i’m doing ok with my Keeping-Track-of-What-I-Read this year. i’m trying not to be mean to myself about it – it’s an easy thing to do, for me – to start thinking i’m not reading ‘good enough’ books, or that I’m just not reading enough at all. it’s a quiet reminder that sometimes, i’m not very nice to myself about things like that. if i feel like reading fantasy novels, i’m allowed to do that. if i feel like reading nothing but gardening books, i’m allowed to do that. it doesn’t make me good, or bad.
So. i finished Alice Munro’s wonderful Runaways on a plane flight to Adelaide (which was a wonderful trip, as an aside). i heard about Alice Munro from a friend of mine, who is one of the most erudite gentlemen i’ve ever met (and knows more about spirits than anyone i’ve ever met — See: The Bartender and the Archive). Her short stories are remarkable. they are just about people, and lives, and the small things that add up to make human experience what it is – the richness and sadness and beauty and passage of time. none of what i say can do it justice, and i don’t have any overly intelligent comments to make – i’m no good at book reviews in any real sense – maybe due to lack of practice. but i loved it, possibly the most out of the three collections i’ve read so far.
I FINALLY ordered the charger for my camera, which is a joyous thing, because i won’t need to have the god-awful iphone photos anymore.
my feelings about money are starting to really, properly shift now. i’ve long since had rather chronic issues with spending for years – and it’s taken a lot more than just ‘trying not to spend money on stuff’ to actually start looking at resetting how i think about spending, and money, and savings. but i’m now at the point where i pause before i buy things – where i am gaining real pleasure out of adding to my savings, pride in my ability to manage my money, and control the impulse to buy things i don’t need. what’s interesting is that i don’t actually Feel like i am buying less ‘things’ – though i know i am – because when i purchase something i have considered it. my money is considered and valued now, and in some way, i value myself more as a result – because i don’t just waste every cent i get, or i don’t just thoughtlessly fritter away huge amounts of cash on nameless things.
how have i done this? i’m not even sure – keeping track of my spending, obsessively – writing down every cent i spend, and having a running total of expenditure has made me way more aware for starters. part of it has been retraining my own way of thinking about what i ‘need’ or ‘deserve’. what i deserve is to take care of my money. what i need is food, shelter, necessities. i don’t ‘need’ that book – i can buy it if i have the money, or i can write it on a list, and buy it when i do have the money if i don’t this pay cycle. i don’t ‘deserve’ the book because i’ve had a bad week at work – spending money CANNOT be a reward for me, because of the simple fact of how poor my habits are around spending. rewards for Stuff are not something that works for me anyway, so it’s not something i should be using to manage my spending. it’s mostly been internal things for me – wanting to change, knowing i can change my behaviour, regardless of my habits, emotions, or mental health. i actually do have the capacity to control and manage these things, and that is a much greater reward than buying stuff whenever i want. (though i usually am still spending a few things randomly per pay, i’m at least factoring it into my overall spending allocations, adjusting, and trying to keep it in check. for the first time since starting my budget, i came in close to $200 under budget! which meant extra savings!).
So here’s a friendly rhubarb photo for your efforts at reading such a dull post. the rhubarb always cheers me up – it’s such a big, beautiful monster of a plant! and there’s a kitten next to it.