zen quaker

A self quanitified zen quaker statistical programmer stumbles through a blog

Tag: drugs

Statement DS

Derivative 13: Abstain from Intoxicating the Mind (The Sober Derivative)

As explained in the the Now Derivative, being here and now is not easy. It takes a mental effort of will to focus our attention on what is actually happening. Intoxicating the mind interferes with this in two ways.

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Drugs I

Today makes twenty years since I quit drugs.

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Money I

I bought $20 worth of lottery tickets today.

I’m sure many of your are having a WTF moment. I mean, I’m a statistician. I know better than anyone the futility of lottery tickets, and gambling in general (except poker). Plus, Maryland doesn’t use the lottery funds for education, they go to the Maryland Stadium Authority. I’m subsidizing Dan Snyder, for crying out load.

So why would I do this? Because I’m trying to waste money.

Let’s go back to last year, when I took a trip to New York for the week. It was my present to myself for 20 years of not smoking. I just hung out and walked around the city all week, seeing cool things like the MoMA, the High Line, and Washington Square Park (I even managed to get in a Chess game there before it became illegal). I had a lot of fun, but my overall sense of the week was not enjoyment, because it cost so much.

For several years I have been working on toning down my possessions and being more careful with my money. I’ve gotten rid of 85% to 90% of the stuff I used to own. Along with that comes not buying more stuff. I’ve changed my eating habits, which has indirectly changed my spending habits. I’ve made retirement plans which changed my savings habits. All of this has made me a much more frugal person.

So this year is my 20th anniversary of quitting drugs, in some ways an even more important anniversary. I saved $1,100 to get/do something nice for myself. I couldn’t think of anything. Getting rid of all my stuff made me realize that I don’t need more stuff. My Zen practice has taught me to get so much enjoyment from walking to the bus stop in the morning that I’m not really worried about going to some exotic locale to have a good time. But beyond all that is that I don’t want to spend the money. Everything I looked at made me thing the same thing: that’s cool, but it costs too much.

I can’t seem to enjoy things anymore if I have to spend money on it. Maybe that’s always the way it’s been and I’m just noticing now. Either way I find it kind of disturbing. A couple months ago I got 75 $10 bills and just handed them out to strangers at the Shady Grove Metro station. I had no problem with that. I can happily give $750 to random people, but I can’t enjoy spending $750 on myself. I feel like I’m becoming a miserly tightwad, which is definitely something I don’t want to be.

So I forced myself to buy some of the things I was looking at. But some of the money I saved I am just going to waste. Lottery tickets. Burn it. Flush it down the toilet. Maybe I’ll find one of the slot machine places they supposedly have in Maryland. Maybe it won’t solve the problem, but I am hoping it will help me get a better sense of what the problem is and what I can do about it. I think it has something to do with the results. When I give the money to other people, I don’t see what they spend it on. But when I spend it I see what I get, and maybe that’s not living up to my expectations of the value of the money. I don’t know. We’ll see.

Bicycle I

Today was a much better day than yesterday. Even if I did waste it blogging, I felt like I got something done. Oy, this will be the sixth blog post of the day. I did want to at least do the pencils on my remake of the Peace T-Shirt, but I blew that off. After blowing it off I realized it isn’t really a train/bus project, so it will have to be evenings or weekends if it’s going to get done. And I want to get it done, because I’ve been holding off on doing some other t-shirts through Cafe Press until I get that one done (because it will be the hardest). I also completely spaced on doing my budget tracking for next month. Maybe it’s good to hold off on that, since I will need to do some significant work on the Python program I wrote last month to switch over to double entry bookkeeping.

I did make my first bicycle ride to the grocery store it not nice weather today. It was cold (mid 40s) and wet (but not raining). The watch cap worked well, or rather the helmet adjusted easily to account for it. I didn’t wear gloves, but I think if it gets any colder than tonight I will probably want to. The wet roads and sidewalks weren’t a problem, but the brakes didn’t like it, which confirms to me that I shouldn’t do this in real rain. I wore my black jeans because they are heavier and warmer, but then realized that black jeans with my black army jacket is not the best biking outfit. I don’t have anything besides the army jacket for cold weather, but next time wear one of the pairs of khaki jeans if I’m riding at night. I did remember the lights, and the panniers Kirk got me have reflective strips, so I don’t think I was in terrible danger.

While at the grocery store I finally remembered to look for lactaid, especially after having to pass on a smoothie on the way back from Charlottesville with Andrew and Liz. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any. I also tried to get some cash from the ATM, but I think I used the wrong pin.

Why cash from the ATM? It’s part of my plan for my 20th anniversary of quitting drugs at the end of the month. I saved $1,100 to get myself something special as a present. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of anything special. I am going to get a few odds and ends for myself, and I enrolled in an online habit formation course. One thing that is worrying me is that I can’t enjoy spending money. Since getting rid of most of my stuff, and in the process becoming much more frugal, I have not been able to enjoy anything I spend a significant amount of money on. I fell like I’m becoming a miserly tight wad like my Dad. That’s the last thing I want to be. So I decided to take the rest of the money I saved up and waste it. My only idea so far is lottery tickets. Maybe I’ll also rent a sports car like Mom did, and drive it around the beltway.

Well, time to pack in another day, so I can be well rested for a week that has the potential to be a real pain.