I’m all about not spending money. I’m also all about getting exercise. I’m not paying for a gym membership. My sister-in-law snuck me into her YMCA a few times, and though the classes were fun, it wasn’t for me. Number one, if I have to travel (which takes time) to go exercise? It’s not happening. Number two, I felt really sleazy sneaking in. She was cool with it, but it wasn’t my thing. Number three, I called to inquire about prices (it was like $75 a month per person, no freaking way), they absolutely do not let you pay per class. At least at that YMCA.
I was discouraged, to say the least. That’s about the point I decided to start the Couch to 5k program (that I never finished). It was a great start and got me consistent. I quit because I was really sick of timing myself and even more sick of pushing myself. I just wanted to get the recommended amount of exercise and be done with it. So I kept jogging, but without the timing (which is irritating AND stresses me out) and without pushing myself (it was hard enough to get myself outside). I may walk up hills, but at least I’m exercising (also, not running up hills seems to be good for my feet). There is a VERY serious problem with jogging in most locations: weather. I’ll happily jog in mild rain. I’ve even jogged in temperatures that were technically freezing. But I won’t jog when there’s thunder. I won’t jog when the sidewalks are covered in ice. I will try to jog when the humidity is making it hard to breathe when I’m walking, but I will take it easy on myself. I was afraid to break the habit. Had to keep the chain going. So, when I can’t go outside, I find videos on YouTube.
There are so many great options. So many. Including some unexpected ones. While I recommend Pop Sugar Fitness, Fitness Blender, and Yoga with Adrienne, you can find some options that will make you laugh while you exercise. Once, I aerobocized along with a video clearly from the 80s run by a mother daughter duo. The mother, for whatever reason, would gleefully cheer “hot dog” when she liked the direction the exercise went. I felt ridiculous, but no one could see me. Here’s a fun thing my high school friends would do: ironically AND un-ironically watch/exercise to Richard Simmons videos together. No idea why, but it’s a treasured memory.
For your viewing pleasure (also, my bad, it’s early 90s): https://youtu.be/LSvkG2xa3xs
Sometimes I just look at someone’s art and am awed at what they can do. And also wonder how on earth they even came up with the idea.
Enter, Karen LaMonte. She makes large, glass sculptures. They. Look. Like. Ghost. Dresses. I am in love.
I’m still confused about using pictures. All I can say is that she has a gorgeous collection of pictures of her art, and that she inspires me to go re-read some Nancy Drew books with fake ghosts. Looking at her art makes me feel like a kid who wanted to solve a mystery that involved a ghost in fancy dress-ware.
I love lists. I have so many to-do lists. I have a little notebook dedicated to lists. Lists of songs to listen to in order to get myself pumped for the day. Lists of fruits and vegetables I’d like to try to grow someday. Lists of really cool artists. Once (HUGE nerd alert), I would open the dictionary at random, find interesting words, and write them down in a little notebook (mixed with words I didn’t know from books).
But my favorite list right now is my clothing do’s and my clothing don’ts lists. See, I used to shop a lot. An unhealthy amount. Product of my raising. Product of my culture. I had an unbelievable amount of clothing. My mother would try to be helpful, if it isn’t completely satisfying when you try something on, then don’t get that. But I fell prey to other people thinking things looked good on me.
Also, I’m working on being a part-time minimalist. I hate thinking too much about what I’m going to wear. It stresses me out. How about I just look nice all the time (unless I’m working and messing up my clothes)? I know VERY well, now anyway, that there are certain things that I will refuse to wear, no matter how much I liked it in the store. Why waste my time and money? Also, why not make my life super easy and make all of my clothes match? I can just grab things at random and just automatically look good! That’s all I want in my life.
I make my lists based on me. On my body shape, on my skin tone, on what makes me feel comfortable, on what makes me feel nice. I think everyone should personalize lists like this to themselves. It’s a little bit of work to make so much of your life easier.
My (personal) clothing don’ts:
Awkwardly short shirts
Words/symbols (unless band/movies I love, I don’t generally advertise for free)
Too warm colors (yellow and orange, gross)
Anything that causes me pain.
Anything that rides up and needs fixed constantly
Brown (I can wax poetic on my hatred of brown clothing/accessories. I’m a cool skin tone, so it isn’t great on me anyway. Also, there’s like a billion shades of brown, good luck matching your belt and your shoes and your purse. You know what’s good? Black. Black always matches black. Black always matches gray. And white. But brown? Not for me.)
