Reusing Your Cardboard

I’ve always been a huge fan of holding on to things (especially supplies and materials) that you think you no longer need. This is especially so for anything that’s often regarded as trash or mere packaging. For example, think of all the cardboard boxes you’ve ever had in your life. Now try to imagine the percentage of those you could’ve broken down and stored away for future use but are instead somewhere in a landfill, taking up space for no reason?

For as versatile and eco-friendly as cardboard is, we have a habit of throwing it straight in the trash instead of using it around the house for storage, recycling it, or even using it for mulch or composting. Why is it that we are always so obsessed with throwing things away?

The short answer is because we’re lazy. The long answer? Because the landfill system has made gathering trash and tossing it in a hole in the ground far easier than alternative methods. So, with a system made for us to be lazy, we’re all going to be lazy and choose the laziest option. Why would it have turned out any other way?

I try to do my part, though, in holding onto cardboard from packaging instead of tossing it straight in the trash. In fact, the last option I choose is recycling it. And I only resort to that if I don’t have use for it, don’t end up burning it, or can’t use it in organic matter, such as mulch and composting. (Yes, you can do both of these if you take the time to learn the process and do it on your own.)

Ultimately, we have to learn to start taking responsibility for our actions, and that includes everyday actions like tossing things in the trash.

If you happen to think of it, refuse to throw your cardboard boxes away the next time you get something in the mail from online. Heck, even if you got it from the store and it’s packaged in cardboard, make the conscious effort to break it down and store it away. And if you already have a huge amount of cardboard because you’ve been doing this, choose to recycle instead of trash it! It cannot be understated how much reducing your trash and reusing things from packaging helps to benefit the environmental state of the world. If only everyone would take the time to recycle one piece of cardboard once a week, things wouldn’t look so bleak.

Making a New Pet Feel at Home

Over the past weekend, my fiancee came home with a kitten. And I honestly couldn’t tell you how off guard I was when it happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type to throw a fit about something like this, or act like we can’t have a cat whatsoever. But after a long weekend camping with some buddies, I suppose I expected Sunday to be a very lazy day. That’s why I was pretty surprised when she came home with a cat. And more than anything, it was a bit stressful because we have a dog that has never been around cats, so raising them together will take some work up front.

Additionally, planning out something like this can be one of those things that you’ll feel like you’re always underprepared for. So, she actually heeded my advice and took a leap of faith by bringing the rescue home. Since we’re thrust into the fire with this situation, we’ll learn to take it day by day and slowly introduce the cat to the dog. We hope that within a week or two they start to settle into the home together, but for now, they’ll be separated.

I think a big part of getting the cat acclimated with the home is entertaining her and making her feel comfortable. To start, she’s extremely playful, which can be good for her age but bad if toys aren’t abundant. She’ll start swiping at our hands and nipping at us without something to occupy her, so we’re making sure to hit up the pet store this week.

One thing we’ve been keeping her occupied with is some packing tape, though. It’s funny how packaging supplies like this can be a free and easy way to tide a small animal over for the time being until we get some new toys and materials. And speaking of packaging supplies, we got out an old cardboard box and lined it with a blanket for her to sleep on, and she’s been loving it so far.

Ultimately, it all comes down to creating a hostility free environment, and if the dog is always nosing around the kitten, wanting to see her and smell her and be near her, she’ll be uncomfortable. Those moments are necessary eventually, as they’re going to have to get used to each other’s presence. But for now, we’re letting them become accustomed to one another’s smells, and keeping them in separate rooms and swapping rooms every other day will allow that to happen.

Nostalgia Is Good, but Living in the Past Isn’t

Sometimes I think people live too much of their lives in the past. Whether that’s in an attempt to relive their “glory days”, clutch tightly to their old ways, or they’re just too lazy to change for the better, I honestly believe that holding onto a past way of life is unhealthy for growth, happiness, and stimulation of the mind.

While this is clearly just an opinion on the ways you can go about living your life, it’s something I find to be detrimental about myself and some of my friends, so it’s no wonder that I’m so steeped in this opinion.

One of the things I often see amongst my friends is a desperate longing to return to college. While I can understand their point of view (considering I often miss the ease of life when at college and wouldn’t mind returning for another degree some day), there’s a point where you have to see that there’s a difference between wishful thinking/nostalgia versus actually trying to live out those days again. From bar crawls to excessive drinking and ordering take out and putting off responsibilities, I have a handful of friends that aren’t quite attempting to move forward in their lives because they’re so caught up in their pasts.

