The sweet pungent scent of tobacco wafted over my head as I puffed on a Cuban cigar (a gift from a friend) and sipped a fat glass of Gentleman Jack whiskey. It was my last hurrah before a planned detox. Earlier that day I had sanctimoniously stuffed a grocery cart full of fresh produce and told the surfer dude college student cashier about the juice I was going to make. I could say that this little detox (no alcohol, soda, meat, dairy, or processed food for a week or two) is a response to the stubborn 5 pounds that latched onto me around Christmastime, but it goes deeper than that. Frankly, I feel like crap. I’m bloated, my skin is red and splotchy, and I feel like I’m dragging under the salt and sugar and chemicals I’ve greedily stockpiled in my body.
To put things in perspective I still don’t break 120 pounds and I’m in pretty damn good shape for a 35-year-old. This is not going to be some miraculous story of going from couch potato to triathlete any more than my exploration of minimalism is going to result in me selling my condo and wearing only black and grey for a year.
The detox experiment is part of a larger shift in priorities. Over the past several weeks I’ve “detoxed” my home of clutter (some of it, anyway) and have developed an aversion to shopping for mass market cheap goods, clearance sales be damned. I’m less enchanted by the corporate rat race, my passion for yoga has been reignited, I’ve found true community and purpose in taekwondo, I no longer allow toxic “friends” into my life, and I’m finally in a fulfilling relationship. I don’t need to calm my nerves in consignment shops, and I don’t scour job ads on days that I’m pouting about a current project. I don’t care whether someone responds to my facebook posts. I’m more satisfied and still. With that stillness, though, comes a need to protect and preserve it.
I’m not preaching at anyone to make a drastic change if they don’t want to. I just know I was suffocating under the toxic mindset and environment I had created for myself. Will I go back to wine and pizza and hamburgers? Yes. Will I smoke an occasional cigar or hookah? Yes. Will I buy a new pair of shoes? Maybe. Do I need them to make me feel better? Nah. These days I’m enjoying more consistent contentment rather than temporary highs.
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