There’s a recurring charge on my credit card statement for a gym membership. I go through something like the stages of grief every time I see it, I feel guilty for not going, I promise I’ll try to do better and I think about when I might go again. The twinges of guilt quickly pass and I go on with my life.
January was different, mainly because January is not a great time to go to the gym, all the New Year’s resolution people who don’t know gym etiquette hog up the machines that they are incorrectly using. I definitely did not promise myself in January that I was going to do better or think about when I was going again. I did think about the $25 though.
Recurring charges are automatic and mindless on purpose, especially memberships. My life has changed since I signed up but the fact remains that I am not going to the gym and there is money being spent on something I am not using and that I am content with not using. I decided to reallocate my resources from someone else’s leg day to something more productive. Since I run a small coding group at my local library, I decided to shift part of my $25 to a non-profit called freeCodeCamp. As their website says, freeCodeCamp.org is a tiny nonprofit that’s helping millions of people learn to code for free. Marketable job skills can be incrementally learned by anyone with time and effort, and new coders get experience with capstone projects created for other non-profits.
I also decided that since the focus is on a new year, I would take this moment to see what else is automatic and mindless in my life. A fresh blotter awaited me on my desk, and I tore off the huge December page from last year’s calendar and scribbled on the back of it everything that came to mind. Mindfulness with a Sharpie, I put down my plans for the year, a vacation, more volunteer work, more classes, and learning. I wrote down the imaginary title of my imaginary book and decided to make it real. I wrote down the names of my important people with chronologically significant birthdays. Dumping everything onto the back of a calendar page, there were words everywhere when I finally stopped writing. Black ink stained my hands and my mind was pensive and empty at the same time. I stepped back to look at my big plans. My tea was cold.
I didn’t have the typical lose-20-pounds, learn-Spanish resolutions on my blotter. I had dreams and ambitions and hopes that I knew in my soul, but my actions were not pointed in that direction. On one side of the paper was a calendar with how I spent my December, but on the other side, I had written my possibilities. The empty side, the side no one uses because it’s not divided into neat little boxes. If I wanted to mindfully implement these things, they needed to not be hidden away. I decided to take those little baby steps, change one thing at a time and start with this moment. My fresh desk blotter waits for me and my possibilities.