As I'm always trying to find the most natural approach to health, I was really kind of excited rather than the typical wary (--although admittedly, I did stop reading and start skimming around the 2nd paragraph) when I received the following email forward circulating the Suburban Circuit. Maybe you received the same email, and as a servant of the Frugal People out there, I felt the obligation to deal with this Sub-Urban Legend head on and share my own version of FMC Myth Busters:
Sunday, September 23, 2012
It is my birthday and I am not ashamed to say that I love birthday month. I'm not really a center of attention type of person; I don't relish getting older, but I love an excuse to do things entirely selfishly that are just for fun. I embrace the meals with family and friends; the spice cake, zucchini bread, drinks, and coffees; I cherish the FB posts, texts, calls, well wishers, birthday buddies, girls trips, thoughtful little cards, and tiny thoughtful treasures.
Most years, since my Freshman year of college, I have ditched (not just school or work but responsibility and duty) and dragged someone with me. 99.99453% of the year, I hold myself accountable (translation: boring), but on my birthday, I want to be entirely carefree and un-tethered. My Dear Best Friend from college / Room-mate is really the one who started this craze. We would spend glorious days at museums, the beach, sleeping in, pedicures, and spa trips (in that brief period where we both had disposable income). She embraced the ditch day like no one else (sometimes we expanded it to a week to encompass both our birthdays - and at this point I just admit it and call September birthday month). Eventually I dragged my then boyfriend (now DH) into this debauchery (which he was a more then willing participant and even handled the predictable consequences with dignity).
As if ditching weren't enough, I do something that is a total waste of time. One year I messed around on Adobe Creative Suite for hours. Other years I plan trips we are decades from being able to take or design house projects we have no intention of completing this side of the kids' college. I've organized thousands of pictures into digital collages that I will probably never have the money to print. Last year, I played on Pinterest for an entire day. This year, I set up my goodreads account; I entered books read over the last 3 years and then went back and thought of some of my favorite (and least favorite) books from my college and high school years. It was a wonderful walk down memory lane and so fun. The only problem is looking at the lists of books: I can almost hear the words of my favorite college English / literature professor, Dr. Rosalie deRosset, as she glances down my rather lengthy selection and with a sigh of abandon says,
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
A couple of times a year, generally around Labor Day / the autumnal equinox / Rosh Hashanah / my birthday / the start of school (give or take a couple of weeks), I go through a full-blown crisis of direction and self. Our summer is over and the reality of our real lives bombards me. I look at all that we have accumulated:
- possessions, out-grown clothes, gum wrappers (and recycling - why so many papers?!)
- time commitments and obligations (when did we sign up for all this?!)
- a muffin top and high blood pressure (hopefully it is just the stress and lack of yoga)
- homework, chores, errands, tasks, spreadsheets, & lists (so much mind-numbing monotony & busy work)
- cobwebs and weeds and dust-bunnies (everywhere!)
- bills and a dwindling bank account (I thought we were living frugally)
And I quickly become over-whelmed with all that threatens to close in on us. I look around and wonder how it got like this. By living day to day I've allowed life to encroach so that I'm actually no longer living; I'm just maintaining all that has accumulated. All this chasing is exhausting and I find myself laying in a stupor with a glass of boxed wine, in front of the TV, surfing pinterest, or with a cotton candy escapism book and dreading what comes next. Obviously, not the way I want to live.