Part time employment suits me. It also requires a great deal of lifestyle change. Today my second pay check in only 1/2 the amount I used to receive was deposited. And ironically, I have hardly noticed the difference. Change, being inevitable, is so much easier when it is initiated by me.
This summer, I decided my house would move in the direction of zero waste. While we still create plenty of trash, still receive junk mail, still use plastic baggies and more, we have cut a tremendous amount of junk from our lives. Yesterday I sent Abbey and Jake into the grocery to get 4 things while I waited in the car (I had already washed my make up off). I beamed with joy when they came out to the car carrying the four items (and one extra for Abbey - gingerale?) but the beautiful thing was the goods were not in a plastic or paper bag. They carried them in their hands. I said, "babies, I'm so proud of you not getting a plastic bag." Abbey replied, "we said no thank you to the paper receipt too."
A few steps have made a huge difference in my budget and my life.
1. I do not buy paper towels anymore. I used to buy Bounty. Savings = $10 a week / $520 year
2. I do not buy bottled water anymore. I used to buy Dasani. Savings = $14 a week / $728 year
So I've saved $1250 a year so far. now all I need to do is save the other $20,000 I used to make.
3. I only shop on the outside of the grocery store. I quit buying food in boxes and cans. I stopped purchasing prepared foods of all kinds. This savings cannot accurately be measured in dollars. My liver might stand a chance of healing from the HFCS poison; my grocery bill is substantially different.
4. I only buy organic. I will not pay money for chemical poisons to be ingested by me or my children. We have also switched to organic body soap, cleaning products (vinegar and water) and laundry soap. I shop primarily at Earth Fare, occasionally Whole Foods, and never, ever Walmart.
Confession: I still use Bath and Body Works hand soap in all 3 bathrooms and in the kitchen. I also still use Pureology shampoo and I don't believe it is organic. I tried organic shampoo, but I'm a little to vain not to have good hair (for now).
5. Abbey's diet has improved immensely. She enjoys eating food that actually tastes good now. I haven't fixed the ice cream addiction, but we all have our vices.
A few weeks ago, we were traveling, we were making good time on a 12 hour journey, and I said, if you guys want, I'll take you to McDonald's. Gleefully, they cheered. When we pulled up to the window to order, Abbey said, "what are we going to get here? This is going to make us sick."
6. My favorite change so far is I took Abbey off her ADHD cocaine. Her father absolutely hated the idea that I ever agreed to allow her to take medicine to make her socially acceptable in a formal classroom. He was right and I was wrong.
7. We meditate, as a family. Of course this activity tends to meet with resistance. Imagine being a 7 or 11 year old child and your mother saying (as part of her new living plan) everyone grab a mat and sit on the living room floor and for the next 20 minutes we are going to sit silently, pray to the God of the Universe, focus on dumping the negative energy, and receiving peace. Wooosh - yes you too would think it crazy as hell, but I think it's helping them, and more than that, when I am no longer here to guide them, they will remember the techniques I taught them.
Now with the dietary change and the meditation, I feel confident that Abbey is going to manage her impulsive behavior on her own. And if she doesn't, she's my Ab5i (the 5 is silent) mess, and I want her just the way she is.
8. I quit drinking coffee. I only drink green tea and water. While this means I have not given up caffeine, I drink tea more moderately than coffee. I used to drink at least a pot of coffee a day - black. Now I drink 3-4 cups of green tea a day, and I feel good. In addition to it being the very most powerful antioxidant I can consume, it tastes good and soothes my soul.
Finding balance is absolutely the key to my wellness. Combined with generosity with no expectation, and gratitude to the God of the Universe, I think I have found the alchemy of peace, love and joy. I do not want to work more than I live. I want my work to be meaningful, well planned, and carefully executed.
I want to be healthy which means I need exercise. I now have four hours a day to accomplish that, and I have been.
I want to eat food that fuels my body. This takes planning and preparation which takes time, which I now have. I make a balanced breakfast for my children every morning instead of rushing into the gas station for a muffin or a pop tart.
I want to inspire others to live better, to reject the world's idea of what it looks like to be happy, healthy, and most important of all content. Content with who I am, where I am, and what I am.
UPDATE: MY SHAMPOO IS ORGANIC. Purology :)
I'd like to move downtown so that I could stop driving to work.
I'd like to use my car less - in general (I don't really want to leave the beach, so this may be more than I can handle. I will consider looking into a hybrid.)
I'd like to use all reusable glass containers with lids and no plastic.
I'd like to use more of my free time to serve others.
I would like to rid my life of any stuff that I do not use at least once a month (maybe once a season).
I'd like to open a corner grocery/lunch stop (like Queen St. Grocery).
I will write my book(s).