Less is more, more or less. Or so “they” say.
Special to Stars and Stripes January 12, 2024
“Less is more,” they say.
Whoever “they” are, I wish they’d speak up. Please convince me, once and for all, that less is best. I’ve always wanted to live according to minimalist doctrine, but somehow, the concept has always eluded me.
All my life, I’ve said too much, eaten too much and spent too much. I’m an overthinker, I pack too much for trips and I try too hard to make people laugh. I collect a lot of useless crap, I cook enough to feed an army and I talk too loudly. I keep too many clothes and shoes, I have too many hobbies and I watch too much reality TV. I write too many lists, I plan more than I can achieve and I expect too much of myself.
Countless nights I’ve gone to bed regretting things I’ve said, wondering if I’ll ever learn to keep my big mouth shut. I’ve dreamt of becoming someone that doesn’t seek attention, someone that eats serving sizes, someone with a subtle sense of style, someone with quiet dignity, someone that drives the speed limit, someone that isn’t the last one to leave every party.
In our modern world with so many pressures, it should be easy to give up more for less, right? However, after years of overindulging in everything from gossip magazines to guilt to guacamole, I’ve become addicted to excess.
After much (too much, of course) soul-searching, I decided that my New Year’s resolution should be “Less is more in 2024.” Proud of this witty rhyme, I also penned a clever ditty to sing when the urge to overdo hit me: “Eat less, pay less, sit less, say less.” I wholeheartedly believed this new mantra would finally help me lose weight, stop spending, exercise and keep my trap shut.
In essence, I’d finally become what I’ve always wanted to be — LESS of myself.
However, within days of implementing my New Year’s resolution, I reached a roadblock.
When our freezer drawer wouldn’t shut due to numerous unidentifiable frost-coated packages of God-knows-what crammed inside, I proclaimed that I would not buy food because there was already plenty to eat in our house. In the days that followed, I mined our overstuffed freezer, refrigerator and pantry, pairing items that might make a decent meal.
A brick of mystery meat? A shriveling onion? A rib of rubbery celery? A limp carrot? A dusty can of condensed soup? A bit of stale bread? A box of hardening raisins? A half a bag of stiff marshmallows? A jar of capers from the Bush administration? Voila! Dinner is served!
Like a good military spouse preparing for a PCS move, I dug deep into the dark corners of our kitchen and began concocting strange casseroles to feed my family. Alas, by the end of that week, our refrigerator was packed again, not only with unwanted leftover casseroles, but also with containers of the takeout food my family had ordered in desperation. My plan to “eat less” had failed miserably.
One morning while digging through my pack-rat wardrobe for an outfit that would accommodate my menopause-enhanced girth, I had the sudden urge to buy new clothes. Resisting my old ways, I remembered the saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” I selected a trusty pair of pants that I’d had for years, proud of myself for adhering to my “pay less” goal. However, by mid-afternoon, the waistline of those pants was so tight, I thought I might lose circulation in my legs. Fearing amputation, I made a beeline for TJ Maxx.
Striving to “sit less,” I signed up for a Boot Camp fitness class, believing that exercise would encourage a trimmed-down lifestyle. However, after the first class, a group of women invited me to coffee, where naturally I became overly excited about making new friends and blathered my life story in excruciating detail, in direct violation of the “say less” principle.
Although I haven’t given up on the notion that “less is more,” I realize that becoming less of myself in 2024 will take more time, more energy and more willpower. A lot more.
Read more at themeatandpotatoesoflife.com and in Lisa’s book, “The Meat and Potatoes of Life: My True Lit Com.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org