Habits I Plan to Change When I Move Into My New Apartment Tomorrow

1) I will wake up an hour earlier every day. I will have a restful yoga practice and I will eat breakfast and get showered and dressed before I start reading email and scrolling through Tumblr. I will separate my mornings into “not work” and “work” instead of blending them all together. I will not archive email on the toilet. I will not write articles with wet hair.

2) I will only wear clothes that make me feel and look great. When clothes go bad, the way vegetables go bad, I will get rid of them and trust that I will have the financial capacity to buy new ones.

3) I will make my own slow cooker soups and I will bake my own bread. I will stop making sad desk lunches for myself. I will remove myself from my desk and eat lunch on a stool at my kitchen island, so it becomes a real break from the workday.

4) I guess if I’m going to be making bread and soup a few times a week, I’ll have to add food prep to my morning routine. Or maybe my lunch break. Those vegetables don’t chop themselves. I mean, I could buy pre-chopped, but that would be more expensive. Also, I’ll need to build in some time for cleaning, because I still haven’t figured out how to measure two cups of flour without spilling some of it on the counter.

5) You know, I’m probably going to be dragging my laptop over to my kitchen island anyway, since I’ll want to watch Last Week Tonight or Steven Universe while I eat lunch. Hmm. I wonder if I should just get a TV.

6) I will go to the Farmers’ Market every weekend and only choose the fruits and vegetables that are affordable and in season. I will ask the vendors if they have any seconds hiding anywhere, but I’ll also feel guilty about asking for discount vegetables when I can afford to pay for the regular-priced ones. Maybe I won’t ask about the seconds.

7) I will buy a bouquet of fresh flowers every week, so there are always fresh flowers in my home.

8) I’ll start making muesli, because this Hairpin article from 2011 called “How to Feel Competent By Dumping a Bunch of Stuff Into a Bowl” showed up in my Facebook feed this weekend, and after I read it I was determined that I would also make homemade muesli, it’s apparently as easy as dumping a bunch of stuff into a bowl, and also how did Facebook know I needed to read this article at this exact moment?

9) Once a week twice a month once a month I will have an “At-Home Day,” where I have fresh bread on the countertop and a big pot of soup and invite all my friends to stop in when they’re free. I’ll get some tabletop games, or we’ll sit around and talk, and everyone will remark on what a great idea this was.

10) I will also have a monthly “Creative Business Night,” where I invite my freelancer and creative business friends to come over and talk shop. We will learn from each other and multiply our skills, increasing our competencies by dumping all of our knowledge into a shared bowl. We will not spend the entire time complaining about bad clients.

11) When Game of Thrones starts up again, I’ll host the weekly screening. That means I really do need a TV, don’t I. Maybe a projector. I don’t want to pay for cable.

12) Okay, it looks like I can get a projector for under $100. I don’t even know how this works. Do I need a sound system, too? I don’t want the sound to come out of my laptop speakers.

13) I will reconfigure my FitBit dashboard so that it only contains three data points: how well I slept, how many steps I’ve taken, and how many minutes of high cardiovascular activity I’ve racked up. I will figure out how to remove all references to weight, calories in, and calories out. I will say that this is for health reasons, not because it is extremely difficult to figure out how many calories are in homemade muesli. I am not going to spend my mornings counting up the number of cashews in my bowl.

14) In the evenings, I will trade up from my regular 7 Minute Workout to the 30-minute Double Kimmy Schmidt Workout that Nicole Cliffe of The Toast put together. My day will have 23 extra minutes in it somehow, probably because I’m waking up an hour early. That’s how this works, right?

15) Also, because I’m waking up an hour early, I will always be able to stop work by 6 p.m.

16) Even though my rent is going up by $315 a month, and even though it looks like I’ve just committed to buying a bunch of new clothes, plus fresh flowers, plus a projector and speakers, I am still going to save more money than I was able to save in my current apartment. I’m going to trust that all of these savings will come out of food prep. If I bake four loaves of bread at 50 cents per, instead of buying four loaves of bread at $2.99 per, that comes to a savings of $9.96 per month. That’s… okay, that’s… um… I’m going to need to do some more math.

17) I will go to bed on time every night. I will not spend the last 20 minutes of my day clicking one link after another in the hopes that this article or video will be the answer to the question that chases through my brain at the end of each day, the question of “how to live” and “how to be a good person” and “did anyone add any new references to the Hamilton Genius page?”

After all, I’ll know how to live. I’ve just written myself a guide.

This piece is part of a series examining our financial vices.

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