Wednesday, September 21, 2011

They say it's your birthday

Yep, it's my birthday today. I am turning 36 which, as my husband so sweetly put it, is closer to 40 than 30. Lovely, isn't he? Truth be told, getting older doesn't bother me. I don't feel like I'm close to 40 and I do feel wiser and more secure with each year that passes. This year of my life has inadvertently become the year of living without. I am giving up 2 of the things that have been crutches or addictions or coping mechanisms for me. Not forever, but for a bit just to see how it feels to live without.

The first thing is buying anything for myself- clothes, jewelry, shoes, bags. In the past I have spent way too much money on clothes, gone shopping when I was upset to cool down and other such things. Now, I don't necessarily think those things are terrible, but here was the turning point for me. In May I bought a bunch of stuff for my trip to Spain. One morning just before I left I found myself standing in front of a stuffed closet unable to find a short sleeved shirt to wear with my jeans. And jeans are pretty much the only pants I wear. That's crazy. Having a full closet and taking half an hour to find something that you want to wear or feel comfortable wearing? Crazy. Right then I decided that I wasn't going to buy anything for myself for a year to use what I have, get re-aquatinted with my closet and get rid of stuff that I have and don't wear. Of course, I didn't want this to be more about NOT having something than evaluating so I figured that if Peter got me a gift certificate or bought something for me that would be OK.

The first two months were really hard. Harder than they should have been and hard enough to convince me that I was doing the right thing. Walking through a clothing store I felt like an ex-alcoholic walking through a liquor store. The smell! I tell you, Banana Republic and Anthropologie pipe something into their stores to make them smell a certain way. Of course, I haven't done that other than when necessary but as the months have passed I have been able to walk by a store without feeling the urge to go in.

The other thing I'm giving up (just for a month) is sugar. If you know me in real life, you know that sweets are my thing. After lunch, after dinner, my taste buds cry out for something desserty. The only way I could make this successful is to allow myself to eat sugary things that I have baked at home. I made cinnamon rolls last weekend and had one of those with the kids. I'm obviously going to eat a slice of the birthday cake that Peter is making for me. But I have given up all store-bought candy, doughnuts, and ice cream.  I'm figuring on trying it for a month and seeing how I feel after.

In no way did I plan all of this, it's just as I've been getting older and thinking about my life and my habits it feels good to also see how it feels to give up somethings I never thought I could.


  1. ohhhh, I so admire you! It IS tough, this biz of giving up. It also never ends no matter how old ya get. Yet, it is always good seeing what ya get in return... I'm waiting to hear how Peter's cake turned out for you--how cool is that? How did you get a man who cleans, cooks, watches kids, does laundry, or actually all that good stuff? You deserve it--gooooood!

  2. Yes it is great that he bakes me a cake on my birthday but I also kind of feel like cooking, cleaning, and watching children are things all parents should be able to do. He cooks because he likes it and frankly, you can't be in the fire service without know how to do it. He watches the kids because 1) he's their dad and 2) we need me to work financially and could never afford day care. And he cleans because dirtiness drives him crazy and we all live in this house together. While he is wonderful and awesome in many ways, I think those qualities are pretty baseline parent necessities.