“He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.” – Nietzsche
Have you’ve ever looked at something and decided you absolutely had to have it? That your happiness absolutely depended upon having it and that suddenly you’re living a life of depravity as a result of not owning it?
Take a moment and read the first few chapters of Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It will cure you of these feelings of depravity and uncertainty.
Because chances are if you are reading this you have access to the internet and therefor a computer and electricity and heat and a pair of shoes and so forth. I think sometimes we get so caught up in what we want, our consumption of things and goals and in my case, the awesome gear and clothes we use and wear when working to reach those goals, that we forget how much we actually already have. I do anyway, or did. Until I started reading Viktor’s book today.
Man’s Search for Meaning has more than 12 million copies in print worldwide since first being published in 1946. The Library of Congress thinks it belongs on a list of the ’10 Most Influential Books in the United States.’ When asked to reflect on the bestseller status of his book, Viktor wrote that he did not see the book’s success as “…an achievement or accomplishment on my part but rather an expression of the misery of our time…”
Where have I been that I am only just now discovering such a powerful read? I’m hooked. It’s one of those books that checks you at the gate, strips you down and invites you to finally see what’s most important for you minus all the noise and baggage. A welcomed reprieve. I’ve been looking for this. I’m over way stimulated. Electronically, specifically. I’m completely addicted to my iPhone. It is the source for everything in my life; social interaction, news, booking the next vacation, even, sadly, my primary source for feeling connected to those around me. It’s my boyfriend, best friend and big sister and mom and dad all at the same time. And it’s an electronic device. I find this so sad. That ‘connected’ feeling does not last very long and it is all actually not even real.
Since I’m on hiatus from CrossFit this blog is now heretofore about the general day to day. Digressing.
Below are some things I’ve learned since going back to work but still not being able to CrossFit and therefor having more time to do ‘other’ things:
- More time to read. This is glorious. As a result of the Writing Workshop I’ve learned of some new titles that inspire me to don the reading glasses for hours on end. Here’s a sampling: Another Bullshit Night In Suck City, by Nick Flynn, Drinking, A Love Story, by Caroline Knapp, Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff.
- I spend too much money. Doing your taxes forces you to think about money. The money you earn and the money you keep. I’m terrible at money. I spend way too much. In redoing my budget (in doing a budget) it appears I spend the majority of my money on groceries and clothes and CrossFit (membership, entrance fees, spandex). It’s interesting, but I’m only 36 pages into Viktor’s book and I feel like a complete glutton – all my paleo speak and grassfed meats and throwing away all the non-paleo groceries in your kitchen as some strict paleo cook book advises – Leaves me feeling spoiled. Granted there’s genuine truth especially in reference to our modern food chain, but stressing about whether or not to add cream in my coffee seems pretty minute when not too long ago an entire race of people were sustaining on a 10.5oz piece of bread per day if not less. ‘…we could watch our bodies beginning to devour themselves,’ Viktor writes. The horror of the holocaust is not the point of Viktor’s book, nor is it the point of this post. The point of this post is that I’ve been inspired to do more with less. Specifically, to see if I can make it till the end of April with what I already have, not with what I want to have or plan to have by purchasing it. That’s it. Just till the end of April. And then beyond.
- If you want something done ask a busy person. Not sure who said this but it’s true. Two weeks off from work and I was not very productive. True, I was recovering and at times in pain and hopped up on some pretty decent drugs… man. Alas, I was not very productive. I had all these grandiose visions of reading and writing and insightful pensive moments while looking out the window. But mostly what I did was sleep and watch a lot of really bad TV. And sleep some more. If anything it gave me a welcomed respite to do such things only to reaffirm the knowing that doing such things full time would thankfully not be for me. Since going back to work I’ve been more fruitful with my time: taking time to sit down and read, followed by writing, also switched out the winter clothes, gave the dog a bath, and oh look, put a new budget in place.
- Speaking of budgets – I’ve lowered my grocery budget by 25%, which means I have $34 to spend on groceries from now until May 1. I’ve challenged myself to eat what’s in the cupboards and the freezer and the fridge and only spend on the essentials. That’s $34 for approximately the next 13 days. That’s almost $3 per day! This does not include my coffee shop budget which is currently $20 per month, of which I have $17 remaining. These funds can be intermingled but the total amount spent cannot exceed $51. $20 a month for coffee shops may seem like a lot to you but I love my coffee. Coffee is one of the very few indulgences still acceptable in all its frothy whipped steamy goodness for just about any time of day. This fits in nicely with my Intermittent Fasting post surgery approach. Since engaging IF and a 4 hour feed window I’ve lost 5lbs. and still feel relatively lean, focused and in control. Determined. I’m basically drinking water all day and then coming home and eating a healthy protein with lots of greens along with some healthy fats and a couple slices of cheese. My body is reacting well.
I’m inching closer to discovering the Why.
More on Viktor’s book tomorrow.