giving (material) things up

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

(does food count as a material thing?)

tomorrow marks the first day of lent.

one year I gave up mcdonald's french fries.
one year I gave up "being mean."
(side note: speaking softly for forty days is REALLY hard (and nearly impossible), but that's a blog post for another, fast-approaching time).

this year I'm giving up starbucks,
because I spend (on average) $10 a day there. it's really easy to eat and drink everything from starbucks when you live in seattle and there's a starbucks on every block. easiest lunch breaks ever!

ah, I love giving things up.
I love giving up old clothes that were expensive but that remind me of young-adult angst.
I love giving up books that collect dust and don't call to me to read them.
I love giving up shoes that don't serve a purpose besides looking nice at the bottom of my closet.
I love giving up boxes of tea I don't drink, blankets that I don't cuddle under, and random sticker books that I received for christmas about ten years ago.

I've been cleaning my life of everything lately.
goodbye to: mugs and bowls that aren't handmade, shopping at stores that sell new clothing, and the "need" to buy another pristine pair of rainboots.

but I don't like giving up things that I have on a daily basis.
icelandic yogurt? keeping it.
mason-jar smoothies - heavy, yet somewhat functional? keeping them.
daily soy chai-tea lattes from starbucks? ...begrudgingly giving them up.

I guess you could say I'm trying to live more simply.
spend less money.
give away more than I consume.

but sometimes this simplicity thing can feel out of hand,
when I look in my closet and realize... oh wait, I actually don't have any clothes to wear to a potential job because I sold or donated them all in my moment of purging.

how do you manage it?
I'm trying to find the balance between having so little and having enough to survive.
do we really need all material things that we consume?

I leave with that open-ended question.

40 Days of Speaking Softly

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

recently, I read (and laughed along with) this article.
in which a woman takes on the challenge of not being mean for forty days.
she is challenged to "speak softly, medium-soft."

every day, for forty days, you resist the urge to say anything mean.
this includes sarcasm.
this includes making fun of people.
this includes agreeing with people that make fun of people.

as I told Will the other day, "I'm practicing being patient and kind."
(you see, I've always told myself that when you work with kids, you have to be patient and kind.)
but as a human being, shouldn't I be patient and kind whether or not I work with kids?
doesn't everyone deserve patient and kind?

slip-ups are okay.
in fact, in my case, I'm pretty sure they're inevitable.
(last night, having dinner with my parents at the kitchen table, I tried to not say anything mean about anyone for five minutes and ending up sipping lots of wine and nodding and smiling and saying very little at all)

at the end of each day, I'll write down each time I slipped up -- each time I was mean.
and then I'll try again the next day.
with earnest.

we will see how this goes.