally and physically.

A perfect jammy egg breakfast

Non-negotiable #2: Avocados and bananas.

I’m not a vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian, and I’m quick to speak highly about sustainability and eating locally. Having said that, I do my absolute best to make the best possible choices when it comes to food. But lest we not forget that doing our best doesn’t mean being perfect. 

I eat out more often than I would like, usually out of convenience because when we get home work and lectures, Elan and I are both pretty tired. And I also really, really fancy Envy apples, and they’re usually shipped from New Zealand. So eating out and eating apples from New Zealand isn’t always the best decision when it comes to the boundaries of sustainability.

What I can say certainly however, is that I don’t support large-scale meat industries, I don’t consume dairy that isn’t organic (or at a minimum doesn’t comes from a local farm), and I don’t ever buy ingredients that are promoting unsustainable work conditions for either the livestock or the employees. I do however eat avocados and bananas, and I really love Peet’s French Roast. And sometimes, that’s got to be enough.

No one should ever bully or impose their ideologies on you. Not all vegans are sustainable and not all local and sustainable diets are the most healthy. If we’re doing our best to be the most informed consumers we can be, I think that’s all we can ask for. So I may spend a little more on avocados, and I’ll try to buy fair trade bananas, and in my opinion, that’s an equal trade off.

Avocados are a staple

Non-negotiable #3: Journaling.

Having a journal helps organize the chaos of my mind. It’s a space for me to allocate my goals, training logs, musings and more. My journal is like an extension of my brain and even just having it in my backpack makes me feel more at ease. When it comes down to writing in my journal I have zero rules or regulations as to how frequently I ought to jot down my feelings, or about the type of prose that goes in it. 

A journal needs not to be this flowery, poetic book of incredible reflections. My journal is my journal and everything in it is fair game. I encourage you to try keeping one, but to discard all the preconceived parameters of what a journal should be. Make it your own! If that means writing in it once every other month then that’s beautifully unique and perfectly acceptable.

My meca of mind organization

Non-negotiable #4: Bubbly water (but no plastic straws).

I recently purchased a Corcicle stainless steel water bottle, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, it makes me feel like I have my life put together. I feel sleek and hydrated, and every time I take a sip out of it I give myself a pat on the back for the fact that I’m not sipping out of plastic. 

And here comes the caveat. I adore bubbly water, and specifically, I adore Crystal Geyser’s orange flavored bubbly water that my boyfriend carries at his coffee shop and it comes in a small plastic bottle that’s difficult for me to find ways to reuse. I have one most days at lunch, and each time I uncap the lid, I’m fully aware of the fact that I’m consuming plastic. 

So because of the fact that I drink out of a plastic bottle (almost) every day, I’ve made it a personal mission to try and never use plastic straws. If I ever order an iced drink, I’ll do my best to either put it in my reusable keep cup or just ask for it in a hot cup with a lid so it doesn’t spill everywhere. 

It may not be an equal substitution, but bubbly water is a simple pleasure I allow myself in the middle of a busy day. If I could afford to carbonate my own water and add sliced orange peels in it, I would. And maybe someday I will. I’m only human!

Me and my Corcicle Bottle

Non-negotiable #5: If you don’t like a book, put it down.

My last and final non-negotiable may seem a bit controversial. After studying literature collegiately, I’ve come to terms with the fact that picking up a book should (almost) always be enjoyable. If you’re slogging through a book you absolutely cannot find the motivation to like, put it down for god’s sake! Life is too short to read a book that you won’t even remember half the plot line to when you’re done. You’re not a failure. Nothing is being left incomplete. 

You’re choosing self-care when deciding that book is simply not for you. I like to balance reading “intellectual” books, with candy reads. Choose a (stimulating) non-fiction or informative book of any kind, and supplement it with a fun, page-turning, fictional, romantic comedy (if that’s what you’re into) after. Read the rainbow! Try a new genre! But whatever you do, read something that actually appeals to you. I truly think this will make the human species a little smarter, and a little more kind as well.

My candy read at the moment

Why it has to be okay.

Coming to terms with my non-negotiables has led me to feel a little more confident in navigating the ever constant stream of exaggerated headlines rolling across the media. We’re all human and we’re all doing our best, and part of that means being confident in yourself and in your lifestyle choices.

So what are your non-negotiables?

If one of your non-negotiable items is ordering coffee in a takeaway cup, and it makes you inherently happier in doing so, don’t let someone else try and impose their ethos on you. Sure it may not be the most environmentally friendly, but I’m sure you do other things to balance it out. Again, no one’s perfect and we don’t always see the full picture simply by one person’s particular action.

**If this is something you do, I fully support your choices, but I would recommend buying a Keep Cup. They’re super cute, easy to clean, and most cafe’s give you a little discount for bringing in your own mug ;)**

Not much a good coffee can't solve

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About the author

Gabi Maudiere enjoys eating rice cakes (smothered in crunchy peanut butter) despite popular criticisms and adheres strictly to the notion of reading before bed, even if it's just half a page before falling asleep.