This is a vulnerable post to write. And I’m not a big fan of super-intimate, public confession. Yet for the sake of accountability, which is a big part of what my Jubilee Year project is about, I need to talk about this.
It’s really not right to say that my consumption is a private matter. I’m talking about food. I’ve certainly been paying more attention lately to what I eat, where it comes from, the cost of producing it, the cost of transporting it, the ethical side of the purveyors thereof. I’m making some small changes as a result.
Yet I also need to think more about how much I eat. Today I am looking over our family budget, paying some attention to where we spend excessively (probably almost everywhere, truth be told), where we downright throw money away (usually because I’ve used my time poorly and use money to get out of a mess I’ve created (“Oops, no time to make dinner; grab takeout” being the most common version of this tendency).
And as I look at the budget I see two things. First, I spend more money than anyone else in my family on clothes. And this is convicting in that I consider myself really “low maintenance” and often brag (to my family’s consternation) over my thrift store finds. I have a bit (okay a lot) of (apparently falsely placed) pride over being low maintenance, not falling prey to trends, not needing to waste a bunch of money on excessive clothing. Only I’m the one spending the money on clothes. And the only reason for that is that my weight fluctuates a lot, and I therefore regularly buy clothes — inexpensive ones, mind you, but frequent purchases that add up.
I struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, and yet the extra money spent on my clothes is a pretty big chunk. And that’s money that could be spent on something better, on someone else, on some of the problems of the world that I regularly bemoan.
And the second thing I discovered is that I spend a lot of money on restaurants. I knew that. But I didn’t know quite how much, and you’re not going to find out either (someone would have to lock me up or lecture me). But the bottom line is that as fun as it is to eat out, as much of a bonding experience as it is to meet a friend or go out with my family, the bonding could happen just as easily at a cheap joint or at a coffee shop or on a hiking trail even (imagine an outing without food!). And yet I spend money in restaurants, even as I try each day to adhere to a limited calorie diet. I’m shooting myself in the foot — or in the gut.
Ah inconsistency. You are my constant companion.
Weight problem + restaurant meals = excessive consumption (food and money) that is then exacerbated by the need to spend more money on doctors + medicine + new clothes.
I am what I eat. I am a product of where I eat it and how much it costs and of the chain reaction set off by the choices I make. My choices have an impact on others and on the world. More resources for me = less resources for someone else.
I’m not a math whiz but I do see some opportunities for “new math” (< for me = > for someone else; < less directed to my girth = > for my brain and heart to direct elsewhere).
Accountability is hard.