Sunday, January 1, 2012

In the beginning...

Wow! How was that for a start? I don't know about you, but that is the best New Year's Eve I have had since – well, likely since the one where I got married. I was surrounded by special people, delicious food and a renewed sense of hope and expectation. But the healthy kind of expectation. Not the kind that always leads to disappointment. Sure. There are different kinds of expectation. We'll go with that.  Also, I looked kind of cute so that doesn’t hurt. 

So we begin with the day after - the official start to 2012.  Kind of.  It’s just that I am not fully invested in January 1, 2012 as the actual start of the new year.  I’m not trying to weasel out of the whole deal.  Look.   When you are up until midnight to make sure that the clock strikes 12 and the world hasn’t ended and you make sure to get at least one smooch in for the year, by the time you get home and settle in, well, it’s late.  Some of you whippersnappers don’t have issues with that but this past year ushered me into my forties and I can’t party like it’s 1999 anymore.  My point is that if I’m going to sleep at 1:30ish in a.m., I’m not well equipped to have a get up and go attitude for the next day (or same day, to be more precise).  It was about 10:30 when my day officially started after having to get up and quiet the kids and drive the sitter home and what not.  By 12:30 it was nap time.  I have a hard time imagining that it was much different for the rest of you all.  Maybe it was.  More power to ya.  For me – tomorrow is the new beginning.  So let’s talk about that means.

As 2011 ended, I realized that I had spent the entire year being a consumer.  Like in ALL meanings of the word.  I destroyed, devoured, used up, and spent.  If it was on sale, I bought it.  If I bought it, I stockpiled it.  I bought coupons (my bad. I bought  coupon services…) to save money so that I could buy more.  I ate lots –much out of boxes and cans and made out of plenty of sugar and chemicals.   And as much as I ate, I despicably threw much away.   I drank.  A lot.  And realized that whatever I poured in, I wanted more.   I burned through my life with useless time sucks as though it was a limitless resource.  And even if I don’t buy into doomsday predictions (which I don’t), I still know that time is finite.  I took it all in.  And aside from a considerable increase in trash, I contributed very little in return.  It was my year of entitlement and abuse of resources and blessings.  My theme for 2012 is Intention.  I mentioned yesterday that rebuilding doesn’t happen by accident.  It’s intentional.  If I want to ensure that I have a different year, I have to come off the sidelines and be ready to play the game.  I’m not going to wish the weight off or hope that opportunities for anything and everything fall into my lap.  Granted, some of my resolutions are the old stand-bys, but I’m hoping the details of how or why I’m pursuing them will keep things interesting enough to keep your attention. And mine.  So, without further adieu – I present resolutions one and two of my 12 for ’12.

1.  Want Less.  I have too much.  And I don’t even really know what all I have.  But I can already tell you that I’m loathe to be separated from it.  The flip side is that I am also so over the amount of stuff in this house.   It gets on my last damn nerve.  I don’t need another garment for anything unless I have to walk a red carpet on the fly.  That seems unlikely since no one, not even myself, has discovered some sort of singing, acting, directing or production talent in me.  So.  I have clothes for any season that will present itself.  In a myriad of sizes, no less.  Probably the same could be said for shoes.  I’m not as adamant about that yet.  What is that?  You know how many pairs of black boots I have?  4.  And you know how many pairs are just right?  0.  That’s so obnoxious!  And yet I still scan on a regular basis just in case they have the perfect pair of black boots.  It’s an illness – women and their shoes.  I own books that I don’t read.  Our library system is one of the top in the nation so if I don’t have it, they will loan it to me.  After I get my account out of hock.  What?   Let’s just say that I’m doing my civic duty to contribute to the operational costs of a facility that is great for the community.  In a completely non tax-deduction format called late fines.  So, I don’t need to buy books.   I haven’t purchased music since I don’t know when except to tell you that it was an ACTUAL CD.  We can’t fit furniture anywhere else in the old homestead.  I have my jewelry situation down to specific pieces that I wear all the time.  I am a scrapbooker that could potentially open a small store with my supplies.  A kiosk at the very least.  No crafting products need to be replenished.  I might need more purses.  I have a bit of a Coach addiction.  But to be fair, I scour thrift stores for that fix.  When I take the time, the evidence is overwhelming:  Not only do I have everything that I need, I have well beyond what I want.  And that is offensive.  As part of resolution number one, I will be doing something radical.  I am going on a one month spending fast.  If I can’t eat it or clean with it, I resolve not to buy it.  If I am tempted to buy it, I have to run it by Hubs.  If it costs a penny or $10, I have to tell him about it BEFORE buying it.  This is a big deal y’all.   I am a wee bit sneaky and have from time to time brought things into the house that maybe I didn’t mention at the time of purchase.  I’m also a big fan of the buy it now, return it later strategy of shopping.  This tends to go about the same way as returning books on time.  It’s far more expensive than late fees.  For one month I will abstain from both these practices.  I’m excited and nervous all at once.  I hope that if it reveals some icky stuff about myself and what I’m invested in, that can be countered with strategies of how to do it all differently. 

