Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thank you January / I heart February

Let me first say, I failed miserably in January. I think I wrote in my journal 1/3 of the time, and I'm pretty unhappy with myself. I feel guilty.


January was supposed to be a month of reflection, and it certainly has proved to be just that. In one day, the course of 2009 totally changed for me, and I'm feeling really optimistic about it. I was laid off on Monday (the single biggest day for layoffs in history, woo!) and I've decided the best way to handle this is to see it as a wonderful opportunity to do something so much better than what I was doing before. There are so many options out there! It's mind-boggling, really. I was feeling pretty lazy about life, content with going to my okay job every day, but being laid off has really changed my outlook on things. Why wait around for opportunities to present themselves? I need to make something happen. So I'm applying to grad school, finding freelance jobs, applying to the Food Project, applying to be a substitute teacher, and signing up to take the MTELs. And perhaps traveling the world for free. And kicking off our non-profit trash-picking project, right Danne?

I'm so excited about all of the possibilities... normally I like my life to be really structured, and I like to know what's going to happen. But right now I don't know what's going to happen and it's kind of an awesome feeling. I can do whatever I want! Truly.

With that said, February's challenge comes at a perfect time for me. I can't afford to go out to eat or drink, and I have plenty of time to cook all of my meals, ensuring they are dairy/high fructose corn syrup/artificial flavoring free. I need to stay motivated and focus on what I want to do with my time, so this month will be good for laying low and as Danne said, finding more innovative ways to connect with friends. I'm hoping my February diet will help me feel lighter and more energetic. And shedding a few pounds won't hurt.

So January: I may not have completed your challenge to the best of my ability, but I've come up with new challenges for myself. Thank you for the enlightenment.

And February: Yay! I'm excited for you to arrive. It's a good thing you'll be here tomorrow.


Tomorrow begins February's challenge: No alcohol, no dairy, no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial flavors. I'm pretty pumped about it.

Last year for Lent I went vegan and it turned out to be an awesome experience. The first week was a little difficult; just getting used to how my body felt and suddenly having to plan all my meals, but after the initial learning curve I felt awesome. I didn't feel weighed down after I ate, I was eating quality food, my grocery bill was less expensive, I was barely eating out, I couldn't impulse eat from the office candy bowl, was great.

There was definitely a down side too though. Going out to dinner was a bit more difficult (and everyone got sick of Grasshopper and TJ Scallywaggles pretty quickly), eating took a lot more planning, and there were some foods that I definitely missed. This year will be even tougher though because I'm also nixing high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and alcohol.

I've also previously gone sans-alcohol for Lent. I never thought that I drank that much until I consciously made the effort not to. Maybe it's just because I'm in my mid-20's, but when was the last time a friend asked you to do something that didn't involve alcohol? "Let's meet up for a drink after work", "Dinner and wine at my place". It just becomes standard for people. I mean, I love wine, but I found myself drinking it out of habit half the time and not because I really wanted to.

What I liked most about it was the things that I did instead of drinking. I felt like I was coming up with more fun and creative ideas. Like, I don't know, the time that I colored velvet art and drank tea until 2 in the morning with my friends? I started having insane amounts of fun doing the dumbest stuff imaginable and it was awesome! Not only that, I saved so much money. I kind of wanted to hurl when I tallied up how much I spent on booze in a month. Not drinking was a huge money saver and definitely a creativity and productivity booster.

So, I'm psyched. I'm getting shit done, saving money, and probably dropping 10 lbs.

Happy February everyone.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January Journals

I just went through and tallied up all my journal entries for this month and I'm officially giving myself an F. I've only written 13 out of the 28 days, wtf! I knew I'd miss a few here and there, but seriously, less than 50% is pretty bad. I'm a very disciplined person with a ton of willpower so I'm pretty surprised at my poor participation.

To be positive about it though (isn't that what 2009 is all about?), I really enjoyed the writing that I did do. Some days were just free-flow thought and others had a specific topic. It forced me to vent and to put more thought into some things that I had been neglecting. Although I'm pissed at myself for not writing as much as I should have, I do plan to keep writing in February and throughout the year (I've always been a journal writer).

That's my report for January. Amanda, Jenny, any thoughts?

Next week begins an intense detox: a month of no alcohol, dairy, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavors. I'm gearing up for it by spending a lot of time with Pinot Grigio and Papa Gino while I still can. It'll be a really tough month, but I think it'll be one of the most rewarding. More of February later though...