Monday, August 30, 2010

Voluntary Simplicity

I would HIGHLY recommend the book "Voluntary Simplicity" by Duane Elgin.  I am part-way through this insightful piece and am keeping track of my favorite quotes and thought-provoking questions.  Here are a few as food for thought:

The question at hand is, "Can we live more lightly on the material side of life while living with greater satisfaction and meaning on the nonmaterial side of life?  In short, is simplicity a life of sacrifice?"

"Simplicity yields lasting satisfactions that more than compensate for the fleeting pleasures of consumerism."  (I can attest this is true!  It's only becoming more-so in my life!)

Simplicity is PROgressive, not REgressive, and need not be thought of as primitive.

Oh, the list could go on!  This book is for anyone who wants to be inspired to simplify their lives.  And honestly - deep down, who doesn't want to simplify?!  Please pick up a copy ASAP.

DAY 7: A Whole New Me (well...kind of)

Only seven days in, and I am beginning to feel a bit like a new person.  Suffice it to say, I'm not all "hopped up" on Diet Coke anymore, and I feel calmer (yes, a little tired at times) but overall just feel more connected with my body.  Is this strange to have such a profound change in one week?

The caffeine withdrawal was, at first, by far the most difficult feat.  It has been a lifetime habit to grab a Diet Coke at any moment of the day, and I find I crave one when I am anxious or to get through transitions in the day.  (Finished getting your haircut?  On your way to work?  Just stop and grab a D.C. for the ride!  Well, no longer...)  However, the cravings are going away as are the headaches.

It will continue to be difficult, but the real kicker, I have found, is not eating out.  This is funny, considering I can't really afford to eat out much...but somehow I had managed to pool together the cash to eat out lunch and dinner at least five days a week!  Think of all the money I'll save!  Lately, it's been cook, cook, cook - yes even in the 95 degree heat - and I am all the better for it.  Yes, my boyfriend did have to tell me to get off the kitchen floor when I lay down in a dramatic protest; even though we were cooking together, I wanted to can the whole thing - just for a day - and go out for pizza.  But no, he kept me on track and after a meal of baked chicken, roasted corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and broccoli, I have to say it was well worth it.  Yes, tiring and worth it.  

Moral is?  This is taking an incredible amount of discipline.  But yes, you can teach an old dog (er, 27 year old) new tricks.  She might protest, but her cries are those of wanting to revert back to old habits, those she is trying to change...

Friday, August 27, 2010

DAY 4: Thanks for the support!

Thank you to all who are following me and to those who have offered support and encouragement.  I can assure you, adjusting to a more low-maintenance lifestyle is not as easy as it sounds (or as it sounded four days ago!).  I am interested to know those of you who have encountered a journey like this before - say, a friend has done something similar, or something along those lines.  Also, are there any of you who wish you could do something like this, but feel you can't?  Your thoughts are very welcome on my page!

As of now, my progress is stable.  I did have one setback (a little thing called a can of Diet Coke) yesterday and let me tell you: It tasted nasty.  After only three days of not being exposed to it!  I am amazed, though, how much I crave something like that - a can of Coke, a trip to the mall, a meal on the go...just to break up the pace of life and give me a "pick-me-up".  I wonder what it is that stands between myself and sheer enjoyment of life without these things to use as crutches throughout my day.  That is what I seek to find out.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More = Less

DAY 3: Not Going to Lie...

Not going to lie...I am struggling.  It is most likely the caffeine withdrawal, which is making me a little crazy, not to mention sleepy and grumpy.  One thing is interesting, though: the number of times I have had the thought - just the thought - of running to a store (just to look) or to grab something to eat on the fly, rather than make something at home, or to cheat on this Great American Apparel Diet or call the whole thing off altogether.  No.  I can't.  I mustn't.  There is A CHANGE IN ME, and I must remember that this is the life I want!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Inspiration

DAY 1: The Plan

I have begun DAY 1 of an adventure today. In an effort to boycott consumerism and materialism and an overall compulsion to buy more! more! more!, today starts one year on the Great American Apparel Diet - one year without buying clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. Additionally, cutting out other acts of consumerism such as trips to Target (ouch that hurts to even type), big box stores, frequent eating out, and most importantly, the use of her debit card (yes, it has been cut up)  Can she do it? I think she can!

Why?, you may ask.  (In many ways, I'm not sure either!)  The reasons will evolve as I discover life without these "things", but initially there are several reasons for embarking on such a challenge: to live a fuller life with more "quality" and less "quantity", to save money, to challenge myself, and hey, maybe to learn a thing or two about myself.

So what are the rules?  OUT: the purchasing of new clothes, shoes, accessories, make up, and furniture.  Soda.  (Ouch!)  Trips to Target (double ouch!), big box stores and the mall.  Eating out more than twice a week.  IN: the Farmer's Market, cooking, walking places, water, tea, and a local grocery store.  Also IN: more time, money, energy, and zen living.  An endeavor clearly worth while.

Please follow me on my journey - and don't forget to offer support, as I will clearly NEED IT!  Thank you for reading.