Sunday, July 24, 2011

Excessive vs. Restrained

The classic "Moon Landing" on Modern Family

Without question, yoga has become a staple in my life. I have now been practicing yoga for two years and the results have been wonderful – just check out my butt next time I pass you on the street! It’s a great way for me to just relax, let go of my day and all my stressors and focus on me me ME. Anyone who has really been bitten by the yoga bug knows that classes are ended in a pose called shavasana (which translates to corpse pose). The pose is seemingly easy, all you do is lie on your back as if you were dead, but it’s actually the most mentally challenging of all the poses. You need to clear your mind and focus on all the work that your body does for you and experience a moment of calm, not only for your body, but for your mind. Now, when I first started yoga, I never liked to stay after class and lie around, mainly because the place that I practiced yoga had the tiniest freaking change room ever, and you were very likely to experience a “moon landing” with one of the fellow yogis.

Shavasana is so easy, even cats can do it!
Lately, I discovered the immense benefits of staying in class at the end and really experiencing shavasana. I will stay there for at least 5 minutes and really focus on eliminating the things in my mind that stress me out. This has been instrumental in keeping me focused on my goal of eliminating my debt. Now, working at a yoga studio, I know that to properly clean a yoga mat, you only need about 3 sprays of mat cleaner to properly clean your mat. As I’m lying there in shavasana, trying to relax and clear my mind, I hear the yogini next to me spraying her mat down (which is really poor etiquette btw – take it outside). You think she’s done, but oh no, she just keeps going and going and shpfft shpfft shpfft, the sprays keep going and going, I mean really, how badly do you stink that you need to spray your mat this much? After spray number 10, I started to count how many sprays she used on her mat; the grand total: NINETY FIVE! Needless to say, I was not impressed and it got me thinking about my next topic for my blog: Excessiveness.

This is a subject that I have touched on before, but I feel like sometimes we need to be reminded of how much money we can save by making conscious decisions to use less in our lives. I was watching an episode of “Til Debt Do Us Part” starring my idol, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, and in this particular episode there was a newly immigrated husband who was completely caught up in this idea that he needed to have everything and that the more stuff he had the better his life would be – to the tune of $68,000 worth of debt. It was depressing to see someone move here and get so caught up in the idea that we all need to have a giant house or expensive car, marble everywhere and hardwood everything to show that we are doing well. Why does all this $hit matter? I pay $550 to live in a palace of an apartment and I feel like a spoiled bit¢h! So I’ve taken a look at what I have been doing to live within my needs and I want to pass some pearls of wisdom on you all.

The first thing I was able to cut out of my life was transportation costs. Not many people know that I used to own a pretty sexy k-car. It was so great for getting around and I got totally caught up in driving around and listening to music. I wanted any excuse I could think of to go out and drive so that I could blast my tunes on my awful Wal-Mart speakers and get out and about. When I moved away from home, I got rid of the car and was able to use my Uncle’s equally $hitty car. The gas bill was a ridonkulous! I was spending $10 everyday on gas, and that’s before it went over $1.00 per litre. This left me flabbergasted. How was I supposed to get ahead when I was wasting all this money on driving? It was clear to me that I would need to move somewhere closer to where I worked so that I could save on fuel costs. I wasn’t even spending money on insurance and car maintenance and I could see what a pain in the a$$ it was to have to rely on a car. Now, I might spend $10 a month on getting around – really, how amazing is that? Not only has this had an immense effect on my pocketbook, it’s had an incredible impact on my health. So my message to you is simple, look for a way to cut back on your transportation costs.

I realize that I am in an unusual situation to live so close to everything I need, but the point is that you can make a conscious decision to cut back on getting around. In the summer, try taking a bike or walking to work; if you’re trying to lose weight or get in better shape, I assure you that this will give you results – again, I’m talking sexy butt. If you can take public transit, do it. Challenge yourself to go one month to use you car as little as possible and watch how much money you will save.

It's funny because it's true.
Now speaking of challenges, I was reading a blog by one of my commenters (Lifeisfullofsunnydays) and they were doing an exercise where they tried to see if they can go a whole week without spending any money, so I am going to do just that. I just got back from the grocery store where I spent $35 dollars on groceries so I’ll see how far I make it. I have to pay rent this week, so that’s not going to count, but I think that this will be an awesome challenge to prepare me for my trip to Saskatchewan which is happening this upcoming weekend! I am so excited to be on vacation and I am really stoked to be still receiving a paycheck while doing it! So, here’s how this no spending thing is going to go down, I am not going to buy anything until the weekend. No cup of coffee, no snacks, not even more groceries. I really think that I can do this, but I really hope that people will understand when I join them for coffee and don’t buy anything. This week will be the opposite of excessive which is what exactly – restrained, frugal? So if you see me out and about feel free to buy me a coffee, or dinner, or even better, a beer. 

1 comment:

  1. Way to go, John!

    I love the idea behind this new challenge. Especially given the excess that we often have in our pantries. I remember (before I left on my round-the-world trip, speaking of excessive...)I remember my pantry being full of food that I never used. We're talking old, old food that either never gets used, or it's eaten in the last week before you move out because you 'don't want to move all those cans'. Let me know how it goes. Enjoy those kidney beans and condensed soups!