Monday, June 3, 2013

Quinoa, again? But I want hot chips!

 photo 24A74A15-BDE3-4879-96C4-F3C66E76DDCF-11651-000005AF25754DD6_zps1f3a0e2a.jpg 

Last week I wrote about an event that really impacted me. You can go read the whole post to find out what the event was but here is the action I am taking ....

"I thought about it all day yesterday.  About the choices I have.  The choices I continually make.  Will I eat out?  Will I eat at home?  Will I buy a snack because I'm a little bit peckish?  Will I eat the lunch that I brought to work or will I just discard it and buy something else? And those choices are just about food ... but they are choices.  And I have power over how I chose.

Often I'll make a choice and then feel bad about it.  But, whatever, I get over it and move on.  I started to wonder what would happen if my choice had another side to it.  Like ... I can buy that snack, or I can save what I would have spent on that snack.  Not for myself.  But for someone else.  What if by making a different choice, I could actually make life better for someone else?  Sounds crazy but a $3 bag of chips is 10 days salary for the boy who has decided it's better not to dream ...

So, this is where I am going to start.  With my choices.  I'm making a budget category called "CHOICE" ... and every time I make the choice NOT to buy something indulgent or unnecessary, I'm going to transfer what I would have spent into that 'envelope'.   Does that mean that I'll never again buy a hot chocolate from my favorite cafe?  Probably not.  Does that mean I need to feel guilty if I do?  I don't think so.  What it does mean is that I will make more conscious decisions about this sort of spending."
It's been an interesting week.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I wondered if I would really be impacted by something so small.  I have been.  I wondered if it would really change the way I think. It is.  I wondered if I would make any choice for someone else, rather than just making excuses for why I should think about myself instead.  I did.  I didn't think about my attitude ... that has come as a bit of a surprise, but we'll get to that in a minute.
This week I didn't buy hot chocolate.  It's winter here so that is HUGE for me!  One time I just didn't buy it, one time I made one at home and took it to work.  I didn't even have to miss out that day but I still transferred the money into my choice account.  Another day I was putting gas in the car and they had tic tacs on sale.  I had an 'urge' to buy them.  Immediately I thought "that's $2 to go into my choice account.".  It was no biggie.  But, previously, I would have bought them.  
These choices weren't hard. 
Friday.  Friday was the day where one of the choices was hard.  I really really really wanted to buy hot chips.  A few people had them in the office and it was all I could smell!  But I had packed myself a lunch. I had leftover quinoa salad for the THIRD DAY IN A ROW.  I was so over this salad.  It was still tasty.  And I changed it up by adding feta that day, but still, I wanted to throw it away and eat hot chips instead.  I wrestled and wrestled.

And I felt spoiled.  

Not in a good way.

Really?  I had to eat a delicious, fresh, healthy salad ... packed full of fresh veggies and goodness for lunch another day ... and this was a problem?   Not to mention that in between these lunches I had eaten something different for dinner and breakfast and then another dinner and breakfast.  Probably some snacks too. 

My thoughts took me back to a book I had read about a girl who grew up in a third world country.  Hers was a poor family who could barely afford food.  They ate the same, bland, cold, nasty, pasty, grain EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Every meal ... unless, of course, they didn't have any, in which case, they went hungry.

I ate my quinoa.  

I transferred $8 to my choice account.

But not with a great attitude.

I'm still working on that.

I think that is possibly going to be the hardest part of this whole journey ...


Kath June 5, 2013 at 7:14 AM  

Will a pat on the back help?

Bonnie June 5, 2013 at 7:16 AM  

ha ha! probably not ... but i think persistence will. :)

Sabba and Nanny June 5, 2013 at 9:57 AM  

A few things. First, I'm listening to "The Storyteller," and I'm reminded of the appalling descriptions of what they were barely fed in the camps.

Second, Maimonides teaches that there are eight levels of giving. The lowest is to give with a bad attitude, but that is still giving, and IT IS STILL IMPORTANT.

Third, kudos for even considering this and doing something about it.

Fourth, we could make quite a difference if everyone would give just a little bit, but the real problem with starvation has more to do with economically stifling dictatorships and leftist systems of government than with prosperity in the west. Despite the lies about capitalism, it is a system in which everyone can prosper. It is not a zero-sum game. One person's wealth does not produce another person's poverty.

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