July Challenge: midway update

At the beginning of this month I set out to write a blog everyday, and also to eat out just once a week. We’re halfway through, so here’s a check-in on all that:

1) Writing

Embracing this writing thing as a discipline rather than just a sparse hobby has been good. Challenging, but good. Challenging, because most of these posts require 2 or 3 hours of work each day before they’re published, and also because some days I have to think hard before I even know what to write about. Good, because I’m learning a lot about what I think, and what I have to say, and how any of that stuff has any impact on your lives (or not).

I don’t know if this is sustainable while I have a full-time job. I’ve heard lots of stories of people that started pursuing their creative passions while also working 40 hours a week, so that’s encouraging — maybe this will get easier as I go. Meanwhile, I’m not positive that this blog shows promise of developing into something cohesive. I’m not sure I have something thematic to say on a regular basis, that is. As you’ve noticed, I tend to jump around a bit. We’ll see. I’m not worried about it. (although let me know if you want me to write about anything at all — that might help)

I’m thankful for all your reading and commenting. This month has already seen the greatest exposure that anything I’ve ever made has ever received — over 1000 people have read The Hot Girl Myth. That’s real cool.

I feel good about finishing the Challenge through the end of the month, and I have a few more tricks up my sleeve. When August arrives, I’ll review what has happened and what I’ve learned about writing, and I’ll move apartments in the middle of the month, and then go on that crazy trip to the mountains toward the end. Amidst all that, I’ll probably have to scale the blogging back for a bit 🙂

2) Eating In

This part might be much less interesting to some, but it’s been interesting to me. I’ve eaten meals out approximately 2.5 times in the last two weeks. That may not be remarkable to some of you, but in my crowd of urbanite 20-somethings, that’s seriously rare.

I’ve spent about 1/4 or 1/5 as much money on food over the last two weeks as I usually do. Also, I’ve eaten much more real food, so I don’t feel sick and toxic all the time. Also, I’ve eaten sensible portion sizes, so I don’t feel remorseful and corpulent all the time.

Also, I find that actually having to work (even a little bit) to prepare my daily food seems to lend an unexpected sense of satisfaction — of substance — to my days. When I lived in the poorer countries of the world for a year, I always felt more alive out there, and used to wonder why. I decided a while ago that the sense of aliveness was likely due in large part to the relatively high percentage of our days that had to be used to address the basic needs of life. E.g. in Uganda we would begin preparing for dinner everyday at 2:30 or 3:00, and we wouldn’t be done cleaning up until 7:30 or 8:00 — a total of five hours. Five hours?! Usually we in the West will only spend that amount of time on a meal if it’s a special occasion. We’re too busy otherwise, that’s for sure. But Ugandans (and many others) do it on a regular basis.

That’s interesting, I think. When I was out in Africa it felt to me like our daily energy was more rightly used than in life back home, just meeting our basic, obvious human needs. The pie chart that makes up our time expenditure in the West is way lopsided toward non-necessities, mainly toward entertainment. I think that’s probably why we sometimes feel a little dead inside. I dunno. More grave ruminations on that are going to be saved for another day.

Suffice it to say: while I initially feared that having to cook for myself so often was going to sap a lot of my free time, I’m finding that I feel better doing it this way. In addition to the other (significant) benefits I named initially. So there.

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That will do it for today. Come tomorrow, we’ll get back into neato cerebral things, as always.

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