July Work Release–Appropriately Scaled

I thought I’d make an attempt at a Work Release post since this is the last day of the month. I didn’t keep good notes this month though. Maybe I could try to think of one wellness practice from the month and start there? Sometimes it only takes a baby step to get things moving. Maybe start with yesterday? My next thought after that was, Really? All I managed to do yesterday was clean the kitchen floor. And even that I didn’t do very well. The hell with it. I don’t have anything to brag about this month.

But of course the first part isn’t true. And the second part is bullshit disregard for the relevance of this practice. This is not bragging and has never been bragging. I can be such a bitch to myself. This is and has always been documentation of the work for transparency. Wellness doesn’t just happen because we think it’s a good idea; it requires work. These posts show the work. The grit behind the glow. Apparently this month’s work includes talking myself out of that particular strain of toxic false modesty.  We all know I do not practice any kind of modesty.

So, yesterday. I made it to work on time yesterday. That’s something. Financial wellness is directly affected by showing up to work reliably and consistently. Bitchy thought: So I deserve a medal for that?  

Made my own medal for that.

You bet I do. It’s not easy getting to work on time when you cram as many things into the pre-workday hours as I do. So let’s not pretend I’m not a phenomenal human being every damn day, okay?

Let’s start with the easy one — physical wellness in the month of July. Yoga, running, walking, all my own yard work and my own home maintenance.  You don’t need me to spell out why yoga and running are splendid wellness wins. But I will brag elaborate upon performing one’s own manual labor required to maintain a lifestyle; hard work but cheap (no dues or fees) and convenient (it’s there, I’m there). No gym required. No markup on parts or inflation for labor. I get paid in satisfaction, fitness, and a nicer place to live.


The digital detox it provides is also critical to emotional and mental wellness. See my previous post Battle of the Brain for more details on that.

I’m going to call the next one social wellness even though being vegan is usually tossed in with physical practice. I’ve become an influencer through my vegan practice so this time it’s not all about me.

Last week (or so) I wrote about my work wife turning vegan. She came to work yesterday and confessed she fell off the wagon over the weekend. Her words. I asked her what caused the fall. She said, “We grilled.” I didn’t lecture or reproach. I didn’t advise or instruct. I didn’t even ask her which animal she ate. I did nothing but listen. “Maybe I’m a flexitarian,” she said. I acknowledged with a nod and a solemn smile and I let the conversation end there without another word about it. Don’t be that vegan, Mercy. 

Medalled in this event too.

Moving on to financial/occupational wellness. The last credit card is gone. Buh-bye. Closed. Frozen. Shredded. Deleted. I killed the bill. You already know why this is marvelous. What you may not know is that it took 23 years. Yep. That’s 23 years worth of interest. My heart palps when I think about how many times over I paid for the first thing I charged. And the last thing I charged. All the things. Ugh. But it is finally done and it’s time to release all the baggage that came with it. Guilt and shame; already paid that price many times over too. I’ve settled up. All the way up. So does this mean I get to end my Spending Fast? Well, yes and no. I’m transitioning to a Spending Diet.

The Spending Fast taught me so much that I will use for the rest of my spending life. Even though I knew I’d smash that remaining credit card debt in July I kept learning how to keep more of the money I earned. I stopped buying cleaning products this month. No glass cleaner. No bathroom cleaner. No floor cleaner. I finally wised up to the truth that I’ve been ripped off for even longer than 23 years on all that stuff. There is nothing in my home that needs a special cleaner. Baking soda will clean the oven. Vinegar and bleach will clean the bathroom. Vinegar and water will clean the floor, cabinets, counters, etc. The only specialty soap left at home is dishwashing detergent and even that I could make myself. So who’s got two thumbs, no credit card, and doesn’t pay for janitorial chemicals anymore? This bitch.

Okay, so what’s left? Intellectual wellness (which includes creativity and learning) and spiritual wellness. I’ll take the second one first. I doubt I will write much more about my spiritual wellness practices unless I feel compelled for a specific reason. My spirituality is becoming more private as it grows and evolves and I live in a place where such things are a public liability. Even more so than political affiliation and sexual orientation, spirituality and faith is dangerous business here in Mercyburg. Folks are so hate-full around here that even gay church is preferable to well, everything else, because gay church it is still God the Father of the King James Bible. I’ll still be practicing everything else but I doubt I’ll do much more sharing.

Accepting this award on behalf of heretics everywhere.

But as for the first part, in addition to Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, I watched the Ken Burns series The Vietnam War, and Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, and Tab Hunter Confidential. I also read Anam Cara, Without a Country, and Whisper Me ThisI took the photos you watched scroll past all month long in posts you’ve already seen. Creativity was light this month. The summers are like that for me though. My creativity languishes in summer months and then spikes again around October. I’ve learned to respect the natural rhythm of it.

I also broke up with Stitch Fix. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t tuck that lovely little nugget into the financial category. Because it had nothing to do with money. I discovered there really isn’t a personal stylist out there shopping for me. My clothes were chosen by an algorithm (many algorithms), fed by data I provided in my feedback after I bought or rejected the items sent to me. My orders were generated by a computer and sent to a warehouse with merchandise matching my data. The stylist is simply a clerk at the warehouse picking clothes the computer has suggested. Google it. It’s illuminating.

But that’s not what I ordered. Science, technology, automated efficiency; all wondrous things about which I was happy to learn but this is not what I wanted. I wanted a human being styling me four times a year, not a smart robot. I thought I was paying a person to listen to me, not a computer to cull keywords from me. I appreciated the additional knowledge but I decided to stop paying for robo-shops.

Okay, I think that’s enough to qualify as a start-over post to get me back into the Work Release routine. This turned out better than I thought for a post thrown together on the last day of the month without notes and month-long prep. That’s a nice way of saying it sucks less than I thought it would. My expectations were appropriately scaled. I’ll do better in August.

— Mercy

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