A Reflection on the 1st Month

As I write this I am feeling SO bummed, proper disappointed, about how in the last week of our month we have completely smashed our planned budget. And the feeling is only made worse by the fact that the first 3 weeks went so well. However, this is an experiment and experiments sometimes slap you in the face like that, especially when you’re starting to get a bit cocky about your genius. So thank you Brat Experiment for keeping us humble 😉 Also, the face slap isn’t the important bit, rather the getting up and trying-a-different-approach bit is. It’s ALL part of the process 🙂 So on that celebration and acceptance of our failures here are a few things I’ve notice during the last month:

It got easier. Quickly. For the first week or two we were hyperaware of the money we weren’t spending and often felt quite denied and restricted. Like we were on a diet. But that feeling sneakily, and ever so subtly, smartly disappeared… I thought it would take months to go away so that was an AWESOME surprise 🙂 And a massive step towards this hopefully become a long term, sustainable thing. Why or how exactly it went away I’m not actually sure though…

A lot of the blogs talk about preparing yourself to go against the stream. Preparing yourself to be judged by others for what you are doing. I took this in and so was REALLY hesitant to tell people about our experiment. However, we have had the complete opposite experience. Our friends have been wildly supportive. And more than that most of them have actually started experimenting with the idea themselves. One friend has actually been doing it for years already and we had no idea. My current hypotheses for our alternate experience are:

  • Our friends are fabulous gems of human beings (in that they so supportive). Which they totally are.
  • We happen to choose super wise friends (proved by the fact that they want to try experiment themselves).
  • It’s a cultural thing (all the friends we have told are South African) and maybe the South African culture is just more open to this way of life than my Experts typically describe.

Our parents aren’t quite sure how to take our idea just yet though…My grandmother definitely doesn’t think that we are serious. My Dad thinks that he is HILLARIOUS because his new joke is that we’re going to retire at the same time as he does (15 years time when we’re in our mid 40s and he’s 80). Overall, I think the Brat Experiment definition of “retirement” is just going to take a little while for the older generation to process…

When we started this thing I was worried that my enthusiasm would wane and pretty soon it would become just another project that I leave unfinished (this is a common theme in my life – I’m ALL about the possibilities and not so much about the slug work to the bitter end). But again, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. My millions of blog post ideas show no sign of dwindling (that’s actually been one of the challenges: trying to decide which blog idea to write about next and in which order to post them) and Husband and I seem to be becoming more and more settled (at home?) with the whole idea and lifestyle. It will be interesting to see if this increases or decreases the longer we do this…

One of the reasons that I think that we are feeling more settled with this Brat Experiment is that we definitely somehow feel more in control. More intentional in our spending. More in line with ourselves in our spending. It has been weirdly liberating making sure that we really want/need what we spend our money on. I know, dear Reader, it sounds bat-shit-crazy/ok-we’ve-lost-her-this-woman’s-a-hippie but that’s the best way I can explain it. I don’t fully understand it but there’s somehow a calmness about it all and it’s awesome.

Lastly, and I don’t know if The Brat Experiment caused it or if it’s just a weird coincidence but, Husband and I have both started consistently exercising for the first time in our 8 and a half year relationship. We’re basically going for walks in nature areas around us or cycling along the river. This is impressive because we tend do it together (never done before) and because as a general rule I don’t exercise. I mean I LOVE yoga. But I only do that once a week. And when we joined the gym last year I would have a (gentle!) gym session once a week too. So that’s two sessions a week at absolute best. Husband tends to be a binge exerciser: goes manic for three weeks and then does nothing for six months. But recently, we have been doing some kind of exercise EVERY day. We’re currently on our sixth day IN A ROW *gasp (but it has been on a steady increase throughout the month). And the weirdest thing is we’re not making ourselves to do it because “exercise is good”. There’s no forcing at all. We’re genuinely doing it simply because we enjoy it. All VERY VERY strange… maybe it’s the nature? Or maybe we’re just thrilled that winter has come to an end? We are very aware that it’s free and so a completely guilt free pleasure… But I’m still genuinely confused about how it has suddenly become a pleasure…

puzzle editted

Husband’s most recent puzzle

Oh and Husband has started doing puzzles. He hates board games and puzzles. So this recent change completely baffles me…

So there you have it, dear Reader 🙂 Quite a lot unexplained and not fully understood but a definite strong undercurrent of change happening… I’m excited to see where it leads. So here’s to tomorrow: pay day. And day 1 of our brand new clean slate for Month 2 🙂