I bought 14 lbs. of organic bartlett pears today at a cost of $30. Actually I purchased $175 worth of groceries, but the pears were the purchase that triggered an odd mixture of anxiety, frustration, happiness, pride and determination. You see, I want to eat the foods that are optimum fuel for my body (and my baby's). I am tired of waking up every morning with foul-tasting dry mouth, aching hands and feet, and the other myriad of symptoms I suffer from my cooked dinner.
But the problem is bigger than reaching for a plate of rice rather than a delicious smoothie at 6 p.m. The problem starts much earlier. I can only choose from what is available to me. Currently, I simply do not ever have enough ripe good quality fruit available in my home to choose to eat healthfully for a entire day.
Which brings us to the anxiety about buying $30 worth of pears. The thing is, we spend an insane amount of money on food in relation to what we earn. We have financial difficulties, and not just related to our food budget, and relationship difficulties about how to handle our financial difficulties. So you can see why $30 worth of fruit might be a landmine. It was all I could do not to be whisked away in the aisle at the store--spinning into guilt about past choices and into worrying about the future and how I could fix it.
In an attempt to derail the wave of anxiety overtaking me, I suddenly found myself in the midst of frustration instead. My choices are so limited and often low quality for a high price. The organic apples are double in price but bruised. The citrus, both organic and nonorganic, is unripe and sour. The bananas all are shipped and gassed on the same day, every other week, leading to a feast-or-famine cycle. The fantastic grapes I had last week are all gone. I am excited for my dates to arrive, but downhearted at the thought of an entire $30 going to ship them. So much of my money is tied up in things I wouldn't even need if I lived in a climate suited to humans--snow boots and coats for the kids, hundreds of dollars a month on heating, salt and snow removal. Suddenly, it occurs to me that I am whining... a lot!
I begin to feel grateful. Here are these gorgeous pears, my favorite variety, on sale. Instead of buying just a few, I load up on them, taking almost all they had. I am lucky to have a lovely family and a nice warm shelter from the winter weather. And I have $175 (nope, no credit card debt!) to spend on groceries. All of my financial worries aside, I have the money to keep the heat on and my stomach full and boots on my kids feet. And honestly, if I hadn't bought the pears, I would have spent the same amount on junk food or condiments.
Suddenly, I was feeling proud and optimistic. I was consciously choosing to purchase a quantity of quality fruit ahead of time, so I wouldn't find myself stuck with nothing to eat but cooked food. I was staying present with what positive options my life has available at this point. I cannot be in Costa Rica right now, but I can buy pears instead of tater tots. One step at a time. One more frown turned upside down. LOL!