Well, I’m wrapping up 30 days, but I’ve only taken off 2. More on 2 later. Let’s talk turkey (or tofurky for all you vegetarians) about 30 days of nothing. It was a success in our home. I can’t measure it in terms of dollars – I’m not really clear how much we actually “saved” during the month of January. I’ll probably run the numbers on our Quicken sometime in the next week. I don’t mean to be nonchalant about the savings – there were savings. And, savings are meaningful to us. But, personally I wasn’t motivated by the idea of “saving money.” Savings is a benefit for our family. For me, however, it’s not the PRIZE in the whole exercise. We did make some “extra” contributions in January – for Haiti and also for AHOPE for Children. I am guessing savings were probably just redistributed for charitable giving. My goal and my hope was to engage deeper thinking about my/our relationship with stuff; what we have, how we get it, what we want, how we talk about it.
It’s true that I fell off of the wagon twice; both times were a Thursday night and both times I
sexted texted my darling husband and asked him to ‘please oh pretty please bring home Chipotle!’ He delivered the goods for a mere $14 (no biggies needed to be fed and the wee one got fridge remnants). I learned that Thursday nights on working days are really hard on me. There’s a pattern to this – and this is illuminating for me. I had no idea! I could have waltzed through weeks and weeks of Thursday night meltdowns, but paying attention to the red flags of consumerism brought on by fatigue and poor planning allows us to plan better for working Thursdays. I’ll feel better at the end of those Thursdays – that’s a win.
Planning is part of the HUGE lesson of the month. Mr. Silly Pants and I made renewed effort to meal plan for the week, taking into account the busy extras in our schedule ahead of time. We didn’t run just barely putting one foot in front of the other- we first had a look down the weekly road. The planning helped us have smoother and more in synch evenings. If one of my personal goals for 30 days of nothing was to celebrate what we have instead of what we want, deliberate meal planning and tending to our schedules actually made space available for more intimate family time. Our evenings felt easier and Mr. Silly Pants and I felt more in synch and more mutually involved and engaged in the evening routine. I liked that part of working the program. I like being in good synch with my husband.
My friend Jayme mentioned that her 30 day exercise helped her “to recalibrate my relationship with spending money (and) has had an enormous impact on how I intend to spend money in the future. It’s given me the motivation to think deeply about issues of ethics, giving, entitlement, expectation, competition, and sustainability.” I like how she put this big thought together – how the pieces of the exercise helped her “think and link.” I also really like the idea of recalibrating. I can relate to her points. I think we accomplished this also.
Personally, one interesting outcome for me is that the excercise actually “sanctioned” some pretty tough conversations about the very things Jayme links together in her big picture: giving, ethics, entitlement, expectations, sustainability, competition. Some of the conversations that Mr. Silly Pants and I had were difficult (dare I say, tense?) and involved digging into some tender spots – how I perceive him, how he perceives me, how we view our “plenty”, and our plan for how we’re going to live rich lives without allowing the riches of material goods be more important than those things we cherish that can’t be quantified; love, passion, kindness, adventure, beautiful music, laughter, gorgeous landscapes. Choosing 30 Days of Nothing was choosing to talk about these things in really deliberate and reflective and PERSONAL ways. I liked having a quick short-cut to these discussions and that piece of permission to just jump in and get messy with the experience as it was upon us. Being on the “program” kept that awareness front and center and enabled mutual interest and responsiveness all month long. We talked about travel and planning (starting an explicit vacation fund), we talked about feeling entitled to coffee out, just because we want it. We talked about our childhood experiences with money. We asked, “Why the heck do we need satellite radio? Really, in both cars? I haven’t listened to it, not once.” In some contexts the discussions were intense and emotional. In some contexts the questions were pretty darn contentious. But this month the questions fit the quest.
I really needed an intentional exercise to help get some clarity on issues for me that surround “having.” I made some progress. We made some progress. Mr. Silly Pants and I are extending this into February with a slightly modified approach – not eliminating all “non-essentials,” but rather taking the choas out of our spending and working on making more deliberate choices and decisions on a day by day basis with proper looks ahead into the week, month, and even the year. We are excited about striving for balance as we raise our son and launch our biggies. I’ll talk more about this as I get a clearer notion of what “deliberate and less chaos” looks like (I think it will involve a lot of winnowing of our ‘stuff’ which is pretty exciting!)
Finally, I didn’t take much off – 2 lbs. Ugh. I really fell apart on that one. Basically I didn’t follow through on journaling. February is a new month. Tomorrow is a new day. I will spend February journaling my ‘Lose It’ meals with an eye towards health and more energy. It’s a hard one to talk about – so I’m not going to talk about it tonight.
Thanks to all the women who did 30 Days together – it was an inspiration to share the process and to learn along the way both with you and from you!