Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Putting my house in order

About a month ago, Shane and I started doing a workout program. (Insanity, if you must know.) A few days into it, I whined, "But I don't wanna! I'm sore!" Shane answered over his shoulder, "You have a wedding to get ready for." I just stared at him, open-mouthed, in shock for a moment. (Was he seriously trying to say that I needed to lose weight for our wedding?!) When he saw my expression he quickly added, "I do too! I just mean, you know, motivation...." Ah. Well, in some ways he's right. When I'm working out and I just don't want to keep going, my engagement ring will often catch my eye. But what I'm thinking about when I see it is not my wedding (although now that I have my dress, that does enter my thoughts!) so much as it is my marriage. I want to start our life together from a good place, and being fit is part of that. In one of the weddings we went to last summer, the officiant pointed out that, when you're married, you're not taking care of yourself just for yourself anymore. You're doing it for the other person as well, so that they don't have to worry about you, so they're not burdened with taking care of you, and so that they can look forward to a long and healthy life with you. That really struck me.
I think that's one of the main reasons I'm challenging myself this way. For one thing, it's simply healthier to eat good, local foods. We do eat far, far more vegetables when they're local because they actually taste good. And they certainly have more nutrients (they haven't lost most of them during shipping) and we're not consuming all of the pesticides on so-called "conventional" produce. (A term I hate--it's only been the convention for the last 60 years or so to spray them down with chemicals. For the first 60,000 years of agriculture, natural methods of pest and weed control were the norm.)
It's also better for the family we want to have one day. Not only are we making ourselves healthier before having kids, but we're setting ourselves up for a lifetime of good habits. After all, if we can't prioritize health and fitness now, while we're young and relatively unencumbered, how will we ever manage it when we do have kids? And what kind of example would that be setting for them? The old "do as I say and not as I do" doesn't actually work. Kids are smart, but they need to have good examples to follow. (Some of this also applies to the dog and her health--if I don't take her for a walk/run, who will? And if I don't, what impact does that lost walk have on her health? When she--gulp--dies, I don't want to be left regretting all the walks I didn't take with her.)
By budgeting ourselves like this, I'm also ensuring that we're starting our marriage from a solid financial base. We're both savers, so that's not our problem. (Our one splurge does tend to be good food!) But it is tough while Shane's out of work and commodities like food and gas ($4.13 at the moment) are so expensive. I just want to give us that extra little push to make sure we don't run up the debt that so many people have. How can you truly live a full, happy life with huge debt hanging over your head? And I always end up wondering, what on earth do these people spend all that money on?
We've been through poorer than this, so we know how to scrimp. I know money trouble can be something that puts a major strain on relationships, but this right now isn't the worst for us. When we lived in our dry cabin, we were living on 2 part-time student salaries (minimum wage). We were able to joke that our theme song was Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer". It can be tough on your relationship when you have to run out to the outhouse at -50 (especially when your partner can just pee off the porch), or when there's a pile of dishes that neither of you wants to wash by hand, but for the most part we didn't let it get to us. We joked about how in the future, we'd look back on that time as rather idyllic. (And we do miss parts of it--just not the dishes. We love our dishwasher!)
This new philosophy of mine is also a matter of what will make us happy in the long run. When we first got engaged, I poured through all the wedding magazines. But I gave them up after about 2 months because I realized that it's really just a big sham to make us buy more stuff. Is our marriage going to be any more solid just because we bought a monogrammed silver cake server for our wedding day? No. Most definitely it will not. It wouldn't even add to the enjoyment of the big day itself because, who cares about the cake server? (I'll be too focused on the cake!) The same goes for most of the ideas in those magazines. (When "budget" hotels for your honeymoon are $300/night....) I've been looking around our house with the same eye, now. If we don't use it, if it doesn't bring some measure of joy to our house, it's gone. I'll either donate it to the Rescue Mission or to the thrift store. We don't need to be uber-consumers to have a life filled with joy, and I'm finding that we're much happier when we have less junk and clutter keeping us from the things we really do enjoy.
I'd rather focus on the things that truly matter, and how much stuff we own is not one of them. Where our food is coming from and how it impacts our health? To me, that is worth my time as much as exercising is. I think I'll go take the dog for a walk. :)

P.S. We start month 2 of Insanity tomorrow (in other words, brutal hour-long workouts), and we're not looking forward to it. Oh, the hurt!

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