The thing is, it’s completely fine to relive those days from time to time by meeting up with old friends and doing what you used to do when younger. For example, I just recently had some buddies over to go out to bars and then come over to my place to play video games into the late hours of the night. We had a lot of fun and definitely want to do it again, but we all understood that this was something that happens from time to time. It was great digging out some old games from my cardboard boxes in storage, but those cardboard boxes are meant to stay in storage for a reason: accessing them every now and then to use, but not to make a staple in my life.

I think the world and its inhabitants would be a far better place if everyone simply agreed that we need to focus on the present situation first, the future second, and finally the past from time to time. Unfortunately, what seems to happen is that everyone is keyed in on their pasts and intertwining it with their present day situation, and no one seems to consider the future for whatever reason.

Stay-At-Home Movie Nights

I remember growing up and doing our own little movie stay ins with my parents instead of driving 20 minutes to the nearest theater to spend a lot of money on popcorn and candy and drinks. While they still took us to the movies every now and then, we’d do these stay at home theater experiences more often.

To be honest, a lot of kids would probably be upset about this. They’d prefer the movies because of the huge TV screens and the candy boxes they weren’t used to getting to eat out of. That, coupled with putting endless amounts of butter and salt on the popcorn, would make most kids prefer that experience.

But me? Nah. I loved my stay at home movie evenings on the weekends with my parents. It felt more comfortable to get snuggled up in my blankets. I felt more at home being able to get up and do what I wanted if needed. I always felt like being able to eat other food, outside of candy boxes especially, was a lot cooler. While we still did popcorn often enough, we’d also do finger foods that you wouldn’t be able to eat at any theater at the time.

This was my experience growing up, and I feel like it’s a pretty common thing shared among late 80s and early 90s kids. Renting movies was all the rage around the late 90s, as was having the newest TV or VCR. That’s just how things were.

Now, it’s no wonder I find Netflix and other streaming giants like Hulu and even Youtube to be far preferable to going to the movies. As a young adult, I’d rather save my money for other things while still getting mostly the same experience in my own living room. While the movies and TV series on streaming platforms aren’t “brand new” like the movie theater would be showing, I have no qualms about waiting a few months to see something.

Times have definitely changed, but I’m finding my preferences for these experiences definitely have not, much to the benefit of my wallet. Heck, being able to stay home and have a movie night with my fiancee is also beneficial to our dog, so that we’re not always out and away from the apartment. Instead, we choose to do as much as we can at home to save money and make our own experiences out of nothing. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

The Importance of Video Games in My Life

There’s no one thing that has tied in to almost every aspect of my life better than my horby of video games. While I know there are a lot of kids out there in the here and now that would agree with this sentiment, for someone in their upper 20s to state this, it’s not nearly as common as the youth now.

Gaming didn’t always exist as the norm. In fact, just a decade ago you were still seen as a “nerd” if you logged anymore than a handful of hours of gaming in a week. (Little did most people in high school and early college know I logged no less than 30 hours a week religiously.) The thing is, though, that I wasn’t any more unsocial than my peers at the time. Perhaps from a normative point of view, you could argue. But I had a blooming social life on a much different medium than most kids my age were accustomed to in the mid 2000s: the Internet.

The Internet is directly responsible for fostering my sense of critical thinking. It also helped me to navigate human interaction from a textual standpoint, something that I later applied to my life when in college and developing a lot of new in person relationships. I recall it all being so new in college, yet I was able to gain a lot of friends quickly that had similar interests, something we went on to share about each other the more time went on.

So it’s no surprise to hear that I get a bit emotional when digging through some old cardboard boxes filled with video games from my childhood. Those games were responsible for teaching me about different types of people, different ideologies, different worlds, and different narratives. Without them, I would have led a much different life, one that may have left me much more devoid of knowledge, of kindness, of patience, of intrigue. I don’t think I would change a thing about how I grew up and what I was interested in, because if things changed, I wouldn’t be who I am now. And I’m not sure about you, but I’m extremely happy with who I’ve become.

I challenge you to go digging through some of your own cardboard boxes full of old mementos that you’ve forgotten about. Think about who you are now, but really focus on who you were back then. Did it influence the current self you know and love? You obviously kept those boxes for a reason. It’s good to take the time to reflect on the past from time to time, if only to humble your present self.