Well, it’s January 31st.   As this is the last blog entry of our first month, it is only right that we take a few moments to look in the rearview mirror and assess what we’ve accomplished as a family and, more importantly, what we’ve learned.

I think a full month ago when we started, we had a good conceptual view of what we wanted to do with this adventure.   Less clear, however, were the specifics of what we wanted to achieve and how we were going to get there.   We jumped into the pond en masse, and realized only too late that the life jackets were still sitting on the rocks.

With this said, we managed quite well I think.  We learned to swim because we had no choice.  One of the key learnings for future months is that we do need to set certain expectations of ourselves at the front end.  It’s kind of hard to measure success when no measures have been set in the first place.

However, as the month progressed, we were successful in better defining what “austerity” means to us in terms of this undertaking.   In short, reducing excess and finding fulfillment in simpler things.  To the first point, we have certainly cut back significantly on stuff and on spending.   February is our “Financial Austerity” month, and Sarah will be doing up a comparison of how this January compared to last on the spending front.  I have no doubt that this will be eye-opening, to say the least.   Stay tuned.   On the second point, that of increased fulfillment, it is fair to say we have also seen a very positive impact.   We are all feeling the benefits of having less clutter about, and we are spending more time as a family than ever.   Nick and I went for a stroll the other night and he commented on how nice it was that we have this time together, and how much he was especially enjoying the increased time with his sister (perhaps he will write about this in a future blog).

I have also found that this focus on austerity has heightened my awareness of the environment.  For example, I think twice now before jumping in a vehicle to travel somewhere.  I ask myself:  Is this really necessary?   Can we streamline things so that we can make one trip instead of two?  Yes, there is cost associated with this, but the excess I refer to here is that of environmental waste.   So, too, am I now turning off every light left on unnecessarily (even in a hotel room I now go out of my way to extinguish things before leaving).

Which brings me to my last comment.  And this is a word of caution to myself.   So enamored was I of the light-extinguishing thing that I suggested to Sarah that we institute a 50 cent fine to every family member having been convicted of “light abuse”.   I should know by now that whenever I approach my beautiful Sarah with a suggestion of anything that is not well thought-out, I will inevitably pay a price.

And the price in this case is potentially huge.   For my troubles in making this suggestion, what did I get back in return?  You can probably guess by now that it wasn’t “Geez Glenn.  Great idea.”  No.  Not remotely.  It was, and I quote…”Well, if we do that, then I guess you will also have to give up riding your motorcycle this year.”

Ah, WHAT?   Where in the hell did THAT come from?  How do you go from turning off a light bulb to turning off my motorcycle riding?  What kinda quantum leap is this that has found me teetering at this abyss?

Serves me right.  You go into battle, even when it  appears to be an easy win, without looking at all of the angles beforehand, you can still get slaughtered.   My vitals right now are hardly registering.

Well, let me state right now that I may be down for the count, but I’ve got fight left in me yet.  Men are nothing if not great rationalizers.   Give me a few days, and I’ll think something up.  On my next post I will come prepared to state my case (ah, BTW, does anyone know a good lawyer?)