I picked myself up a new book yesterday called Give It Up! My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less by Mary Carlomagno. It's an interesting read so far - it describes how she decided on year on New Year's to give up a different "vice" each month for the year. So far, I've read through her months of giving up alcohol and shopping.
While some of the things she describes giving up - television, chocolate - would be a challenge for me, it's made me wonder- are there things that I could give up that would make my life better?
Alcohol and shopping aren't currently problem areas for me, so I'll really need to examine my life to decide what I want to improve on. The first thing that comes to mind is diet soda. I love diet soda. It's tasty, refreshing, calorie free... but I've heard the lectures too. It's bad for your teeth, it makes you crave sugar more, it has the dreaded CAFFEINE...
Another thing I thought I could do better in life without is stress. If I could do that, I certainly wouldn't need to be reading books on simplifying life...
I've also thought lately of giving sugar the boot, but every time I try to research sugar free diets, I get inundated with information that I am not sure is even accurate. Natural sugar is terrible for you, but chemical sugar substitutes are healthier- really? Eating sugar is okay during certain times of day - honestly? Now, I do believe that corn syrup is unhealthy, but it's syrup- how can it be healthy? My doctor had advised me at one point to cut corn syrup out of my diet completely, and I have been successful at that. So could it be that much more difficult to quit sugar?
On the other hand, while I don't want my family to be a family that is completely and utterly dependent on sugar, I also don't want Lucy to be on such a strict diet growing up that she goes wild at friend's houses with her first taste of the white stuff. So maybe rather than cutting out sugar entirely, I'll refocus my energy and just minimize the sugar for now, or leave that for another month of something to give up.
As far as giving chocolate up - I'm not even going to give that the slightest bit of consideration. That is out of the question. Well, until I try giving up sugar.
So what is the point of giving something up for a month? Partially to try and improve life and become a better, healthier, more active person. But it's also partially selfish- it's a test to see if I can even do it. Because if I can give something up for a month, I can reevaluate that month and see if it even needs to exist in my life. And if I can give one thing up, I can give anything up.
Thankfully, since it's only the 8th of the month, I have a while to think about it. But I urge you to join me in giving something up for a month (and yes, I realize that if you are Catholic you are laughing at me now because you've already given something up! Us Lutheran-raised gals don't know about Lent.) We're starting April 1st, so pick the thing you wish to remove from your life and get ready! Or, to look at it another way, think of the thing you'd like to add to your life, and we'll give up the opposite (I want to exercise more, so I'm going to give up not exercising).