Exploring Your Depths – Make Do

Exploring Your Depths — Make Do.

Cathy’s blog today is about making the most of your situation, no matter what it is.  She reminds us that “perfect” is usually a fictional and, therefore, unattainable goal.  Making do with what you haven’t isn’t about suffering or half-assing things;  it’s about making the most out of what you have.

Just this morning, I read an article in O magazine about how to workout regularly even when you hate exercise (the web article has a different, and less compelling, title though).  The key is to set your sights low, to set manageable goals.  I haven’t  been able to get back into a regular workout routine since I hurt my knees awhile back.  I know that I can’t work out for longer than 20 minutes a day (even walking around the mall or Target for an hour starts to hurt my feet, knees, and/or hips and I often get headaches).  If I work out particularly hard one day, it can take days to recover instead of my old customary one-day recovery period.  Finding that balance of working out and not over doing it has been difficult, since it’s not the same ratio that it was just three years ago.  Lately, I’ve been disappointed because I can’t seem to commit  to working out regularly.  However, I have managed to do a number of mini-workouts throughout the day (yoga stretches and a strength move or two when I wake up, a 3-minute workout after dinner while watching TV, more yoga/pilates moves to stretch/relieve the day’s tensions before bed).  Granted, the pounds haven’t been melting off, so I still feel like a lazy loser, even though I feel better physically (less joint and back pain).  Why is it so hard for me to do all of these things in a 20-minute interval though?  What is my problem?!

When I read the magazine article this morning, I found it interesting that the writer started with 10 minutes of working out and that there are actually benefits to that because I always feel like a slacker even if I reach my 20-minute goal, which seems like a pretty pathetic goal anyhow.  Then, I read Cathy’s post, which reenforced the idea that even if my mini-workouts are all that I can manage right now, that’s fine.  I’m making do, and that’s good enough.  If I’m able to eventually amp up my workouts and stick with a regular workout routine without getting frustrated by a combo of injuries, laziness, and lack of sleep, then good.  The mini-workouts are fine too though because I am able to keep up with them daily and the health benefits are fully evident even if the waistline benefits aren’t there.  So maybe the combo of the magazine article and Cathy’s post is the universe’s way of telling me that making do isn’t such a bad thing afterall.

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Random Saturdays – When did $100 become cheap?

I was disappointed (yet again) this week when my latest O Magazine newsletter contained a link to an article on fashion finds under $100.  Apparently, you can get an entire dress for $30, but the matching belt is $99…and that’s only if you use the special code…and the belt doesn’t even come with fireworks or anything.  I don’t consider that a fashion find.  I realize that probably makes me sound like a cheap skate (an accurate assessment), but  I was born in the 1980s with the financial sensibilities of someone born in the 1890s, so get off my lawn!  Also, I grew up kinda poor.  We were technically middle class, but my parents were terrible with money.  (They’re good people and I don’t begrudge my parents anything, despite the amount of angsty ’90s rock that I love.)  It just means that I will always have Poor Person Mentality.  In fact, I’m proud of it.  It’s wasteful to spend $100 on a pair of trousers when you can get them for $15 in the clearance section of Old Navy.  I know that there’s a difference between the materials used, the quality of thread used to sew seams, etc.  However, if you are patient, you can get good deals on quality clothes at a variety of stores.  Plus, a small price tag doesn’t have to equal low quality clothing.

Such a deal!

Such a deal!

I’ve also heard the theory about “investing” in basic pieces that will last years.   I wear the same clothes for years and years, but I still don’t “invest” more than $30 on any single item of clothing and no more than $50 on a coat or shoes.  Most people get tired of their clothes after a year or two.  Most of the people I know get tired of their clothes even sooner (or they gain/lose weight, get stains on the clothing, tear holes in the clothing, etc.)  Furthermore, think about what it means to “invest”.  If you make $15/hr (that’s an average of the “all occupations mean”, and the two ranges for the top 10 non-nurse occupations from the 4th para. of this 2011 report from the U.S.  Dept. of Labor, not completely accurate, I know, but this is my personal blog), then you have to work a full eight-hour day to buy that $99 belt (think about income tax, sales tax, any gas spent going to the store, shipping costs if buying online, time spent shopping, etc.)  So when I think about buying anything, I always think, “Was  this worth X hours of work?”  I have yet to see a pair of pants worth a full day’s work, much less a belt.

That being said, if something is handmade from socially and environmentally responsible materials, I will admit that the product is worth more than something that is made out of kittens and sewn by children in a sweatshop.  That does not mean that I will pay $99 for a belt, but it does mean that I won’t bitch about it as much.