Milk & Honey


Since starting my Happiness Project & implementing my first resolution - Own less, love more, I'd come to realise I'd only been applying it to the big stuff, i.e. possessions.  I realised that I still wasn't being mindful of what I was spending money on in general.

Having been in Rome for the past two weeks, I've managed to avoid spending much money & the little I have spent, I've thought more carefully about.  This change has made me realise how unnatural it feels to go days without spending money, it's almost like an unusual concept to me.  I find it almost a compulsive habit to spend some amount of money each day, yet I don't know why.

Supermarkets, especially, are like my nemesis.  Even if I know I don't need anything, just being in them makes me feel the need to buy something.  Coming across one the other day, in the city's centre, I had to mentally check myself, 'I don't need anything,' before forcing myself to walk past.  Is this part of the subliminal message of consumerism?  Have I been under the influence the whole time without realising!?  I'm starting to think this might be the case.

It's no longer just a case of walking into Cos & asking myself if I need that fourth white T-shirt, now it's really about, do I need that daily gelato, or that overpriced juice, when I have a bottle of water in my bag.  Okay, this sounds slightly anal, but honestly, how many times do we needlessly spend money on little things that we don't really need, just to satisfy the compulsion to spend money?

Admittedly, I have a whole host of issues around food.  Having always been bean pole thin growing up, I gained a lot of weight when I left school.  Mostly due to the cessation of playing sports daily & my somewhat large appetite, that never decreased in accordance.  When my parents separated & mère & I went to stay with family, a combination of my new state of depression & a few, somewhat misplaced, jovial comments on my weight from family members, left me with a complex.

Cue excessive exercising & an acute bout of anorexia, which took over a year of my life & left my relationship with both my body & food in tatters, still to this day.  Now when I 'treat' myself to something like a pastry, I get caught in the confusion as to whether it's a treat because I'm spending money on something I don't realistically need, or because it's something I don't feel I should be eating.  Needless to say, regardless of an answer, I always suffer from post-indulgence guilt.

Having spent the past two weeks reframing from this mindless spending around food, I've managed to save a fair amount of money to take back to Berlin with me & I've saved myself a lot of guilt.  Although, after one tremendously hot day in the city, whereby temperatures reached forty degrees, I couldn't resist the impulse to procure a dollop of, vegan friendly, gelato from Fatamorgana, an organic gelatoria I'd stumbled upon.

It was a two scoop as standard affair & so, after choosing a chocolate, coffee & hazelnut flavour, I asked the guy serving to recommend a complimentary flavour.  He suggested ginger & pineapple.  Not something I would usually go for, but I gave it a go.  I walked out into the street, cone in hand, feeling gleeful.  The chocolate flavour was amazing, but when it came to the ginger & pineapple, it was bitterly disappointing & ended up in the bin.  I tried not to feel guilty about spending money on something that felt wasted.  Note to self, listen to your gut & always ask to try an unusual flavour before committing.  Lesson learnt.

I think when I get back to Berlin, I shall be even more inclined to keep to this resolution.  So often do I find myself strolling the streets after yoga, a little bored & in search of entertainment & end up at the chocolate cafe across the road, buying a chocolate muffin, for the third time in as many days, despite knowing I have fruit in my bag.  Or when I end up in a vegan cafe, with a thick milkshake & a huge slice of cake, both of which end up giving me cramps for the following three hours, due to my soy intolerance.

Spending money on things you end up regretting, is as bad as spending money on things you end up forgetting.  It's not just about cutting down on the things you can see, like those new shoes in your closet, it's equally about all the things you don't see.  All the cups of tea, or coffee, or the cakes & the snacks.  Of course it's nice to go have lunch occasionally with friends, but it's the daily 'indulgences' that end up being both the wallet & weight offenders.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Time to start being that change.

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