Wednesday, October 2, 2013

{My Happiness Project) Go Nuts!

We pulled into the Costco parking lot, looked at each other with an impish grin and decided to buy something tasty - a special treat. Typically, we always walk straight back to the fresh vegetables and fish section, averting our eyes away from all the sweet yummy stuff in pretty florescent packages that they throw in your face right up at the front. We are pretty darn healthy so our idea of a special treat is in a way different league than Oreos and Doritos. We're talkin' honey roasted peanuts, yogurt covered raisins, chocolate covered protein bars! Oh, I'm in heaven just thinking about all that. 

For lots of people these 'treats' are their idea of 'healthy.' Nuts, dried fruit, protein bars. Well, let me tell ya, when you're spending your afternoons chowing down on chilled celery, a little honey goes a LONG way. So now you can see our devilish excitement at the idea of actually pausing at the front of the shop to purchase something from the 'tasty-aisle.'

We had a spontaneous plan, let's buy a special treat and then cuddle up in bed and watch a movie together. We LOVE this idea. We know exactly which treat we're going for - coconut covered cashews. We throw them in the basket and proceed to our normal shopping route. But somewhere in the peanut butter aisle Miggy decides to ditch the cashews. He pauses, lifts the container from the basket, stares at it, makes that face, and slips them onto the shelf. 

I ask him, why? He says it's better for us to spend our money on vegetables and fish. That way the money is actually benefiting our health. The cashews are unnecessary, especially when we're on such a tight budget. 

I completely understand where he's coming from. In fact, I totally agree. We continue shopping. But there was a niggle in the back of my mind. I couldn't help feeling like we'd just stolen something precious from ourselves. At this point I didn't care about the cashew nuts. My concern was more the principle of following through with a treat, an idea, a romantic date. I think it's more harmful to plan the date and back out than it is to not plan a date at all. I think Miggy's been trying to explain this to me for years but it took some nuts at Costco for me to finally understand. 

If we'd been tempted to buy the cashews on a whim, I think it's better for us to resist them. We'll forget about them once we're back in the car. But it wasn't a whim. We had created a plan for a romantic evening, a special time for us to spend together to enjoy each other's company. When Miggy slid the nuts back onto the shelf it felt like he was giving up on our date. It wasn't that this hurt my feelings but rather that it made me realize how beautiful it is to celebrate little things in life and how harmful it can be to live in a constant state of self-deprivation. 

99% of the time we want to stick to our budget and eat healthily but in order to live a balanced happy and healthy life we also have to incorporate pleasure and a bit of indulgence. If you take something away you need to add something else to replace it. If you're only ever taking away you'll be left empty. Just to clarify, I'm not talking about treating yourself to fattening nuts and movies every day of your life. It's more of a once a month date-night kind of thing. You need to include that indulgence AND the resistance to keep that balance.   

We went back and retrieved our cashews and for once it felt really good to drive home knowing that we'd decided to treat ourselves and we followed through. We bought the nuts and now we can watch a movie and nibble together on nuts, a simple most delicious pleasure. 

Resolution 5: Every now and then, Go Nuts
Resolution 6: When you make plans to treat yourself, follow through.

Check out the previous "My Happiness Project" posts from September:
During October, I'm going to be exploring 'Belonging'. My main motivation for this theme is that I come from a diverse background and I've moved around a few times and I feel like I can fit into a bunch of different cultures but sometimes, I'm envious of people who are deeply rooted in one culture, one group of people, one location. I feel a longing for a deeper sense of belonging. But I'm convinced that with a little bit of introspection I'll be able to figure out where I fit it and embrace it.