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This long Memorial Day weekend has been mostly about food. Well, okay, food and "Due South." And massive life changes.

My nephew and I made ice cream yesterday for his 12th birthday party. He couldn't decide on a flavor, so we made all three: chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

In the past few days I've cooked several other things that I would never have thought of as "homemade": pork jiaozi (a huge production number, but fun); steamed baozi with sweet red bean paste (I still haven't got them quite right--they're tough instead of cloud-like); pita bread (not a PITA at all to make) and hummus.

I mention all this because it's part of a change in my life, and today, in talking with roseambr, I became conscious of just how massive that change has been.

At the end of 2007 I was driving my car to work at least twice a week. I was eating two or three meals a day from commercial food establishments. I was putting mountains of trash out on the curb every week. I was buying whatever the hell I felt like buying, and my house was a pile of clutter.

I was using huge, indulgent amounts of electricity, gas, and water.

My biggest concern in life, after my general mental health, was the agony I was experiencing over my weight and my irresistible appetite.

Less than six months later, I'm making everything I eat in my kitchen from scratch. I'm eating a very steady 1960 or so calories a day and all my cravings have vanished. I rarely think about my weight--which, incidentally, is slowly climbing back down the scale.

I'm composting and recycling so much that my actual trash fits in one grocery bag a month. Not that I have grocery bags anymore.

I never drive to work. I rarely drive anywhere. I'm down to a tank of gas every six or seven weeks, and at this rate am seriously considering giving up my car altogether.

I have a clothesline now and have basically stopped using my dryer. I can go days and days with no cash in my wallet and not even notice. I water my plants with used kitchen graywater. I have plants--plants that will be food one day.

I take extremely short, frugal showers. It's amazing how perfectly clean a person can get with only two or three gallons of water.

My house is neat and spare all the time. My panic attacks have stopped. My skin is clear, my sinuses are clear, my blood sugar never plummets, the browbeating voices in my head are largely silent, and I spend many more moments per day feeling calm, happy, grounded, centered, and focused than I spend feeling insane.

This weekend I realized that the journey that began with clearing a shelf in my living room has carried me into a whole new country. I barely know who the hell I am anymore.

But whoever I am, I'm in pretty good form, and I kick the ass of who I used to be, six ways to Sunday without breaking a sweat.

So, yay.


May. 1st, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
I need to go on this journey too. My house is so cluttered it's f--ng ridiculous. Lack of time, lack of organization...

I'm 2 yrs later than these posts! but was interested in yr topic and yr lifestyle.
May. 1st, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
As I'm sure I said several dozen times in these Project Empty posts, no other single aspect of the project was as important as Thin Slices. Most clutterers are perfectionists in some odd way, and have a hard time breaking things down into their component parts: we like the Whole Picture. With this project, I finally understood the power of tackling a big problem incrementally.

One cluttered room is way too big. One cluttered corner may be too big. One cluttered shelf in that corner may be too big. Half a shelf may be all you can deal with. If that's too big, then a quarter of a shelf.

It's one of the most interesting and rewarding journeys I ever took, and the results have proven to be quite lasting. The clutter has remained mostly at bay, and easily dispersed again where it has accumulated.



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