Knee high boots (or higher)
My (personal) clothing do’s:
Stripes (I love stripes passionately)
Deep green clothing
Dresses cut at my waist
Simple designs on jean pockets (no bedazzling, no sparkles, but not just blank)
Socks for flats with grips
Tank tops that perfectly hide my bra straps
Skirts that dance when I spin
Black socks (particularly ankle cut)
Big, comfy hoodies
Clothes made to fit me
Hidden, good-sized pockets
Blue jeans that actually fit my hips/butt, which is no easy feat
I would love to see other people think of something like this. I mean, you go shopping, you find something you think you like, but it has something on the don’t list? Don’t get it, you won’t wear it. You know you. You do you.
Things I would like in order to really sell my art: printer (for fancy prints), printer (for invoices), scanner, art computer.
Fancy Color Printer: I want the colors to print how they look on the screen. No streaks, no stripes, no weird alterations. I understand that really good printers get very expensive (especially the ink/toner). I also understand that this could possibly be the last thing I purchase, and only purchase after I’ve been working for a while. Honestly, a good Fed Ex printing office can handle this fairly cheaply, it just takes effort to get there.
Mediocre Invoice Printer: I need a printer that I can access quickly so I can print off invoices or receipts. I’d like to be able to do this sooner rather than later because even though I’m not making a lot, I’d like to make my life easier now. Plus, it’s just nice to have a printer around. Alternative, I could go to the library and spend ten cents on every page I print. Or I could spend money and set up one of those cool phone swipey things, but I’m just not in deep enough for that.
Scanner: oh my gosh, this is important. Look, I prefer traditional mediums. Like, a lot. But that’s in part because it’s hard to draw on a screen. If I can get the sketch done on paper first, I’d be more comfortable. Also, I’d really like to digitize my records, for easier tax accounting purposes.
Computer: ok, so I clearly have a computer. But, I share it with my husband, which means it’s impossible to use when he’s home. My college laptop is very broken. Also, his music files and programs take up a lot of that computer. Honestly, I would like a laptop, even better if I can use a pressure sensitive stylus on the screen. I’m sure that drawing with a mouse builds character, but I’m too old for that nonsense. My time on this earth is ticking away and I’m not wasting it redrawing my shaky mouse drawings.
Car repair is important. I do appreciate my car taking me to my job.
Honestly, an emergency fund is for that kind of thing. Like the flat tire my husband got. It gives relief when things go wrong. Now, I’m going to re-fill my emergency fund with money I would have paid toward my loans, but still. I’m not going to stop kicking my student loans’ butts.
Maybe I’m being silly, but the world seems like it’d be a lot freer of a place if debt wasn’t weighing me down. Like, a job loss wouldn’t be so terrifying if I didn’t have that weighing over my head. I could breathe and move on.
It’s a dream that makes me happy. I know, however, that debt can hit you very suddenly out of nowhere. In particular, medical debt. You don’t choose medical debt, it chooses you. There’s only so much you can plan, outside of a nice emergency fund of who knows how much money. You could get hit by a car and your insurance might only cover part of it, you could suddenly get cancer, you could suddenly develop a mental illness (just so you know, schizophrenia frequently makes its first appearance in your 20’s in lots of cases, random bit of information) and need lots of treatment and meds…forever. And if that happens when you’re just starting to dig yourself out of debt? That’s rough (honestly, it’s rough in general, this is just insult to injury). Or right when you’ve gotten out of debt only to be buried again? For something out of your control?
Anxiety can be a very bad thing, but I can’t say that it has ever kept me from being prepared. Well, there was this one time I was afraid to look at my bank account for a few months…but I got over that. Now I just plan and plan and plan and plan. I like planning. I like knowing what to do when something unexpected happens. I do kind of hate the part where I don’t actually have the supplies yet to pull off the plan, but I’m getting there.
Today, having just enjoyed 2 hours in the kitchen making some ridiculous cheesy potatoes, I realized that I love taking my time on things I enjoy.
I enjoy actually shredding the cheese myself. I enjoy chopping the potatoes on my own time. I enjoy folding laundry with my own hands. I enjoy making spreadsheets that are easy to understand and foolproof. I love drawing and making pictures. I even enjoy learning about drawing.
The jobs worth doing, are worth doing well. If your work is what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Other platitudes.
But legit. There are some things I really enjoy, and today I just want to relish in the fact that I can find some joy in the mundane.