Posts Tagged ‘consumerism’

Intentional simplificaiton

August 14, 2011

Never mind how I got there … but I found a new (or more correctly concurrent challenge).  It’s a 72 Ideas in 72 Days project.  Think of it as intentional simplification.  Yes, I’ve been worried about my carbon foot print (hence the Kindle discussion).  Yes, I’m pretty anti-consumerism and try to find ways to simplify my life.  I’m not sure I’ll do them in order … ok, I probably will but #9 (purge your stuff) will take more than a day.  I have a ton of just junk.

What do I want out of this adventure? I’m not sure. The beauty contestant answer is “inner peace?”  The part of me that is over news stories of people saying “I don’t know how I got into so much debt” wants to be one of the people who breaks the cycle of I need the newest toy now.  There is a part of me that is coming off of a hard weekend.  I had a lovely time with a friend of mine but there were things on the side that reminded me of how much I’m disconnected from understanding a consumerist culture (not from my friend!).  Maybe trying to further simplify, organize, be intentional will help me understand.  I’m sure part of it is me just sitting at a crossroads not knowing where I am in my life.  It isn’t a “oh, it’s the economy, you’ll figure it out” mode.  More like, what, at the core is really important.

A friend of mine this weekend said (correctly so) the past 3 years or so have been an emotional black hole for me.  I couldn’t deny it; they have been.  It’s been hell.  But was it hell? Or just understanding the ramifications of life that sometimes we all miss?  Is it because at some point, I realized that there are things I care about and everything else.  And the everything else is a much bigger pile.

It will be hard challenge: some things I just hate “edit your closet” (ack – more out of the idea that if i tear/rip/stain something I’ll use it to layer. Ok, but do I need 394054 shirts like that?), other items? Oh the corners of the back closet that I don’t like to go to: what will happen on those days?  What about the times I am pushed.  Can I be honest enough with what is going on to address the root? (probably not in a public place; but in my journal).

This past weekend was hard.  Somebody made a comment that was tantamount to her life is harder than anybody elses.  In the past, I probably would have just raged about it for a few weeks.  I challenged her; I said nobody knows the path anybody else has to walk.  Somebody else might find a blessing/respite in something another might find a burden.  That was fine; the issue was that Eat, Pray, Love was about a “fake crisis” in somebody’s life and she was having “real” issues.  I was amazed about how much competition goes on between people over stupid things “no, my crisis is more of a crisis than your crisis” (um, ok? what does that even mean?).  Maybe I can find answers about why things like that bother me.  Who knows.

72 days is a long time to spend examining your life when you are trying to run your life.  I do know I’m tired of the clutter; maybe my clutter isn’t stuff but noise from people/situations/politics.  It will be an adventure.  I’ll be blogging about it here … everyday (hopefully).  I’m interested in the results.

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Taking a month of …. for now. The No Grocery Challenge

July 30, 2011

So, a friend of mine posted this blog a few weeks ago on Facebook (seriously, how did I live before smart phones and social networking!).  I chased a few links and found what might be one of the original blogs.  (Eh, who knows …).  The rules are pretty basic: don’t go to the grocery store except for what cannot be sourced otherwise.  There are few challenges floating about in the locavore world.  I was immediately interested and agreed to this mad cap challenge. Hey, it’s just me, right? I mean, aside from the sous chef and the prince.  And then I decided to step it up a bit.  I am keeping the basic challenge: buying everything at farmer’s markets, stands with a short exception list (below) and then only $30.  And no, I didn’t stock up on Coke Zero or ice cream!

A lot of the people involved have kids.  I can hear some people in my life now “of course it would be easy for you, you’re single.” (uh, yeah, i also have an hour commute and work roughly 50 hours a week but that is a different blog).  Yup, I live the life of a singleton.  That also means, that if I worked 12 hours that day, there is nobody I can call to say “hey, can you toss on some pasta for me” (well, that and being gluten-free also).  I’m also working for a company that is facing an audit probably in August.  ACK!  So, I know August will be insane.  So why not kick it up a step?

For August, I will not only avoid the grocery store (except the list below), I’m also skipping caffination stations.  Not giving UP caffeine (that would be a danger to others) but avoiding the fast food life style of the mornings and sometimes evenings that have fueled me during early morning commutes or late nights because I’m too lazy to cook something.  I realized how horrific my eating habits (despite some canning adventures) had become when I realized that one day I consumed (seriously) a package of pop tarts from a vending machine, some carrots and a tomato (probably a few thousand miles on those), ice cream with strawberry jam (ok, I made the jam) and 2 dill pickles. Why? It’s what I had either in the house to eat without cooking or had for the vending machine. Seriously.

When the challenge was posted, I realized hmmm. It would probably be good FOR me to do this: I despise chain stores, I try to be a locavore (but let’s face it … some mornings hash browns and coffee from Dunkin Donuts do hit the spot), I believe in local businesses well and the entire menu I listed earlier.  The thing is, to some extent this will already be easier for me than many: I buy my meat from the fantastic 8 O’clock Ranch (which probably means I’m not a locavore FOR meat but since they are a small ranch in upstate NY … I’ll stick with them), I get most of my fruits and veggies from Old Nourse Farm’s CSA.  My issue is more that while I’ll can/freeze food, I forget to USE that food in my I-must-eat-now mode (that and I don’t own a microwave).  So with a bit of planning, I’m going to go free from caffination stations, grocery stores, chains . . . what I do need to buy I will buy from family owned groceries.  This will be interesting.  I’m sure I won’t save money (one of the original bloggers is in Hungary. $2 wine? Ha.) The obvious benefit is breaking myself of this pop-tart diet I seem to be on!

So, with that … my August grocery list is limited to: vinegar, yoghurt (don’t tell me I can make it … epic fail), half&half, cat food (they do like to eat), salt, sugar and olive oil.  The greater adventure … figuring out what I’m going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner now that I’m avoiding chains and the cafe at the office. If you see me, and you love me? Please hand me Diet Coke.  I’m sure I’ll need it by mid-August.