Austerity Feels … Strangely Healthy

It’s so cliched, right? In January, after the overindulgence in November and December, one restrains. Cliched but true. Walking down Connecticut Avenue in Dupont Circle, it’s clear there are fewer patrons in restaurants. But a good deal for those who are hungry, n’est pas?

Then there’s shopping. The stress of the holidays *can* lead to stress shopping. But isn’t January just as stressful – if not more?

To quote a friend, I don’t believe in making resolutions, I make guidelines. So here I go:

  • No purchases – defined as shoes, clothes, makeup – until we go to Westminster in mid-February.

Okay, that’s really the only guideline. Which I, of course, softened to say, through January, with a goal of mid-February. Here are the results: no purchases with said caveats:

  • Books don’t count.
  • Replacement earbuds because my dog ate my current ones (which I have had for several months, closing on a year) do not count.
  • What about replacement walking shoes? Okay, just in case they count, I forego new Merrells until after mid-February …

The result? I feel oddly proud of my accomplishment. Like I’ve lost 15 pounds or something, right? Reactions from my acquaintances range:

  • A month, is that a long time? To go without buying anything? This from a 20 something grad student-intern.  Me: A month = an eternity (sometimes).
  • Yeah, but wait until Spring and then …. This from a jaded 40 something rail thin (to quote G) housewife. Me: (Smile) Yes, you’re right. Wait until Spring. (to myself: really? try to be a bit more supportive on the surface, then you can stab me in the back with our mutual – and unhappy – friends.)
  • It’s not like you’re refraining from drinking, right? This from a work colleague, who I guess really knows the core of me – ha! Me: no response – I mean, what could I say? just laughter.

So, if my friends would be more supportive about something like this, they probably wouldn’t actually be friends. Truth.

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