2.  Context Eating.  Something horrible has happened to our food.  People have been talking about it in different ways for a while now and I’m starting to really understand what the hullabaloo is.  Here are some documentaries that you can watch on Netflix (swoon – what an enabler that site is.  And a blessing.  And also a curse.) that will straight up rock your world:  Food, Inc., Food Matters, Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  As a result of watching these movies, taking a hard look at my pantry and the grocery store and the changes in how our bodies look and act, I am equal parts horrified and angry.  Here’s what I believe – God whipped up our world.  He picked up some dirt and made a man.  He took a part of that man and made a woman.  He made water and land and animals to fill up both.  And he gave Adam and Eve all of it and said it was theirs to name and inhabit and tend to and what-not.  And Adam and Eve blew it by doing the only ONE thing God said not to do and got in trouble and got kicked out of paradise.  But their responsibilities didn’t change.  They were still supposed to tend to stuff only now it was supposed to feel like work.  They still had all the same vegetation and animals to eat on.  And whether you believe that story or one about a curled up cave man stumbling upon an ability to bar-b-q dinosaurs, here’s the same truth covered in both those ideas – food had a beginning.  A fruit fell off the vine and was ready to eat.  A fish flopped around close enough to a person to become sushi or tuna tar tare or some such.  Or smoked salmon if fire was handy.  The bottom line is that for ages, generations, a building did not have to be involved with the eating process.  I figure about the 1950’s is when things changed drastically.  Stuff had been put into bags and cans and boxes prior to that but not like this.  We needed food that was fast.  We needed t.v. dinners.  We needed convenience.  And it’s been a downward spiral since then.  Coinciding with that downward spiral is another in the state of the health of people.  We are tired and bloated and lethargic.  We are fat and diabetic.  We have heart problems and cancer.  And we seemed resigned to that just being a sign of the times.  Really?  Is this as much as we hoped for all along?  That we would make it this far but at the expense of being on cholesterol medication and addicted to carbohydrates?  I can’t believe that.  And riding right alongside the increase of convenience food which required all myriad of chemicals and additives to ensure that the food would be ready whenever it was called upon to be consumed and the decrease in our health is a shocking turn of events on farms.  As we all continued to make resolutions to eat better, we realized that red meat needed to be decreased in our diet.  We looked to chicken breast as the appropriate high-protein low-fat go- to meat for meals.  So you know what happened?  They started giving the chickens some sort of weirdo chemical that made their boobies so big that their own scrawny chicken legs couldn’t even support their own weight.  I don’t even have words for my reaction to that.

 My conclusion at this point is that the further our food winds up from it’s original context, the less nutritious and more useless it is.  If it has to have a preservative, a flavoring, a coloring, sugar – what is it’s purpose at that point?  I did a juice fast for two weeks a few months ago.  I wanted to lose weight and cleanse my body – and really, I did it to prove to myself that I could.  I was astonished that I was ready to do it for even longer but one of the juices made me hurl and I lost my appetite after that.  Also, I sort of forgot that part of being healthy is exercising and my muscles sort of started atrophying so I thought I should give it a rest already.  But I’m ready to do it again.  I looked better.  I felt better.  And I know now exactly which vegetables are truly disgusting and have no business in my home.  It’s all about the learning people.  But I was using fresh fruits and vegetables to clean my body out – to clear out all the residue from all the non-food.  I’m committing to conscious context eating (I’m pretty sure that I’m the first to use that term so go ahead and add a TM right smack there and I’ll cash in when someone decides to hone in on my genius).  This is the year that my food is consumed as close to the source as possible – which includes eating local and seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, organic milk and animal products and a severe decrease in products that have to be opened to eat.  It’s going to cost more but I hold this truth to be self-evident:  everything costs something – time, resources, money, emotional investment, and I am not paying with my health any longer.  Whew!  That was one heck of a spew!  I have to go sort out my coupons now as most of them have become irrelevant and are going into the recycling bin.

Hubs has alluded to my being long-winded so I should wrap it all for today.  I have about 6 hours left to consume all the contraband in the house before the actual official start of 2012.  Thanks for taking the time to join me today.  I hope that your year is off to a fantastic start.  Smooch.


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