I’m struggling today. Trying to find something that I can, with good conscience, twist into an austere-worthy blog post. The other day Sarah, angry over something I had or hadn’t done (usually, whatever it is, I deserve it), commented…”So what have you done with the ‘Year of Austere’ so far anyway? You talk a good story, but what have you really DONE?”
I struggle today a bit because she’s right. Mea culpa. Sure, I have contributed to the easy stuff. You know, the pulling back on spending. Contributing, albeit perhaps in too small a way, to the discarding of stuff. For example, I did help Sarah’s niece load up her car with all the excess that we were happy to unload on her on the weekend (love you Christine :)), even if I wasn’t actually involved in the depleting process itself.
I struggle today because I know that I have blogged more about the concept of austerity and less about the doing of it. Kind of in a way a politician blows hot air. You know, lots of wind, little substance. Bloody hell, come to think of it, I’ve blown more wind than the Chinooks in Alberta, the Pampero of Argentina, the Sirocco of Africa, the… Well, you get the point.
I have no defense in this, other than to say two things…
1. There are indeed the more “intangible” aspects of this austere undertaking. I’m sure I’ve blathered on about this in some entry or other in the past. My point here is that austerity comes in many forms, not just that which can be measured like numbers of lamps pawned off on some very nice unwitting niece, dollars saved, or Hammond Innes books painfully dispatched. I am reminded of a quote (perhaps not as Brainy as Sarah’s)….“There is no austerity equal to that of a balanced mind”. This comes from an Indian by the name of Chanakya. OK. I have no idea who the hell this guy is (probably a politician), but when I found this on the Internet it spoke to me. My take on this is that anything, no matter how intangible, that contributes to a peaceful mind is in effect contributing to austerity. In this respect, I do feel that progress is being made.
2. We are but 1.5 months into this. Well excuse me for not donating by underwear to my uncle in Newfoundland yet. Give me time for God’s sake. I have, however, committed to painting the trim on the house this summer, which will save us roughly $3000. Not too shabby. But you are probably thinking, “Don’t strain yourself.” Let me say here that that until you have seen my house, please hold any snide remarks. The roof on this house would put a chalet in the Alps to shame. It’s so bloody steep that I expect at any moment the shingles to come sliding off with nails attached. This will be no easy undertaking, let me tell you. Not to mention the fact that I am terrorized daily by heights. You might say that I have “courage austerity” when heights are involved.
As spring approaches, I will certainly be taking on more active and clearly visible austerity-related activities, which I will go to great pains to outline in subsequent posts.
So, there it is. Come to think of it, there is yet another Chanakya quote that springs to mind…
“A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first.”
I’d better shut up now.