I try to live without deluding myself too often, really I do. My guess is you do too. But goodness if that isn’t a tough task, even when our character is at its strongest. Ironically, I think it’s the relative comfort of my adult life that makes it easy for me to behave in ways counter to how I want to live, who I want to be.
What do I want? (a non-exhaustive list)
- Eat healthful, home-cooked meals, emphasizing grains and vegetables
- Exercise 6 days a week, with a balance of cardio, strength and flexibility training
- Minimize our carbon footprint
- Foster strong relationships
- Support my community, help others in need
- Increase the time spent enjoying my hobbies
- Learn new skills/improve my existing skill set
- Pad our emergency fund, make a large donation, do a desired home improvement
What holds me back? Well, me is the truest answer. Some examples
- Salty, fatty, high-calorie restaurant meals several times a week, procrastination
- Not “feeling it”, tying my schedule to someone else’s availability, Tomorrow I’ll…
- Travel, long showers and hot baths, too much meat and dairy in our diet
- Time spent online when others are around, selfishness, not paying attention
- Lack of conscious compassion, willful ignorance, shopping online instead of locally
- Surfing timelines, waiting for “ideal” conditions, acting without intention
- Doing the minimum, not thinking creatively, accepting the status quo, wasting time
- Going out for coffee, boredom, not making a weekly menu, shopping without a list
I’m part of a long-term relationship and I care about our physical, relational and financial well-beings. If I were still single, I’d be able to just make the decision and go, but for me to really tackle the issues above, I’d need Jeff’s full buy-in on a few of them. So I laid out my concerns and talked with him about feeling that we needed to change our ways, about wanting to make some big differences in how we live and how we spend our money. I asked him to take some time and think about it.
I take care of the bulk of our finances, so I’m more aware of where we’re failing in that area. A recent blood test brought the harsh truth of ‘Your cholesterol level isn’t going to magically fix itself’ front-and-center for him. Jeff is fond of his routines, especially related to eating out, so I knew that this was going to be tough for him. I’m fond of my café visits and autonomy, so I know it’s going to rub me wrong at times too.
We talked about what we could do to snap out of our more destructive habit- and want-based behaviors and restore a bit of the conscious-living ethos of our younger and less well-to-do years. After a few weeks, he told me that he wants to go forward with it, draw some lines in our sand, find a few worthy hills for our bad habits to die on. This is the journey.