Yes, I know where I was the afternoon of July 26th between the hours of 2:00 and 3:30 p.m. I will not refute the debit card records of Trastavere — bello, bellissimo patio yum.
I, the person who sat here weeks earlier and typed for all the internet to read that I was committed to a month-long moratorium on dining out, dipped broken bread into tapenade that afternoon, a willful violation of Project Spend Less.
One may recall that the project was an idea I conceived of without prompting or intervention from peers. Further, my design included all sorts of permissions and exceptions, making the undertaking an obtainable goal.
Let me ask this. Did anyone out there think I’d succeed?
I will not use Lily’s death as an excuse for the breach. After all, I’m the Weight Watcher who, months prior to achieving Lifetime status, walked into Starbucks the morning of September 11, 2001 and abstained from ordering what I was craving — a Venti vanilla latte with a maple scone. I thought, this could be the start of WWIII, but I’m still in control of what I eat. I had iced tea.
If I claimed it was my grief that derailed Project Spend Less, that’d be a lie.
The best way to describe why I broke the vow is that I have reappropriated my dedication. Translation: I changed my mind. Rather than a concentrated month of semi-deprivation, I decided that I’d work, instead, to bring mindfulness to my dining and spending for longer than the original 30-day promise.
I don’t see it as a failure; I see it as an emerging life theme. Look, I wrote about it as far back as 2008, “Reach for vegetarianism, grasp eating about 72% less meat than I used to. It’s self-improvement: light. Better living: in moderation.”
Where money is concerned, I like the wants vs. needs approach. When I’m working to differentiate between the two, I remind myself of the urge I had recently to decorate a place for meditation. I thought about going on-line to find exotic accoutrement — candlesticks, chimes, and tapestries. But during my next sitting, I realized Buddha’s altar was breath. We, each of us who can breathe, have all we need to practice. With this mindset, anything from the dentist’s office to the line for the women’s bathroom at AMC Century 15 can be a temple.
I’m learning that the roots of my endeavor to spend less money are intertwined with my desire to be conscious of how I spend my time and thoughts. Yes, thoughts are things we spend.
It occurred to me this summer that the number sentences that go through our minds during our lives is just as finite as the number of dollars we will obtain. Except, there’s not a Notion Bank nor an investment firm working to grow our concepts, opinions and ideas for us.
Some day, we will simply stop thinking. Mom put it less morbidly, of course, “Choose your thoughts wisely.”
So, it’s clear, isn’t it? July’s Project Spend Less was a definite win.