Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Minimization of the Day 4/6/10

So it's been a few days since I've blogged, and in that time I've gotten serious about my budget. Besides a trip to the grocery store, I've only spent about $20 in the past week (and $14.75 of that was a movie and popcorn!).

I've done a lot of cooking over the past few days - Chicken Parmesan with Polenta, Chicken Pozole with Avocados, Orechiette with Spicy Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe, and Cream of Asparagus Soup. I think I need to start taking pictures just to spice up the blog a little bit! I've still got the ingredients to make some gluten-free muffins that I've been wanting to try, Salmon and Risotto, and Steak with Quinoa and veggies. It's been fun trying new recipes - I love to cook - and it's kind of a fun game to see how much I can do without spending extra cash. Also, I was getting so tired of all the food around my office, it's a nice change to be eating something good!

On to today's topic: Many of the minimalist blogs that I’ve come across suggest that one of your first steps to simplifying your life is to figure out what’s truly important. So I sat down and made a list, and I was pretty surprised at how short it is.

  1. Family. My family is awesome – they’re funny, and caring, and totally dysfunctional at times, but I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be related to. I can’t wait to have a family of my own to add to this crazy bunch!
  2. Friends. I have a ton of friends that I’ve known since elementary school, and I consider myself so lucky to still know and love these people after so many years. No matter the time or the distance, we always seem to be able to come together like we were never apart. The friends that I’ve met in college and here in San Francisco have helped define who I am today – I’ve learned so much from them, and I can’t thank them enough for that. I value all of these friends, new and old, more than I can possibly say. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with these relationships in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but I want to make a better effort to focus on the people that have been so important to me.
  3. My health. I wasn’t unhealthy as a kid – I was rarely ever sick, but I was average or a little on the chubby side, even throughout high school. Add on four years of college and another 25 pounds, and I became downright unhealthy and unhappy. It took me longer than it should have to decide to do something about it. Thanks to my family for the motivation to eat better and to my grad school friends for the motivation to start running, I lost 50 pounds and became a much healthier and happier person. It’s been 8 years now, and I’ve run 13 marathons, 20+ half marathons, and completed an Ironman triathlon. I feel very lucky to be healthy and active, and it’s something that will continue to be a priority for the rest of my life.
  4. The world. I’ve always been fascinated by the world around me. As a kid, I was curious, and I loved to go to school. I dreamed about traveling to faraway places and seeing all the things that I learned about in books. When I finally got the opportunity to go abroad, I was hooked. It’s so important to me to see new places, meet new people, and to learn languages and history and cultures. I cherish the experiences that I’ve had abroad – I’ve seen some amazing things, met some great people, and learned a ton, and I can’t imagine my life without those experiences. As long as I can continue to learn and to see the world, I’ll be a happy camper!
  5. Making a positive impact. I suppose this is a combination of all the things I’ve listed above, but it’s important to me to make a positive impact in all areas of my life - my family, my friends, my health (and that of the community), and the world in general.
I think I'm doing pretty well at keeping my priorities straight - I need to spend more time and effort on maintaining contact with friends and family that are not here in San Francisco (and even some of the ones who are here) instead of letting life get in the way so much. As far as my health is concerned, I've pretty much got that covered with my marathon training and the new cooking project that I've got going. I'm definitely seeing my share of the world this year - I'm going to Honduras with the Book Klub girls (provided we get accepted!), Costa Rica with mom and dad, and Colombia with my coworker Allen. I'll also be in San Diego with the BK girls, maybe L.A. with my friend Melissa, and New York for the Marathon in November. Fortunately, my job fits in to the "world" category as well - I'm learning a lot and really enjoying my work right now. As for making a positive impact, there are definitely ways I can improve in this arena, but I've got a good start with SFRRC and the trip to Honduras (with Heifer International). I'm on the lookout for another good volunteer activity!

Some more simplification in other areas of my life will make it easier for me to focus more on these things that are most important - it's definitely a work in progress!