June is a very special month, my lovelies. Why? Because I am setting some limits and reaching some goals.
Welcome to June. This month I am telling myself, "No Ma'am!" in my most Southernest of accents. I was reading an essay last week that bowled me over. Wendell Berry writes, in his masterpiece Faustian Economics, "...our human and earthly limits, properly understood, are not confinements but rather inducements to formal elaboration and elegance, to fullness of relationship and meaning."
And I've been telling myself, "Why not?" for so long. I'm tired of that mentality because it's getting me nowhere. I'm fat, unhappy, and lazy. So, welcome to June! In this month, which is a completely reasonable amount of time, I will tell myself no. I'm doing this for a few reasons. One, I'm bored with being lazy. I'm bored with indulgence. I'm bored with "Why not?" Two, I'm ready to see what I can do. I'm ready to start functioning within limits I set and seeing what I can achieve.
So, onto the NO MA'AM list for this month-long project:
No spending means, well, no spending. We are buying groceries and gas, along with cat and gardening supplies. And that's it! No daily coffee purchases, no little pens and pencils at the stationary shop, no impulsive online shopping. We accidentally saved a lot of money last month. And I thought, hey, what if we tried to save a lot of money on purpose? What could we achieve. I've been reading Ashley's A Story of Debt. I've really been inspired by her focus and intentional living. Although I don't have credit card debt, I do have a blessedly-interest-free family debt to my Papaw who loaned me a hefty sum for my Master's year in England. Turns out it's the best money I've ever owed anyone, but that's no reason to stretch this out longer than it has to. I want to really focus on making large payments more often and also, of building up an emergency fund. So, I figure if every few months we do a 'no spending' month, it might become our habit to save rather than spend.
I'm not a big television addict as it is, and that's mostly why I'm cutting it out altogether. Kenny and I usually watch TV when we eat lunch together. But I find myself completely vegging out in front of the tube on the weekends. And sure, it's a lovely time to rest and zone out for a while, but it's like a time-suck I can't escape. Once I watch one hour, the next four are sure to follow. And the weekends are precious time where I can order my days any way I like! Why would I waste them on stupid TV shows I've already seen and don't really enjoy? I will continue to watch 44 minutes of commercial free Glee once a week on my computer. I mean, Glee is quite addictive, but now that I'm all caught up, there's only one episode to watch at a time anyway. (I watched episode 21 right before writing this post! Love it.)
No Eating Out
Obviously this is a sub-heading of No Spending, but it deserves a little paragraph all its own. Because this is only June 2nd and I have quite a few more days to go through, I'm still ecstatic about this one. I've been getting up and fixing our lunch and then figuring out what to cook and pack for our dinners. Kenny and I both work through dinner because we go into work after lunchtime. We have cute little lunch boxes that I took like, twice before. But now, it's so much fun to figure out what I can use to fill up the three containers for dinner. Today I cooked a macaroni pasta for lunch with fresh onion, garlic, peppers, and a sprinkle of cheese. Then, I cooked rice and made Korean rice balls (ju mok bap) with dried seaweed (kim). I also fixed green salads with an olive oil and balsamic homemade dressing. The third container was filled with carrots, cucumbers, a banana, and fresh watermelon slices! I love dragging out dinner over my entire 2 hour break at school. I always see if I can make it all last until 5. I don't eat after 5pm anymore because it makes me so incredibly fat. Anyway, I'm trying out new recipes, shopping with more focus, and making my husband about as happy as it gets. He's always been in charge of meal times and now that he doesn't have to worry about it, he's a free man! Anyway, I'm having so much fun fixing our little dinners. We wasted so much money on eating out. It's actually incredibly cheap to eat out in Korea, but I wasn't eating healthy. And this way, I can be in charge of what goes into my body.
Tomorrow will be my second day of the Couch to 5K program. I started on Tuesday. I can't wait to get out there tomorrow morning. I've been complaining for a few months about my ballooning Belly and back fat, but I haven't done anything about it. I've made all sorts of excuses about how my work schedule had me eating dinner after 10 p.m., how the gym was too expensive and far from our house, how my clothes were stupid and nothing fit. But I decided that I was tired of making excuses for myself. I don't want to allow myself to be like this, especially after just last summer I was the thinnest I'd been in a long time and wearing stuff I wore in college. In 6 months, I've gained so much weight, it's stupid. Yeah, I'll always be a ChubbO Chubbington on the inside. My passion for food is insatiable. But with this No Eating Out, I'm hoping to take my passion in a different direction and train my body to want what's good for it. And running again is making me feel more confident and optimistic about my body. I'm tired of hating myself. So, I'm doing something about it.
If anyone wants to join me, just let me know! And I'll leave you with this poem from Mary Oliver, that says everything else I want to say. Summer's here, y'all!
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?