An Ode to May (Part 4 of 4)

29 05 2013

This post is a continuation of “An Ode to May (Part 3 of 4)“.

My fourth weekend getaway took Arvie on the road for the first overnight trip since last August!!  I was ambivalent about Arvie “stretching his wheels” and was uncertain about how he would fare on the two hour trip to Kerrville-Schreiner Park, but he did beautifully and – thank God – the trip went smoothly and without a hitch!

It was thrilling to be back in nature and to overnight in a forest, and it was empowering to take Arvie out on my own.  (Previously, Yair did much of the water-filling, electricity managing and half of the driving.)  Arvie had been parked at the co-op for so long that, while I identified with the small house movement and the cooperative movement, I forgot that my house itself moves!!  I took in the surrounding nature, discovered “dragons” and chased white butterflies to far-off lands with my friend’s eight-year-old nieces, and rounded up our camping crew for hilarious games of charades and categories (a fun singing game) late into the night.

On The Road Again, I Just Can't Wait To Get On The Road Again...

On The Road Again, I Just Can’t Wait To Get On The Road Again…

Arvie Did Great!!

Arvie Did Great!!

Over the camping weekend, my most recent 30-day challenge came to an end.  For the past thirty days, I refrained from wearing any makeup.   It was an interesting feeling.

Though I’ve never been overly dependent on makeup and though I tend to steer clear of jewelry altogether, I had found myself wearing makeup more frequently – particularly as a blonde donning red lipstick and so forth.  While the natural look is beautiful, makeup does admittedly serve a purpose in accentuating attractive features and minimizing less attractive features like breakouts. Though the challenge was at times inconvenient, I experienced the restriction as a freedom to embrace myself, look at my features without filter and not have annoying black mascara smear off when I accidentally rub my eyes!

The no-makeup challenge was definitely a positive experience and one that I would recommend to any folks who incorporate makeup into their daily or even semi-weekly routines.  My next 30-day challenge, which I started this past Friday, is no utensils for thirty days.  It’s part novelty and part an attempt to be mindful of what I am eating, how much I am eating and to better connect with my food.  So far, it’s mostly been an inconvenience.  Surprisingly, I don’t like eating with my hands!!  But I’ll stick it out and we’ll see how it goes.

The "Dragon" That We Found in the Forest

The “Dragon” That We Found in the Forest

Lastly, a musing on charity…  When we were members of a single household, Yair and I made occasional charitable donations but did not have any set frequency to our giving.  Last August, as we prepared for our separation, each of us drafted a budget to guide our future living expenses.  At that time, Yair mentioned that he would be setting aside $100 / month for charitable giving.  I thought about this idea of building charity into my budget and felt my altruistic and frugal tendencies conflict, but ultimately the former won out.

Over the past year, I have followed through on that monthly charitable commitment and it is so empowering.  If I hear about an important cause, I already have the funds built into my budget.  They need to be spent.  They need to be donated.  And this framework and structure have allowed me to honor my frugality while, at the same time, hone the practice of giving and feel like a mini-philanthropist.  Please let me be clear that I am not sharing this to toot my own horn, but rather to perhaps introduce a new idea or serve as an example.   After all, if I can do it and I’m a self-employed chick with a fluctuating income who lives in an RV, you can do it too.

All in all, May has been a great month and this 4-part post captures only a handful of the eye-opening and smile-inducing moments that it offered.  My brother Yoni is coming to visit Austin tomorrow and, though I can’t believe that it’s almost June, writing this post at least provides me the comfort that May was well spent!

Happy Spring, happy May, go outside and do something nice for someone else!

posted by ayo




One response

24 06 2013
Diane C

Hey Ayo – I do a similar, but less structured thing. In addition to my regularly programmed giving, I earmark 1K a year for “one-offs”. Any time some asks me to contribute to something interesting (or I read about something cool), I write out a one-time check for $100. I think it’s as much fun for me as it is for the recipient. Usually, the person asking is hoping for far less then $100, but since it’s already budgeted, it’s easy to give it freely and joyfully. Once, I even gave to a cause I’m not that enamored of, simply because my neighbor’s hand-written request displayed exquisite penmanship. I loved that she took the time to write personal letters for a cause that was important to her.

Not horn-tootin’ either, just sharing a source of unexpected pleasure.

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