It’s that time of year again…
With Halloween behind us, and Thanksgiving only a few short days away; the holidays are officially here again. Known for excessive feasts, family, drinking, gift giving, and over spending — the holidays might actually be the worst time of year for those seeking financial independence.
While some may savor the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the flavors of the holidays, most of are going to cringe at the sight of that bathroom scale and bank statement on January 1st.
This Thursday, much of the United States is going to be stuffing themselves so full of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie that they’ll collapse into a tryptophan induced coma….
This face stuffing behavior continues on Friday and into the weekend with a the gigantic pile of leftovers….between bouts of excessive consumerism of course.
Who could forget Black Friday? It’s the best-worst shopping day of the year…with deals so good, fights break out over the “on sale” plastic fantastic merchandise. It’s the capitalist version of holiday face stuffing.
While I do admire the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday (sharing, family, thankfulness, helping others), I find the modern perversion of the holiday to be completely distasteful.
It’s disgusting when you think about it….one of the richest nations in the world has a holiday where they stuff themselves to excess and then spend mountains of money on junk they don’t need….all the while being obese and mired in debt.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the numbers…
Last year, Thanksgiving weekend spending averaged $299.60 per person….and yet per capita debt levels in the U.S. reached $46,170. Do I even need to mention that more than 1/3 of US adults are now obese? Does anybody see anything wrong with this picture?
Eating more and spending more is not a recipe for happiness.
For The Love Of…Food
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE food, especially delicious food. I write about good food all the time on this blog….but I also eat more than enough without holiday culture telling me I’m supposed to stuff my face and spend way too much.
There has to be a point where a person says, “I’ve had enough! I don’t need to be fatter, and I don’t need to be poorer.”
Well, I’ve reached that point.
I’m NOT going to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal this year. I won’t be stuffing my face with turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Instead, I’m going to do the exact opposite…
I’m going to eat nothing.
The Anti-Thanksgiving Plan
That’s right, I’ve decided to skip Thanksgiving this year.
I’ll be fasting this year. Instead of filling my gullet with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all the trimmings, I’ll consume nothing (other than water, or tea) for 24 hours. I won’t going-out shopping on Black Friday either.
Why? I’m doing it for several reasons:
1. A Reminder. A reminder to myself just how good I have it the other 364 days of the year. My life is filled with plenty. Three square meals a day. While some families might sit down to a homemade meal only a handful of times per year, I make a homemade meal from scratch for my family nearly every single day.
2. Practicing Resilience. I’ve gone the entire year without missing a single meal. That’s a luxury some people don’t have and it’s probably made me soft. I want to remind myself of that deprivation, and to deal with it. Resilience takes practice.
3. Anti-consumerism. I want to take a step back from consumer culture. I try not to let culture and social norms define my behavior, but that’s sometimes difficult. I don’t need to waste my wealth and health just because culture says I should this Thursday and Friday. By fasting, and skipping the shopping, I’m protesting the excess and the waste of the holiday.
4. Health. Believe it or not, there’s a considerable amount of medical research that demonstrate intermittent fasting can have positive health effects — such as lowered insulin levels, weight loss, altered metabolic rates and hormone levels. There’s even animal studies that indicate changes in longevity might be possible. While some of these claims may not end up being true, I think it’s safe to say that eating less is a good thing when it comes to my health.
Yes, I’ll probably be really hungry by the end of the day. But, I’ll be a little bit thinner and a little bit wealthier as a result. That’s going to make me feel pretty darn good…far better than I’d feel after eating a third helping of turkey.
Just to be clear — this is only going to be me. I won’t force the kids or Mrs. Tako to skip eating on Thursday. I won’t make a traditional turkey meal, but I will make a sensibly sized meal for them instead.
Not For Everybody
Cultural norms are hard to break, especially where family is involved. I get that.
I realize my Anti-Thanksgiving plan isn’t going to be the next big holiday fad. Americans love to eat waaay too much for something like that to happen. Only financially independent weirdo’s (like me) do this kind of stuff!
My only ask is that, as you sit down and eat your Thanksgiving dinner (or go out for Black Friday shopping), please think about this post.
Think about your financial status, your health, and whether you actually need all this excess.
Could culture be holding you back from achieving Financial Independence? Could you be happy with less?
Just think about it.