Ultimate Reset: Days 8-9

In addition to all of the eating and, frankly, not eating, going on around here in these 21 days, I mentioned that I’m trying to break a few gnarly habits of mine.

Maybe this is what happens when your body isn’t loaded up with sugar, caffeine and booze, but the level at which I tune out of my life is astonishing. And I don’t mean that I’m in a foggy haze, but that when given the chance to zone out from the activity of my life (which, let’s be honest, is no more or less busy than anyone else’s), I zone out like a champ. Like it’s my job.

Two of the habits I mentioned needing to break were falling asleep watching Netflix on my iPad and buying things.

Never mind how intimate it feels to reveal that I fall asleep every night with earbuds and an old episode of 30 Rock, but it also feels a bit, I don’t know, sad. Not pathetic-sad, more like frustrating-sad. Was it really so hard to be in my own head space, in the quiet of my own mind, for the duration it would or should take me to fall asleep? Admittedly there is some of that. I spend a whole mess of time replaying the day in my head, and I think in a valiant effort to just knock it the eff off, I grabbed the iPad and just snuggled up in bed and tuned out.

And it worked. But my quality of sleep isn’t that great (more on that in a moment) and there isn’t a sleep expert alive who would dispute that going to bed with electronic equipment of the entertainment variety is a surefire way to make sure your sleep experience is an awful one.

With the exception of my first night with the cold, when I couldn’t breathe, and therefore sleep, and was literally up and down all night, I haven’t gone to sleep with the damn iPad. I’ve gone to bed and read, but as soon as my eyes get tired, I shut off the lights and get to the work of sleeping. I can’t say it’s helped tremendously – with the exception of last night, I took NyQuil almost every night so far, and last night I was up around midnight to pee (thanks tons and tons of water) and when the alarm went off at 5 a.m., I felt like I could have slept for another five hours. I imagine it’s still me recovering from being sick, but still. The one thing that I’ll say is that I’m not having problems falling asleep. Despite my┬átendencies┬áto swirl around in my head all of the day’s events, I manage to acknowledge and let it all go.

I still wish I had more energy when I woke up, though.

So this leads me to Buying Stuff. As I re-read a lot of the Geneen Roth work, one of the things I’m reminded of is the idea of consuming to cope. It’s not bad or good, it’s just a function to deal with what you perceive is in front of you. In her book, Women Food and God, she talks about the practice of inquiry. It did not, in any way, shape or form, make sense to me at first, but after further reading, something clicked for me. No kidding – like an ah-ha moment, sorry to borrow an Oprah phrase.

While for someone with a long, sorrid history with food and eating, it’s not hard to see how I’ve used food to tune out, but it’s equally interesting to me how I use shopping, too. And I don’t like to shop. But what’s the difference between the random items I throw into my cart at Target, or in my Peapod order, or the new blender balls I order from Amazon, and someone else’s impulse designer bag purchase? I’d argue nothing. Not buying fancy clothes is not somehow morally superior than black truffle salt or a new album. Those things are just easier to cloak from judgement. If I really felt like punishing myself, I could walk around our home and count up the random random purchases and there I’d find the money for a new dining room set.

(I include all of the spa-related items I treat myself to, too. Oh my God, no one likes a lotion or a potion more than me. Just sayin’.)

In the end, none of it really means anything if I have bigger goals, which I do. And I’d like to reach them sooner. I don’t really need new lotions or a new bag or to try another flavor of cheese. Especially since it’s looking like I should be cutting cheese from my diet. No one notices, no one cares, and it’s really more about the appearance I think I should be giving off rather than what it is that makes me truly happy. Whether or not my house looks cute will not reflect the things that I should take stock in: the amount of time Abigail giggles in a day; how relaxed and at peace my husband and I are when we come home from a long day; the friends who visit us on the weekends.

New picture frames or candles won’t make those things richer. It’s a good, frugal lesson to be learning.